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 Post subject: Joe's Garage Album Cover
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2002 5:58 am 
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To me, Joe's Garage Acts 1,2 & 3 is one of Frank's best albums ever, i love the music, the lyrics ,the ''concept'' (=story.....), the amazing guitarsolo (Watermelon) and i just love the cover (or actually, the both of them...).<br>But to this day i still don't know why Frank's face is painted black on those covers...<br>It probably has a very obvious and logic explenation, so does anybody know???????

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2002 9:17 pm 
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My guess is that Zappa was satirizing minstrel shows. Minstrel shows had white people in black makeup, or "blackface," so that they would appear to be black. I can't really tell you much more about it than that since I'm not an expert. But that's the way I always interpreted that album cover.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2002 4:33 am 
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<br><br>I believe Zappa himself said as much. I'm not positive but nonetheless I think that's the case, Seems pretty obvious. He described the story as akin to a cheesy highschool play and minstrel shows were like cheessy vaudeville so the connection isn't that outrageous.<br>


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2002 4:59 pm 
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Frank's face was painted black?  ;)


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 10:05 pm 
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[quote author=Mattie_Told_Hattie link=board=albums;num=1031590708;start=0#1 date=09/09/02 at 13:22:22]I know this much:<br><br>The cover photo of "Joe's Garage Act 1" was the original cover photo for "Lather." I know this because I met FZ at 96 Rock in Atlanta after he played an hour's worth of "Lather" on the station the day after his concert on 9/18/77, and he was carrying the album jacket with him when I met him.<br><br>[/quote]<br><br> :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o ... and so on!<br>

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 10:05 pm 
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[quote author=MIZZU link=board=albums;num=1031590708;start=0#9 date=04/28/03 at 01:05:07]<br><br> :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o ... and so on!<br>[/quote]<br><br>Hey Mattie, you're a lucky man!<br>

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 12:02 am 
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[quote author=Papagajas link=board=albums;num=1031590708;start=0#11 date=04/28/03 at 02:25:11]He can't hear you 'cause he's not here anymore[/quote]<br>......yes he is.......... ooohoooe...<br>

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 12:14 am 
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The self-riddling idea seems the most likely to me. Zappa greatest goes with his satire, including of himself

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 4:20 am 
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[quote author=Papagajas link=board=albums;num=1031590708;start=0#11 date=04/28/03 at 02:25:11]<br><br>He can't hear you 'cause he's not here anymore[/quote]<br>What do you mean?  ???

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 4:22 am 
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[quote author=MIZZU link=board=albums;num=1031590708;start=0#14 date=04/28/03 at 07:20:13]<br>What do you mean?  ???[/quote]<br><br>OOOOooops!  :-[ :-[ :-[<br><br>I didn't look at his postal date...<br><br>sorry... but... maybe I still didn't understand everything...

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2003 5:16 am 
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Quote:
From: Dave Lane <dalane@domaincorp.com> <br><br>  It's actually a mop, not a broom. I remember reading an interview shortly after Sheik Yerbouti came out--he mentioned that the title of his next album was going to be "Arrogant Mop", and it would be a concept album about a society in which music is illegal. Other than that, I don't know what the significance of the mop would be.
<br><br>
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From: Bill <billf@patriot.net> <br><br>  Well, the picture more accurately reflects the original title of the album - "Arrogant Mop". Frank was in black face to represent a janitor, most likely. The whole "Arrogant Mop" angle was jettisoned when Frank created the "Joe's Garage" story.
<br>

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:32 am 
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[quote author=Jizbella_McQueen link=board=albums;num=1031590708;start=0#4 date=09/20/02 at 12:11:56]<br><br>I always assumed it was grease from the garage... but it sounds like I was wrong.[/quote]<br><br>The moment I saw the album, my first Zappa cd ever (OLD 86 Ricko),  I've made the same assumption. I didn't connect it to a garage band, but made up that Joe must be a mechanic or something...

