That´s what LIKE A SICKNESS is about:
We have shot a Dokumentary Film about music fans. Their heads and bodys have been afflicted by a musical virus long time ago as they have been young and innocent.
It is a film about the fans of Frank Zappa and his music – and we have some really good reasons therefor:
- because the Zappa fans are truly serious about theire enthusiasm
- because for most of the fans the Zappa virus is an incurable illness
- because actually no one wants to be healed from this virus
- and because I am a Zappa fan by myself…
Documentary Film LIKE A SICKNESS
In LIKE A SICKNESS I try to find out, what kind of illness that actually is:
- why are some people more vulnerable than others?
- why is this virus striking mostly young people in their puberty?
- why did no one wants to get healed from this illness seriously?
- and what has Frank Zappa truly to do with all of this?
I was 13 when the virus afflicted myself.
It was on September 16, 1974, at two in the afternoon when I heard the voice of Frank Zappa for the first time.
In a radio show this voice introduced new kinds of music to me – and that defines not only my musical taste but changed my whole life.
Zappa has accompanied my life – with his extraordinary music, his humor, his openness and his intrepidness. As many other fans I have searched for his records for years, I have collected them, have been at his concerts, mostly several times on one tour.
In 1993, three days after his death, I have done my first interview with three musicians who started with Frank Zappa in the fifties: Jimmy Carl Black, Bunk Gardner and Don Preston. This interviews were used in an obituary for a german tv.
Jimmy Carl Black and Bunk Gardner, 07.12.1993, Knaack-Club, Berlin
Ten years later I went to Zappanale for the first time.
I could´t believe it: Zappa was dead a long time, his music has disappeared from radio and tv and here in Germany, in a vacation area in the backwoods of former east Germany are musicians appearing who have played with him for years. They are coming to this festival, because it is dedicated to the music of Frank Zappa – for more than 25 Years!
How could that be?
Why of all places is such a festival with and for the music of Frank Zappa founded here in Germany?
And what is it really that attracted so many people from all over the world every year?
I wanted to know how the heroes of my youth found their way to this hidden place somewhere in the East german hinterland and why fans and musicians from all over the world are paying tribute to the american composer and rock musician Frank Zappa of all places in the little spa town Bad Doberan on the german coast of the Baltic Sea.
Behind the iron curtain in the GDR Frank Zappa was a voice of freedom even though it wasn´t easy to get his records there. If the Grandparents are allowed to visit their relatives in the western part of Germany, sometimes they could bring one back in a neutral cover. Other fans smuggled them behind the inner lining of the car doors from Bulgaria or Czechoslovakia. These records are kept as treasures, celebrated at special parties and lent only to well-known fans for listening and recording.
In August 1990 some music fans from East Germany have used their new freedom to organize a party to play and celebrate the music of their idol Frank Zappa – without any Stasi observation or fear of oppression.
None of Peter, Wolfhard, Sale or any of the other music friends and guests expected to become this little Party in East German hinterland, which they called Zappanale already, a fan festival visited by a lot of musicians from different Zappa-Bands and by Fans from all over the world for the next 25 years.
I have accompanied the Zappanale for 14 Years with my camera and I have shot interviews with the grounders of the festival, with a lot of music fans and alumni of several Zappa-Bands.
The Documentary Film LIKE A SICKNESS tells the story of this fans, that lived in former East Germany and therefor never experienced a live concert of Frank Zappa. They have just listened to the music and from there they have got the incurable virus that droves them to keep the memory of a kind of music alive, that is mostly disappeared from modern media-landscape.
This festival is by no meaning a commercial festival in the sense of having the possibility to make money out of it. In the last years usually the 1,5 to 2 thousand paying guests and the other earnings from the festival ground are not enough to cover all the costs for the festival. In this case the dye-hard fan Wolfhard, owner of a prosperous telecomunication firm, is paying the open checks from his own money.
It is only the love to the music of these enthusiastic fans, that makes it possible for many young people as well as for die-hard fans to experience the compositions of Frank Zappa live on stage today. Brought by young and old musicians who are as enthusiastic as the fans and who keep Zappa’s dictum of conceptual continuity alive by playing new interpretations of his music on and on.
Interviewed in „Like a Sickness“:
Jimmy Carl Black
Ali N. Askin
… and many more!
Performed in „Like a Sickness“:
Son of Mr. Green Genes
Dead Dino Storage feat. Robert Martin
George Duke & Jean-Luc Ponty
Stick It Out