My Life with Frank Zappa
Plexus Publishing Ltd.
2011 September 5
320 pp, paperback, 23 x 15,5 cm
Plexus: "This is a thrilling, captivating portrait of a naïve young English girl thrust into the mad world of a musical legend. Her memoir gives a vivid window on the era, on Hollywood, and is the most intimate and revealing portrait of Frank Zappa ever written."
The book, Freak Out: My Life with Frank Zappa, tells my story when I worked for Frank from 1968 to 1972. I lived at the log cabin for four months with his wife, Gail, Moon, and the entourage that Frank gathered around him. After that, I moved along Woodrow Wilson Drive, half a mile from Frank and Gail, and worked nocturnally in line with Frank's hours. Although it was forty years ago, I not only kept a diary but wrote frequent 20-page typed letters to my mother. These are the basis from which I've woven the chapters. I could not have done it without them. Some people may not agree with my view of Frank, but I hope I have been fair and balanced.
[August 17, 1967. Speakeasy club, London.]
Still wearing his coat, Frank dropped beside me. Out of the gloom a figure with a mop of hair and long sideburns appeared. 'Frank, Frank, great to see you, man.'
Whoever this was, he pulled up a chair.
Frank turned to me, 'Pauline, Eric Clapton. Eric, this is Pauline Butcher.'
I shook his hand, and leaning forward like a benevolent music teacher, asked, 'And what you play?'
His eyes slithered to Frank, then back at me. He came close to my face and said confidentially, 'I play the guitar.'
'That's nice,' I said.
[Later Zappa introduced to the crowd Clapton's band, Cream.]
[After the famous Royal Albert Hall concert in September 23, 1967.]
Frank swivelled round to Calvin. 'Did you get some good shots?'
'During the concert? No.'
Frank turned further in his seat to check he'd heard correctly.
'I was hungry. I went to eat,' Calvin explained.
'You went to eat?'
I expected Frank to explode. Instead, he raised his eyebrows and said quietly, 'I brought you three thousand miles to do one fucking thing - take photographs of the show - and you go out to eat? How long it take to eat?'
'We couldn't find anywhere. It took a while.'