CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW: Frank Zappa vs. censorship + his letter to president Reagan
Guess what — excited to announce that you are now backers of the SECOND HIGHEST FUNDED DOCUMENTARY ON KICKSTARTER. And closing in on number one!!!
I’m diving a little deeper into the ten things I listed in our Kickstarter pitch video that a lot of people don’t know about FZ, and here’s one we’ve thought a lot about since we named our Kickstarter Who the F*@% is Frank Zappa: His fight against censorship.
Allow me to dive right in: The Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) was a committee that formed in 1985 to prevent children from accessing music that the committee deemed harmful, offensive, or spawned by the Lord of Darkness (not necessarily in that order). The PMRC was founded by four women: Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius, known collectively, and not without some disdain, as the "Washington wives.”
This kind of authoritarian cultural policing (you know, “censorship”) struck out at the core of everything Frank Zappa stood for. Not to mention, he was subjected to censorship himself, throughout his career.
So, Frank, along with John Denver and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider, took their cause to the floor of the Senate and testified on the behalf of artists and sane public citizens everywhere. Frank’s testimony, in particular, was extremely eloquent and to the point, and is worth watching (or reading) in its entirety:
So who won? Well both sides really, but mostly the artists. Sure we got stuck with silly things like this:
But the music and the lyrics went unchanged. And miraculously the world did not come to an end.
James Baker made Czechoslovakia pay for Frank’s victory against Baker’s wife. (Weird weird days — Much like today!) But Frank continued the fight against censorship tirelessly, for his entire career. In fact, check out...
Frank's incredible letter to President Reagan
The Zappas pulled this out of their collection for us to share — it's tiny here — click here to see it bigger!
And today the fight against censorship continues: For example, we think FZ would appreciate the name of our Kickstarter campaign, and the manner in which our name is constantly censored. Absurd as it seems, even the censored version of our name has been censored:
Bottom line is we all owe Frank a big thanks for helping artists remain free to create as they see fit. Thanks, Frank!
Want to see a super-rare news interview with Zappa straight from the Vault?
Speaking of creating, we are creating a pretty kick-ass selection of clips straight from the Vault — with the help of the ZFT and the Vaultmeister himself, Joe Travers — as a way to say A F*@%ING HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have backed this Kickstarter.
If you haven’t already, join us at whoisfrankzappa.com as a backer (at any level) and get a rare / unreleased Zappa audio or video clip per day in your inbox while we work together to #SaveTheVault!
And backers, if you enjoed the above, you will love today’s clip, coming soon in a locked update at zappamovie.com/updates!
WANT TO HELP SAVE EVEN MORE OF THE VAULT?
Copy and paste this into social media, trace it onto someone’s dirty car window, scrawl it on a post-it note and leave it on your office water cooler…
Back @zappamovie by Apr. 8 & get amazing Zappa clips straight to your inbox! Plus, you're helping to #SaveTheVault! whoisfrankzappa.com