Here’s an odd little bit I’m surprised I didn’t find sooner – Frank Zappa appearing on Howard Stern‘s radio show, playing a little bit of LOUIE LOUIE together back in 1984.
On Howard Stern’s HowardStern.com website, this particular moment is considered #98 of the of the “Top 101 Musical Performances onThe Howard Stern Show,” as determined by fan voting.
The YouTube description claims that this is a 1985 performance, but this actually took place in 1984, according to the official HowardStern.com page.
In the clip, Frank mentioned he appeared on a talk show in Washington, D.C., the night before to challenge two politicians about free speech. When Frank went on to say he decided to be on the show because he thought its hosts were “full of shit,” Howard had to remind him that the FCC didn’t allow such language on the air. This led Frank to say the FCC’s function wasn’t to control the content of radio and television broadcasts, but instead was to control their bandwidth. Frank added he felt personalities should be able to talk the way they do in their real lives, which Howard noted was a problem he was experiencing. Frank replied people want to hear “natural” discourse, but the FCC was preventing that from happening.
Howard asked Frank why he didn’t perform at Live Aid, which had been held a few weeks before his interview and he said it was because he felt the concert was “the biggest money laundering scheme of all time.” After Frank pointed out that was just his opinion about the event, he mentioned that if the United States government officials were truly interested in getting food to Ethiopians as was the purpose of Live Aid, they would’ve sent troops to the country to hand it out themselves. Frank went on to say the tickets for Live Aid cost $30 with a $25 service charge and anyone who wanted to eat had to pay an additional $20. Robin then pointed out it was hard to find a man of Frank’s conviction.
After Frank talked about the trouble he had with getting his album, “Thing-Fish,” released due to its lyrical content, Frank asked listeners to send him money – even a quarter – to help him raise funds so he could travel to Capital Hill [sic] to talk about pornography. Frank explained he needed to raise the money because he spent most of his own releasing his music, adding, because radio stations refused to play his albums, he had to constantly find ways to get them out to the public. Howard and Frank proceeded to play “Louie, Louie” with Howard on piano and Frank on guitar, before Frank told Howard he was glad his program was on the air and that he hoped he’d never experience any problems with the FCC.
Elsewhere on Zappateers,com, there’s a rundown on who’s playing what…
WNBC-AM New York, NY
The Howard Stern Show
Howard Stern – Keyboards and vocals
Frank Zappa – Guitar
Robin Quivers – Laughter
If you’d like to hear the rest of this conversation with Frank and Howard, that’s also on YouTube (with the wrong year):
You can hear the LOUIE LOUIE in part 2 at 4:11: