January 15, 1987. The Beastie Boys are guests on Late Night with Joan Rivers. The boys perform “Fight for your Right to Party,” then they drive Joan a little crazy.
Then at about 9 minutes, Adam Horowitz claims to be a Zappa.
Quite a namedrop.
Now, here is the late great Joan Rivers interviewing the man himself. Notice that he asks her out-of-the-gate not to disparage his childrens’ names, and she promises not to and then proceeds to do so anyway.
This world is certainly going to miss Joan Rivers.
A few notes, incidentally, regarding the Zappa family nomenclature:
Moon Unit: “Luna” is a popular name worldwide; it is often an Italian name, derived from the Latin, and it means “Moon.” Not sure why this popular name gets “weird” when it is translated to English.
“Unit” was meant to signify that Moon’s birth cultivated the Zappas as a family unit. Seen in that light, it seems endearing.
Dweezil: Initially, “Dweezil” was an affectionate name for Gail Zappa’s “funny looking little toe.” Again, knowing this might change a critic’s perspective.
Ahmet Emuukha Rodan: Named for Ahmet Ertegün, founder and president of Atlantic Records. “Emuukha” is from the group of musicians who recorded Zappa’s first solo record, Lumpy Gravy (he was not contractually allowed to appear on the album, being still signed with the Mothers, so he collected a group of musicians to play on the record and called them the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra).
Rodan is this guy:
…and what kid in his right mind would hate being named for the creature that gives Godzilla a difficult time?
Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen: Frank said Diva was named as such “because of the loud quality of her voice. She’s audible at 300 yards.” I can’t really explicate the rest except for Zappa’s chronic use of the “muffin” in his music. I speculate that by this time Zappa had really embraced the concept of AAAFNRAA and just went with it.
Regardless, it’s a shame. The uninitiated know Frank Zappa for a few surface things. His kids have weird names. He had long hair and that Zappastache. He did that yellow snow song and “Valley Girl.” They also might know the myths. No, he did not take a dump on stage. No, he did not do drugs. Ever. No, he is not the son of Mr. Greenjeans or Captain Kangaroo.
There’s so much in the Zappa universe. It is vast. And it is eminently valuable. It’s a shame if people allow something as trivial as weird kid names to block them out.