Interview by Jerry Kay, 1978
This is the transcription of a recorded interview with Frank Zappa conducted sometime in 1978 by Jerry Kay.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Frank Zappa. I finally managed to find this radio station, yes ... this is quite an experience here trying to open a bottle of beer – it's one of those imported kind with tinfoil that's covering the top. And the guy here has asked me how I like that record and since the microphone wasn't on you probably missed the fact that I am DEEPLY impressed by any song that fades out with the words: "Oooooh-la-LA-la." And I'm sure you are too, otherwise you wouldn't be listening to this radio station.
Did you fade out a couple of songs with "Oooooh-la-LA-la"?
I think everything has to fade out with "Oooooh-la-LA-la". If you're going to fade out, you have to fade out with those words because those are the magic words. There are three or four really important words that happen in rock and roll and other types of music that normal people like do listen to. "Oooooh-la-LA-la" considered as one hyphenated word, would be one of the important words, and the other thing that you definitely gotta watch out for are the three other important magic words that make radio stations go off the air. But we won't discuss them right now. Those are the most powerful words in America today, that's why we have such a wonderful place to live in.
Now, I'm here to play an album for you and I'm rapping ... well ... rapping is one of those words that you say when you go on rock and roll radio stations ... I'm rapping a little bit at this point to prepare each and every one of you for the grand and glorious experience of getting your little cassette machines out BECAUSE I would like to have you tape-record this album off the air BECAUSE this album is not going to be available in the stores BECAUSE Warner Brothers is trying to RUIN MY DARN CAREER.
Tell us what happened, as far as why this record is not being released and how come.
Well, it's not very simple to explain but I'll make a stab at it, and I don't really believe that people want to listen to a bunch of legal crud on the radio, but it's kinda unavoidable. Warner Brothers does not have the rights to this material although it was delivered to them and they refused to pay me for the material. And so I claimed a breach of contract and set out to negotiate with some other record companies. In several instances, Warner Brothers interfered with those negotiations and spoiled the possibility of releasing this material elsewhere.
The first place they did it was with EMI, and the second place they did it was with Mercury Phonogram, and Mercury Phonogram was enough into the deal where they had made test pressings – they were ready to press the album, the cover was printed and so on and so forth. What you're listening to now is actual test pressings of the album that Mercury Phonogram had prepared. At the last minute, Warner Brothers threatened them with legal proceedings and blah, blah, blah, and so they backed out of the deal. And the way it stands now, my future as a recording artist is dangling in midair pending court procedures, which in California for civil cases can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years just to get a day in court and have your case heard.
Since I don't think that anybody wants to wait 3 to 5 years to hear my wonderful music ...
I have taken it upon myself to come down here and advise anybody interested in the stuff that I do to get a cassette machine, and tape this album – you can have it for free, just take it right off the radio. Y'know, don't buy it – TAPE IT.
(After the album has been played on the air)
This has been Frank Zappa as temporary bogus disc jockey playing The Läther Album for you and now I'm gonna say goodbye. Thanks a lot for letting me come down here and do it.
Thanks, it was an absolute joy.
Well, I don't know about that, come on now. That's probably more of my music that has been played on the radio in one blast. ... I mean that's gotta be the world's record. You probably lost all of your listeners, they're all seeking elsewhere for the safety-pin-through-the-cheek-music.
I think they want to hear side 9.
They do? (laughs). Well, since there is no side 9, since Warner Brothers has seen to that, we're going to leave you with GOODBYE.
Again, thank you very much. I hope you have enjoyed this, I know you have and, uh, ta-ta.