DJ Sue

DJ Sue
Welcome to my blog. I’m a DJ in Second Life and I find myself discussing the music I’m playing with many of those in attendance at my shows. Unfortunately, when I am busy DJing, I can’t participate and discuss the music as fully as I would like. I’m hoping this blog can help change that. Look here before my set to see if I might be playing something interesting today or maybe after to see if discussion on a topic might continue. You are invited to join in the conversation and leave comments.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Suzy… Suzy Creamcheese?



Detail from the album cover of Freak Out! (1966)



Suzy…  Yes  Suzy Creamcheese…  Yes  This is the voice of your conscience baby.  I just want to check one thing out with you.  You don't mind, do ya…  What  Suzy Creamcheese, honey, what's got into ya?

Intro to the Return of the Son of Monster Magnet by the Mothers of Invention, 1966

The song intro quoted above is taken from the first album by the Mothers of Invention.  Some of you may not have heard of the Mothers of Invention but you know their front man, Frank Zappa.  They were forever immortalized in the song, Smoke on the Water, by Deep Purple:

“Frank Zappa and the Mothers, burnt the place to the ground.”

I digress.  I’m here to talk about Suzy.  Who was Suzy Creamcheese?  Was she a real person?  If so, where is she today?  While the question has lost attention in recent times, and I’m sure many of you have never even heard of her, it was something of a hot topic for a couple of decades beginning in the 60’s.  There was, and continues to be, a lot of false claims and myths surrounding her and there have been many women claiming to be Suzy Creamcheese.  This wasn’t so hard back in the 70’s before people could go to the internet and look up information, pictures, etc.

Suzy Creamcheese did not start out as a real person.  She was a fictitious character created in the mind of Frank Zappa.  While working on their first album, the Mothers were playing at a bar in Hawaii called “Da Swamp.” (They obviously hadn’t made it big yet.)  There, Zappa came up with the idea that the back cover would contain a letter from a girl, remarking on how degenerate and undesirable the Mothers of Invention were.  Frank typed the following letter.  (Typos are as they appear on the album jacket.):


These Mothers is crazy. You can tell by their clothes. One guy wears beads and they all smell bad. We were gonna get them for a dance after the basketball game but my best pal warned me you can never tell how many will show up...sometimes the guy in the fur coat doesn't show up and sometimes he does show up only he brings a big bunch of crazy people with him and they dance all over the place. None of the kids at my school like these Mothers...specially since my teacher told us what the words to their songs meant.

Sincerly forever,
Suzy Creamcheese
Salt Lake City, Utah


Suzy was meant to be a high school girl and maybe a bit naive.  Zappa pictured her as straight laced and rather appalled at acts like the Mothers of Invention or things having to do with the counterculture.

It didn’t stop there and there are two songs on the album where we hear the voice of Suzy Creamcheese.  The first was a very brief exchange with between Frank Zappa and Suzy at the end of It Can't Happen Here and the second was the intro to the very next song, the Return of the Son of Monster Magnet, quoted at the beginning.  That quote is mostly by Frank Zappa and the few words (shown in red above) are in a female voice answering him, the voice of Suzy.

So Suzy started out as a bit of fiction that was voiced by Jeanne Vassoir on the Mothers’ first album.  After this, Jeanne was last known to have gone to Mexico and no one has been able to follow her trail after that and she has never come forward.

It might have stopped there and I’d not be writing this post.  Instead, it took on a life of its own.  Maybe it was because the letter appeared on the record using a typewriter font and was signed by “Suzy.”  There was also the real female voice done by Jeanne Vassoir but she was uncredited.  Much of the public just assumed she was real, especially the fans in Europe.  Many people were asking about her?  Who was she?  Was she part of the band?

Zappa decided to give the people what they wanted and hired another woman, Pamela Zarubica, to play the part of Suzy Creamcheese for their 1967 European Tour.  It started simple enough.  Suzy would be in the front row like a fan and she would reenact the quote from the first album(above) along with Frank Zappa.  Eventually she would come on stage and do other things.  The public saw her as a groupie and never suspected she was paid to act the part.

