Frank Zappa & His Work

skinny

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Speaking frankly, as you were.
 

Swifty

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Still no bidders ....
 

Mythopoeika

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No surprises there. If it had been Jesus or Elvis, the bidding would be insane by now.
 

EnolaGaia

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henry

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funnily enough i was recently in a disagreement with an acquaintance over frank zappa versus tom waits ... i said it was like comparing andy mcnab with wilfred owen (respectively) ... never really understood the adulation for zappa, or andy mcdoorknob for that matter
 

hunck

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Yeah but he has one of the best surnames ever.
 

henry

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wasnt his real name though
 

David Plankton

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... never really understood the adulation for zappa,
Nor me. I've never met anyone who admitted to liking his music and yet he was a very famous musician. I couldn't whistle you one of his tunes or even name one for that matter.

Another musical enigma for me is Steve Vai. He's considered one of the greatest guitarists going and yet I'm at a loss to recall anything memorable he's ever done. Not saying he's crap at what he does, quite the opposite, it's just a bit sterile for my tastes.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the biggest touring bands in the world, sell a ton of records and fill massive stadiums and have done for many years now but I've only ever met one person who admitted to being a fan. I've met loads of people who positively hate them. I suppose their singer might fall into the 'Marmite' category, can sound annoying at times.
 

henry

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step up, zappaheads ...
 

EnolaGaia

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step up, zappaheads ...
I was never a dedicated Zappa / Mothers fan boy, but I did listen to them a lot and tried hard to consistently appreciate their works. I once saw Zappa and the Mothers (1975 version) perform a set at a college concert. This did nothing to help me get a coherent grasp of 'what they were all about'.

I've known extreme Zappa fans, and I've been able to hold up my end of Zappa-focused conversations with them, but I can't claim to have ever fully understood their mania for him and his music.

Here's what I believe the big problem was ...

Zappa was, at heart, a very serious student of musical trends and avant garde musical forms. This was evident in what he said on those occasions when he bothered to do interviews, and the evidence is clearly present in the musical underpinnings of his (and the Mothers') recordings.

This serious side was obscured and often overlooked because it was consistently overlaid with his famously crabby and wickedly sarcastic persona (via the lyrics).

This was something of a schizoid combination of serious / cerebral musical stylings on the one hand and in-your-face lowbrow satire on the other. Some folks 'got' the serious bit but not the satirical bit (or vice versa). If someone wanted to talk about Zappa you never knew whether they were going to emphasize one versus the other aspect.

How seriously would Fripp have been taken if King Crimson's lyrics had all come from (e.g.) Viv Stanshall? How enjoyable would the Bonzos have been if they backed everything with stuffily arcane / experimental sonic stylings? How many people listening to either would think they 'got it', much less claim to love it?
 

GNC

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Love Zappa's Hot Rats album, but his smartarse, too cool for school material leaves me cold. Probably a genius, but hard to warm to as a person.

M83's single Go! is one of my favourites of recent years and Steve Vai's nutty guitar solo is a big part of that. Always annoyed me when they talked over that bit on the radio.
 

Swifty

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Frank's son Dweezil Zappa is also a pretty handy musician ... as legend has it, when Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar on stage, Frank jumped up and put it out with his bare hands ... Frank later went on to gift the guitar to Dweezil who had it restored ... I'm trying to find a link to that story with more details if anyone knows what I'm on about? ..

edit:


https://www.dweezilzappa.com/videos/2029686
 

skinny

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Nice find, Swifty. Really enjoyed that.
 

skinny

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Dweezil's visiting us next month. Must buy a ticket.
 

Dave landfill

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Weirdly, for some unknown reason I found myself thinking about Frank Zappa on the way back from London today. Randomly I remembered listening to Joe's Garage with some schoolmates back in the mid '80s, and being told by one of them he'd named his son Dweezil, and (I think) his daughter Lunar Unit. I'd forgotten that I'd even thought about this until I started reading this thread a few minutes ago. A quick search has put me straight. Moon Unit, not Lunar.
 

GNC

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The main thing I know Moon Unit from is being the celebrity crush of Spud in the book Trainspotting. Can't recall if she is mentioned in the film. Oh, and I think she's the infamous "Valley Girl" too.
 

IbisNibs

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Yes, Moon Unit was the infamous "Valley Girl." She informed the world of the accent that would take over the American tech industry, when Silicon Valley was just a twinkle in someone's garage.

I am very fond of Zappa's "Montana" and croon it to myself sometimes:

I might be movin' to Montana soon / Just to raise me up a crop of / Dental Floss

Raisin' it up / Waxen it down / In a little white box / That I can sell uptown

By myself I wouldn't / Have no boss, / But I'd be raisin' my lonely / Dental Floss
 
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