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20 Feb / 2018Program by:
Featured: Robert DavidsonLanguage: English

I Shot Zappa

About 50 years ago, 19-year-old Robert Davidson was at the Royal Garden Hotel, where he was doing a press call for Frank Zappa’s upcoming show at the Royal Albert Hall.

Scouting around the hotel, he heard the American artist speaking on the phone in the bathroom, and asked through the ajar door if he could take pictures.

“Somebody wants to take my picture,” Zappa told his wife, who was on the other end of the line. “Sure, whatever turns him on”.

The main image and the negatives were commonly known as the ‘Zappa Krappa’ pictures.

They almost immediately gained cult status, a sentiment echoed by Zappa himself in 1983, when he stated, “I’m probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else.”

Three months later Zappa’s management, incorrectly thinking Davidson was benefiting exclusively from the popular images, sent representatives to his studio where he was forced to part with his original negatives

The measures by Zappa’s management proved futile due to the vast amount of pirate reproductions that had already taken place. Ultimately neither Davidson nor Zappa received any royalties from the images.
The photographer would go onto spend the better part of half a century searching for the lost negatives.

Finally Davidson’s luck changed in 2010 when he learned that his negatives were on sale online by Rockaway Records, who had purchased them from Herb Cohen, Zappa’s manager.

Robert Davidsonb is now looking for a movie maker and a script writer to realize his film ‘I Shot Zappa’.