You Can’t Be a Real Country Unless You Have a Beer and an Airline

Frank Zappa? Apocryphal?

beer07Dear Quote Investigator: Did the Frank Zappa really say that a proper country needs a beer and an airline?

Quote Investigator: In 1989 “The Real Frank Zappa Book” was published by the well-known songwriter and musician, and it included an instance of the remark mentioned above. Zappa was not eager to write a book, but he offered an important rationale in the introduction. Boldface and italics in this excerpt and the next were present in the original text: 1

One of the reasons for doing this is the proliferation of stupid books (in several languages) which purport to be About Me. I thought there ought to be at least ONE, somewhere, that had real stuff in it.

The chapter titled “America Drinks & Goes Marching” contained the following passage: 2

Every major industrialized nation has A BEER (you can’t be a Real Country unless you have A BEER and an airline—it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need A BEER).

Below are the conclusion and acknowledgements.

In conclusion, the volume “The Real Frank Zappa Book” was created from transcribed interviews of Frank Zappa by his co-author Peter Occhiogrosso. The transcriptions were edited by Occhiogrosso and then further edited by Zappa. The text was sent to Ann Patty at Poseidon Press who put the book in final form. Zappa put his name on the book, and QI believes that the excerpts above accurately represented the views he wished to transmit.

Image Notes: Beer at sunset from Asiabasia at Pixabay. Frank Zappa in Oslo, Norway in 1977. Author: Helge Øverås. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic via Wikimedia Commons. Images have been cropped and resized.

(Great thanks to Greg Wesson whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.)

Notes:

  1. 1999 (1989 copyright), The Real Frank Zappa Book, by Frank Zappa with Peter Occhiogrosso, Section: Introduction, Quote Page 9, A Touchstone Book: Simon & Schuster, New York. (Verified on paper in 1999 reprint edition; originally published in 1989 by Poseidon Press, New York)
  2. 1999 (1989 copyright), The Real Frank Zappa Book, by Frank Zappa with Peter Occhiogrosso, Chapter 12: America Drinks & Goes Marching, Quote Page 231, A Touchstone Book: Simon & Schuster, New York. (Verified on paper in 1999 reprint edition; originally published in 1989 by Poseidon Press, New York)