Re: CzechoSlovak Dissent
- Here is the start of a writeup Radio CZ has on the web.
When Zappa was invited to Prague by Vaclav Havel in January 1990, he was reportedly shocked at his instant popularity, as well as by how well people knew his musicin the 1970s and 1980s Czechs listened to Zappa thanks to albums that were smuggled into communist Czechoslovakia via secret networks that transported literature, music, and even musical instruments.
Ahmet Zappa and Dweezil Zappa, photo: www.zappa.comAhmet Zappa and Dweezil Zappa, photo: www.zappa.com The connection may not seem immediately obvious, but Frank Zappa's popularity in Prague is closely connected to the dark days of the dissident era, when his music and that of the Velvet Underground were blacklisted by the censors. For example, Frank Zappa's second album, Absolutely Free was smuggled into Czechoslovakia within a year of its 1967 release, and critics claim that the music influenced the famous Czech underground rock band, The Plastic People of the Universe. Zappa's tunes thus came to represent freedom and independent thought to dissidents in Czechoslovakia. Reports have it that when young kids in communist Czechoslovakia played heavy rock music, the police would tell them to "turn off that Frank Zappa music."