Frank Zappa - From Straight To Bizarre: Zappa, Beefheart. Alice Cooper And LA's Lunatic Fringe (DVD)
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The impulse for artists and musicians to form their own record labels are many. But often these endeavours are little more than vanity projects for which enthusiasm wanes when the first rush of releases fail to take off - leaving charity stores and flea markets awash with the unsold booty of such initially ambitious enterprises. But on occasion proceedings in a side-line of this nature can prove not just sustainable but fascinating, profitable and wholly worthwhile; a task made a little easier when the boss is a bit smarter than the average guitar hero! So it was with Frank Zappa. Desperate to remove himself from his original deal with Verve Records, in 1968 he set up the Bizarre and Straight labels in league with manger Herb Cohen, and so began a string of releases which remain extraordinary in the extreme. This film revisits and reviews the astonishing music that came out on Bizarre and Straight, and reveals the background, operations and, crucially, the lives of the musicians, performers and management who made these labels the legendary reality they became. The film contains exclusive interviews with many of the labels’ contributors including, Pamela Des Barres, John French, Jerry Lawson, Jeff Simmons, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith, Essra Mohawk, Miss Mercy, Kim Fowley, Bill Harkleroad plus authors Ben Watson, Barry Miles, Mark Paytress, Billy James and Ritchie Unterberger. Also includes rare footage, archive interviews, location shoots, extras - and of course the music that made it all worthwhile.