Animator Gabor Csupo created Duckman. The Duckman animation series used Zappa music as background and featured the voice of Dweezil Zappa. Gabor Csupo also did the album cover artwork for Zappa's "The Lost Episodes".
dan the kitti man (dankittiNOSPAMPLEASE@mindspring.com)
Csupo = co-founder of Glaspy-Csupo, who created duckman (and duckman used fz music as background music & featured the voice of dweezil zappa) and rugrats (music by mark mothersbaugh who also did music for pee wee's playhouse -- and Gary Panter who did production design for PWP did the album covers for Sleep Dirt, Studio Tan & Orchestral Favorites) and also has a record company called tonal casualties (distributing robert williams' DWDD which features Mark Mothersbaugh on Barbara & Jay).
Patrick Neve (email@example.com)
Artworks by Gabor Csupo, Moon Zappa, and others had been on display at the Zappa themed restaurant "Lumpy Gravy" in LA, and also at their website.
Unfortunately both ventures seem to be defunct.
"daniel e. mcanulty" (mcanulty@MIT.EDU)
lumpy gravy has closed due to financial problems I think, csupo's wife or something.
actually here's the quote, just put this in: Bret Crain is Csupo's girlfriend, not wife, that's important, I remember now why I put in the 'or something' to denote that ambiguity. But she's just his girlfriend.
Casualties/Casual Tonalities: What made you decide to open a place like
Lumpy Gravy, which combined a restaurant with a performance space, gallery,
BRET CRAIN: It wasn't something that was
actually thought out ahead of time, which was actually a bad thing. It ended
up not serving us very well. It's too bad we didn't really have a solid game
plan before we started. It started off as being just an art gallery. Gabor
and I, we know so many artists and we wanted to expose these great artists
from Eastern Europe, Europe and Los Angeles that we know. We don't see these
kind of artists in mainstream galleries and for me their work is so magical
and I thought that people needed to see them. I'm an artist as well whose
work is not really commercially viable. I do some kind of dark things,
although now that I've found this newfound happiness maybe my art will
lighten up, but...it started off as wanting to expose these artists. We
became friends with The Art Store owner next door, George Granoff. He was
talking to us one day and said: "Hey we have all these artists who are
coming in here buying art supplies who want a place to hang out. Why don't
you guys have some coffee, food and stuff in your gallery?" So we
thought "Oh, we'll have some coffee and something to eat." Then we
got into having a menu and a REAL restaurant, and then the beer and wine...
It just evolved on its own and grew into what it was. I used to call it my child before I had a child, because I really felt like the place had a life of its own. Gabor and I gave a lot of love into the place and we're sad... it was very hard to let go, but it just unfortunately wasn't working.
"FROM HUNGARY WITH LOVE"
HUH Magazine article by Gabor Csupo jul.1995
Note: All FZ's comments were made in a January, 1993
conversation with the annotator unless otherwise specified. All comments by
other persons were also made to the annotator unless otherwise specified. FZ's
original notes for The Lost Episodes included only bare-bones information about
recording circumstance and personnel. Sometimes even this information was
absent, and attempts have been made to complete it when possible.
I discovered Frank Zappa's music in the early Years of the
'70s, back in my home country, Budapest, Hungary. I was about 20 years old, and
just went through eight years of music training, and four years of art school,
and all I cared about was art and music (big coincidence, huh?). Of course, I
had some interest in girls too, but since I had no formal training regarding
that matter, I thought I shouldn't mention it. It was a hell of a time for a guy
like me, who was really hungry for some good music to listen to. I wanted access
to anything more exciting than the local radio hits. Western music was not
available to the public on vinyl or on tape. But if you were lucky, you could
catch it on the radio in certain programs a couple hours a week. Of course, that
just didn't cut it. Then one day I found this hidden little place in the suburbs
of Budapest, called the Record Club.
They played some records smuggled in from the western
countries on a cheap turntable, and anyone with a recorder could tape it for a
small fee. So I dragged in my two-ton (Czechoslovakian made) reel to reel Tesla
recorder and started to build a library. Since you paid for each alum you taped,
you had to be selective of the type of music you wanted to spend your lunch
money on. I was already skinny, but after being there months I turned into a
skeleton and a music expert. I found that the so-called intellectual or serious
recordings with multilayered musical textures were a lot more satisfying for me
to listen to, simply because I just loved that sound which was so distinct from
the rest of the crap on the radio. Second, I thought that I got more bang for my
money if I could listen to it more than once and still be unable to whistle
along with the melody. In other words, the music didn't get boring, but more
exciting after every listen.
So I started to collect recordings from King Crimson, Yes,
Genesis, Soft Machine, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, Miles Davis,
Herbie Hancock, Weather Report and, of course, Frank Zappa. Frank's music become
an instant favorite of mine. I understood the humor in his music without
understanding his words and loved the staccato rhythm, unexpected changes in
structure and melody, his excellent virtuoso guitar playing, his deep cool voice
and the way he mixed rock & roll with orchestration and jazzy overtones.
