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Thread: Zappa

  1. #1

    Zappa

    I got hold of the Mothers' first album Freakout when I was about 15, don't know why, maybe I liked the cover art. I liked the cynicism of the lyrics and the sendup of doowop but I didn't really understand how unique the work was and it has taken a long time to appreciate Frank's compositional style and musical perfectionism mixed with extreme zaniness. There's nothing else quite like his body of work in music, like it or not (and it's not for everyone). I always feel a bit deflated when someone like Elmore Leonard dies, because I know you can't get that stuff no more and I can only reread it once or twice before the juice runs dry. Zappa's different because of the volume of his recorded work and the fact that I can listen to a lot of it repeatedly and get more from what Steve Vai called his "high information music".

    There are a lot of youtube interviews of Frank and band members like Ruth Underwood, Vai and Terry Bozzio along with videos of the band in concert. Here are a few links:
    Inca Roads https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqp71DOJ3aY
    Whipping Post https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mu32TgPeXM8
    Dupree's Paradise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr6mTloYJJs
    Zappa Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwCthSsWk7Y
    The Drummers of Frank Zappa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGeZGrJ1ICQ
    Ruth Underwood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7Sq0chFjps
    Steve Vai https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7jM1mh0764
    George Duke on Frank Zappa (youtube.com)

    Anybody else into this music?
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 05-15-2024 at 12:13 AM.

  2. #2
    Not since I was younger.

    We are the other people
    Youíre the other people too
    Found a way to get to you

  3. #3
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    Might have to revisit Zappa, didn't get it in my youth. Odd coincidence, but driving my wife home tonight we heard Smoke on the Water--so i told her about the origin of that song and how "Frank Zappa and the Mamas were at the best place around" was not a coincidental line. The amount of gear Zappa & the band had with them kept Deep Purple from unloading when they got into town--sparing their equipment from the casino fire. Great story song!!

  4. #4
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    Don't remember the year or song, but I can't forget:

    "Watch out where the huskies go
    Don't you eat that yellow snow"
    F. Zappa

  5. #5
    His story, activism, family, and background have fascinated me more than the music, but i have been delving into it a little bit more.

    Do your links above include the 1963 Steve Allen show episode?
    Not so much for "music" (He attempts to teach Allen how to play the bicycle) but for the sort of Dadaesque nature of the whole episode with FZ looking surreal as if he is the most clean-cut, polite, flat-top sporting jock on the allstar HS line up of those days.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9P2V0_p6vE
    Last edited by stephen thomas; 05-14-2024 at 9:23 PM.

  6. #6
    I listened to Zappa , he was even better than Captain Beefheart . Died of prostate cancer . If I remember right ,he was telling Docs
    he needed help and didnít get any until it was too late.

  7. #7
    Zappa was like Miles in that he constantly changed up his band personnel and like Duke Ellington he wrote to the strengths of his musicians. He held open auditions and ran through scores of applicants before choosing who would join a tour. He would put them on salary and rehearse for two months, 6 days a week 8 -10 hours a day so they could memorize upwards of 80 complicated tunes and the subtle stage directions that would call out reggae or heavy metal or time changes in the middle of a song. Some people looked at his persona and assumed he was a druggie but he was straightedge (aside from cigarettes) and insisted his band stay straight on tour. I wonder what he would have come up with if he had not died untimely in 1993.

  8. #8
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    Kind of before my time and off my radar, not a lot of air play in southern Indiana. First album I was allowed to purchase was L.A. Woman and it had the negative in the cover with a yellow sleeve. Most impactful artist, for me, was Jethro Tull. As a 13-15 year old kid, growing up in southern Indiana on the KY border, I attended church, but saw people saying things they weren't doing. Ian Anderson's lyrics about our relationship with the universe helped me feel like I wasn't alone and gave voice to what I was experiencing. Favorite guitarist is Tommy Bolin.
    Brian

  9. #9
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    I just watched the Steve Allen bicycle segment last night (unrelated to this thread) and thought it was beyond hilarious. "Q How long have you been playing the bicycle? A. Two weeks" My respect for Steve Allen as a comedian went up several notches-- I wonder how much was scripted and how much ad libbed. It certainly came across as mostly the latter. Zappa's earnest seriousness about playing the bicycle was perfect.

    Call any vegetable and the chances are good...

  10. #10
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    I consider Frank Zappa a "musical savant" when it comes to both composition and performance. It was a sad day when the world lost him.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    One of the employees at a former shop is a jazz drummer and accomplished artist. He had Zappa's Black Page stapled to the wall above his work station. When shop dynamics were at an un energetic, hum drum, low ebb he would practice a few bars with various sticks, scraps of wood, a trash can and some paint cans. It always interjected some liveliness and a hilarious on going argument about Hank Willams's superiority over all other musicians in the world.

  12. #12
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    I trust that was Hank Sr.!

    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice Mcmurry View Post
    It always interjected some liveliness and a hilarious on going argument about Hank Willams's superiority over all other musicians in the world.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    I trust that was Hank Sr.!
    Yes Hank Sr.

  14. #14
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    I got hold of the Mothers' first album Freakout when I was about 15
    Same here, a friend of mine is more into Zappa than I am. There are a few stations doing weekly online playings of his music.

    I'll ask him for the links and post them here.

    jtk

    -Just another one of the "Hungry Freaks, Daddy."

    Don't forget Suzzie Creamcheese.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
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    I grew up a fan of Zappa & the Mothers. Two of his albums, Sheik Yerbouti and Joe’s garage were a couple of my favorites. I saw him live in LA ~1975. Lyrically not for everybody but there’s no denying his musical genius.
    Please help support the Creek.


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