On October 15, 1972 we went to see Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band at The Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh. Things were so different back then. I simply walked backstage and acted like I belonged. Stood next to the Captain before he went on stage and took this picture and a few others before I was escorted off.
I took this picture of Frank Zappa at The Syria Mosque in Pittsburgh in 1974. He was a musical genius but by the time he died in 1993 was also a political activist. Throughout 1988 he had voter registration booths at his concerts.He even considered running for president of the United States as an independent.
I can’t help but wonder what he would say about today’s climate of partisan politics and religious fervor. As an activist and atheist his voice is missed in the national debate but his music lives on.
I have my comercial store with Red Bubble. Last year Red Bubble removed some of my work of Jerry Garcia saying the Garcia Family Trust had complained. I argued that I took the photographs of Jerry Garcia in a Public Venue and the ticket only restricted video recordings. I was protected by copyright law. Red Bubble intervened on my behalf and they agreed to allow my images to remain on the site for printed work but not for merchandise. Copyright law protects my original photography but doesn’t give me the right to manufacture t-shirts with my image. Only the original image is protected.
Now the Zappa Family Trust has filed a complaint and I expect a similar outcome. However so far they have only complained about two images and one t-shirt. They have not yet removed my best selling t shirt. So follow the link below to order your Zappa Hope T-Shirt today. It may not be around much longer.
The original shot for this creation was taken during the Apostrophe Tour on May 6, 1973 at Pittsburgh’s Syria Mosque licking <a href="http://clicking here.” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>here.
I only saw Zappa play once. It was at the Syria Mosque in 1974 with Sal Valquez, Jean Luc Ponty and the Tower of Power Horns. Truly one of the best shows I ever saw. I miss Zappa and still listen to his music and that of his son.
Th first concert I ever photographed was Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. They played at the Syria Mosque on October 15, 1972. Security was a lot loser back then I was able to get back stage and take a series of images from the wings before I got booted.
I miss those days and fondly remember the Captain standing next to me while the band played. He looked over at me and we exchanged nods and then he made his big entrance in that blue cape. It is a fond memory and I still listen to his music. Rock on Captain, we miss you brother.
I have edited this image using a new set of tools and like this version better is has more clarity and contrast.
I recently realized that a couple of years ago I offered for sale on my commercial site a t-shirt that said Frank Zappa at the Syria Masque. I sold a number of these T-Shirts and although not my best seller I was pleased that some people liked it. Recently it was pointed out to me that I had misspelled Syria Mosque. Not wanting to remove my previous item from sale, I created a new one with a different image and the correct venue.
George Duke is an amazing piano and keyboard player. He played with Frank Zappa on Chunga’s Revenge, 200 Motels, WakawaJawaka, The Grand Wazoo, Apostrophe, Over-Nite Sensation, One Size Fits All, Bongo Fury and Roxy and Elsewhere. He has also played with other artists like Stanley Clarke and Jean Luc Ponty and has a successful and current career as a solo artist. The original photo for this digital creation was taken during a show with Frank Zappa on the Apostrophe Tour in Pittsburgh. You can buy a print on my commercial gallery by clicking here.
Five hundred years from now when music historians study the music of the twentieth century they will probably compare Zappa to Bach and Mozart of previous centuries. He was a consummate guitarist but more importantly an excellent composer. He composed “songs” but what sets him apart was his ability to compose complex music in the tradition of the old masters. “The Big Swifty” is an example of this which he played at the Syria Masque decades ago. Buy a print or T-Shirt and see other images at my music gallery by clicking here.
One reader pointed out to me that I had misspelled the name of Rockette Morton on my T-Shirt, indeed I had, much to my dismay. Just as bad, I had flopped the image and made him left handed! Well everybody needs and editor, so I stuffed my pride and made the corrections. Here is the new T-Shirt which you can buy at my online store by clicking here.
Captain Beefheart’s best known band was called the Magic band. It was filled with great and conventional musicians like the Captain himself and his high school buddy, Frank Zappa. To be fair, Zappa was only a “guest” but Rockette Morton and Zoothorn Rollo were permeant members of this great ensemble. Click here to buy a Rockette Morton T-Shirt.