Bush and Zappa

The first moment of panic came when I was in the darkroom, reviewing the negatives from the wedding rolls. The frames seemed too congested with conflicting images. I was hoping my eyesight was playing games with me, so I printed out one of the frames. That’s when the real queasiness hit. As the paper settled into the chemicals in the tray, I began to see the image of a guitar over a picture of my grandmother and my parents. Uh-oh! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had rerolled previously used film that had been taken at a Frank Zappa concert at the Mosque in Richmond, Virginia. Every single photo of the Bush and Garnica families had either a photo of Frank Zappa and/or members of the band, the Mothers of Invention, superimposed onto their own images. I remember thinking to myself that a Frank Sinatra photo may have been acceptable – not Frank Zappa!

Anyway I choose the coward’s way out–silence. Deafening silence. Radio silence. Aside from a few questions to the effect of, “How did your pictures turn out?” I heard very little about my embarrassing attempt to help my brother out. For the next thirty years, practically nothing was said about the incident. The wedding marked the end of my photography career. Luckily, my mother thought to take one picture of Jeb and Columba with her Kodak pocket instamatic, and that photo, copied a few times over, is in scrapbooks and on coffee tables in Texas, Maine, and Florida.

The epilogue to the story, never previously revealed to any family members, is that I submitted a picture of the bride and groom (yes, with Zappa) in an art show at school. I called the picture something clever like “Zappa’s Bride” and won third prize in the photography category.

So Marvin Bush sounds like a total stoner.

First off, the only time Zappa played the Mosque in Virginia 1 was in 1972. Which means that the roll of film he reloaded to take wedding pics of his older brother Jeb had been sitting around for at least a year.

Second – Frank Zappa? And a Bush scion? As Robbie was wont to say, “Does Not Compute.” On the other hand…ol’ George got into the Bolivian Marching Powder at one point with such enthusiasm he made Cathy Rigby appear dour; who’s to say Marvin didn’t liberally partake of Orange Barrel whenever?

In honor of Marvin’s counter-culture tendencies, here’s a little bootleg something-something recorded from that 1972 set-list (officially entitled The Grand Wazoo Tour): Imaginary Diseases Been To Kansas City In A Minor. 2

Flight MH370

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Not to be confused with the Syria Mosque in Pittsburg, which is an actual musical institution..
  2. Or The Petite Wazoo Tour, depending on the size of the hall the band played; as it happens Zappa and the Mothers played Cowtown Ballroom a month after the Virginia gig with the exact set-list.

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