Documentary:BBC Television Tribute 1993

BBC Television Tribute was a special episode of The Late Show on BBC 2 dedicated to Frank Zappa, broadcast on March 11, 1993.
The program was repeated on July 23, 1993 and on Friday, December 17, 1993 as an "in memoriam" to Zappa's recent death on December 4, 1993.

Footage and interviews with: 

Frank Zappa
I know I was weird. You know the standard uniform that the rap musicians wear - the hooded parka with the hood up and sunglasses on - that's what I used to wear to school every day. I had a little goatee and a little moustache, and I used to take my guitar with me to school - it was not electric - and spent my time between classes plunking around on that.

 Matt Groening
 The amazing thing about Freak Out! was that there was nothing quite like it in rock 'n roll at the time. It was really simultaneously crude and ugly, and incredibly sophisticated. The Beatles were funny, but there was nothing with the kind of sneer that you could feel in the music of Frank Zappa.

Ruth Underwood
Let me tell you, Frank was leading the band from every possible aspect and angle and vantage point. He had a series of hand signals and the body language was very important too. We all had our eyes on Frank all the time. You had to, because you never knew what was going to happen. In the middle of doing something that was very much expected and rehearsed, he could just turn around and do something, he could gesture a certain way, or make a face, or interject something to the microphone, just say something or start some banter with whichever lead singer happened to be there, and the whole concert would take a completely different turn.
It was free in that way. It was incredibly tight, but it was free as well. It's an interesting balance. The bottom line with Frank was that he wanted to, and needed to, get the best that he could from everyone. That was of paramount importance to him, and I think that's why he got such really extraordinary results. He saw what each of us could do, and he wouldn't settle for anything less than that.

Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood,
When I knew Frank in school, he was two years ahead of me in high school. Lancaster was just a barren town, it seems like all the misfits from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties were sent up there to get out of everybody else's face. There wasn't really anything to do there. You spent most of your time just wandering around through the desert, trying to occupy yourself with anything. That's probably why most people got into music or drinking all the time. On weekends that's about all there was to do. One boring town, believe me.

Steve Vai
He has a really incredible insight, sort of an intuition about musicians. I mean, I sat in a room and watched him go through hordes of musicians, bass players, when we were doing auditions. And he just seems to know, he seems to be able to get what you're about musically, and take that to the top of your ability.
Like I say, Frank was the bandleader, and I was a musician. I was very fortunate because I loved his music. I remember he said on the phone to me, after he first heard me play, he goes: 'I think you're great, and I'd like to try you out for the band. But how do I know you won't be a miserable son of a bitch, having to play my music?' You know, I was the tool of the composer.
Narrator: Although it couldn't strictly be called commercialism, Zappa knew his audience. And he deliberately stoked up the sexual satire, and the mythologising of low-life rock tour culture, with seemingly endless songs about groupies, motels and tour buses, and impossibly perverted musicians. Zappa on sex is what usually draws the critics' fire. 

Dweezil Zappa
He doesn't look at the instrument in terms of the standard ways, like for example you pick up the guitar and there's little boxes that your fingers can go in, that you could conceivably play in. Frank doesn't think of those sort of technical things at all, he's all over the place, playing notes that he wants to play, because he hears everything that's going on in the music around him, and he creates this 'air sculpture' as he calls it, when he plays. It should be illegal.

Ahmet Zappa
It's so cool, at rehearsals or something, he'll be playing and all of a sudden you'll see his face go ... you know, and he's like: 'God', like someone, like, made a mistake, and he's like ... it hits him, like the wrong note hits him, and it's 'Aah - do it again, do it again', you know. And like he's playing, and it's so loud you're going 'How the hell can he hear anything?', you know, and the monitors can be really bad ...

Documentary:BBC Television Tribute 1993 Documentary:BBC Television Tribute 1993 Reviewed by frank zappa newspaper on 03:29 Rating: 5

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