Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood hosted the world premiere of the late Frank Zappa’s Roxy The Movie last week. The concert film, over 40 years in the making, presented Zappa’s now legendary run of 1973 shows at the Roxy that resulted in his stellar Roxy and Elsewhere album.The film’s existence is somewhat of an improbable triumph; suffering at the time of its making insurmountable technical difficulties, with the raw footage stored away in Zappa’s vault until its resurrection this year.
“We did it, Mom!” shouted Zappa’s son Ahmet in an emotional introduction prior to the screening; the Roxy project being one that he worked on closely with his mother, Gail, who passed away on October 7, leaving the evening both somber and celebratory.
A short Q&A session with principal figures of the production as well as a surprise appearance from two of Zappa’s band The Mothers- drummer Ralph Humphrey and trombonist Bruce Fowler- followed the showing.While much of the discussion focused on the daunting technical task that faced the film’s producers and editor, particularly the syncing of audio with the visuals on-screen, the end result was a thoroughly satisfying one for all those invloved.
“There was one little note of George Duke’s (that was off),” joked Fowler, when asked about the sync-up.“I couldn’t believe what we were doing,” said Humphrey.“Frank made us do it.”
A DVD/blu-ray version of Roxy The Movie will be released on October 30.