Zarubica would play the part well into the 70’s and even appeared on albums as Suzy.  There was also a third woman to play the part on albums and that was Lisa Cohen, the daughter of Mothers’ manager, Herb Cohen.  I know of no occasion where she played Suzy live, before an audience, but she does appear as the voice of Suzy on the Mothers’ 1967 album, Absolutely Free.

There is a lot of confusion over who played Creamcheese and when or even what parts are actually Suzy Creamcheese as often the female voice just appears on an album unnamed.  Some sources say that one woman played the voice of Suzy on a particular piece, yet another source will contradict it.  I’m going to do something here that I don’t believe has ever been done before.  I’m going to gather together the album cuts on which Suzy appears (all of the pieces of cheese) and I’m going to look at each one, identify who did the voice, and share some interesting facts.  I’m going to create here and now the ultimate Suzy Creamcheese Discography.  Much of this is probably detailed beyond what the average casual reader is willing to read, so feel free to skip ahead to the “Album Cover Spoof” below.

Suzy Creamcheese (The Ultimate Chronological Discography)


Song: It Can’t Happen Here
Album: Freak Out! (1966)
Voiced by: Jeanne Vassoir
Location (timestamp): 3:35
There is a brief exchange between Frank and Suzy in which he calls her by name.  After the exchange, they both sing the song title in unison as it echoes and fades off.

Song: Return of the Son of Monster Magnet
Album: Freak Out! (1966)
Voiced by: Jeanne Vassoir
Location (timestamp): 0:00
This cuts starts off in the beginning (0:00) with an exchange between Zappa and Suzy Creamcheese, which is quoted at the opening of this post.



Song: Son of Suzy Creamcheese
Album: Absolutely Free (1967)
Voiced by:  n/a
Location (timestamp): n/a
This song does not include the voice of Suzy Creamcheese; she is only the subject matter of the song.  It further asks the question of, “What’s got into her?”  See the opening quote to this post.

Song: Brown Shoes Don’t Make it
Album: Absolutely Free (1967)
Voiced by: Lisa Cohen
Location (timestamp): 5:20
The song title was inspired by a fashion faux pas made by U.S. President, Lyndon Johnson, that was mentioned in the press.  He wore brown shoes with a grey suit publicly one day.  The song itself is rather abstract but eventually turns itself to a politician (not necessarily Johnson who is never named) who is fantasizing (or really living out) an affair with a 13 year old girl in his bed.  Then Frank Zappa comes on and says, “If she were my daughter…”  Suzy replies, “What would you do, daddy?”  Eventually, Zappa answers her in the lyrics with, “Smother my daughter in chocolate syrup and strap her on again, oh baby.”  In this cut, Frank Zappa plays the part of Suzy’s father, which he will also do again in Bow Tie Daddy. (see below)

Song: Bow Tie Daddy
Album: We’re Only in it for the Money (1968)
Voiced by: Pamela Zarubica
Location (timestamp):  0:10
This song starts out with a telephone conversation, which includes Suzy Creamcheese.  In later releases and on the CD, this part is presented as a separate track aptly titled, “Telephone Conversation”.  It can be confusing to listen to since there are four participants, three of which are female, Suzy’s father (Frank Zappa), Suzy Creamcheese (unnamed), Vicky and the telephone operator.  Let me see if I can sort out the conversation for you and the three different female voices:

Suzy: Well, just ... operator?
Operator: Hold for a minute, please.
Suzy’s Father: Hello?
Operator: Yes, sir.
Suzy’s Father: Ah, can you call 678-9866?
Operator: Same area code?
Suzy’s Father: Yes.
Operator: Alright.
Suzy’s Father: Is that Vicky?
Suzy: Yeah... He's gonna bump you off yet, he's got a gun, you know.  If he didn't get ya in Laurel Canyon, he won't get you here.
Vicky: Hello?
Suzy: Vicky?
Vicky: Yeah?
Suzy: What's happening?
Vicky: Listen, your father has called me up this...
Suzy: Now look, just don't panic but just tell me...
Vicky: I'm not panicking!
Suzy: OK.
Vicky: I think my phone's tapped too.
Suzy: Well don't worry, that's quite alright.
Vicky: Alright, your father called me up this afternoon
Suzy: Just a second.

