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Frank Zappa: Conventional And Conservative?

Thursday, September 29th 2011 01:00

A new book by his former assistant paints an alternative picture of the pioneering musician

Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa is a new book by Pauline Butcher, who was Zappa's assistant from 1967-1972 and it charts her life with the famously eccentric musician during arguably his most productive years.

In a new interview with the BBC Butcher reveals that people's assumptions of Zappa are probably wide of the mark.

"Frank Zappa was so serious about his work: it was his whole life. He did nothing but get up in the morning, compose all day at the piano and then go to bed. Between times he was chain-smoking and drinking endless cups of coffee. The melee went on around him but he ignored it.

"I was as odd to the freaks as they all seemed to me. I was this straight English girl and when I wrote letters home to say that Frank Zappa didn't take drugs - because my parents were very concerned - nobody believed it because of the way he looked. But he was the most conventional, conservative man."

Butcher's book also tells the story of the various guests and visitors at the house (including a story about a food fight between the GTOs and Jeff Beck & Rod Stewart).

The book is out now through Plexus Books


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