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Thread: Frank Zappa talking about Progressive Rock

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    Senior Member PresenTense's Avatar
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    Default Frank Zappa talking about Progressive Rock

    MTV interview1984

    Interviewer: We’re doing an hour show on progressive rock. First of all it might take us an hour to define progressive rock. Nobody seems to have been able to… Do you have a definition for it.

    Frank: Well I would say that the general definition – it’s not mine – I would presume that people would accept this definition: I would say that progressive rock is anything that doesn’t sound like regular rock. Regular rock is everything that sounds like itself. All songs that sound the same. Everything on MTV. Everything on the radio. That’s “rock.” Progressive rock is stuff that doesn’t sound like that.

    Interviewer: Some of the bands that we’re going to be highlighting in this show are Procol Harum, Traffic, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Genesis, ELP, Yes, King Crimson, Devo. Do you have any comments on any of these bands?

    Frank: Is that progressive rock?

    Interviewer: Well?

    Frank: I wouldn’t say so.

    Interviewer: You consider none of these bands progressive rock?

    Frank: Name them again.

    Interviewer: Procol Harum?
    Frank: No
    Interviewer: Traffic?
    Frank: No
    Interviewer: Pink Floyd?
    Frank: Sometimes
    Interviewer: Jethro Tull
    Frank: Sometimes
    Interviewer: Genesis
    Frank: Sometimes
    Interviewer: ELP
    Frank: Sometimes
    Interviewer: Yes
    Frank: Sometimes
    Interviewer: King Crimson
    Frank: Sometimes
    Interviewer: Devo
    Frank: No..
    Interviewer: Why?

    Frank: I wouldn’t describe them as progressive rock

    Interviewer: You?

    Frank: I wouldn’t describe myself as progressive rock either. In fact a lot of the time it’s not rock and roll at all, it just happens to be consumed by rock and roll audiences.

    Interviewer: Do you think that you as a musician have had any influence on any of the bands that we just went through?

    Frank: That’s always a possibility



    Last edited by PresenTense; Mar-06-2017 at 18:52.
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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Video has been removed due to copyright infringement.
    "When a man is treated like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm human.' When he behaves like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm only human.' " - Karl Kraus

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    You can find the whole interview on youtube by searching 'Frank Zappa - Interview - 12/8/1984 - unknown (Official)'.
    Progressive rock part starts at 5:45.

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    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    thanks Polaci (and PresentTense)
    here's the visible one:



    At 9:45 he's talking about the musicians he likes, and I can't understand the name he says between Chopin (!!! I would never said Zappa was a fan of Chopin) and Webern (and I don't know who Alan Wolf is)
    Last edited by norman bates; Mar-06-2017 at 16:28.
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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    He said Howlin' Wolf, the blues singer. He also mentioned Purcell and Stravinsky. He was pretty picky, so there may heve been a few pieces by Chopin he liked.

    He obviously wasn't too interested in discussing progressive rock. Especially with an MTV person. There are much better interviews to be found in print or video.
    Last edited by starthrower; Mar-06-2017 at 21:00.
    "When a man is treated like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm human.' When he behaves like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm only human.' " - Karl Kraus

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Frank interviewed at the airport in my hometown, August 1984. This was right after he filmed the Does Humor Belong In Music video at Jones Beach. He was here to play the New York State Fair.

    "When a man is treated like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm human.' When he behaves like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm only human.' " - Karl Kraus

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Kind of surprised at all the interest in Zappa, lol The last 15 years or so haven't been able to reconcile the lyrics with the music. When you listen to Pekka Pohjola for instance, I don't see how the interest in Zappa remains. I think Zappa has a personality that some people just really like, others are turned off by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by regenmusic View Post
    Kind of surprised at all the interest in Zappa, lol The last 15 years or so haven't been able to reconcile the lyrics with the music. When you listen to Pekka Pohjola for instance, I don't see how the interest in Zappa remains. I think Zappa has a personality that some people just really like, others are turned off by.
    Each to his own, I like Frank for his music- the Lyrics were for the most part just a novelty side shoot which are sometimes amusing and sometime not
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"
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    The best Zappa interview I remember was a 4 hour interview by Dutch Co de Kloet and Michael Fahres for Supplement on VPRO-radio broadcasted in 1990. I have it on tape somewhere. It should also be available through this link but I see it's not available at present (maybe later?): http://www.vpro.nl/speel~POMS_VPRO_2...ent-tape~.html

    Co de Kloet/MIchael Fahres have done many great interviews, so I'll share this one with Brian Eno:
    Last edited by Casebearer; Mar-07-2017 at 07:15.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Pohjola didn't care for Zappa's brand of humor!
    "When a man is treated like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm human.' When he behaves like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm only human.' " - Karl Kraus

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    I didn't see any humor. Sounds like Zappa asked him to be in his band and he said "No. Too much BS." Jobson quit for the same reason. I think a lot of people just call Zappa as they see him (or Eno if you're into spirituality and believe in God as Eno has become quite pompous about the atheism stuff of late). One of the things I do for a living is rare book sales. I live with 4000 books, and have been doing this since 1998. This gives me a healthy skepticism about modern gods.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Any strong willed musician with their own ideas will want to do their own music. But getting into Zappa's band didn't hurt anyone's career. I heard Jobson play in 2012 with John Wetton. His keyboard rig was way too loud. I really couldn't see the point of subjecting listeners to that knid of obnoxious volume.

    At any rate, I listened to Pekka's Magpie album this morning. Very good stuff! Too bad the alcohol got him.
    Last edited by starthrower; Mar-07-2017 at 21:06.
    "When a man is treated like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm human.' When he behaves like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm only human.' " - Karl Kraus

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    Quote Originally Posted by regenmusic View Post
    I didn't see any humor. Sounds like Zappa asked him to be in his band and he said "No. Too much BS." Jobson quit for the same reason. I think a lot of people just call Zappa as they see him (or Eno if you're into spirituality and believe in God as Eno has become quite pompous about the atheism stuff of late). One of the things I do for a living is rare book sales. I live with 4000 books, and have been doing this since 1998. This gives me a healthy skepticism about modern gods.
    Zappa believed in no one (except maybe Varese) and nothing was sacred to him- I think we need more of that today.
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"
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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    I would be surprised if Zappa was very familiar with the music of most of the bands he was asked about — except for the stuff it was impossible to avoid hearing — although it did occur to me long ago that The Grand Wazoo might be, in part, a parody of King Crimson's Lizard. He was busy and had lots of other music to listen to.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Zappa toured with bands such as Gentle Giant, and Mahavishnu Orchestra, so he heard the music first hand.
    "When a man is treated like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm human.' When he behaves like a beast, he says, 'After all, I'm only human.' " - Karl Kraus

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