53 HOURS LEFT and 92% FUNDED! Plus: Zappa for President!
We're almost at the finish line, and now things are really getting crazy. I mean, in case you didn't notice, our Kickstarter page is now counting down in hours instead of days.
But man, have I got some amazing news:
With 53 hours left, we've just passed $880K on Kickstarter, making us Kickstarter's highest-funded documentary ever!
...we're 92% of the way to our final goal!
Pretty fucking amazing, right? I mean, we've still got a little farther to go, but things are looking good. Even cooler, we've had a total explosion of new backers in the last couple days -- so, if this is your first Zappa update, thanks for joining in! We're so glad to have you with us.
Also: huge thanks to Joel Hodgson and the team over at Mystery Science Theater 3000, who are major Zappa freaks, and helped spread the word to their MST3K Revival League with an awesome contest offer. If Joel sent you: Hello! Thank you! Hello! And huge thanks to Howard Stern for the shout-out on his show (and online) this morning. Love Howard!
Now, as usual, I'll have another COUNTDOWN CLIP from the Vault to share later this afternoon, exclusively for backers. Keep an eye out for that, because we've got a pretty awesome interview where Frank rips into one of his favorite topics: censorship and the PMRC.
But first, I want to share one more thing you should know about Frank.
ZAPPA FOR PRESIDENT
As you already know, Frank was really passionate about getting people to vote… and during an election year as crazy as this one, I miss Frank more than ever. Because if FZ were still alive, I think he'd be doing more than just encouraging his fans to vote:
He'd be giving them someone to vote for.
I haven't been able to find a lot of confirmed facts, but I do know that back in 1992 – after taking on both President Reagan and the UMRC – Frank considered making his own bid to become President of the United States. I'm not sure if ever officially entered the race, but I do know that he was thinking about it. This is from an interview with Spin in July 1991:
SPIN: What would it take to puncture the apathy of the average American, especially with elections coming up? Campaigns for that election will start in less than a year.
ZAPPA: I don’t think you’re going to puncture it in one swell swoop. It doesn’t puncture that easily. I’ll tell you, I’m thinking of running for President in the next election.
ZAPPA: Yeah. I’ve called two political consultants in Washington and we’re just gonna do a little feasibility study to see what it would take. The idea is to run as a nonpartisan candidate and urge other people around the country to not only run but resign from the Democratic and the Republican parties because the Democrats stand for nothing except “I wish I was a Republican” and the Republicans stand for raw, unbridled evil and greed and ignorance smothered in balloons and ribbons. So that’s really not much of a choice and it’s nauseating to watch Democrats make speeches because they all wish they were Republicans.
SPIN: What do you think your chances will be?
ZAPPA: Not good, but a chance is a chance.
SPIN: You’re very serious about this? You’re not just making a statement?
ZAPPA: If I did run, I would do a real run. The problems about doing it are that in order to do a credible run you have to be on the ballot in every state. That’s about a million dollars in legal fees and organization and bullshit just to get on the ballot. That’s before you even buy an ad.
The theory that I have is this: Instead of going out and running the same way the other guys do for one thing I got no primary that I have to compete in, I don’t have to go to Iowa, I don’t have to go to New Hampshire, I don’t have to join the greased pig race, I don’t have to do any of that stuff. All I have to do is say, I’m gonna volunteer to run, I’m willing to do this. I’m willing to give up music for four years. I like this country enough that I’ll give up something that I love for four years to do this job that nobody is doing right here.
If you have time to read it, the whole interview is pretty incredible.
I'm not sure how far Frank's bid went, or what his consultants told him, but obviously he never ended up making a serious run in 1992. By then, his health was beginning to make it impossible. But if he had… just think about what might have been, right?
Zappa vs Clinton
Of course, if Frank had run for President back in '92, he'd have been running against Bill Clinton, who – ironically – became friends with Gail after Frank's death in 1993.
I never got a chance to ask her about that friendship in our conversations, but during my tour of Frank’s office with Vaultmeister Joe, I saw this letter thumbtacked to the wall in Frank’s office:
In case you can't read it, it's a letter that Bill Clinton sent Gail after Frank passed.
Here's part of what he said:
Frank Zappa truly made a difference during his life. He was a brilliant innovator in the world of music [who] also contributed a great deal to our country as a social critic, working tirelessly to protect artistic freedom. [...] I hope that in the days and months ahead, you can take comfort in remembering the richness of the life Frank led and the inspiration he brought to so many people.
Sing it, Bill.
And of course, if you read about Zappa's unintentional role in the Czech revolution, you’ll know that's not even the first time a President had something nice to say about Frank. Man, what a life.
So, there you go: now you know as much as I do about the time that Frank Zappa (maybe) ran for President.
For a first-hand look at Frank's political side, remember to check back later tonight for our next COUNTDOWN CLIP -- and if you're not a backer yet, you've still got time to join us. Remember, any pledge unlocks all of the exclusive, unreleased clips we're sharing from Zappa's Vault this month.
Hail to the Chief,
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