John Henley (email@example.com)
Here is the obituary of Zappa's suicided road manager:
>From Variety, issue of Sept. 21, 1977
Headline: Zappa's Road Manager A Suicide In Las Vegas
Dateline: Las Vegas, Sept. 20
are continuing investigation of the Sept. 11 suicide of Frank Zappa's road
Ron Nehoda, 30, was found in his Aladdin Hotel room dead of apparently self-inflicted razor blade wounds, per the Clark County coroner.
He was recently hired for the current 18-month Zappa tour which played last Saturday night (10) at the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts. Nehoda has [sic] been road manager for Frank Sinatra, Gary Wright and Peter Frampton.
A handwritten note, which told of the man's desire to die, was found in the room, per police. The coroner's office is still testing for drugs. Zappa and band left Sunday morning for Tucson, Ariz. Saturday's perf, which drew an estimated 4,000, was Zappa's Las Vegas debut.
From: Patrick Neve (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Terry Bozzio jokingly made reference to this event while backstage at the Palladium, Halloween 1977:
I've had a hard tour.
Jesus, the... the road manager committed suicide (Oh Terry!)
Then my girlfriend fell out the fuckin' window (Oh Terry!)
I mean, it's been hard, you know"
This was filmed and Frank used it in the movie Baby Snakes.
It also appeared just before the track "Hands With A Hammer" on the album You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, volume three. I, for one, was surprised that this event had a basis in fact. Did Terry's girlfriend (Dale) ever fall out of a window on that tour as well? I always assumed it was just a put-on for the camera's sake, a little bit of pre-concert hamming. As these events appear to be factual, then I think it shows a definite amount of insensitivity, both on Terry's part for joking about it, and on FZ's for releasing it in two formats. I don't suppose Frank had much sympathy for suicide.
"Fred H. Banta" (email@example.com)
The attitude expressed in "Suicide Chump" is obnoxious, but this may very well have been his attitude toward suicides. Who knows, perhaps I would find it less revolting if I were in FZ's shoes in 1977 when his tour manager ripped off all the band's loot, went to a casino, pissed away the whole lot, came back to his hotel room and killed himself to atone for his sins.
"I had just finished a tour with Emmylou when I got a call from a friend of Eddie Tickner who had something to do with the Zappa management firm. Zappa's road manager, Ron Nehota, had committed suicide.
The story is that Ron had spent $10,000 of the tour money on drugs and gambling during the first night of a tour. He had done a lot of coke which was a no-no in Zappa's band... Anyway, Ron had cut his armpits, the souls of his feet, and his crotch. He was bleeding badly, Zappa had a fellow named Pancho who was a bag-man -- not the Vegas-type bagman, but he went out and did the luggage... He had come around and heard someone moaning inside the room. John Smothers was standing with him... John was a big, big, black guy with a bald head. He was very intimidating. (He owned a limosine company in Baltimore). Pancho and John knocked on the door but couldn't get any response, so they got a maid to open the door. There was a stream of blood from the bathroom all the way to the door. Ron was lying there moaning, and John said, "Say there, Pancho, you better get some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation there." Pancho replied, "Man he don't need air, he needs blood."
So I got a call from Zappa's manager, Bennett Glotzer, in June of 1977, asking if I could come that night to Arizona to take over the tour. I said I could make it the next day. They flew me to Baton Rouge where I met Frank. I was handed a briefcase with blood-stained accounts and road gear in it, all of which I had to sort through to get the tour on the road."
Bill Harrington (VideoAsst@aol.com)
Phil's comments about Ron are accurate to the best of my recollection. I had heard that this wasn't the first time Ron gambled a band's profits away. Baccarat was his vise. I was told he hoped to recoup a previous loss and when he lost a second fortune, lost hope. Frank addressed the band and crew regarding this event the next day. Most of us found out about it a few minutes before Frank came on stage. He was visibly upset and said that if Ron had just talked to him he would have said "O.K., just pay the money back." Of course if Ron was already in the hole, that wouldn't have been possible.
Ironically it was because of Ron that I was hired, though I only met and only spoke to him briefly a few hours before his death. He impressed me as a very nice person. Everyone I met who knew him spoke very highly of him.
Poncho, who was responsible for the entourage's luggage was
only about 18 at the time. He was deeply affected for quite a while.
-- Bill Harrington