The song then begins.  I’ve not been able to identify who voiced Vicky or the telephone operator though I have seen Vicky referred to as a friend of Pamela Zarubica.  I’ll play the original version this Sunday with the conversation included as part of Bow Tie Daddy.

Song: The Voice of Cheese
Album: Uncle Meat (1969)
Voiced by: Pamela Zarubica
Location (timestamp): 0:00
This is a 27 second cut that is a statement made by Suzy Creamcheese. It starts out, “Hello teenage America, my name is Suzy Creamcheese…”

Song: Our Bizarre Relationship
Album: Uncle Meat (1969)
Voiced by: Pamela Zarubica
Location (timestamp): 0:01
This is a strange exchange between Suzy Creamcheese and Frank Zappa.  What is not clear is if this is Frank playing her father again or is this Suzy Creamcheese as the groupie talking directly to Frank Zappa.  In it, she recalls waking up and finding someone in bed with Frank, who is not the girl he went to bed with.  This new girl apparently yelled at Suzy.  I vote for this being Suzy talking to the actual Frank Zappa as his groupie.

All songs and albums mentioned above are credited to the Mothers of Invention.  Frank Zappa was their front man, creative force and creator of Suzy Creamcheese, but had not yet received separate distinction as he would in the future.  Other experts may include other cuts but these are the ones that I judge, in my opinion, to be related to Suzy Creamcheese.  Remember, there is much confusion on this matter and not everyone agrees.  I will play all of the above cuts during my set on Sunday.

There were other artists that jumped on the Creamcheese bandwagon and they are as follows:

Song: Suzy Creamcheese
Album: (non-album single)
Artist: Teddy and His Patches
Teddy and his Patches was a band out of San Jose, California.  They had a single released later the same year (1966) in which the Mothers released Freak Out!.  Their single became a regional hit in the Bay Area for the growing psychedelic audience at the time and was titled, Suzy Creamcheese.  I’ll play this single at my set on Sunday.



Song: Suzy Creamcheese
Album: 39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World)
Artist: The Caesars
Swedish rock band, the Caesars, released their album, 39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World), in 2003.  What was probably their biggest hit, Jerk it Out, was off of this album and gained notoriety as a theme for the iPod.  This band seems to have been heavily influenced by the sound of the psychedelic 60’s especially on this album.  Jerk it Out seems to fit this stereo type but another song on the album manages to take it a step further, Suzy Cheamcheese.  I will play both Jerk it Out and Suzy Creamcheese from this album during my set on Sunday. (The Caesars iPod advert featuring Jerk it Out is shown below.)



The following are others that I know about but will not be playing this Sunday:

Song: Suzy Creamcheese
Album: Blackhole Vertigo (2012)
Artist:  Epic
This one is not in my catalogue nor am I familiar with it.

Song: Son of Suzy Creamcheese
Album: Inventionis Mater (2014)
Artist: Kong’s Revenge
This cover of the original Mothers of Invention song is an instrumental done on guitars and woodwinds.  I will not play it Sunday because it would be redundant.

Song: Son of Suzy Creamcheese
Album: Nine (2017)
Artist: Commercial Interruption
This is just a cover of the original song by the Mothers of Invention.  I will not play it Sunday because it would be redundant.

Besides the songs concerning the subject of “Suzy Creamcheese,” I must acknowledge a band by the name of “Suzy Cream Cheese.”  This was a Japanese band and all information on them and their work is in Japanese and I can’t even decipher release dates.  They seem to be long avant garde pieces and they released three albums: Suzy Cream Cheese Vol. 1, Suzy Cream Cheese Vol. 2 and Suzy Cream Cheese Vol. 3.  They split the name “Creamcheese” into two words.

