Let's Talk Clothes by Dino Orlando

Interview with Frank Zappa, 1972

Page Five

DINO: This gives me a lead. I was just thinking about the fact that it started off as a rebellion, and it changed now to sort of a get together kind of thing. You know, at one time everybody was trying to do his own thing and just do it as crazy as possible. Before they wanted to be different. Now they are all trying to look like somebody. So sociologically it is a change: not belonging and then belonging; not conforming and then conforming.

FRANK: Sociologically it's a reversion! Sociologically the whole concept of looking like the other guy is back to the 50's. It's a different kind of conformity. If you look at the clothes of the 50's - in high school, for instance, the kids would get together and there would be a trend forone particular brand of shirt, or shoes, or pants. Everybody had to wearexactly the same thing. Now that the 50's are coming back musically, andcertain fashions are coming back from the 50's. The whole conformist conceptof the 50's is also coming back. And I think that's a negative concept. People may not be dressing in all 1950's costumes and appearing on the street that way, but everybody will wear a certain type of garment. They will do it just so they fit in with their peers.

From a fashion point of view; nothing ever comes back the same. Sneakers, for example, were fashionable in 1950, but today's sneakers have platforms. So, even though it may look the same, it is not. Do you think it's true of music as well?

Yes. The music of the 50's is very difficult to bring back in 100 percent form because of the way in which it was recorded and the consciousness of the people who were recording. It was a lot more naive in those days. It's just not naive anymore. That's the one thing missing from all of the 1950's reruns you hear about.

I would like to find out how you feel about the way people look today since you do reach them with your music. Do you understand their clothes?

You want me to tell you what I think about the way people look today? I think that they look the same as they always did, only different.

That's exactly what I said, nothing ever comes back the same.

But it comes back, you know.

No, it doesn't. What do you think is glamorous today, for instance?

I don't know, you tell me.

You're glamorous. Musicians, music people like you. You are all doing things that turn people on today. Look at Mick Jagger with all the society people following him. A rock critic said recently that Madison Square Garden is the l970's answer to the Hotel Plaza Ballroom. Maybe it is. How did you like the concert last night?

I think the sound got terribly lost. We're going down there this afternoon and see if we can solve those problems and make it sound better for tonight's concert. That's the hardest part about putting any kind of a band on stage: you have the acoustics of the room, the taste of the audience, and the hands of the mixer all to contend with. What I heard on stage had no bearing on what was going on up front. I thought it sounded O.K. on stage.

There was a lot of feedback, but nevertheless it was excellent. I liked it, and in exchange if you decide to do something about the next step in clothes, I'll do it for you.

Well what do you have in mind, Dino?

I couldn't answer. It takes concentration. Now you are into very comfortable clothes and don't have a lead on what you'd like me to design for you.

You know it's more than just being comfortable, I like old clothes that are already broken in. I hate to put on something that is right out of the stirrup; it feels weird.

Before we left, Frank and I were pals and he wanted very much to give tips on what he'd like to see as jewelry. Since jewelry catches onto the instruments, he would like to have it ingrown into the skin, like, let's say, a watch transplanted into your wrist with phosphorescent digits so that you could see it through the skin, and in the dark. Not very practical? Well, Frank is a genius, and geniuses aren't always practical.

It was abeautiful, bright sunny fall day in New York. Frank had done the freakiest thing he'd ever thought of and I had had a ball, as I suspected.

We were all very happy.


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rev 3.19.04, RAE Productions