Wednesday, October 05, 2011

To Be Frank

One single incident serves as a perfect illustration of just what an extraordinarily unusual and charismatic person the US musician Frank Zappa, who died in 1993, must have been. In 1968, a year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, a man turned up on the doorstep at the Log Cabin, the ramshackle, open-all-hours-to-all-comers crash pad in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, that Zappa and numerous other weird people called home. "My name is Raven. I brought you a present," this stranger announced, handing to Zappa a transparent bag, apparently filled with blood, before pointing a revolver at his chest.

Calmly, Zappa cajoled and manipulated Raven into walking with him, and numerous spectators, including Zappa's 24-year-old English secretary, to a nearby lake. He then persuaded everyone present to start throwing things into the water, including Raven, who threw in his gun. The secretary, Pauline Butcher, threw in a twig, which "floated on the algae" causing her to look round "apologetically". After that, Zappa, shoved the bag of blood back into Raven's hand, saying: "You must leave now." Raven did. Immediately exhorted by the many witnesses to call the police, Zappa refused. Why? "Because if I call the police, the police will arrest him and he'll go to jail and no one deserves to go to jail."
I didn't think it was possible for Frank Zappa to go any higher in my estimation. After reading the story above, I realise I was wrong.
Post a Comment