• Freak Out!

  • My Life with Frank Zappa
  • By: Pauline Butcher
  • Narrated by: Emma Gregory
  • Length: 14 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $25.08

Buy for $25.08

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

In 1967, 21-year-old Pauline Butcher was working for a London secretarial agency when a call came through from a Mr Frank Zappa asking for a typist. The assignment would change her life forever. For three years, Pauline served as Zappa's PA, moving with him, his family and the Mothers of Invention to a log cabin in the Hollywood Hills, where the straight young English girl mixed with Oscar winners and rock royalty. 

Freak Out! is the captivating story of a naive young English girl thrust into the mad world of a musical legend as well as the most intimate portrait of Frank Zappa ever written.

©2011 Pauline Butcher (P)2020 W F Howes

Critic Reviews

"The book describes a formative time in the life of an innovative musical artist, which Zappa most certainly was. But it also captures a particularly intense experience of a very brief, yet enormously influential, period in the evolution of western womanhood." (The Guardian)

More from the same

What listeners say about Freak Out!

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Thoroughly Charming Read

I came upon this book in search of an introduction to the mind of Frank Zappa, a nebulous figure wrought with seeming contradiction against the backdrop of the American counterculture, contradiction that I wished to contextualize and better understand. While this book served as anything but a Zappa biography, Butcher's grounded yet sympathetic perspective made for a delightfully nuanced read. Culture clash at it's very best. Butcher's later feminist pursuits magnify her ability to look warmly and with humanity onto a flawed figure such as Zappa. I'm in constant pursuit of relating fringe perspectives of the past to social issues of today, and while Frank held some intriguing and relevant perspectives, such as those surrounding law enforcement, his complete distrust of the establishment most likely led to a fragmented and at times misinformed world view. I do not at this time feel the need to dive any further into Zappa history, for Butcher did a great job of framing Zappa in a modern perspective, while also fleshing out her own personal story without ever veering too far into the weeds.

I have only two primary criticisms. The first surrounds Butcher's conflicting pursuit of independence vs Zappa association. It seems both ongoing outcomes are fluidly positive or negative due to often indistinct context. The second criticism surrounds the resolution. As someone who is relatively unaware of the full Zappa story, a fleshed out epilogue wrapping up the stories of the many important characters presented throughout would've been especially satisfying. We jump from the 1973 ear infection recovery to her 1988 interview with Frank, to a wrap up of her own scholarly pursuits, without any further word regarding anyone else. This came as a surprise, given how incredibly thorough the rest of the book was. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and vocal performance, making for a very exciting yet satisfying read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

love the inside stories of Frank

Frank was a genius and anyone's perspective who lived it will always be an interesting read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book

I have just become a Frank Zappa fan over the last 5 years or so, so it was great to get an up close and inside look at Frank’s life through Pauline”s eyesI I thought she did a wonderful and tasteful description of her experiences working with Frank. I highly recommend the book.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great insider story about Frank Zappa

This was a great look inside the world of Frank Zappa from the late '60's go the early '70's from someone with direct knowledge of this period.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Early rock ‘n’ roll history

This is a great story written by Pauline about her life experience with Frank Zappa the mothers and their family from 1967 to 1971.