Saturday, June 16, 2007
Anecdote # 828
frank called him bald-headed John.
John Smothers was frank's body guard
ever since mr. zappa was tossed into
the orchestra pit by an irate fan.
(resulting in broken bones,
a lost year, lawsuits, the end of a band, etc.)
John looked like a black Mr. Clean.
tall, big build, smiling, bald, black man.
at a time when bald was weird.
john had a tight protruding belly
he tried to seem ominous but he was
really a very sweet person.
it was john's conversational skills
which defined him.
frank once told me he loved having
john around for the things he said.
john completely man-handled the english language.
I heared the equipment's being shipped out of chorus crispy, he said.
sitting down to breakfast he rejected coffee
ordering water instead,
I'll have a glass of HpO.
along with frank and our tour manager
(who deserves his own chapter)
john was the person I hung out with most.
sitting next to him on a plane
he would show me pictures of his girlfriend
boy she had 'em.
he would pull out his wallet stuffed with large bills,
look at this, abe, mister zappa pays me well,
he would say.
I loved john.
onstage he tried to be stone cold.
crossing his arms over one another
like the famous mussolini shots.
moving mr. zappa through a crowd
he held a threatening stick
that looked like a slender telescope.
"what is that, john," I asked him.
that's my polka, he would say.
"so what do you do with it?" I asked.
well, I pokes people with it, he told me.
the thing was, john never got my name right.
throughout the whole two month tour
he never got my name right.
he would start by calling me andrew
for a week or two,
then he'd shorten it to andy.
for a while.
then he'd move on to andre.
and stay with andre until I became
atrium, (my personal favorite).
it's nice to be architecture.
we were good with atrium for a time
until I simply became a.
that lasted for a while.
then one day john got all
philosophical on me,
started calling me
a nice biblical tome.
he shortened that to
(there may be an h in there somewhere,
I'm not sure of the spellings of my name
by this point.)
still not content
abrums begat abe.
finally after two months of daily conversation
that's where we left off.
honest abe belew.
no wait, I don't think he ever tried my last name.