June 18, 1970
FZ—guitar & vocals
Jeff Simmons—bass & vocals
Ian Underwood—keyboards & alto sax
Piknik was a series of evening filling youth TV programs from the VPRO. The VPRO is the Vrijzinnig Protestantse Radio Omroep (Liberal Protestant Radio Broadcast) at which a few young (say underground) program makers got a chance in those days and still is the most progressive broadcast organisation in Holland. They also made a music program called "Hoepla" which had naked girls in it and caused a scandal.
One of the program makers was Rudolf Kiers, who also did documentries on Zappa one of which is released as the True Story Of 200 Motels.
The "Piknik" (which is picknik) programs where shot "live" in open air locations and contained information, interviews and music.
The first Piknik was located in Uddel, near Apeldoorn, the second at the ruins of an old castle in Santpoort and featured Dr. John and the Humblebums, the third with Richie Havens in a Fort in Naarden (I attended at the last two).
It's not known where the videotape of the Zappa concert is. I think it's possible that Frank took the tape with him and it is still in the vault. There is no record of someone recording it from TV. Videorecorders where not common a that time, I made an audio recording from TV.
The bootleg "Wino Man", which was the first dutch bootleg, contains the audio of the concert and there are also parts on the "At The Circus" bootleg. The concert, starting with an interview, was rebroadcasted on the radio not so long ago and I can get you a recording on CDR from that (It sounds a bit like a washing machine).
translated (?) from Dutch :
Het Parool, 18-jun-70, page 21
Composer, writer and filmmaker without plans
text ADA VAN BENTHEM JUTTING
foto's BERT SPRENKELING
[In the television program "Piknik" of the VPRO, that will be broadcasted from 19.04 till 22.00 hour, performs Frank Zappa with the "Mothers Of Invention". The "Mothers" are 40 minutes on the air, how late exactly stays a surprise. The broadcast takes place from a secret site. Persons invited are transported by bus as a kind of "Magical Mystery Tour" with destination unknown. Busses depart in Amsterdam from the redaction address of the magazine Aloha, Alexander Boersstraat 20 and Fantasio II, Haarlemmerhouttuinen. They are completely booked. Guests are select by youthhouses, Provadya and other organizations.]
Frank Zappa (29), father of a son of 9 months and a daughter of 3 years, creator of the "Mothers Of Invention" is on television tonight. Yesterday he was on a pressconfrence on his behalf in a small, dark Amsterdam pub. A half hour late he came in with his "Mothers", seven men, who were directly organized behind the bar.
Zappa from close by :- sharp cut, definitely small face, somewhat accentuated by the in the neck tied up to a horsetail long curly hair. Dark eyes, that that afternoon varied from expression from friendly to humorous, to ironic, to absent. Fat dark mustache with vertical side pieces under a light hookshaped bowed nose. Under the underlip a small beard that looked to be somewhat beside the middle. Around the neck a thin chain of two metal links.
In a purple sweater he sat there—behind the bar which formed a solid barrier between him and the Dutch Press—willing to answer the mound of questions.
The "Mothers Of Invention", started experimenting on Mothers Day 1965, exist in their current composition only for two weeks. On the rumor that the group, which contains two old "Mothers", will be abolished, Zappa reacts : "Ask me that again after this tour of 24 days. Maybe I know more then. After Holland and England we go back to the U.S. where we have a performance in Chicago on 1 July.
What will you do if the "Moters" really break up ?
"I have no plans. I try to stop making them."
De new composition is the biggest change in the group since it's origin. Tonight a more vocal program is performed then would be expected after Zappa's last album released in Holland "Burnt Weeeny Sandwich". In any case two songs in Holland not known from albums will be performed promises Zappa: "Giraffe" and "Sharleena". The show is somewhere in Holland. Interested people are nearly blindfolded brought there: One can get on a bus, one doesn't know where it goes. Negrams Evert Willbrink: "The only thing I can say is, it's somewhere in Holland"
About the current group Zappa tells that he built a program with seventy percent vocal songs. "I have two good singers and it's a waste to have them hit a triangle"
A record of this group can be expected next year January at the earliest. A record from the old "Mothers", recorded live for two thirds, is released shortly: "Deaseals whipped my flesh".
Zappa has wrote a symphony for orchestra a while ago. It was recently performed in his hometown L.A. The title is "200 motels", because Zappa wrote it in motels. There are plans to perform this work on Dutch television in December with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
Other occupations ?
Zappa: "In september a book on "groupies" (group of people) is released, entitled "Groupies-papers". It contains two diaries, supplemented by interviews that I made with groupies".
Further on Zappa is working on a movie called "Uncle Meat".
Finally a few quotes from the master of "classic pop", a handful of raisins from the gravy from the press conference heard and written down.
What do you think of life ?. "Not too bad". Is that all ?. The brown eyes look thinking deeply. Then: "Now, it's a bit of a heavy question for someone sitting behind a bar". The politics of the U.S. ? "Repressive". Nixon: "A psychiatrist would appreciate him more than I do". Cause of life ? "Don't know, I think of the past and the future, but also the present. The commitment of your destination is not natural". God ?. "I believe in something. I don't believe in organized religion".
And that was it for the press. It was more than the about 100 fans got to hear, who waited later that afternoon for one hour and a half in Fantasio II for Zappa and his "Mothers".
The tomtom had worked. It was known: Zappa would rehearse in Fantasio in the Haarlemmerhouttuinen at four o'clock. They came hurried with dozens and waited patiently on the street, making the inhabitants wonder, not used to the amount of interest during the day for this building mainly used as sleep-in.
The guilder memberships money was wasted: at half past five was announced that Zappa didn't want to rehearse. He was in the South of Holland. "Guys from the level of Zappa can do as they please" is heard with regret through the Fantasio- microphone.
The VPRO TV special from 6/18/70 is listed variously as Amsterdam or Uddel. There is also supposed to have been a concert in 12/70 in Uddel, Belgium. So is Uddel in Belgium or the Netherlands?
And where are the VPRO studios?
For the benefit of an ignorant American, can you explain whether Hilversum is in or near Amsterdam, in or near Uddel, or none of the above?
Hilversum is a town just north of Utrecht and East of Amsterdam. And everything in Holland is close to Uddel, remember, Holland is only about 200 by 300 kilometers in size (divide that by 1.6 to get the distances in miles..).
Photo supplied by Jillis Stada, via Charles Ulrich
Additional informant: Javier MarcoteMaintained by Román García Albertos