In the summer of 1966, I bought an album called Freak Out! by a then-unknown group called the Mothers of Invention at Lou Salesin’s Mumford Music Store on Coolidge Highway in Oak Park. It was a double album with an amazing gatefold jacket that retailed for $4.99. Inside there were extensive liner notes written by Frank Zappa that changed my life. In a subsequent interview, Frank said that the Freak Out! album package was designed to be “as accessible as possible to the people who wanted to take the time to make it accessible. That list of names in there, if anybody were to research it, would probably help them a great deal.” He was right: The first time I heard of Charles Ives, Willie Dixon, Captain Beefheart, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Eric Dolphy was when I read that list of 150 random notables (titled People Who Have Contributed Materially in Many Ways to Make Our Music What it Is – Please Do Not Hold it Against Them). My friend, Michael Loceff, and I took a trip to LA later that summer just to check out all the locations that Frank listed as freak out hot spots. When we finally reached the hallowed portals of Ben Franks restaurant on Sunset, we felt like we’d become part of a movement – even if it was 10 a.m., and there wasn’t a freak in sight! Years later, I got to hang out with the Mother’s drummer, Jimmy Carl Black. I was tongue-tied and awestruck to be in the presence of this cat whose mystique, for me, was based solely on his portrayal on the inside of album covers. Frank Zappa schooled us in counter-culture history, gave lost teenagers an identity along with a mythology and provided four sides of groundbreaking rock ’n’ roll for five bucks! Some 44 years later, I’m still a fan – that’s what the music business is about.
If Zappa released that same music today, we’d browse the 30-second samples on the iTunes store without the benefit of reading those mind-blowing liner notes. There’d be no context or depth to the whole experience. It’s no wonder that kids don’t wanna pay for music anymore – downloading a file of zeroes and ones for 99 cents has the same cultural allure as ordering a Ronco Veg-O-Matic from an 800 number.
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In the liner notes of *Freak Out! it says: “These People Have Contributed Materially in Many Ways to Make Our Music What it is. Please Do Not Hold it Against them.” ... followed by a long list of people.
In an interview with Frank Kofsky (in Jazz & Pop, 1967) FZ stated: “That whole Freak Out! album is to be as accessible as possible to the people who wanted to take the time to make it accessible. That list of names in there, if anybody were to research it, it would probably help them a great deal.” Knowing who these people are/were is one thing; knowing what they meant to FZ is something completely different…
All these people can be divided into several categories (and many had their name mis-spelled…):
* Composers, conductors etc.: Bulent Arel, Pierre Boulez, Robert Craft, Cecil Forsythe, Alois Haba, John Tasker Howard, Charles Ives, Mauricio Kagel, Luigi Nono, Leo Ornstein, Vincent Persichetti, Maurice Ravel, Silvestre Revueltas, Roger Huntington Sessions, Arnold Schönberg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Igor Stravinsky, Jack Tillar, Edgar Varèse, Anton Webern.
* Popular Singers, Songwriters, Musicians & the likes: Dave Aerni, Joan Baez, John Beck, Molly Bee, Richard Berry, Charles Brown, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Teddy Bunn, Albert Collins, David Crosby, Skip Diamond, Willie Dixon, Eric Dolphy, Don & Dewey, Bob Dylan, Bill Evans, Johnny Franklin, Ernie Freeman, Gene & Eunice, Vernon Greene, Buddy Guy, Slim Harpo, Chuck Higgins, Joe Huston, Bobby Jamieson, Don Julian, Terry Kirkman, Roland Kirk, Chatur Lal, Preston Love, Junior Madeo, Steve Mann, Little Arthur Matthews, Barry McGuire, Big Jay McNeely (“Cecil James McNeely”), Charles Mingus, Vic Mortenson, N.C. Mullick, Johnny Otis, Joe Perrino, Elvis Presley, Bob Reiner, Sabicas, Ravi Shankar, Jim Sherwood, Frankie Lee Simms, Guitar Slim, Lightnin’ Slim, Alice Stewart, Don Vliet, Donald Woods.
* Producers, road managers, etc.: Dick Barber, Paul Buff (“Paul C. Buff”), Mark Cheka, Herb Cohen, Jim Economides, Brian Epstein, Snuff Garrett, Jim Guercio, Jesse Kaye, Bob Keane (“Bob Keene”), Art Laboe, Phil Spector, Nick Venet, Tom Wilson.
* Movie Stars, TV & Radio Personalities, Entertainers…: Diane Baker, Melvin Belli, Huggy Boy, Lenny Bruce, Rosemarie De Camp, Frank De Cova, Joe De Santis, Fred C. Dobbs, Bruce Gordon, Hunter Hancock, Lew Irwin, Wolfman Jack, Jeepers, Charles Middleton, J. Arthur Rank, B. Mitchell Reed, Herman Rudin, Sabu, Bill Stulla, Tim Sullivan, Sonny Tufts, John Wayne, Hal Zeiger.
* Painters, Writers & others: Salvador Dali, Jules Feiffer, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, James Joyce, Eberhard Kronhausen, Loeb & Leopold, Sacco & Vanzetti, Robert Sheckley, Cordwainer Smith, Bram Stoker, Theodore Sturgeon, Yves Tanguy, Avedis Zildjian.
* Teachers, friends & acquaintances: Leonard Allen, William Ballard (“Mr. Ballard”), Sylvia Brigham, Sidney W. Brossman (“Dr. Brossman”), Don Cerveris, Uncle Ed, Phyllis Altenhaus (“Fyllis”), Animal Huxley, Karl Kohn, Lauren, Lucille, Mario, Jerry Murnane, Bob Narciso, Pepper, Pete (Lorraine Belcher), Nadine Reyes, Kaye Sherman, Phil Tanzini, Ernie Tosi, Jerry Ullberg (“Allberg”), Elmer Valentine, Pamela Zarubica.
This leaves another bunch of unknown, thus “un-identified” people (although there are some clues to some of them, perhaps): Jerry Allberg (probably “Ullberg”), Bobby Atler, The Bokelmans, Leonard Gorczyca, Carol, Cordy, Daddy-o Curtis Crump, Randy De Wees, George Di Carl, Donna No 1 (“Donna #1”), Donna No 2 (“Donna #2”), Shirley Eiler, Evy, Floyd, Carl Greenhouse, Jeff Harris, The Hypnotist, Lyn Johnson, Joyce, Joe Polly, Lance Reardon, Lillian Rudolph, Ruthie, Sandy Schwanekamp, Steffie, Lee Zugon.
Related pages: “We’re Only In It For the Money (The List)”, “One Size Fits All (The List), “The Real Frank Zappa Book (The List)”, “Them Or Us (The List)”, “Tinsel Town Rebellion (The List)”, PMRC (The List).