Martin Lickert, who by almost a coincidence got a role in Zappa’s film 200 Motels, has passed away.
Guardian Unlimited reports that Lickert died suddenly, only in his 50s.
Ringo Starr had a role in 200 Motels (1971), a surrealistic movie about the life of on the road with Zappa’s band The Mothers. During the shootings in London bass player Jeff Simmons left.
Zappa was more or less desperate and told the entourage that the next person to walk into the room would have the part.
In walked the young Martin Lickert who worked as Ringo Starr’s chauffeur. He had something of a popstar look and actually also some experience of playing the bass.
Later in his life Lickert became a bookmaker, then horse owner and then a barrister.
In an interview published on www.idiotbastard.supanet.com (probably from the early 1990’s) the reporter asks Lickert if he actually did play the 200 Motels bass parts himself:
“We played and recorded it live, but whoever was doing the mixing and whoever was doing the sound job clearly wasn’t listening very closely to the bass parts. So I think Frank in fact overdubbed most of it. For someone of my limited ability, some of the stuff on that album is pretty difficult.”
Radio Dupree listeners may recall a sound snippet we use to run, a voice saying something like “You could have played the blues like John Mayall...or some far out exciting jazz like Blood Sweat & Tears”. That’s from the dialogue on 200 Motels...That’s Martin Lickert.
Rest in peace, Martin!