About this project
DAILY, BACKER-EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
We've entered our FINAL COUNTDOWN, and with the help of Joe Travers and the ZFT, we're sharing new, unreleased content from the Vault, exclusively for our backers!
Any pledge gets you access to PRIVATE DAILY UPDATES with never-released FZ performances, interviews, home video, and more!
- Day 10 - TITTIES 'N BEER (Capitol Theater, 1976)
- Day 09 - VOTING & CENSORSHIP (Newswatch 10, 1988)
- Day 08 - ZAPPA & CLAPTON (New York, 1967)
- Day 07 - ZAPPA ON REAGAN (KHJ-TV L.A., 1986)
- Day 06 - "TELL ME YOU LOVE ME" (Bolzano, IT, 1982)
- Day 05 - LOCAL NEWS PROFILE (San Diego, 1979)
- Day 04 - "ZOOT ALLURES" (London, UK, 1982)
- Day 03 - ZAPPA ON THE PMRC (Los Angeles, 1985)
- Day 02 - "A ZAPPA AFFAIR" (Berkeley, 1984)
- Day 01 - ?
If you're just visiting for the first time, we've made big announcements all month. Here are some highlights you should check out:
- APRIL 5 - COLLECTOR'S BOOK ADDED
- MARCH 30 - T-SHIRT DESIGNS ADDED
- MARCH 29 - NEW REWARDS from FZ collaborator Cal Schenkel!
- MARCH 25 - NEW REWARDS from FZ collaborator Bruce Bickford!
- MARCH 19 - We hit our first goal: bonus reward unlocked!
- MARCH 17 - ROXY screenings, Add-On Rewards & New FAQ!
- MARCH 11 - Alex answers some of your biggest questions.
Want to choose some additional rewards and do even more to help us #SaveTheVault? Every ADD-ON REWARD you grab gets us even closer to our final goal of $1,000,000.
We've got all kinds of CAMPAIGN EXCLUSIVES and DISCOUNTED ZAPPA MERCH up for grabs, including: VINTAGE T-SHIRTS • CASSETTE TAPES • VINYL ALBUMS • RARE SONGBOOKS • CUSTOM GUITAR STRAP • CUSTOM GUITAR PICKS • ORIGINAL ART PRINTS • ROXY: THE MOVIE • And more!
Or, you can get the biggest crowdfunding reward ever:
That's right: if you make a $9MM pledge on eBay, you can actually keep the entire private estate where Frank Zappa lived with his family from 1968 until his death in 1993. Seriously. Check it out.
You'll get the entire place to keep, including 9 bedrooms, a tennis court, a pool, as well as the spaces that housed the UMRK, Frank's private offices, and even his private subterranean Vault. (Contents of the house not included, but we'll find a couple awesome things you can keep.)
We know you've got a lot of questions, and we're doing our best to answer all of them. Check out our Complete FAQ, or get answers about:
We really suggest watching the video above. It's faster, easier, and more fun than reading this whole page!
Frank Zappa lived an insane life. Rock star. Artist. Composer. Activist. Talking head. Family man. Jokester. Absurdist. One of the greatest musicians who ever lived. Even if you don’t know anything about him, you’ve probably heard his name and seen his face.
And now, for the first time, we have something no one has ever had:
Unrestricted access to his never-before-explored, private archives.
We're at the brink of unlocking thousands of hours of unreleased footage, and hundreds of boxes of tape, and unnameable other stuff that has been literally locked away under the Zappa family home like a time capsule since Frank’s death in 1993.
It’s time to tell Frank's DEFINITIVE STORY, like it's never been told, and to bring some of this unseen material into the world.
Waiting inside the Vault, there's more material than we could ever fit in a single film.. but there's a challenge.
If we don't work fast, this won't just be our first chance to see what's in the Vault... it might also be our last chance.
See, most of the contents of the Vault exist in OLD, OBSOLETE and AGING MEDIA FORMATS: tape, film, video, paper, and other outdated forms of media that are deteriorating even as we speak.
In order to use and share this stuff, we first have to access it, catalog it, find the best stuff, digitize and preserve it, and then edit it. And all of that takes time, money and patience.
That's why we're asking all of Frank's fans to get involved, and to help us get this done now.
The more we raise, the more we can do... and now that we've passed our MINIMUM GOAL of $500,000, our challenge is to keep going as far as we can, so that we can save more at-risk materials and get more of the movie done.
For those of you who decide to join me, save the Vault, and help tell Frank's story, I've got good news: you'll get a lot more than the satisfaction of helping preserve Frank's legacy.
Whether you just want to follow along, or want a once-in-a-lifetime Zappa experience, we've got you covered with a ton of great, exclusive rewards, including...
- TRACKS 10 & UP: A FRONT ROW SEAT to follow along as I start exploring the Vault. I have no idea what we'll find, but I know it'll be crazy... and that I want to share the experience with you guys!
TRACKS 25 & UP: A DIGITAL VAULT PASS, granting you exclusive access to a backers-only archive of downloadable material selected from what I find in the Vault.
And remember: the more we raise, the more we can save, and the more you'll get to see, hear and keep!
- TRACKS 35 & UP: THE DOCUMENTARY that you're helping make, available as a digital download (Tracks 35+) and in a Collector's Edition DVD or BLU-RAY (Tracks 150+), packed with bonus material and limited edition packaging.
