Rip Rense

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Rip Rense is an Los Angeles journalist, who wrote for The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Los Angeles Magazine, ICE, Musician, Spin, Guitar World.

He first interviewed Zappa in 1975. He also introduced Nicolas Slonimsky to Zappa. Rense was present at many of the Friday Night Soirees from one of which he recalls making Zappa laugh:

"My favorite memory of those many special nights, as I write this, was the last such salon I attended, in the summer of 1993. It was, in fact, the night of the great talk with director Shrader. (...) I knew that few people appreciated absurdity as much as a guy who named his entrepenurial business Intercontinental Absurdities. Besides, as he said on the Mothers "Live at the Roxy" album, "I love monster movies." I readied my tape recorder.

"This requires a bit of set-up," I said. "In one of the cheesiest of the old Universal 'Frankenstein' movie sequels, 'The Ghost of Frankenstein,' Ygor, the crazed shepherd played by Béla Lugosi, plots to have his brain implanted in the monster's head. Dr. Bohmer (Lionel Atwill), aids in the plot. The monster eventually revives from surgery---with Ygor's brain---then rampages through the house, which, like all Frankenstein houses, is surrounded by angry villagers. Ygor/Frankenstein opts to lure the villagers into the house, which is outfitted with gas jets, and do away with them en masse. And this is what he yells."

I hit the tape. Out came the gravelly voice of the great Lugosi, screaming, "Bohmer! Turn on the gas!" I played it repeatedly.

Zappa literally doubled over with deep laughter, his face crinkled, tears in his eyes. On the AAAFNRAA scale, it was apparently a ten. I played the tape again and again, and he laughed on and on, as did I, until at last he became collected enough to bid me goodnight. We shook hands, for what turned out to be the last time, and as I rose leave, I heard the final words I ever heard Frank Zappa speak---quintessentially sardonic, ironic, somewhat bitter, painfully blunt, and hilarious:

"Turn on the gas!""[1]

Rense instigated and produced Frankly A Capella.

He is one of the people receiving thanks for their "very special but no less significant contributions" in The Yellow Shark liner notes. [2] Rense wrote the booklets for both The Yellow Shark as well as The Lost Episodes.