This guy certainly was not imitating anything or anybody out there. And that's a
sign of a true talent. I still remember the day when I finally got my own, first
ever, original Zappa LP. I was walking on the streets of Budapest in late 1974,
when this guy in a long coat approached me: "Would you like to buy some
really cool LPs, man?" So I followed this strange character behind a dark
alley, where he revealed from under his coat about five beaten up, used LPs. The
usual stuff: bootleg Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bee Gees, Abba ... "Cool LPs,
huh?" I said disappointedly. Then he revealed the last album, and there it
was: Frank Zappa's full-blown face on the cover, with his unmistakable thick
mustache. Apostrophe('), it said on the top. "How much is this?" I
asked with a shaky voice. "You can have that cheap, because it's hard to
whistle to," said the guy, surprised by my choice. I ended up paying a
"discount price" of 1,000 forint for it, (at that time I earned 1200
forint a month working full-time as a window display designer) and although I
didn't gain weight for a while again, I never felt sorry I made that investment.
I loved that album so much, I listened to it a thousand times, and yes, I could
whistle to all the songs on it. Little did I know then, that later in my life
Frank Zappa would become a major influence on me artistically, inspiring me in
my career to always go after the new, the pioneering and the challenging, never
imitating anything, and always looking to surprise with the unexpected. Little
did I also know, that this man who I worshipped so much through the years would
become my personal friend almost 18 years later. As it turned out, fate brought
me to the same city he loved, and our friendship truly began when he discovered
and appreciated my ambitions in animation, and my knowledge about his music.
A year after the Apostrophe(') incident, I left Hungary
with four aspiring artists and musician friends, and we sought freedom in the
western world. After a three hour walk through a train tunnel, we escaped the
communist government and arrived in the free world, Austria. Although we had no
passport we shuttled to West Germany then on to Denmark, and with some
complications, we ended up in Sweden. Four years later I left Europe to follow a
young American lady I met in Stockholm; her name was Arlene Klasky, and she
lived in Los Angeles. I started to learn English, and when I could understand
the lyrics to Frank's music I truly realized that he was a genius. I laughed so
hard to songs like "Dinah-Moe Humm," "Dirty Love,"
"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow," "Stink Foot," and "Harder
Than Your Husband." When I arrived in LA I wrote letters to my friends back
in Europe that now I was finally living in the same city as Frank Zappa. Arlene
and I started a small animation company called Klasky-Csupo Inc. The studio
became very successful, and we started to animate The Simpsons. Matt Groening,
the creator, and I were talking about our love for Frank Zappa's music and we
both fantasized how great it would be if we could get Frank to do the scoring.
We couldn't convince the producers of the show, and they went with Danny Elfman
instead. After The Simpsons got on the air, our talent agency informed us that
one of their clients, Frank Zappa, was a really big fan of the show. I told the
agent that we were at least as much fans of his music, and if Frank would like
to meet with us and visit the studio we would be honored.
A few hours later, Frank Zappa with his whole family
arrived at my office in Hollywood. My heart was pounding so hard, like one of
his drum solos. I told him about my admiration for his work, and after he shook
hands with over a hundred artists in the studio, he invited me up to his house.
I knew he was living somewhere up in the Hollywood Hills, but I did not realize
until he give me his address that he lived only a few blocks away from my house.
Not only did I live In the same city as Frank Zappa, but almost on the same
street, two minutes away. Pretty spooky, isn't it? So our friendship began. I
got to know his loving family: wife Gail, daughters Diva and Moon, sons Dweezil
and Ahmet. Frank and I talked many endless hours about animation, music and
politics. We laughed a lot, and I found Frank to be one of the most intelligent,
friendly and humorous people I ever met. My dream came true when Frank agreed to
supply music to our new animated show, Duckman. Me and Frank Zappa on the same
project! We even convinced his son Dweezel to be one of the voices on the show.
Frank also made me very happy when he asked me to design an album cover for his
Lost Episodes CD. It's still not out yet, and it won't be in the stores until
early '96 as a Rykodisc release.
One Friday night in the fall of 1991, Frank invited me and
Arlene, along with a colleague of mine, Larry LeFrancis, to his recording studio
to play his new composition that he was working on with the Synclavier. Frank's
wife Gail walked in the room too, and before the demonstration, Frank told us
that he had cancer and had a maximum of two more years to live. Then he pushed a
button on his computer, and the most incredibly beautiful music came out of the
six Yamaha speakers that surrounded us. I had to turn away because tears came to
my eyes, and I listened to the song for over ten minutes with tears running down
my face. Frank noticed, and at the end of the song he said, "Don't worry,
I'm not in the box yet......" The music that we had just heard then was
named "N-Lite," from the release Civilization Phase III. He spent the
next two years putting his recordings in order. He was composing new songs,
working with international music talent on some new orchestral pieces, remixing
old songs, and making sure that after he was gone everything would be finished
up and organized so his work could reach his fans in the way he wanted it to
sound. He worked up until the last minute, until he left us in December Of 1993.
He also left a legacy after him. His music and his spirit will live forever, and
I know people will soon give him the credit he has always deserved. Frank Zappa
was the greatest, most often misunderstood, and most innovative composer of our