- TRACKS 50 & UP: EXCLUSIVE WTFIFZ MERCH, featuring new artwork created just for this Kickstarter campaign, and never available again! It's like a killer concert merch table, without ever leaving home! Rewards include T-SHIRTS (Track 50+), POSTERS (Track 125+) and more.
And with the help of Frank's family and friends, we’ve got some incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and rewards for true Zappa fans:
- TRACK 2500: OWN FRANK'S STUFF. The Zappas have generously allowed us to offer a very limited number of items from Frank's private collection, including original filmstrips from the Vault and a few of his personal possessions.
- TRACK 6000: EXPLORE FRANK'S VAULT. You'll get a private tour of the legendary Joe's Garage and the relocated Vault from me and Ahmet Zappa. Be the first person to see some of the unreleased material, then discuss it over a private lunch with me and my producing partner, Glen Zipper.
- TRACK 7500: RECORD WITH FRANK'S GUITAR. Come play Frank’s guitar for a private recording session with Joe "Vaultmeister" Travers at the legendary Joe’s Garage!
So, who the fuck is Frank Zappa? Even now, 23 years after his death, the man is still a fascinating pile of contradictions. If you haven't watched the video, just consider these ten facts about Zappa:
1. He was one of the biggest rock stars of the '70s...
2. But he didn't do drugs. Ever.
3. He conducted and composed for orchestras ...
4. But he also went on national TV and played a bicycle.
5. He got banned from SNL...
6. But he was a regular on CNN.
7. He took on the government over censorship.
8. He basically invented Rock the Vote.
9. He was the face of an actual revolution in Czechoslovakia.
10. He almost ran for President in 1992.
And that doesn't begin to cover Frank's life, career, or prolific output as a performer, composer or visual artist. His work crossed genres. He made people uncomfortable. His ideas and attitudes made him revered by some, despised by others, and a source of perpetual fascination and inspiration... until, in 1993, his life was cut short by prostate cancer.
When he died at the age of 52, Zappa had already released 60 albums, and created enough music to fill 42 more posthumous albums... and counting! He'd also had four kids, influenced a generation of artists, scientists and thought leaders, and left his unique stamp on the world.
And all of that? That's just the tip of the iceberg.
That's why this project is so important. Frank Zappa was a million different things, and for the first time, we have access to everything he kept in his private archives – thousands of hours of audio and video recordings, plus countless shelves filled with boxes of documents, photos, art and more. Using all of that material, I want to finally tell his definitive story, and help answer the question:
Who the Fuck is Frank Zappa?
And, even better... we want you to join us.
Frank Zappa was one of the most prolific artists of our time, and rows upon rows of floor-to-ceiling stacks of tape, video clips, film footage, and more, have been locked away under the historic Zappa house in the Hollywood Hills since Frank's death in 1993.
No one has ever heard or seen the vast majority of this material, much less cataloged it, and it is literally crumbling against time in the Zappa's private archive: a massive underground storage chamber known as "The Vault."
By backing this campaign, you'll help us digitize and preserve (!) these archives for use in this documentary — not to mention for limited, gradual release and distribution, and the enjoyment of Zappa fans for generations to come. The more we raise, the more of Frank's unexplored archives we can save.
Hey, I'm Alex. I’m an actor / director, and in the last few years I’ve made two other documentaries about cultural influencers; Downloaded (about Napster) and Deep Web (about the hidden Internet). I’ve been a big fan of Frank Zappa’s music my whole life, but it took some time to realize that in addition to being a singular artist, he’s flat-out one of the most brilliant, hilarious, wild and fascinating renaissance men of the century.
Shortly before she died, his widow Gail gave me unprecedented access to Frank’s life (and Vault), and her blessing to make the first all-access doc about Frank — a one-of-a-kind honor. For this project, I’ll be interviewing everyone I can who had any kind of connection to Frank, and painstakingly going through the Vault to preserve and archive the stuff I think tells Frank’s untold story best.
I've also written more about why I launched this project.
As a documentary producer who’s had the privilege of working on a diverse slate of films including Undefeated, All Things Must Pass, Deep Web, The Last Play at Shea, The Nightmare, and Foo Fighters: Back and Forth, one of the questions I am asked most is, “If you could make any documentary you wanted to do, what would it be?” My answer has always been the same, “The definitive, no-holds barred Frank Zappa doc.” Last year someone finally asked me a follow-up question that I should’ve already asked myself: “What’s stopping you?” And that, my friends, is where our journey began.
It’s been a whirlwind for Alex and I ever since, working every day to lay the foundation of everything we need to make this dream possible. Now, together with you, I want to make a film that is not only a worthy historical document of Frank’s remarkable legacy, but also a kick-ass cinematic experience that no one will ever be able to put in a traditional documentary box.
Joe is not only a musician who's been playing with the Zappas (and other incredible bands) since the early '90s; he's also the “Vaultmeister” — keeper of Frank's archives, and expert on all things FZ. He has been the lone guardian of the Vault's material for years, chipping away at cataloguing and preserving what he can as well as co-producing the FZ delicacies released by the Zappa Family Trust.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risks and challenges we face aren't from this Kickstarter, but from the potential danger to the material in Frank's Vault if this campaign DOESN'T succeed.
If it does, we'll have everything we need to help #SaveTheVault, preserve some or all of Frank's most at-risk material, and to #TellTheStory.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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