Do you get Frank Zappa ?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by johnny k, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    I know little about FZ's music - he sort of passed me by back then. But I remember reading a collection of his writing about music and thinking he made sense, one of the good guys.

    And I've always remembered this:
    "Let’s be realistic about this, the guitar can be the single most blasphemous device on the face of the earth. That’s why I like it . . . The disgusting stink of a too-loud electric guitar: now that’s my idea of a good time."

    I'm going to make a start by going through the YouTube links in this thread and see where that leads. Thanks.
     
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  2. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

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    I love Frank Zappa. I think he's great. I'm probably one of the biggest FZ fans you'll ever meet. But he's not infallible. He has some material that I just can't stand. I think I get that material, though. I just disagree that his motivation for writing it was very good.

    But that's the thing about Frank. At some point, you'll find him offensive, whether you get him or not.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  3. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Afflicted

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    I will always be more on Team Beefheart, but I love Frank all the same. Both are an acquired taste, so I get why people find both annoying. It's one reason I found their music interesting and intriguing. If you are into having a wide breadth of musical compositions and music history, Zappa's records from Freak Out though Zoot Allures are all worth a listen. After the mid 70's, I kind of drop out. I get that he owed a bunch of money, and decided to pay it off by satirizing the worst aspects of American culture. Unfortunately one sometimes becomes the butt of the joke that you're telling. He did rescue himself by taking on Tipper Gore and the PMRC.

    I love the You Can't Do That Onstage Anymore live series stuff quite a bit. Those records are good place to start with Zappa. My three favorite LPs are We're Only in it for the Money, Uncle Meat and Hot Rats. Frank was a genius level guitar player who probably didn't care that much about playing guitar. His recording ideas were often ahead of the curve. He is one of the few artists that would have benefited from using ProTools or random access digital recording.

    What turned me onto Frank was seeing this performance on The Mike Douglas Show in 76. I was 11.



    The stuff with Ruth Underwood on percussion is just wicked:



    Zappa led me to Beefheart. This is a truly odd piece of folk art:



    His appearances with The Monkees are kind of odd:



     
  4. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

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    I don't think he's so much an 'acquired taste', some of his work requires more effort to get into - and maybe appeals to musos who listen to what's going on compositionally in the band.

    I totally agree that the smutty lyrics get in the way of enjoying his stuff. I hardly ever listen to Joe's Garage any more, because of that.

    Apparently he was encouraged by the record co. to put vocals on in the early days - he would rather have kept it instrumental.
     
  5. Boubou

    Boubou Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    By “get” what do you mean?
    If we are part of a special society, have a certain level of intelligence or better than everyone else?
    That’s one of the most snobbish expression you can have in my opinion.
    So go on, just eat the yellow snow
     
  6. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

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    Frank left a body of work that can be studied for lifetimes. His guitar playing was outstanding. Everything thru zoot allures is fabulous. His talent level was pure genius. He had a huge thick guitar sound and was a tone freak. Hot rats is a great guitar record and overnight sensation is another. Been a fan since i was 15.
     
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  7. jiri_c

    jiri_c TDPRI Member

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    i have been listening to FZ a lot years and years back. now i think i can go just for some instrumental stuff, even though it’s repeating itself (some might find it typically and recognasibly FZ).

    what i cannot get trough these last years is total absence of emotions in his music. this lack is for me very very hard to come by. and as for his famous irony... well i think he was a very, very bitter man. that part in music it’s not a smile. it’s a grimasse. a mockery. a bitter grin, and almost despise. i find nothing even remotely positive or charged with ANY vibe. not even anger. i would say he was pretty much sociopathic nutcase. and he showed it all the time.

    genius for sure. guitarist, componist and bandleader par excellence. and as it usually goes with genial folks: not for everyone.
     
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  8. kris ford

    kris ford TDPRI Member

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    Oh yes, i get him very much.
     
  9. RedRhino

    RedRhino TDPRI Member

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    I thought he was a man but he was a muffin.
     
