December 8-10, 1973
The Roxy, Los Angeles, CA
4 hours uncut
Napoleon Murphy Brock—tenor sax, vocals
George Duke—keyboards, vocals
Jeff Simmons—guest vocals
I heard a rumor that the concert was shot in 16mm and its lying in the Vault with God know what other tasty morsels. Anyone seen this or heard similar 16mm info?
I've heard that too, and FZ provides corraborating evidence in Echidna's Arf when he says, "Ladies & gentlemen, watch Ruth. All through this film,.. etc."
Even more compelling corroborating evidence is that part of the Roxy performance of "Dummy Up" can be seen in The True Story Of 200 Motels. *MAN*, I want them to release the whole show!!!
From the lecture at the Gifford Auditorium, Syracuse, 04/23/75:
"Can you tell us if anything is going on with your 'Live at the Roxy' movie?"
"Well, I wish there was...The status of that film is this: I spent about $30.000-40.000 trying to get the thing on film, and I got it on film, and there's some things that happened down there that were absolutely fabulous. However, they're too weird to show on television, and I don't think there's really a market in the theaters for a straight concert film like that...So right now, it's sitting in my shelf, being an expensive piece of home movie. Maybe one day, when TV loosens up a little bit, we'll be able to show the lovely Brenda, doing...(FZ and George Duke laugh)...that was a real nice piece of film, that Brenda...(more laughter)."
From SOCIETY PAGES (or: Den Simms where are you?), issue #7, page 17, interview with FZ by Simms & Rob Samler 1/12/91:
DEN SIMMS: Will we ever get to see some of the film that was made at the Roxy in '73?
FZ: Not unless I get to be very, very, very, very rich, and have an awful lot of spare time. All the film has been transferred to video, but none of the audio has been synchronized to it. Before you can edit it, it all has to be synchronized, and that's a pretty time-consuming and expensive process. Video editing costs a lot of money, and I don't have any of the equipment here at the house, so I always have to rely on someone else's studio, and it runs about six hundred to seven hundred dollars an hour.
The only footage of the Roxy video that I have seen is on The True Story of 200 Motels in which we see Dummy Up. Supposedly much of the Roxy & Elsewhere concert that originated from the Roxy, was filmed. You can hear a comment on Stage 3 about "while we reload the cameras" before they do Dickie's Such an Asshole. And on parts of Roxy, you hear Frank talk about this "movie". I believe the plan was to air the film/video on US tv (or maybe European TV) like they did with the 1974 performance for KETC (sic) in LA, or the mTV concert from 1981. But as far as I can tell though, it was never aired. I have dug around for a copy of a videotape of this performance and the only feedback I have been given from a videotape collector/bootlegger was that "yes the tape does exist, it is EXTREMELY rare and very expensive and the copy you might obtain would be of horrid quality". I take it that this means that the guy at one time did see a bad copy and it would be very difficult for him to track down another.
As of this writing (Jan. 99) the current rumor is that Dweezil is seeing to the transfer and production of this film. GODSPEED, DWEEZ!
[FZ] says: "The next feature film I do will be totally animated, but it's a long way from completion. Lately I've been working on a movie for television; a combination of animation, straight scenes, and footage of the band on the road.
"A guy who runs a food and beverage service in Colorado Springs let us use his restaurant for part of the film. He gave the band busboy uniforms and we brought a bunch of kids back from the concert to act as customers. Our road manager made this mysterious salad of garbage, dry ice and stuff. The customers ate it and pretended to die. It's just a quick little scene but it looks funny."
On December 25 2000, the following file was posted to http://www.zappa.com/:
It's a 6.7MB, 3:14 trailer for "The Roxy Performances".
According to the advice of someone on affz, and my own experience, there has been trouble running the file with anything but Apple's Quicktime. Other windows players such as "Movie Player" didn't seem to work, though your results may vary.
The content is highlights from the film, and it looks like a doozy. But don't read about it here... go and check it out for yourself while it's still up.
Now look at the html-source of that page. In the keywords, they didn't mention "Freak Out" and "Absolutely Free" and "Läther". Otoh, there is "Dance Me This", "Trance-Fusion", "The Rage And The Fury". Wtf?
Anyone else notice that the Roxy trailer is no longer on zappa.com? It was at http://www.zappa.com/~roxytrailer/RoxyTrailer.mov but going there now produces a 404 error. It is also no longer linked from the left menu frame. Is this good news or bad? I'm assuming bad.
The Roxy Trailer finally appeared in all its splendor included in the Baby Snakes DVD.
Additional informant: Derek Milhouse Gilger.
I called 818-PUMPKIN yesterday and ordered EIHN. I asked the girl about other things and she mentioned the long awaited Roxy video was to be released this spring and probably on DVD. Yeah, I know, but at least its a hope.
It's sitting in the vault. Waiting for a budget to do it properly. Basically the film footage, the negatives were transferred by Frank in the '80s using '80s technology. What we want to do is go back to the original negatives and do it in High Definition and then create a 5.1 mix from the original masters so that we have surround sound as well as Frank's 2 channel stereo mix. Once we get all that together, then we need to cut the program. Edit the program together, camera angles, what shows, what we are going to include from what shows or include all the shows. I have no idea what Dweezil and Gail want to do. It's great stuff, but the process of just getting to that point is going to cost a lot of money and take a lot of time.
The FZ ROXY audio is being assembled—tapes are being baked—so that the process of synchronization can occur. The film negative was transferred to Hi Def and the audio is captured at the highest resolution from the original analog tapes. YES this is getting underway...
It's all been transferred to high definition but the problem is it all has to be put in synch, and there's more than 30 hours of footage. That's hundreds of hours of time spent to get it all together. At the time it was filmed they really didn't have a great crew, they just didn't have it together. There are a lot of annoying hours ahead getting that stuff organized before you can properly edit it.
The final question (from Martin Ahrens via Amaretto Mick): when will we see The Roxy Performances DVD? "Not never," said Gail.
Re Roxy— Here is what we know so far: First of all there is no synch and there are 3 fairly consistent camera angles and on that is pretty random. Everything visual that we have found so far has been transferred into HD. All audio elements (stereo mixes and multi-track masters) now live in the digital world. What we need now is a director/editor (and/or both) and a budget to produce the whole of it. There is an astronomical amount of work to be done—conforming, synching, surround mix, general clean up and organizational stuff. All we have here is FZ's stereo mix, but that's it. Now we just need time and money. That and a few other value judgments based on what FZ actually saw are the reasons why he never made it a priority. The good news is we have a slightly different system of values and see it as a worthy artifact to keep pushing up the hill of possibility.
Informants: broadway (Xwesman1X), Christof Haßlinger, Jeff Szarka, Jon Naurin, Matti SalminenMaintained by Román García Albertos