Zappa (10): Interview with Barbara Flaska

Barbara Flaska, a longtime contributor to (she has also been published at PopMatters), has been posting all sorts of stuff about Zappa on her long-running blog, Flaskaland. What she’s been writing there — and the best way to find the stuff, which is voluminous, is to keyword-search her site for “Zappa,” “Frank,” “Beefheart,” etc. — is not criticism of Zappa per se, but rather, her memories of growing up with Frank in Claremont, CA, circa the late ’50s/early ’60s — a few years before fame and fortune came a-knocking at Frank’s door. Given my recent, somewhat obsessional curiosity about FZ, I thought it would be fun to engage her in a conversation about all this. I called her at her home in Fallbrook, CA, on Sunday, Sept. 22, and we chatted for more than an hour. I’ve sliced the discussion here into three time-manageable parts. Thanks to Barbara for taking the time to share these stories with me.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Stuff Referenced:

– Claremont, CA
The Blackouts
Ronnie & The Pomona Casuals
Cucamonga/Studio Z
Art Laboe
– “Mr. Clean
– Zappa on Steve Allen (1960)
The Johnny Otis Show
– 1960 Election/JFK
General Dynamics
– 1985 PMRC hearings


One thought on “Zappa (10): Interview with Barbara Flaska

  1. Oh dear. corrections to my verbal mix-ups: “Rubenstein conducts” (he didn’t, he played piano. I meant “Bernstein” but I should have said Toscanini … and the name of the street “Oakmont” isn’t right, but is was “Oak” something near Oakmont grammar school. This was a late at night interview and I was tired from work and a bit lazy besides.

    I Had Often Walked Down This Street Before:

    (I should have remembered THAT, because Oak Park (Illinois) is where my Uncle Taddeus lived (and that’s where the electric clarinet came from)

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