Zappa Inducted Into The Hall Of Fame

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News stories, 1995
New York (Reuter)

Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Martha and the Vandellas and The Allman Brothers Band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Thursday.

Lou Reed, believed to be fighting back bitterness over not being inducted to the Hall as a member of The Velvet Underground, gave a speech inducting the late Frank Zappa.

"I respected him and I know he respected me," said Reed after comparing Zappa to Andy Warhol.

The Induction Citation
Frank Zappa, 1995, Performer

Frank Zappa's scatological lyrics and searing, fluid guitar solos always have overshadowed the serious composer who brought an appreciation of classical music to his loud rock records.

With his band, named the Mothers of Invention because the record company was afraid the Mothers was short for something else, he recorded albums like "Lumpy Gravy" and "Weasels Ripped My Flesh," which were an alternative to mainstream rock well before "alternative" had its current meaning.

He recorded "Over-Nite Sensation" (1973) with the Mothers and "Apostrophe (')" (1974) under his own name, providing favorite material for his concerts and adventuresome deejays: DJs: "Dinah-Moe Humm," "Montana," "I'm The Slime" and "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow."

In the '80s, Zappa's music became increasingly political and he testified before Congress in 1985 against warning labels on records. In 1989, he became an adviser to Czechoslovakian President Václav Havel on expanding the newly democratic country's entry into the capitalistic arts world.

A wealth of young musicians passed through Zappa's bands, including Lowell George, George Duke, Captain Beefheart, Jean-Luc Ponty, Adrian Belew and Steve Vai.

Zappa died in 1993 of prostate cancer.

Zappa Honors The Hall Of Fame
By Bill Holdship

If anyone out there is wondering why Lou Reed (who never had a good word to say about Frank Zappa during Zappa's lifetime) was chosen to induct Frank into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame ... well, so is the late rock musician's family.

Says his widow Gail Zappa: 'Ten days before the actual ceremony, we still hadn't received invitations; the producer said, "Oh, that's unconscionable! We can give you two free tickets and arrange for two of you to fly from LA to New York." Well, there's five of us, of course ... He said, "Well, we can sell you additional tickets at $1,500 a piece ... but you can't sit together." I just laughed. He said something about non-profit organizations, but they can kiss my ass about non-profit organizations, especially when they were going to exploit it this year as a TV show!

'But Moon had expressed interest in going, so we decided she'd accept the award. A week before the ceremony, they called me and said Edward Van Halen – who would have been perfect – had turned down their offer to induct Frank because he doesn't do these things. So, I suggested Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, who Frank knew, loved, and had worked with. They said, "No." I won't say why, because I don't want to hurt Johnny, but I did tell them that Johnny was one of the most lucid and articulate people I've ever heard interviewed.

'I suggested Aerosmith, but was told they were going to induct Led Zeppelin. So, I suggested Led Zeppelin. Again, they said no.

'I asked them who chooses these things, and I was told "the Board." I asked if there were any musicians on the board, and, more importantly, are there any black musicians? They had to call me back, and they replied: "Yes. One. Berry Gordy."

'They called back, and said "We've invited Lou Reed to do it!" I was laughing. It was just so ironic. I said I'd talk to my kids, and they were against it; they believed Lou had millions of chances to make up with Frank. So Lou called; I told him, "Listen, you said lots of shitty things about Frank." We discussed it, and he finally said, "If I said anything flip that was meant to be funny, I'm sorry." Actually Frank admired him as a songwriter; Femme Fatale and All Tomorrow's Parties were two of Frank's favorites.

'We asked for a car to take Moon to the ceremony. The producer told Moon that I said she'd be the one giving clearance to use the Frank footage on MTV, which was totally not true! He said, "That's OK, the show's running long, so we'll just cut Frank." Moon called him back, and made him apologize for making her father sound insignificant. A limo did take her to the show, but there was no one to pick her up! I have this vision of her standing in the rain, flagging down a cab, with the award in her hand!

'I watched the broadcast, and they didn't play any of his music, although they played at least one song by every other artist. And then I heard Joe Perry say that Led Zepplin had asked Aerosmith to induct them months before, so how come we got word a week before? This is a man who went to Capitol Hill for these people! When Moon said Frank would've enjoyed it, she meant the musicians.

'As Lou said, it honored the Hall to induct Frank, not the other way around. It was stupid, insensitive, and just thoughtless.'

Originally published in the SoCal music ragmag BAM (Feb. 10th, 1995 - Issue 452).

Transcribed: R Perkins Text Editing & HTML: Andy Murkin

Lou Reed's Speech

It's very rare in life to know someone who affects things; changes them in a positive way. I've been lucky enough to have known some in my life: Andy Warhol, Doc Hommis [?]. People whose vision and integrity was such that it moved the world a bit. People who, through the articulation of their talents and intelligence, were able to leave things better than they had found them. People who were not only not in it for the money, to paraphrase Frank Zappa. Frank Zappa was such a person and of the many regrets I have in life, not knowing him a lot better is one of them.

Whether writing symphonies, satirical broadsides or casting a caustic glow across the frontier of madness that makes up the American political landscape; whether testifying before Congress to put the PMRC in its rightful lowly place, or acting as a cultural conduit for President Vaclav Havel and the Czech government, Frank was a force for reason and honesty in the business deficient in those areas. As we reward some with money for the amusement they supply to the cultural masses, I think the induction of Frank Zappa in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame distinguishes the Hall as well as the inductee. [applause]

Musicians usually cannot speak. That's why they communicate through their instruments. But Frank was one who could. And because music is pure, the musician is pure as well and when Frank spoke he demonstrated the power of purity. Who will do that now? I admired Frank greatly and I know he admired me. It gives me great pleasure to give this award to his daughter, Moon Zappa. (2:17 min)

Moon Zappa's Acceptance Speech

This is so nice. Thank you, Lou. I really appreciate that.

I'm a little dyslexic and earlier I freed my ass. I'm hoping my mind will follow. [sigh, sniff] [Applause] Um, thank you and, uhh, I know you know I had said that this is the year of the end of the bullshit promises and I am really sorry that my father missed that. And, um, uhh, I've almost, almost, forgiven the Wait Staff here because my heart is open from watching all of this. [gestures towards the screen on which Zappa montage had been shown] and it's very odd to be back there [backstage] before you come up because you actually hear the command given but I just want to say that this really belongs to his, his fans and um, music really is a language and I think that some languages are easy to understand than others. I don't think it's any accident that the Slavic countries really appreciated my father the most because it's really hard to get the accents down and everything. And, um, I just really want to say thank you and I think that he would really have enjoyed this. Thank you. (1:44 min)

Speeches transcribed by John Scialli Text Editing & HTML by Andy Murkin

New York (AP)

It may be called the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but don't try to limit its newest members to a single genre.

Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin were among the group of category-busting musicians inducted Thursday. Other inductees were soul singer-turned-gospel musician Al Green, The Allman Brothers Band and R&B vocalists The Orioles.

Many of the inductions were posthumous – Joplin, who overdosed on drugs in 1970; Zappa, killed by cancer two years ago.

In a somber moment, Lou Reed remembered Zappa:

"Whether he was writing symphonies, satiric broadsides or casting a caustic glow across the frontier of madness that makes up the American political landscape Frank was a force for reason and honesty in a business deficient in these areas," Reed said.

News Stories transcribed by John Scialli