The Album Cover Spoof


The original album cover for their 1968 album, We’re Only in it for the Money (shown below) is an obvious parody to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, released the year before.  Frank Zappa actually asked Paul McCartney for permission to do the spoof but McCartney preferred that their business managers work it out.  In the end Capitol Records forbade the parody and the cover’s original artwork was relegated to the inside of the gatefold.



Jimi Hendrix, a friend of Zappa’s, agreed to pose for this cover.  Below is a blowup of Zappa and Hendrix in which you can see Jimi Hendrix holding a photo of Lisa Cohen, who was the voice of Suzy Creamcheese on the Mothers previous album, Absolutely Free.  She would not voice Suzy on We’re Only in it for the Money. That would go to Pamela Zarubica but this remains a fun bit of Suzy Creamcheese trivia.



Fun Fact…


In the liner notes to Freak Out! (1966) is a long list of people who “contributed materially in many ways to make our music what it is. Please do not hold it against them.”  Nowhere on this list do you find Suzy Creamcheese or Jeanne Vassoir, who voiced her on that album.  She is completely uncredited but they do mention Frank de Kova (misspelled “De Cova”) who played Chief Wild Eagle on the TV show, F Troop. While it is not clear what de Kova contributed to the album, he remains credited and Suzy Creamcheese does not.

de Kova as Chief Wild Eagle


Conclusion…  So Who Really is Suzy Creamcheese?


Suzy started out as a concept in the mind of Frank Zappa and nothing more.  As often stated in Western Esoteric philosophy, all things that exist begin as simple thoughts.  Zappa’s thought became a real portrayal on an album and finally, a reality unto herself, a reality that would grow into something that was its own being and separate from Zappa.  Suzy Creamchesse became real.  Frank Zappa died in 1993, yet from the above, you can see that new artists still embrace her.  She has lived on beyond him.

When asking who she is, we must determine that she is a spirit that permeates through the music and our culture; she is no one person.  Yet it is human nature to ask, “Who is she?”  Many women have come forth in the past claiming that they were the original Suzy Creamcheese.  The creative void left by her physical absence, it would seem, must be filled and many so badly want to be recognized as her.

I must take an opportunity to acknowledge one other claimant to the title that I have not mentioned before now, Suzy Zeiger.  She has often come forward, among the other voices, and claimed that she was the original Suzy Creamcheese.  She was undoubtedly a groupie for the Mothers of Invention at the right time and hung out with the band.  Her first name really is “Suzy,” but it seems to stop there.  I can find no record of Frank Zappa ever acknowledging that she was in any way associated with Suzy Creamcheese.  I can find nothing else other than a first name, along with time and place as supportive of her claim.

If anyone should be awarded the real life role of Suzy Creamcheese, it would be Pamela Zarubica in my opinion.  She played the part live at concerts, voiced Suzy on two albums and went on to make appearances as Suzy Creamcheese long after her association with the Mothers or their continuance of the Creamcheese concept.

I hope I have helped to set the record straight.  There is a lot of confusion and disagreement on this subject and everything here is my opinion, my judgement from where I have sat watching through the decades.

Join me this Sunday at a Woman’s Touch as I do a special Suzy Creamcheese edition of my show at 7:00 PM slt.  I hope to see you there as we further explore the decades old question… “Suzy Creamcheese, what's got into ya?”

Pamela Zarubica (Suzy Creamcheese) with Frank Zappa

2 comments:

  1. Only from the mind of Frank Zappa! You just have to love it! We look forward to soaking in some fun and creamcheese this Sunday night as only Suzy "Creamcheese" Mowadeng can serve it up!

    Love from your fellow hippie gal pals.
    Kai & Felicia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LMAO... Thanks. Happy to bring it to you and thank you.

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