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Frank Zappa Was Getting Out the Vote Before it Was Cool Frank Zappa Was Getting Out the Vote Before it Was Cool

Frank Zappa Was Getting Out the Vote Before it Was Cool

by Jeff Newelt
November 3, 2012

Frank Zappa (RIP) was the iconoclast’s iconoclast, a genius composer/guitarist, an exacto-sharp satirist and a prominent promoter of voter registration years before "Rock The Vote" or MTV's "Choose or Lose" began. He included "Register to Vote" on every album since 1971 when 18-year-olds won the right to vote, and was the first to register voters in concert halls, with the help of the League of Women Voters.

“Nothing scares them more than the possibility they will be voted out. The ballot box is still quite a weapon if we can just get people to use it, that’s all,” Zappa told my 19-year-old self in 1991, at the close of an interview I conducted for 34th Street Magazine at UPENN.
Check out Frank Zappa's Voting PSA from 1988:
Gail Zappa, FZ’s widow, is not only helming Zappa Records and its monumental re-release of FZ’s 60-album ouvre, but also carrying the torch of freedom that burned bright in everything her husband wrote, said, produced, and performed.
In the video below, Gail relays two classic Zappa quotes: “Democracy doesn’t work unless you participate” and “Keep the government out of your underpants.”
Here, along with vintage FZ footage, she explains that her husband “loved America as the last bastion of the potential for the greatest democracy that could possible exist.”

Illustration by Fatim Hana

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