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Thread: Do you enjoy Frank Zappa?

  1. #31
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Yes I do! I have over 20 albums on my shelf and I even saw him live back in 1988, in my last year of high-school. Last week I got his new 73 Halloween box in the mail. EXPENSIVE...It had a Zappa Halloween outfit, mask and green gloves. I wanted to teach my music-class dressed up, but the students had an alternative day, working for charity (Norwegian tradition 31/10). My favorite albums are Roxy & Elsewhere and The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life. I saw Dweezil some years ago, playing Dad's guitar (the pimped up SG). I always felt mr. Zappa was a bit underrated as a guitar player...
    ZAPPAAAAA!!!

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  3. #32
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    I enjoy Zappa's music a lot. His bands were fantastic and he was a talented composer. Here's why he was never one of my favorites: Cynicism and his brand of social satire are cheap, craven, and, in the end, tiresome. If one never has the balls to sincerely express ones thoughts through words, go instrumental — "Shut up and play yer guitar!" He was stuck between two worlds and couldn't commit to either. Also, his second guitarists were always better players than he was, Vai and Belew in particular, but we never got to hear enough of them. Zappa recorded some amazing solos, but there is way too much drivel and sloppy playing (live) for my tastes. I'll always enjoy his work in small doses. Greggery Peccary is a particular favorite.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Nov-06-2019 at 14:27.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
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  5. #33
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    It was his band, and as good as Belew, and Vai are, I would still rather listen to Frank solo. I don't buy Zappa records to listen other guitar players soloing. And Steve Vai? He's a great guy but I don't like his music. Zappa hired him to play ensemble parts and he was great for that. If the other guys were "better" than Frank that's proof that he knows talent when he hears it. Sqeaky clean perfect rock guitar playing is pretty darn boring. That's what we had in the 80s and I'm glad it's over with. I don't believe the sloppy accusation is valid. What ends up on the records is what counts. And FZ" stuff sounds great!

    The point is he loved all of kinds of music which included rock and modern orchestral. He could do both and he had an audience so he didn't need to choose. Should be have gone the "serious" composer route and spent his life dealing with the elites in the classical music business? Lots of politics and backstabbing in that world. Just ask Simon Rattle. To his credit, Alfred Brendel wrote a letter to the press defending him when members of the Berlin Philharmonic were trying to force Rattle out. But they changed their tune and are now showing him some respect.
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  6. #34
    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod View Post
    'Class' - this old chestnut.

    Never mind. I enjoy FZ and The Mothers of Invention. I enjoyed him live in 1982 (or was it 1981?). I have five albums - Lumpy Gravy, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Uncle Meat, We're Only In It For The Money, Tinseltown Rebellion, but have previously owned 3/4 more (Grand Wazoo, Joe's Garage Pts 1 and 2... ).

    I like the satirical lyrics, the unusual treatments and time signatures, the humour, the quality of the musicianship. I dislike that he revisited some of his compositions so often, some of the more sexual/scatological story lines, his guitar solos.



    I can't disagree with your examples of National Health for example, or Bruford, but we who still like Zappa don't need to be patronised with the implication that we haven't gown up yet, thanks.
    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that. I've liked Zappa and read one of the books he wrote (or only book) just about 8 years ago. Early Mothers is more interesting and is the last music of his that I really liked. Talking about music is often harsh work and it's hard to use exactly the right words sometimes. It was easy enough for me to like Zappa like a lot of people, I just don't feel the draw anymore and tried to put that in words.
    Last edited by regenmusic; Nov-07-2019 at 00:02.

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  8. #35
    Senior Member Captainnumber36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regenmusic View Post
    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that. I've liked Zappa and read one of the books he wrote (or only book) just about 8 years ago. Early Mothers is more interesting and is the last music of his that I really liked. Talking about music is often harsh work and it's hard to use exactly the right words sometimes. It was easy enough for me to like Zappa like a lot of people, I just don't feel the draw anymore and tried to put that in words.
    I think it's ok to say you feel you grew out of it. Mac may just be being overly defensive about it, but I don't think you meant it in an arrogant way, and intention means everything.
    Last edited by Captainnumber36; Nov-07-2019 at 04:46.

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  10. #36
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    It was his band, and as good as Belew, and Vai are, I would still rather listen to Frank solo. I don't buy Zappa records to listen other guitar players soloing. And Steve Vai? He's a great guy but I don't like his music. Zappa hired him to play ensemble parts and he was great for that. If the other guys were "better" than Frank that's proof that he knows talent when he hears it. Sqeaky clean perfect rock guitar playing is pretty darn boring. That's what we had in the 80s and I'm glad it's over with. I don't believe the sloppy accusation is valid. What ends up on the records is what counts. And FZ" stuff sounds great!

