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The Talking Asshole

Performed at The Nova Convention, NYC
December 2, 1978

Emcee: Just sending up for the great uh, Frank Zappa.

FZ: Hiya. How you doin' tonight? Alright, um, as you know, I'm not the kind of a person that reads books, I've said this before many times, I'm not fond of reading. But, I do, I have in the past made exceptions, and uh, one of these exceptions was this part of the, the book that, I'm sure you know, called Naked Lunch, and I've received permission to read the part about the talking asshole. So . . .

Before I do, uh, I've discussed with Mr. Burroughs before we came out here some of the details that led to the construction of this section of the book. I asked him where he got the idea for this part, and he said that it was derived from the ventriloquist scene in The Dead Of Night, if you know that film. And I had a little bit of trouble following that, for a moment there, until he made it all very clear to me by saying that uh, it was like uh, when you have a ventriloquist dummy and suddenly the dummy starts talking for you. And so, with that introduction, I start on page 132, and it goes like this (ahem.):

Did I ever tell you about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down, you dig, farting out the words. It was unlike anything I ever heard. This "ass-talk" had a sort of gut frequency. It hit you right down there like you gotta go. You know when the old colon gives you the elbow and it feels sorta cold inside, and you know all you hafta do is "turn loose"? Well, this talking hit you right down there. A bubbly, thick, stagnant sound. A sound you could smell. This man worked for a carnival, you dig, and tos tart with, it was like a novelty ventriloquist act. Real funny, too, at first. He had a number he called "The Better Oh", that was a scream, I tell you. I forget most of it, but it was clever, like, "Oh, I say, are you still down there, old thing? 'Nah, I had to go relieve myself!'"

After a while, the ass started talking on its own. He would go in without anything prepared and his ass would ad-lib, and toss the gags back at him every time. Then it developed sort of teeth-like little raspy incurving hooks, and started eating. He thought this was cute at first, and built an act around it. But the asshole would eat its way through his pants, and start talking on the street, shouting out it wanted equal rights. It would get drunk, too, and have crying jags, nobody loved it, an'- and wanted.. and it wanted to be kissed, same as any other mouth. Finally, it talked all the time, day and night. You could hear him for blocks, screaming at it to shut up, and beating it with his fist, and sticking candles up it. But nothing did any good, and the asshole said to him, "It's you who will shut up in the end, not me. Because, we don't need you around here any more. I can talk, and eat, AND shit".

After that he began waking up in the morning with a transparent jelly like a tadpole's tail all over his mouth. This jelly was what the scientists call "un D.T.", undifferentiated tissue, (herr) which can grow into any kind of flesh on the human body. He would tear it off his mouth and the pieces would stick to his hands like burning gasoline jelly, and grow there. Grow anywhere . . . on him . . . grow anywhere on him a glob of it fell.

So finally his mouth sealed over, and the whole head would have amputated spontaneous.. did you know there is a condition occurs in parts of Africa, and only among negros, where the little toe amputates spontaneously?

Except for the eyes, you dig? That's the one thing the asshole couldn't do, was see. It needed the eyes. But nerve connections were blocked and infiltrated and atrophed, so the brain couldn't give orders any more. it was trapped in the skull, sealed off. For awhile, you could see the silent helpless suffering of the brain behind the eyes, then finally the brain must have died, because the eyes went out, and there was no more feeling in them than a crab's eye on the end of a stalk.


Frank Zappa

Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940December 4, 1993) was an American composer, guitarist, singer, film director, and satirist. In his 33-year musical career, Zappa proved to be one of the most prolific musician-composers of his era, releasing over 60 albums during his lifetime, almost all of which consisted of original compositions. He was also a renowned electric guitarist and a gifted producer-engineer who self-produced almost every recording he made after his 1966 debut.

His work spanned virtually every contemporary musical genre (including avant-garde, big band, blues, contemporary classical, doo-wop, electronic music, funk, hard rock, jazz, jazz fusion, country, musique concrète, pop, proto punk, Punk Rock, progressive rock, proto-rap, reggae, rock, ska, and world music), and was often noted for its blend of high art, rock opera, absurdity, scatological humor, and for its caustic satire. Zappa was also noted as a spotter of talent and conductor of extremely stringent auditions, his various groups including such musical luminaries as Adrian Belew, Terry Bozzio, Aynsley Dunbar, Lowell George, Jean-Luc Ponty, Ruth Underwood, George Duke, Vinnie Colaiuta, Mike Keneally and Steve Vai.

Zappa has a large and fiercely dedicated worldwide following, particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. His albums were a strong influence on other groups, and his critically acclaimed work garnered brief mainstream success in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with the hit singles: "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow", "Dancin' Fool" and "Valley Girl". Zappa, as demonstrated by his disparaging comments about the music business, never cared much for mainstream acclaim.

Zappa was married twice, once to Kathryn "Kay" Sherman (1960–1964; no children), and then in 1967 to Adelaide Gail Sloatman, with whom he remained until his death. They had four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil (born Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa, because the hospital refused to put Dweezil on the birth certificate; Dweezil later legally changed his name to "Dweezil"), Ahmet Emuukha Rodan (named for Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegun), and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Gail Zappa is handling the businesses of her late husband under the company name the Zappa Family Trust.

Main Courses

Frank Zappa
William S. Burroughs
1. The Talking Asshole (5:25)
 
 

William S. Burroughs

William Seward Burroughs II  (February 5, 1914August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer. Much of Burroughs' work is semi-autobiographical, drawn from his experiences as an opiate addict, a condition which marked the last forty years of his life. He is a primary member of the Beat Generation, and regarded as an avant-garde author who affected popular culture as well as literature. In 1984, he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

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