In the history of pop culture, it's not uncommon for seemingly unrelated worlds to blend. Take, for example, the delightful connection that developed between famed horror genre author Stephen King and the iconic punk band, The Ramones. This association was the outcome of a mutual admiration that resulted in an infamous collaboration surrounding one of King's most notable works, Pet Sematary.
By the late 70s, King had made his mark as an author with classic works like Carrie and The Shining; and the Ramones were dominating the punk scene with their raw sound. Despite moving in different circles, the spirit of the Ramones resonated with King, and the darkness in King’s writing resonated with the Ramones. Dee Dee Ramone, the band's bassist and primary songwriter, was especially impressed with King's talent.
In his book, Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone, Marky Ramone states that during a tour in the 80s, the band received an invitation to dine at King’s residence. Legend has it that after dinner King handed Dee Dee a copy of his book Pet Sematary. After retreating to the basement with the book, Dee Dee emerged an hour later, inspired, and with a set of lyrics to a song titled "Pet Sematary." This song would ultimately be recorded by the Ramones for the 1989 film adaptation of the novel. The song's eerie and unsettling vibe captured the essence of King's story, making it a perfect addition to the film's soundtrack.
In the end, the association formed between King and the Ramones produced a hauntingly memorable track. Their mutual admiration shows how artistic influences can cross genres and unite artists from different worlds. And in a fascinating twist, Julien’s Auctions is thrilled to present a collection of Stephen King books that were once gifted to Dee Dee Ramone by the demented author himself, up for bidding soon in our Music Icons auction this November!
In April of 1966, a 26-year-old Frank Zappa and his band Mothers of Invention were on the path to becoming the hottest new group in L.A. with the release of their debut album, Freak Out! right around the corner. But one afternoon, while riding with his roommate from LAX to Laurel Canyon, Frank never could’ve expected that the striking, 21-year-old vixen who tagged along, named Gail, would soon alter the course of his life even further.
Born Adelaide Gail Sloatman in 1945, Gail spent a childhood moving around from Hollywood to London due to her nuclear physicist father’s career. After studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, working as a lyricist and dabbling in modeling, Gail moved back to Los Angeles where she began working as a secretary at the infamous Sunset Strip music venue, the Whisky A Go Go.
After their fated meeting, which left Frank immediately in love (according to his 1989 memoir The Real Frank Zappa Book), the pair soon married in 1967 and welcomed their first child, Moon Unit, in September of that year. Gail and Frank went on to purchase a home in Laurel Canyon in 1968 and had three more children — Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva. They stayed together until Frank’s untimely passing in 1993.
Throughout his life and beyond, Gail was undoubtedly the #1 supporter of Frank’s unconventional style, at home and in his artistry. Gail is even quoted as saying, “Frank's music was never for the mass audience. His music contains specific kinds of information that you won't find elsewhere in rock and roll.”
In 2016, Julien’s had the pleasure of working with the Zappa Estate to auction off iconic items from Gail and Frank’s life and career, including both of the outfits worn by the pair documented in a photograph from September 15, 1972. Offered in the upcoming Music Icons sale, taking place from November 17-19, are numerous additional items from the life and career of Frank and Gail Zappa. Register to bid now at Julienslive.com to bid on a memento from one of rock ‘n roll’s sweetest love stories!
Inspired by the Parisian jazz club Le Caveau de la Huchette, Liverpool’s “Cavern Club” is permanently etched into the minds of millions of rock fans as the launching pad for Merseybeat and, of course, The Beatles. The club inhabited the cellar of a fruit warehouse, where the sandstone bricks absorbed the smell of the ripening produce.
When its doors opened in 1957, The Cavern Club was predominantly a jazz venue, but it quickly attracted skiffle groups (British acts who played a blend of Americana—bluegrass, blues, country, and jazz—often on homemade instruments), including The Quarrymen, John Lennon’s first band, who first played there that same year.
Items representing the history of the famous nightclub are eagerly sought after by collectors around the world. Julien’s Auctions has had the pleasure of selling some prized examples over the years, including an original concert poster blank, a photograph of The Beatles playing on stage beneath the vaulted ceiling, and even a limited-edition brick from the historic landmark.
Be sure to register for bidding in our upcoming Music Icons auction this November for your chance to own some more rock ‘n roll mementos from the greatest band of all time – The Beatles!
While Frank Zappa will always predominantly be known as a musician, he also took his avant-garde and envelope-pushing artistic instincts into the world of movies, both with theatrical releases and home video releases. His first film project, 200 Motels, was released in 1971 by United Artists. Later dubbed a “surrealist documentary,” the film is inspired by the arduous experience of being out on tour that Zappa and his band The Mothers of Invention suffered while on the road. Shot entirely on videotape, the film cuts together concert footage with experimental sequences that feature guest appearances by Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Zappa’s next film project, Baby Snakes, encountered a fair amount of difficulty in being released. Originally clocking in at 3 hours, Baby Snakes is also a concert film interspersed with backstage footage and stop-motion animation sequences by Bruce Bickford. Bickford’s animation sequences won first prize at a French animation festival – but still, Zappa had trouble finding distributors interested in releasing the film …even after shaving it down to 90 mintues. So Zappa took it upon himself to release the film independently through his own production company, Intercontinental Absurdities. The full cut version of the film was later released on home video.
By 1985, the home video market was booming, and Zappa saw this as a new frontier for his artistic expression. He started the company Honker Home Video (with a logo featuring a caricature of his own infamous schnoz) and in 1987 released Video From Hell. This video contained more concert footage and behind the scenes footage, as well as music videos including the one for “You Are What You Is,” which had been banned by MTV for featuring a Ronald Regan lookalike actor sitting in an electric chair. Zappa promoted Video From Hell by offering “No-D Glasses.” Akin to 3-D glasses, the “No-D Glasses” were anti-censorship parody glasses that covered both of your eyes entirely so you wouldn't be offended by anything you watched. Cards where you could punch out your own “No-D Glasses” were included with every mail ordered video of Video From Hell from Honker Home Video.
Other Zappa film projects included: Does Humor Belong in Music? - a 1984 concert video that featured some interview segments and the performance of the song “Honey, Don’t You Want a Man Like Me?” during which Zappa used a Raggedy Ann Doll as a stage prop; The Amazing Mr. Bickford – a 1989 video featuring more stop-motion animation by Bruce Bickford set to orchestral music written by Zappa; Uncle Meat – a 1987 documentary about the making of an unfinished movie featuring The Mothers of Invention; The True Story of 200 Motels – a 1988 documentary about the making of the movie 200 Motels. All of these films were released straight to video.
In our upcoming Music Icons auction at Julien’s, you can bid on a number of items related to Zappa’s various film projects – including the very same 1984 Raggedy Ann Doll used by Zappa as a stage prop. Make sure you register to bid on JuliensLive.