    The point is he loved all of kinds of music which included rock and modern orchestral. He could do both and he had an audience so he didn't need to choose. Should be have gone the "serious" composer route and spent his life dealing with the elites in the classical music business? Lots of politics and backstabbing in that world. Just ask Simon Rattle. To his credit, Alfred Brendel wrote a letter to the press defending him when members of the Berlin Philharmonic were trying to force Rattle out. But they changed their tune and are now showing him some respect.
    No. As I said, I just find the ironic stance kind of cheap and unappealing. I like the music — well, some of it — a lot. He had a great eye for talent.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Nov-07-2019 at 04:57.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

  11. #37
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with some of what has been said here. Zappa was undoubtedly a skilled musician, and I can enjoy much of his music, but his lyrics and musical personality are generally turn offs for me. He occasionally succeeds at being insightful in a hilarious way, but I have a difficult time getting much fulfillment out of music or art that seems too afraid or hesitant to ever attempt to be 'deep' or 'serious'.

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  13. #38
    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by regenmusic View Post
    Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that. I've liked Zappa and read one of the books he wrote (or only book) just about 8 years ago. Early Mothers is more interesting and is the last music of his that I really liked. Talking about music is often harsh work and it's hard to use exactly the right words sometimes. It was easy enough for me to like Zappa like a lot of people, I just don't feel the draw anymore and tried to put that in words.
    Thanks. In one sense I've "grown out of" all the music that I listened to when I first started my own collection. I bought my first three albums when I was about 11, though not my first 'second' album (that is, by the same artist) until I was 15. At that time, I would have said I had 'grown out of' that artist, but it was really only that I didn't listen to them any more as I gravitated towards others things. This process has repeated itself many times, and I've often got rid of the albums I no longer listen to. However, I'm increasingly reluctant to let my vinyl/CDs go just because I've not listened to them in ages. What I now realise is that my musical preferences are not just about what I listen to now, but what I have listened to, enjoyed and valued over time.

    Consequently, though I've not listened to any of the Mothers/Zappa I own for ages - maybe a year or more - their works remain a part of my musical journey.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

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  15. #39
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    . I like the music — well, some of it — a lot.
    That's the main thing! I like guitarists with a personal sound like FZ, and I enjoy great ensemble playing. The lyrics were more interesting in the early days. Once he gained a certain amount of popularity and started playing arena tours, things changed.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

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  17. #40
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    That's the main thing! I like guitarists with a personal sound like FZ, and I enjoy great ensemble playing. The lyrics were more interesting in the early days. Once he gained a certain amount of popularity and started playing arena tours, things changed.
    I do not like some of Zappa's earlier fuzzed-out solos, when he was using a Pignose, etc.

    I like it later, after Dweezil convinced him to get a rack.

    I even like the sound of that Switchmaster better than the fuzzy stuff.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Nov-07-2019 at 16:31.

  18. #41
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    That's the main thing! I like guitarists with a personal sound like FZ, and I enjoy great ensemble playing. The lyrics were more interesting in the early days. Once he gained a certain amount of popularity and started playing arena tours, things changed.
    My favorite FZ band to watch is the One Size Fits All ensemble, especially the LA TV performance that's the basis of that album. Some of Zappa's solos are sheer genius and they always reflect a strong musical personality. Even a "simple" blues solo like that on Cosmik Debris is like no on else's blues. And his genius for parody is wonderful too. I took Inca Roads as a parody of the Return to Forever band, although I'm not sure anyone else would agree with that. To this day I laugh every time I hear it. And those lyrics I never tire of.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Nov-07-2019 at 17:32.

    What greater comfort does time afford than the objects of terror re-encountered and their fraudulence exposed in the flash of reason?
    — William Gaddis, The Recognitions

    Originality is a device untalented people use to impress other untalented people and to protect themselves from talented people.
    Basil Valentine

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  20. #42
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Yeah, that broadcast is great to listen to and watch. His guitar tone is so good on that show. His weird, Indian influenced phrasing makes the blues solos sound more exotic. There's a scorching blues workout on the lead off track from the One Shot Deal CD. It's called Bathtub Man. A comical number with Duke, and Nappy Brock.
    Short-term thinkers are rewarded with reelection, while those who dare to take seriously our responsibility to future generations commonly find themselves out of office.

    - Marcia Bjornerud, Geologist

  21. #43
    Senior Member Varick's Avatar
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    No doubt FZ was interesting. I have always categorized his music in three ways. 1. Brilliant 2. Funny or 3. Just plain crap/nonsense. Maybe throw "pretentious" into that third category.

    His talent is unmistakable and I do believe he is one of the most underrated guitarists of all time (Put Alex Lifeson & Prince into that "underrated" category as well). I mean underrated in the "general Public" sense. Musicians know how great these guitarists were/are. I thought the comment that FZ was stuck between two worlds but not comfortable in either was excellent.

    I have a lot of respect for much of his work and who he was, but didn't like everything he did.

    V
    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

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