trevor charles howell
aftermath  -  excerpts

Man Jailed for Zappa attack

A man who attacked Frank Zappa, the pop group leader, because he thought Mr Zappa was not giving value for money, was jailed for 12 months by Judge Rigg at the Central Criminal Court yesterday. Trevor Charles Howell, aged 24, a labourer, admitted maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm on Mr Zappa during a concert at the Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park, London.

Mr Howell was said to have run on to the stage and pushed Mr Zappa, causing him to fracture a leg and cut his head. Mr Zappa was in hospital for six weeks.
[Times, Jan 72]

So those were the consequences for Trevor Howell. The consequences for Frank himself, his career and his music were far-reaching.

He was seriously injured, and the effects would be with him for the rest of his life. For a month he was bed-ridden, a cast on his leg up to his hip. He then learned to walk with the aid of crutches, and was able to get about in a wheelchair.

"I stayed in the cast and in the wheelchair for the better part of a year. Eventually the cast came off and I was fitted with a prosthetic device - one of those things with metal joints and straps and a special shoe. Eventually my leg healed - but it came out a little crooked. One leg is slightly shorter than the other, the cause of many years of chronic back pain."
[The Real Frank Zappa Book, p.115]

But a permanent slight limp wasn't the only long-term result of the fall:

"When my head had gone over onto my shoulder, it had crushed my larynx, so I couldn't talk. As a result of that, the pitch of my voice dropped a third and has stayed that way ever since (having a low voice is nice, but I would have preferred some other means of acquiring it)."
[The Real Frank Zappa Book]

Not surprisingly, all this had an effect on Zappa's attitude. "It affected him deeply," says Michael Gray in Mother! is the Story of Frank Zappa (p.108), "and for at least a couple of years afterwards he was markedly more of a loner, more defensive, more suspicious, less outgoing and less open-minded than he had been before." Well, wouldn't you be?