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:40 am 
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Although I only know the cd cover, how are the vinyl ones?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:06 am 
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up!

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Does My Vinyl Countdown have a blackface problem?
Updated August 30th, 2019; Posted Aug 30, 2019

By Mike Oliver | moliver@al.com

There is an impending blackface problem involving my record countdown. I’ve thought some about it long before the latest revelation involving Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey surfaced Thursday.

She has a blackface problem, for sure. Hers is much bigger than mine, which involves iconoclast Frank Zappa.

So, let me tell you about my problem.

I started My Vinyl Countdown (MVC) just under three years ago after I was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia, a fatal degenerative brain disease that slowly erodes brain function.

With my website and an annual charity basketball tournament called MikeMadness, I am raising awareness and money to battle this disease, which is hard to diagnose and not well known. That’s despite it being the second leading form of dementia after Alzheimer’s.

On my website, I am counting down my 678 vinyl record albums by reviewing them and reminiscing. And I’m doing this alphabetically – A to Z. I’m more than halfway there with about 350 finished and posted. Between posts about my albums I write about Lewy body disease and many other issues light and dark for AL.com.

At the end of the countdown are the ‘Z’s. Even though he may not be the absolute last ‘Z’ in my collection, Frank Zappa represents an ending point. I often tell people I am counting down from the Allmans to Zappa. My vow is to review all of my records before I succumb to my disease. My estimation of completion based on my current review rate is more than two years from now.

Warren Zevon will likely be my actual last one alphabetically speaking (I think I wore my ZZ Top album, “Tres Hombres’ out. But it’s Zappa I want to talk about here. On the cover of two albums, Joe’s Garage Act 1 and the double record Joe’s Garage Acts 2 and 3 and Zappa is in blackface.

I’ve searched the Internet to see if this has ever been a point of controversy. One commenter argued it was grease from “Joe’s Garage’ and never meant to be blackface. Another called bullshit on that –Zappa is a cruel ironist in addition to being a great musician. He famously made fun of the hippie drug taking crowd with the double 1960s album “Freak Out” and even took on the Beatles with “We’re only in it for the Money.” I haven’t had the time in my life to read all of Zappa’s script on Joe’s Garage 2 and 3 as presented in a multi-page inner album booklet. I don’t really care enough to. A good question is what’s with the black paint. Another chat room pontificator thought it was mud and not blackface and that’s why he’s holding a mop.

This is not a Zappa problem; he’s been long dead anyway. But the reason I call this a MyVinylCountdown problem is because the blackface images have become nearly as toxic as the N-word. Should I perpetuate that image? Should I skip Zappa altogether? Or just treat him like every other artist in the long list of musical artists on my blog?

Whatever the reason, he chose to use the blackface cover, and he can get a halfway hall pass by calling it art – remember the Robert Mapplethorpe ‘Piss Christ’ controversy a few decades back. In fact, Zappa testified in Congress against parental warning labels promoted by Tipper Gore. It was almost like the Congress folk lined up to be verbally disarmed and then abused by Zappa, possibly the smartest guy in the room. They were as Zappa was wont to do arguing about freedom of expression. What are the boundaries? When you push those boundaries you get reactions. How extreme is too extreme? Methinks Zappa would stand wholeheartedly with Kay Ivey right to wear blackface, which she says she can’t remember if she did or not during a skit while in college. But she didn’t deny it.

Zappa and Ivey, can you think of a more unlikely pair? If Ivey listened to some Zappa her head might explode. If she had been in the PRMC debate, she would be not on Zappa’s side.

With Zappa, people can speak out and condemn his blackface which has been seen by exponentially more people than Ivey’s blackface. People can choose not to buy his records and that’s pretty much it. With the governor of Alabama the consequences are obviously different. She was elected by the people (enough to win) of Alabama.

But to come full circle, some might say I shouldn’t even write about Zappa at all? I definitely think I should write about him and his music. Even if his alter-ego can be one who spews vulgarity sharper than the worse potty mouth in your Grade 6 class. When he went on to write some classical pieces, he showed a love for discordance rather than smooth melody.

