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Thread: Frank Zappa!

  1. #1
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Default Frank Zappa!

    I've always had this idea that Frank Zappa was an artist one can't just dabble in. And since I wasn't heretofore ready to obsess over him yet, I never listened much. Recently I've recognized this deficiency in my musical education and decided to rectify it. So I bought Strictly Commercial which came in the mail today, and I'm listening now.

    Now, I usually don't cotton to "Best Of" compilations unless I already have everything the artist has made and there are songs on the Best Of that I can't get anywhere else. But FZ's catalog was so overwhelming that I needed somewhere to start, and I decided to make an exception and buy Strictly Commercial.

    [youtube="BnZrbFL9ImM"]Peaches en Regalia[/youtube]

    Peaches En Regalia--This is my favorite so far. It's just so off the wall and bizarre while still remaining tight and clean. The arrangement is really mouth-watering, too. I read somewhere that he thought of himself as a composer, but noticed at an early age that all of the most successful composers were dead, so he channeled his talent into rock of a sort, instead of orchestral music.

    [youtube="q2wgxwdPYFE"]Don't Eat the Yellow Snow[/youtube]

    Don't Eat the Yellow Snow--My kids love this song. They especially love the part about the dog-doo snowcones.

    [youtube="7gT0VeRAGbE"]Willie the Pimp[/youtube]

    Willie the Pimp--This isn't on Strictly Commercial, but it's the reason I decided to get into FZ now. The last time I saw my brother (a long-time Zappa fan), he played this for me and we just jammed out Asheville-style to the guitar solo. Now, I must protest that I am not normally a fan of guitar solos or shredding. I think it's mostly silly. But a handful of people are allowed to solo all they like--Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and maybe a few more I can't think of right now. I had to add FZ to that list as well.

    Any Zappa fans here who can give me some pointers on what to check out next, any info about him, etc? For some reason, I am constantly reminded of Martoon when I listen, so I would love to know if you're a fan. Others too, of course.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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    Ask C.J. Woolf!

    I'm Zappa-deficient myself.

  3. #3
    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    I fell in love with Zappa after watching this!!!



    YouTube - Frank Zappa on Crossfire
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

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    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Dude, I am watching this again, and
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

  5. #5
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    He's pretty hot, no?
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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    `~~Philosoflying~~` SillySapienne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    He's pretty hot, no?
    Oh, yes he is!!!
    `
    'Cause you can't handle me...

    "A lie is a lie even if everyone believes it. The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it." - David Stevens

    "That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is."

    Veritatem dies aperit

    Ride si sapis

    Intelligentle sparkles

  7. #7
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Okay! We've established FZ was hot and smert.

    Any suggestions music-wise?
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  8. #8
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    More good stuff...

    [youtube="huazqHdbgts"]My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama[/youtube]

    I'm pretty sure the drums from this song have been sampled a thousand times before. I don't know if it's true or not but FZ characterized it as a parody of the usual "teen songs" they were up against and not getting any radio play because of. He had this to say about it:

    Quote Originally Posted by FZ
    Now we got desperate a few months ago and uh, because we thought nobody liked us. And uh, we're also pissed off at the fact that people won't play our records on the radio, and we didn't know whether or not it was 'cause our music was crappy or because somebody really knew what the words to the songs meant. So they couldn't . . . So they wouldn't take a chance. So we came to the conclusion that actually all it was was a conspiracy against the Mothers Of Invention because we're supposedly so dirty, vile and crazy and also a threat to our great nation and all that it has stood for in the past and we hope it will not continue to stand for in the future . . . However boys and girls . . . The people who run the radio stations are on the watch, you know, for our records, when they come in as soon as somebody sends a single to the radio station with our name on it they either melt it, break it, stomp on it or send it in an envelope directly back to the record company from which it came with a threatening note. But we said, "What the heck? Why can't we be just like other teen-age rock & roll bands--outside of the fact that we're all over thirty--and go and cut a single record and try and get the sucker on the radio?" So what we did was we went into a professional recording studio in New York City in the middle of the night for two nights in a row and also a Saturday afternoon for mixing and cranked out two miserable teen-age type records with words that couldn't possibly offend anybody and uh they're reasonably singable--by any group other than the Mothers Of Invention-- and uh, they're teen-age boy-girl type songs. And so they're being released this week. I would expect to be able to add these to our list of smash flops very shortly.
    Moving on!

    [youtube="7Y1X3KOVRgE"]Fine Girl[/youtube]

    So many of the innovators of the 60s and 70s got to the 80s and... well, just totally sucked. Now, for some reason FZ was super-into the "synclavier" which I can't help but find a bit cheesy, but for the most part he managed to keep it real in the 80s. I like the sly feminist undertones of this song. (FZ didn't really identify as any -ist as far as I can tell, and was an equal-opportunity offender which is my favorite kind, but he was clearly about living and letting live.) What makes a "fine girl"? Mostly being good at chores and "going down," evidently.

    Okay, next! (And last, for today)

    [youtube="_xl77Wdla6o"]I Come From Nowhere[/youtube]

    This isn't on the compilation I bought. It sounds like a parody of 80s prog rock to me. And the video, while not a FZ creation, is sublime (I especially liked the use of Don Vito as drummer). Listening to this stuff, I'm getting a vague idea of just how influential it has been on everything quirky to come after, from Weird Al to Ween to (and I have to swallow my pride here) Phish.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  9. #9
    Rats off to ya! Mort Belfry's Avatar
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    Let's turn the water black the instrumental version is one of my favs.

    Also the Muffin Man, Planet of the Baritone Women and the Slime are good.
    Why do we always come here?

    I guess we'll never know.

    It's like a kind of torture,
    To have to watch this show.

  10. #10
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    I like Muffin Man. Very bizarre.

    [youtube="KsOAYhCgXyE"]Muffin Man[/youtube]

    And another fun one:

    [youtube="hq2VtvKQoeE"]He's So Gay[/youtube]
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

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