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Help me "get" Frank Zappa

 
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 04:11 pm
A buddy of mine gave me the Weasels Ripped My Flesh album, which he describes as "avant garde", while I describe it as weasels ripping my eardrums.

But he says Zappa is a genius and that there is more melodic stuff in the rest of his body of work and sent me a bunch of youtube to peruse. I need to clean out my inbox and want him to discuss this with me here so I figured I'd open it up to everyone and he can get some help from any other Zappa lovers.

I have a feeling he's going to need it.
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 04:14 pm
Storing the music he sent me to start with so I can peruse later:









Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 04:17 pm
your friend has good taste.

I'm going to wait for fbaezer, he speaks frank rather fluently...
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 04:52 pm
@Rockhead,
Best parody of Valley Girls:
The girl is, of course, his daughter, Moon Unit.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:00 pm
@jespah,
Did Zappa create the "ship coming too late to save a drowning witch" drawing? I knew that one as a kid.
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:01 pm
not a huge FZ fan, but loved the Absolutely Free album, with parody (motown, doo wop, beach boys...) and social commentary (America takes a drink, Uncle Bernie's farm...) in equal measure. FZ was pretty fair guitarist as well--Willie the Pimp from Hot Rats is worth checking out.
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:14 pm
big fan of

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/79/FreakOut%21.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3a/Sheik_Yerbouti.jpeg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/9a/Zappa_Joe%27s_Garage.jpg

the other stuff, not so much

0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:19 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Shut up 'n Play Yer Guitar Some More ain't half bad.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:21 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I'm listening now as well.

Frank influenced a whole generation of great guitarists.

Joe Satriani comes to mind first.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAaND1Q5Ux8&feature=related
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:26 pm
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:26 pm
That's an awful version of "Peaches" RG.
But the tune has been included in the Real Book and so is considered a bonafide great composition.

I'm with yit. The first Zappa stuff was very clever and derivative and Hot Rats was brilliant...the rest?...mostly dreck IMO
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:29 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I dunno -- I think that's on an album cover, yes?
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:30 pm
0 Replies
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:32 pm


0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:36 pm
FZ was a thoughtful spokesman for banning censorship.
Almost 25 years ago:
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Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:39 pm
I saw him and TMOI long ago at the old Filmore East in Greenwich Village. I don't remember much about it, but do recall that the concert was pretty good. That doesn't tell you anything because you don't know my musical taste, but I don't like really harsh, heavy metal type rock very much, so it must have been actual decent music.
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yitwail
 
  4  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:54 pm
then there was an immortal exchange between FZ and one Joe Pine, a talk show host/amputee:

PINE: I guess your long hair makes you a girl.

FZ: I guess your wooden leg makes you a table.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 05:57 pm
@yitwail,
Frank was pretty witty
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 06:06 pm
I've always really liked Zappa. He was so different from everything that was very popular at the time. It had that cool jazz/rock vibe that was always unpredictable and surprising. For me, it requires much more active listening than most music and that alone makes it interesting.

Also you could enjoy the music on a lot of different levels since he used humor as his wicked, sarcastic stick to poke at everyone and everything.

I've always thought it interesting that everyone remembers "Don't you eat that yellow snow" but (almost) nobody remembers the fur trapper clubbing the baby seal to death in the same song.

0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 06:48 pm
Robert, if I know your tastes right, I'd recommend first of all:

Jazz from hell

http://images.uulyrics.com/cover/f/frank-zappa/album-jazz-from-hell.jpg

This album is made mostly with the synclavier, a computerized instrument made to play with no humanlike mistakes.
Zappa may be seen as a freak, but first of all he was a musical perfectionist. And his musicians say he was a very demanding boss.

To catch the Zappa playful pre-punk anti-hippie philosophy:

We're only in it for the Money

http://www.amiright.com/album-covers/images/album-The-Mothers-of-Invention-Were-Only-in-It-for-the-Money.jpg

No disguises, man.
Fun play about American mores in the sixties, Zappian love for Beach Boys type music plus a lot of experimentation and the need to read "In the Prison Colony" by Franz Kafka before listening to the album. Lot's of Zappa Classics: "The Idiot Bastard Son" (The father's a Nazi in Congress today/ the mother's a hooker somewhere in L.A) & "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body? (Some say your nose/ some say your toes/ but I think it's your mind).






 

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