Found on the in my Blues Mobile
"Fire At The Casino" with Frank Zappa (Deep Purple wrote "Smoke on the Water" from this Zappa concert!!
The 1971 European winter tour gets the award for being the most
disasterous. On December 4, we were working at the Casino de Montreux in Geneva, Switzerland, right on the edge of the lake- just in front of Igor Stravinsky Street- a venue noted for its jazz festivals.
In the middle of Don Preston's synthesizer solo on "King Kong," the
place suddenly caught fire. Somebody in the audience had a bottle rocket
or a Roman candle and had fired it into the ceiling, at which point the
rattan covering started to burn (other versions of the story claim the
blaze was the result of faulty wiring).
There were between twenty-five hundred and three thousand kids packed into the room- well over capacity. Since more kids were outside, trying to get in, the organizers had cleverly chained the doors shut. When the fire began, the audience was left with two ways out: through the front door, which was pretty small, or through a plate-glass window off to the side of the stage.
|The Mothers Of Invention - France Single 1969|
leave here. There is a fire and why don't we get out?"
You'd be surprised how well people who speak only French can
understand you when its a matter of life and death. They began filing out
through the front door.
As the room was filling with smoke, one of our roadies took an
equipment case and smashed the big window. The crew then began helping people to escape through it into some kind of garden place below. The band escaped through an underground tunnel that led from behind the stage
through the parking garage.
A few minutes later the heating system in the building exploded, and
Some people were blown through the window. Fortunately, nobody was killed and there were only a few minor injuries- however, the entire building, about thirteen million dollars' worth, burned to the ground, and we lost all our equipment.
Don Preston said later :
That incident was very strange to me. First of all the tour schedule was printed on a box of matches. Second, on the day before the fire, in the middle of my solo on 'King Kong', someone ran out on the stage and issued a fire warning. On the next night, in the middle of my solo on 'King Kong', someone threw a firecracker up to the ceiling, which was covered with dry palm leaves, and started the fire.
|Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention - Italy Single 1972|
In the April, 1999 issue of Guitar magazine there is an interview with former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. In the article Ritchie mentions Zappa two separate times. In the first instance while discussing the abuse Blackmore had to handle from the record company he says:
"As Frank Zappa would say, "I smell a rat""
The next quote follows:
Q: Can you elaborate on the story told in "Smoke on the Water"?
A. "We were sitting there watching Frank Zappa play and suddenly someone had one of those flare guns and decided to let it off. It set the roof on fire.
Frank turned around and said, "Now everybody clam down." He then threw down his guitar and jumped out the window. It was quite funny. He wanted to be the first one out. We then had about 15 minutes before the place was gutted, which was frightening."
This show had been circulating in various states under the names 'Swiss Cheese' and 'Fire!,' however,
'Swiss Cheese' was the complete show (although both of their covert artwork is in here for posterity). This
is the complete recording of the entire concert, from the lengthy and egotistic intro to the sounds
of the fire burning the casino and the band's equipment.
|Frank Zappa - US Promo Single 1970|
If memory serves when Frank told the story he was more like a traffic cop and made sure all the kids got out first. Ritchie never took drugs, but did tend to drink so maybe his recollection of Zappa leaping out a window is blurred, so the question is: what really happened? Did Zappa throw down his guitar and leap out the window while Blackmore sat calmly and observed as the place burned down or is this like the Kurosawa film Rashamon, where everyone remembers things somewhat differently?
Arthur Brown And His "Fire"
Arthur Brown was kind of an English version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins (but
without the soul) in the late '60's. In America he had one single from an
LP produced by (of all people) Peter Townsend. The single was called
"FIRE". So....when some poor Swiss dude sees that he's about to become
toast and starts screaming "Fire," Kaylan believing it's a joke goes into
his line "Live right here on stage, Arthur Brown ladies and Gentlemen."
In a weird side-bar to all this, Arthur Brown moved to Austin Texas in the
'80's, and was in a band with Jimmy Carl Black! Arthur Brown used to set
himself on fire and go out onstage...early shock-rock.
Frank Zappa, Montreux Casino
02. Peaches En Regalia,
03. Tears Began To Fall,
-She Painted Up Her Face,
-Half A Dozen Provocative Squats,
04. Call Any Vegetable,
05. Anyway The Wind Blows,
07. Sofa Suite,
08. Pound For A Brown,
-Sleeping In A Jar,
09. Wonderful Wino,
-Cruisin' For Burgers,
10.King Kong (interrupted by fire)
Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link
Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link