robert wiener

robert wiener travelled to yurrip with the zappa band in 1979 to help them out in the non-english speaking countries.

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2002/12/08, ed 

2002/12/08, ed mann sent the following message to

Here is some interesting material for all you Zappa trivia hounds:

HBO's Movie "Live From Baghdad" - the story of CNN producer Robert Wiener's team in Iraq during the 1991 conflict: Robert traveled with us (Zappa band) during the entire 1979 European tour that spawned Joe's garage. We had many gigs in France, and Robert (who had been living in
Paris for a few years and speaks fluent French) was brought in by Bennet Glotzer to accompany and help the band. Robert is a true madman in the best sense of the term and we had many high times together and got into a lot of trouble. We became immediate best friends. Together, he and Bennet made that tour fun - which was no small feat given the scheduling, weather and travel arrangements.

After that tour, Robert moved to L.A. and lived with me for several months until he landed the gig with CNN. He had spent a year or so in Vietnam in the early 70's  as a freelance journalist going on patrol with combat troupes, and taping every minute of it on cassette. Late at night, in highly intoxicated states, I would convince him to bring out
those tapes out and we would absolute horror and awe. Talk about balls! Here is this guy who just craves to be in the line of fire for the sake of accurate journalism.

LIVE FROM BAGHDAD captures the essence of Robert Wiener, but as might be expected, in a slightly more tame way than who the man actually is. However, it does capture quite accurately the same manner and mood that he brought to that Zappa tour: fearless, relentless and no holds barred, never accepting "no" for an answer and absolutely invincible when it comes to cutting thru red tape. I remember many times after hours of travel and half the band sick with the flu - getting to a hotel only to be told that the rooms were not available, and without any prompting Robert would immediately light a cigarette and go to work  - a flurry of agitated French, and within about 10 minutes he would be handing out room keys. He is the type of person that you could wake in the middle of the night if you needed help and he would be there in 5 minutes - dressed and ready to do battle. Frank was at times slightly annoyed by the whole thing but underneath that is was clear that he liked Robert regardless of his renegade attitude and approach.

So looking back, I say: Thank you Bennet and Thank You Robert for helping to make that tour a truly unforgettable experience. With Glotzer at the management helm, the organization always felt like a big family.
I will always be grateful for having been part of the Zappa organization during that time.

-- Ed Mann



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