Almost all of my posts are comics. Sometimes a story. Today I am ready to tell you my Frank Zappa story.
If you are a Frank Zappa fan, you may have looked at the websites that attempt to publish the schedule of dates and places where he and his band appeared. Some of these lists have him playing in Charleston, South Carolina on May 4th, 1975. He was actually in Charleston, West Virginia that Sunday. I know. I was there.
It was about an hour before you would think anybody would arrive at the Charleston Civic Center but there was quite a crowd milling about in the front of the building near the ticket office. Not yet forming a line. My date and I walked around the building to a side entrance which had a garage door. I assume this is where the equipment was usually carried inside.
Much to my surprise, a white limo drove around the building and out popped Frank Zappa. He actually walked a couple of steps in our direction (I assume) because I had several cameras hanging around my neck and he possibly was willing to interact with the local press. But I was not a reporter. I was only a fan who was stalking him that day. I said to him, "Welcome to Charleston, Frank. We're glad you're here. (speaking on behalf of many other people or using the "royal we". Take your pick).
He said, "OK, but it will have to be click click. I'm in kind of a hurry."
Since my date had a Poloroid camera, I turned and posed with Frank. As you can see, my date didn't compose the picture as Frank and Bob. It is more like Frank in the center with Bob trying desperately to be included in the shot.
I was also amazed at how black his facial hair realy was. He was freshly shaved and yet his beard looked blue under his skin. He was wearing a string of beads and had a little american flag on his lapel.
About four years before this, a nutcase attacked FZ in England during a concert and pushed him from the stage into an orchestra pit. He usually had a security guard with him for a time afterwards. I am surprised he got out of the car outside of the building.
Around the same time as the Charleston concert, I believe FZ was involved in a huge lawsuit in England because they had cancelled his scheduled concerts, possibly at the Palladium. He had several legal and financial challenges so that may well explain him performing in West Virginia.
Remember the cameras I had around my neck? I was able to go inside early and crank off a few shots while Frank was setting up his guitar and adjusting the amps.
The other camera around my neck had color slide film. If I ever find the slides I may post them as well.
Please respect that all of these images are copyright 2011 by R. Lilly
See ya soon