What LIKE A SICKNESS is about:
We´ve shot a Dokumentary Film about music fans whose heads and bodys have been afflicted by a musical virus a long time ago when they were young and innocent.
This is a film about the fans of Frank Zappa and his music – and we have some really good reasons for it:
- because the Zappa fans are truly serious about their 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 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 does this virus hit mostly young people in their puberty?
- why did no one wants to get healed from this illness seriously?
- and what has Frank Zappa truly got to do with all of this?
I was 13 when the virus afflicted me.
It was on September 16, 1974, at two p.m. when I heard the voice of Frank Zappa for the first time.
This voice on the radio introduced new kinds of music to me – and that not only defines my musical taste but has changed my entire life.
Zappa has accompanied my life ever since – with his extraordinary music, his humor, his openness and his intrepidness. As many other fans, I have been looking for his records for years, I have collected them, I was at his concerts, mostly several times during one tour.
In 1993, three days after his death, I conducted my first interview with three musicians who started with Frank Zappa in the fifties: Jimmy Carl Black, Bunk Gardner and Don Preston. This interview was used in an obituary for the German TV.
Jimmy Carl Black and Bunk Gardner, 07.12.1993, Knaack-Club, Berlin
Ten years later I visited the Zappanale for the first time.
I could´t believe it: Zappa has been dead for a long time, his music has disappeared from radio and TV and here in Germany, in a vacation area in the backwoods of former GDR musicians who have played with him for years entered the stage. And what´s more: They continue 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 attracts so many people from all over the world every year to come?
I wanted to know how the heroes of my youth found their way to this hidden spot 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. Grandparents, if they are allowed to visit their relatives in the western part of Germany, were made smugglers, transporting the records in neutral covers over the border. Other fans smuggled them behind the inner lining of the car doors from Bulgaria or Czechoslovakia. These records were 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 their friends and guests had expected this little Party, which they called Zappanale already, to become a fan festival visited by a dozens 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 founding members of the festival, as well as with music fans and alumni of several Zappa-Bands.
The Documentary Film LIKE A SICKNESS tells the story of this fans who lived in former East Germany and therefor never experienced a live concert of Frank Zappa. They were just listening to his music and from there they have got the incurable virus that drove them to keep the memory of a kind of music alive, that is mostly disappeared from modern media-landscape.
This festival is by no means 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 proceeds from the festival ground are not enough to cover all the costs for the festival. In this case the die-hard fan Wolfhard, owner of a prosperous telecomunication firm, pays the open checks from his own money.
It is only the love for 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: performed 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