3 min readNov 2, 2022

Frank ZAPPA & Art Laboe RANT by Gerry Fialka 10–30–22

FRANK ZAPPA & Art Laboe RANT by Gerry Fialka 10–30–22

Gerry Fialka was introduced as “Gertitol Fialkaseltzer” and performed a short rant before the 8pm Sunday show of The Zappa Band at the Baked Potato Oct30, 2022, Funny stories about Zappa & Art Laboe. Here’s the transcription:

There’s a hole lotta Frankie going on. Frankie’s in town . . . I used to know the bass player when his hair was black . . . Check this out . . . FRANK ZAPPA FORGOT TO DIE !!! Both Frank and James Joyce said “All times are happening NOW!!!” Frank listed Joyce as an influence in the Freak Out list. I wanna THANK FRANK. He shaped my behaviour by teaching me to embrace contradiction AND have a good time. He encouraged audience participation. We were the co-creators. Let’s try a quickie call and response with this FZ maxim: (I say the line, then you repeat it aloud.) “I’m a failure” . . . “but not a miserable failure.” I worked for FZ for 9 years. Once I drove him to the dentist, and as we passed Hollywood High Skool on Sunset Blvd, I saw Original Sound (Art Laboe’s office) across the street. I asked FZ, “Got any Art Laboe stories?” Frank mused, “Yeah, he used to give his employees their paycheck on Friday, then play craps with them, and win it back.” Ha! In 1988, a fan called the Pumpkin hotline telling me that the song “Memories of El Monte” (written by FZ and Ray Collins, released by Art) was in Dennis Hopper’s film COLORS — about LA gangs. I was told to call up Art and ask if there was any songwriter payment due. Eventually, Art sent a check to Frank, and it was dog-eared and brown-edged. The phone number on the check was like HO 5–7330. This is how phone numbers were listed many years ago, pre-area code. This clearly indicated, Art rarely wrote checks to anyone.

These two stories may lead you to call Art a “record executive prick,” three little words that FZ sang on Tinseltown Rebellion. FZ and his manager Bennett Glotzer had hired Marty (sorry, I forgot his last name) to literally get FZ’s music played on the radio. Yeah, Right!!! High aspirations indeed. I went up to Marty one day and said, “How does it feel to promote a product with those 3 words?” Marty said, “There’s pricks in every business.” Kinda ironic? So back to Frank embracing contradiction as a way of seeing the paradoxical exuberance of being through music and Menippean satire. Dig it! By telling you these two stories, Art Laboe may appear to a “record executive prick,” but he really was not!!! Art just passed away at the age of 97. He helped FZ a lot early on, releasing pre-Mothers singles, and giving FZ an advance to get bailed out of jail. More so, Art produced many cool concerts for Hispanics, Blacks and Whites to dance to R’n’R, when this was a no-no. Art specialized in song dedications for 79 years on the radio . . . like, “This next song goes out to Fujiyama Mama from Gary. You are the one!” Imagine being a DJ for 79 years, celebrating the magic of music. Kudos to you, ART!!! So for our final benediction, one more call & response — a true Zappa saying — “NOTHING IS WHAT I WANT”

Thanks Frank.

Pauline Roberts cover of The Black Page #1 on Marimba and Drumset is wowing’em.

Here’s Gerry Fialka’s interview with Pauline

Check out Gerry Fialka’s funk song “Can’t Fool Computers”