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  10. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like him, but a lot of the music doesn't work for me, although I have a few albums
     
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  11. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have got quite a bit of his catalogue. Was into him in my 20’s but don’t listen to it as much as I once did. Mainly because I know it all off by heart.

    You have to be in the right mood for the instrumentals.

    He was clearly wired up differently to most people and I respect that he made something unique of that.
     
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  12. tweedman2001

    tweedman2001 Tele-Afflicted

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    The Maestro. He singularly put me in the poor house and filled up a room. Good thing it's been over a 53 year period. Damn I miss him being on the planet. 'Nuff Said.




    Psssst. Don't tell anyone but there a few of his works that I appreciate but don't listen to much. Mostly the "spoken" songs.
     
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  13. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    It's a natural evolution beyond free jazz and 20th Century classical music. Igor Stravinsky comes to mind. Hard to listen to at leisure or at length, but a very interesting way to get into some new sounds and possibilities. There's a certain tongue in cheek humor at play too. Like being a swing dancer/lindy hopper, you can't take yourself too seriously. Great fun. Zappa's classical composing is my favorite of his work. Much prefer it to most of his rock stuff.
     
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  14. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    That video up there of Inca Roads captures my favorite moment in time for Zappa. Ruth Underwood, George Dukes, we’re both mentored by Frank. Dukes credits Zappa with forcing him to sing, use a synth and “not be a jazz snob, loosen up and rock occasionally”... He was later known for his singing and synth work. I love the sound of that ARP Oddessy in that video. 74’ I believe and they sound amazing live.
    Frank ran a tight ship band wise. He had no tolerance for drugs or being late and fired many great musicians for both. Frank ran every aspect of his tours because he learned he couldn’t trust anyone in the business. People think he was a hippy snob. He was actually very business minded and pragmatic about fame. Record companies hated his odd time signatures and complex instrumentals. We could use another Zappa these days. Miss him.

     
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  15. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

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    Absolutely I Do! Love his work. His 80's stuff gets hit and miss, but his 60's, 70's and his orchestral stuff, fantastic!

    Who else gave us "serious" sophisticated music, that was also hilarious and absurd? His mixing of doo-wop, R&B, rock, classical, musique conrete was/is like nothing else, and there was great, truly unique guitar work thrown in as well.

    There are moments like Doreen/Goblin Girl, where at the end of Goblin Girl the vocals from Doreen are reprised, but in a different key, and it works. Doreen has some amazing vocal harmonies. Harmonies that most artists today couldn't pull of without a harmonizing device or other digital technology.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  16. stevemc

    stevemc Tele-Holic

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    frank was a unique ****er.i don't like everything but most of it is great.i get why some would be put off.middle of the road it is not.
     
  17. Gyprock

    Gyprock TDPRI Member

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    Hot Rats, Apostrophe, Overnite Sensation, Sheik Yerbouti - easy entry point to some great albums, and sick solos. Gotta love FZ
     
  18. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Great musician, crap voice and even weirder lyrics.
    I just don't get " Don't f.. with billy The Mountain".
    i just never understood the guy or what he was trying to do.
     
  19. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think at his worst Frank’s music approached or was prog.

    This is not a compliment/good thing.

    And I think his best comedy was not experienced/even heard about by his average fans.

    Yellow snow ? Yeah , whatever. How about when he’d get drunk soldiers to annihilate plastic baby dolls onstage at the height of the Vietnam war ?

    As performance art/a statement piece ? That’s funny.

    I have not listened to Frank’s most symphonic/serious work late in his career but just judging by the totality that I have heard, I think that Captain Beefheart approached, and in some ways equaled any of Frank’s work even though the good captain was working with far less in terms of musical knowledge, experience, background .
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
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  20. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Also - when I was a teenager , I thought “Shut Up And Play Your Guitar” was a good thing.

    Then I lived life, listened to a lot more music and grew up and now Couldn’t make it through a minute of that.

    I know there is a large portion of the guitar-playing crowd who views songs simply as vehicles for solos and luckily for them , Joey B came along and hopefully is helping them fill that void...
     
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