- Alan Berry
When I asked Frank Zappa if he had any regrets about the first 25 years of his career, he was blunt, as he always was.
“There are certain things I might have said in a different way,” he said. “But basically, there it is.”
And that’s why Frank Zappa was and is still revered by his fans—because he said and did what he believed and never let commercial considerations deter him.
In this 1991 interview from The Tapes Archive, Zappa, then 50, talked about standing up to the Parents’ Music Resource Center and its warning labels on record albums, how he stepped into Eastern Europe to help American businesses establish ties in formerly communist countries, and why he refused to apologize for songs such as “Jewish Princess,” which offended some organizations.
There’s also talk about his anti-bootlegging project, “Beat the Boots,” and he tells a classic story about one of his greatest songs, “Black Napkins.”
A couple of items that need context:
-At the beginning of the interview, when he mentions “swine,” he’s referring to a show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds where he remembered seeing the Swine Barn.
-Later, when I refer to “the book,” I’m talking about “The Real Frank Zappa Book,” which was published in 1989.
More about Frank Zappa is at https://www.zappa.com/.