The tile song ‘Joe’s Garage was the one that got me interested coming out in 1979 as I transferred from the University of Georgia to Auburn University. The song is one of a handful by Zappa that are/were clean enough to play on the radio. And it is very well done.

He’s interesting. Wikipedia describes the album this way:

The album encompasses a large spectrum of musical styles, while its lyrics often feature satirical or humorous commentary on American society and politics. It addresses themes of individualism, free will, censorship, the music industry and human sexuality, while criticizing government and religion, and satirizing Catholicism and Scientology. .

Rolling Stone magazine’s Don Shewey wrote: "If the surface of this opera is cluttered with cheap gags and musical mishmash, its soul is located in profound existential sorrow. The guitar solos that Zappa plays in Joe’s imagination burn with a desolate, devastating beauty. Flaws and all, Joe’s Garage is Frank Zappa’s Apocalypse Now.

So at the risk of going on longer than the guitar solo in the instrumental, Watermelon in Hay, I’ll say Zappa’s blackface was aimed at censorship and government control. The narrator of the album was called the Central Scrutinizer.

The title song itself, however, reveals little of this theme:
[url]The album encompasses a large spectrum of musical styles, while its lyrics often feature satirical or humorous commentary on American society and politics. It addresses themes of individualism, free will, censorship, the music industry and human sexuality, while criticizing government and religion, and satirizing Catholicism and Scientology. .

Rolling Stone magazine’s Don Shewey wrote: "If the surface of this opera is cluttered with cheap gags and musical mishmash, its soul is located in profound existential sorrow. The guitar solos that Zappa plays in Joe’s imagination burn with a desolate, devastating beauty. Flaws and all, Joe’s Garage is Frank Zappa’s Apocalypse Now.

So at the risk of going on longer than the guitar solo in the instrumental, Watermelon in Hay, I’ll say Zappa’s blackface was aimed at censorship and government control. The narrator of the album was called the Central Scrutinizer.

The title song itself, however, reveals little of this theme:
[url]The album encompasses a large spectrum of musical styles, while its lyrics often feature satirical or humorous commentary on American society and politics. It addresses themes of individualism, free will, censorship, the music industry and human sexuality, while criticizing government and religion, and satirizing Catholicism and Scientology. .

Rolling Stone magazine’s Don Shewey wrote: "If the surface of this opera is cluttered with cheap gags and musical mishmash, its soul is located in profound existential sorrow. The guitar solos that Zappa plays in Joe’s imagination burn with a desolate, devastating beauty. Flaws and all, Joe’s Garage is Frank Zappa’s Apocalypse Now.

So at the risk of going on longer than the guitar solo in the instrumental, Watermelon in Hay, I’ll say Zappa’s blackface was aimed at censorship and government control. The narrator of the album was called the Central Scrutinizer.

The title song itself, however, reveals little of this theme:

https://www.al.com/opinion/2019/08/does ... oblem.html


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:51 am 
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Do we even know if the blackface was Zappa's idea or Norman Seeff's? I find it interesting that Seeff was also the photographer for Joni Mitchell's Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, where Joni appears in blackface (and in male drag) on the cover.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:07 am 
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I've always viewed the cover as depicting a grease monkey working in a garage. Blackface never occurred to me. :|

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:47 am 
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^^That’s the way I always saw it too.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:57 am 
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I'd read somewhere before its release that Joe's Garage had a working title of "Arrogant Mop". That would explain the mop, not so much the blackface. I always thought of the Central Scrutinizer as a caretaker or janitorial figure.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:21 am 
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Bear in mind that the photos were taken in 1976, before FZ had even written the song "Joe's Garage," so he couldn't have had that in mind when he posed with painted face. The mop was apparently just there in Norman Seeff's studio, and FZ picked it up and used it as a prop. The "Arrogant Mop" title was probably inspired by the photo shoot itself.

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