From: Patrick Neve (splat[at]darkwing.uoregon.edu)
The German concert scene is largely associated with two names. Fritz Rau, of
the concert organizers Lippmann & Rau, succeeded in getting many of the United
States' largest acts to play in Germany for the first time, from the Doors to
Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Frank Zappa.
On October 16th, 1968, Fritz and Herb Cohen battled fans at a Mothers concert
at the SportPalast in Berlin. From a translation by Konrad Steiner of an
article called ALL THE TOYS ARE BROKEN:
...and then they grabbed this big fence, like a restraining
device to keep the audience away from the performers at those
events. It was made out of pipes this big around with a chain
link fence in between and concrete feet. And about thirty of
them picked it up and tried to throw it on stage, which would
have killed both of our drummers by pinning them against the
amplifiers, you see. So our manager Herbie and this German
promoter Fritz Rau caught it in mid air and threw it back on
Despite this heroic act, years later Zappa would commemorate Fritz on
record for all time with the song, Shall We Take Ourselves Seriously?
From: Johannes Labisch
Frank said he'd never play in Berlin again. But Fritz Rau, talked him into
come back again. "He said, if you don't like what these people were doing,
you should come back and tell them"
(FZ, quoted from memmory from an interview he gave here in 1988).
Part of the May 21, 1982 show (including the premiere recordings of SWTOS)
is available in the "Volare" bootleg.
In his "The Poodle Bites! or Repudiating The Poodle" Mike Keneally gives us
further details on this song:
[...] the song is about German promoter Fritz Rau's contention that asparagus
should not be offered to just anyone backstage, causing him to throw some sort
of unseemly fit, which Frank of course immortalized in song.
From: berger[at]uran.informatik.uni-bonn.de (Carl Berger)
This is the story of Shall we take ourselve seriously? It happened at
the show in Köln, 21st of May 1982. (The same show where When no one was
no one and But who was Fulcanelli from the Guitar album were recorded).
This is the preamble to the song by Frank Zappa on that night:
"Ok Ladies and Gentlemen, this is something special. Come up
to the microphone, Peter" (A guy walks onto the stage and
transtalted that stuff into german) "The last time we played here
in Cologne, something happened after the show that was
unbelievable. As you know, there is a company here in the
fatherland, that promotes concerts all over the place. And the
man, who runs this company, his name is Fritz Rau. We have know
Fritz for a long time. But the last time we played here, he put
on a performance, that was incredible. If you can imagine, grown
man, sitting in the box office at 3 o'clock in the morning,
argueing, because the roadies got to eat asparagus. Now, this was
so amazing, that I had to write a song about it. Tonight, Peter
is going to play the featured role of Fritz Rau. Now give'em the
first part of Fritz's big speech."
Peter now gave the audience an imitation of Rau's german dialect. Pretty
funny that was. I transcriped that from a tape recorded that night. I was 14
years old, standing first row. One of my first concerst (after Genesis and
Supertramp :) The other guy mentioned in the song, Mike Scheller, is a
concert promoter as well.
1978 We Don't Mess Around
1980 German TV item about Fritz Rau & FZ (1 minute, VG quality)
1987 Uncle Meat- as himself
1962-1977? American Folk Blues Festival- Copenhagen
1969 April- Janis Joplin, Frankfurt
1969 American Folk Blues Festival '69
1977 Jan 24 Frank Zappa in Hamburg, Germany
1977 Neil Diamond- Munich Olympic Hall
1978 July 1 Bob Dylan- Nuernberg
1979-to-present: Annual Africa Festival, at Würzburgs Mainwiesen
1982 May 1, Frank Zappa- Köln
Kristian Kier (KrKier[at]rocco.wupper.de)