Frank Zappa Artist Cal Schenkel Signs Artwork, Records in Bryn Mawr

Schenkel appeared at Gold Million Records as part of Record Store Day.

Cal Schenkel, the artist who created record album covers for Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention, visited Gold Million Records in Bryn Mawr on Saturday to sign his original artwork, limited edition prints and records.

Schenkel—who also designed album covers for Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, The Fugs, and Tim Buckley, and a recently-released CD cover for Dweezil Zappa—appeared at in honor of the 5th annual Record Store Day.

Held each year on the third Saturday in April, Record Store Day celebrates independent record stores worldwide with special events and prompts hundreds of artists, such as Springsteen and Paul McCartney, to make new records specifically for the day, said Harold Gold, who owns Gold Million Records with his wife, Max I. Million.

“Harold invited me last year, and it was really great,” Schenkel said, as he set up a table of his artwork and prints for the signing.

“One nice thing is it’s not too far,” said Schenkel, who lives in Willow Grove.  “I like to do things locally.”

Mike Morrone, 26, of Ardmore, came to the record store to have Schenkel sign the album cover of “Trout Mask Replica” by Captain Beefheart.

“It’s an iconic album and Cal has a really unique style, and I really appreciate his work and the work of his influences,” said Morrone, who owns about 700 records and has been shopping at Gold Million Records since he was in high school.

The walls of the record store’s gallery section were lined with Schenkel’s original artwork and hand-signed original LP records.

A framed original acrylic painting of the album cover for “Grand Wazoo,” a 1972 jazz-fusion album by Frank Zappa, was available for purchase for $3,000.

Another original acrylic painting by Schenkel, this one for the 1975 rock album cover for Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention’s “One Size Fits All,” was for sale for $4,000.

In addition to his vintage albums, Schenkel said he recently designed a CD package for Dweezil Zappa, the son of the late Frank Zappa. The CD, F.O.H., was just released.

Schenkel said he also continues to paint and make prints, and is working on an exhibit of his work which will open at a small New York City gallery in late spring.

Speaking to the ongoing popularity of Schenkel and Frank Zappa, the PBS television show History Detectives recently asked for Schenkel’s help in determining whether a painting someone found at a thrift store in the South was an original Frank Zappa painting, Million said.

A History Detectives episode about the painting mystery was filmed at Gold Million Records and is scheduled to air sometime in mid-June, Million said.

“We don’t know if it’s an original,” Million said. “That will be revealed on the show.”


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