The album wasn’t even out, yet. I think it was Linda who brought it back from San Francisco. She knew all these guys and was always ahead of everyone in all things rock and roll. (Linda was the one responsible for the Grateful Dead spending the night in my room.) A month later I was in Montreal. A friend was coming to visit from New York and I told her, go to Sam Goody’s and get me this record. (I figured it had to be out by now.) A week later people were coming by my place just to hear the album.
A couple of months after that the Mothers of Invention were in town for a two-week gig at Gary Eisenkraft’s club, the New Penelope. That was just a few doors east of the Swiss Hut where I did most of my drinking. When the Swiss Hut hotties started getting very friendly towards me I had to wonder what made me so attractive all of a sudden. One sweetiepie in particular sat down at my table and asked, batting her eyeballs at me, so how long you guys gonna be in town? That explains it! They think I’m in the band. It was the hair.
This portrait of me, taken by Serena when she was a student at L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, might explain some of the confusion on the part of the Swiss Hut Hotties. Long-hair on guys hadn’t come in yet, so basically in Montreal it was me, Armand Vaillancourt, and the Mothers of Invention. I wasn’t going around with a rose stuck in my teeth and could easily be mistaken by horny girls as a member of a famous U.S. American rock band.
Of course I went to see the band. I might have gone five times. Maybe six. It’s all a blur though, by now. I hung out a bit – just a bit – with a couple of the guys including Zappa and Herb Cohen, the Mothers’ manager. Cohen’s phone number is still in my address book but probably not current. Maybe I’ll call him up. Zappa was cool, and a very nice guy, but to recall any conversations at this point I would have to reconstruct my brain as it was then and there aren’t enough drugs for that.
So that’s as close as I ever got to enjoying rockstar groupie hotelroom frolics and possible plastercasting. If I’d been a little less honest . . . or maybe . . . if I could just remember . . .
I wouldn’t have thought that “tune” would stand the test of forty years – that’s how long since I last heard it. After all, the avant garde isn’t so avant garde anymore. But I must confess it holds up well and is as subversive as ever. When you consider this was released on MGM records . . . in 1966 . . . it’s a kind of miracle.