I've been a fan of Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention since I first heard 'em in 1968. I just bought his most recent album "Feeding the Monkies at Ma Maison" released something like 18 years after his death. Along with it came this book by his British secretary, Pauline Butcher. It turned out to be a great read and one of the most intimate, insightful and revealing accounts of life with Zappa and his extended family, his wife, his Mothers, his A-List rock star friends and assorted Freaks. Pauline was offered the chance to live and work in the Zappas' sprawling new home in Los Angeles. She thought her move from Twickenham to Laurel Canyon would bring glamour and luxury. The truth turned out to be far far from it!
This book provides new incites into the complex mind of Zappa and his music, his complex relationship with friends, family, staff, managers, groupies, nannies, "Plaster Casters" and with the musicians who made the music for him - and why he fired them. It's also a portrait of the 1968-72 Los Angeles - before and after Charlie Manson, seen through the eyes of an outsider. Pauline also skilfully keeps us in suspense about who's sleeping with whom and who's on drugs and who isn't, and then….well, you'll have to read it yourself.
A question mark hangs over whether anyone younger than, say, 40 - or someone who's never heard of Frank Zappa (or Mick Jagger, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix or Wild Man Fischer) would find this book interesting. I think they would. As someone a bit older than that I thought it was great!