Watermelons and Gypsy Vacuum Cleaners

We’re Only In It For The Money, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, Uncle Meat, Hot Rats, Lumpy Gravy, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Chunga’s Revenge, Fillmore East, 200 Motels, Just Another Band from L.A., Waka/Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo, Over-Nite Sensation, Apostrophe (‘), One Size Fits All, Bongo Fury, Tinseltown Rebellion and many more. All Zappa lps and all design and artworked by the fabulous Cal Shenkel. The gatefold sleeve and inner sleeves, an exciting, massive canvas for a creative soul with ideas a plenty. Using collage, ink, paint photography, Cal’s studio was always close to Frank’s, the ideas in the music would filter through and influence work in hand.

When you listen to the sax sound on Chungas Revenge you can easily visualise the dancing gypsy vacuum cleaner that  inhabits the gatefold spread. For We’re Only In It For The Money, Cal subverts Peter Blake’s Sgt Pepper’s cover artwork, peace and love is downgraded and refocused into a mocking image of the music industy, rotten, currupt and greedy.

“I love naive and folk art, art that has an unfinished look. I don’t like the polished for the most part. Now what that means or where it comes from I’m not sure. But I was probably influenced graphically by artists I saw in school. And of course there’s the comic book look — like Krazy Kat. A part of it was just lack of skill. Trying to take advantage of my own naivety. I’d really only had a semester of art school, so I hadn’t evolved my style when I was doing all of this. It just comes natural, too.”

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