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Frank Zappa: Remembering The Eccentric Genius

January 29th, 2012 by Michael Tabor
When I was a teenager and I was just discovering Rock N’ Roll (1975), I stumbled upon a performing artist who actually frightened me. No one told me about him, I just happened to find this “really cool “album cover under “Z” at my favorite record store, Mr. Mucks in Wayne, NJ (loved that little haven of hymn, harmony, and heavy metal). Yes not knowing what to expect I purchased my first avant- guarde album called Weasels Ripped My Flesh by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Before actually playing the record, I perused the titles of the songs: ‘Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask’, Toads of the Short Forest, My Guitar Wants to Kill your Mama, Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula ‘ – What is this I said to myself ? Well I played about half of the first side of the album and that was enough for me; my 13-year old little brain was incapable of comprehending this cacophony of cryptic chaos. Before disposing the album for good, I took a look at the picture of Frank Zappa and it sent shivers throughout my body and I very vividly remember thinking – this is the work of the devil; Frank Zappa is Satan incarnate.
Well, I was simply too young to listen to Zappa and I didn’t even bother to discuss my having listened to this, this – whatever it was and I instinctively deposited my listening experience to my subconscious not to be retrieved again until MTV came along and Mr. Zappa released  a song in 1982 entitled ‘Valley Girl’ which featured his daughter, “Moon Unit Zappa.”This tune actually was a big hit in the 80’s and Frank Zappa was actually nominated for a Grammy award coming in at #32 on the Billboard charts
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=489pO9q8guA. No I was older – 18, in college and I no longer thought Mr. Zappa was the devil, and I actually liked his music in small doses – here and there. Love or hate him, no one can deny his musical mastery of the guitar and the laundry list of his other extraordinary talents. Frank Zappa was the quintessential modernist, satirist, and one of the world’s most creative and unique cult heroes this country has ever seen.

Frank Zappa has been dead for almost two decades (to be precise, he died December 4, 1993) and if you listen to Frank (his music or interviews) on YouTube you will see he is far from being dated. In fact Frank is more edgy than any performer today – Lady GaGa is outrageous ? Please ! Frank Zappa’s music is not only fresh, his range is simply unparalleled  – from Arabic to jazz, blues and classical chamber music. I can write several volumes on Frank Zappa inasmuch as he was a workaholic (released 60 albums – when did he sleep ?) and he simply eked out a super-abundance of material in his short 52 years of life. As you know WhaDaWeThink is not a site for comprehensive biography so let me just leave you with some fun facts about frank and some cool YouTube Links:
Check out this video of Frank Zappa playing the bicycle (literally) on the Steve Allen Show in 1963. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9P2V0_p6vE
See what I mean, Frank was nuts; his idea of music is as he once said “is just the art of collecting and organizing sounds. “

Frank loved chemistry and he loved making explosives and blowing things up. (No Frank blew things up, not people. Frank was really a very nice man. )

Zappa had four children & he named them – Moon Unit, Dweezil, Emuukha Rodan, and last but not least Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen.

Frank was a strong advocate of The First Amendment and abhorred censorship of any kind.

Frank was a prodigiously articulate and eloquent speaker. He appeared before the Senate regarding the PMRC (Parents, Music Resource Center, which was an organization run by Tipper Gore aimed at censoring music) and persuasively argued his case. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxB-ZePpS7E
If you see any video of Frank Zappa being interviewed on video -take the time to watch it! If you think Howard Stern is shocking, compelling, and interesting  – well trust me he’s better.

This is a follow up to the previous bullet: Frank Zappa’s words (interviews) were better than his actual music – lol.

So WhaDaYaThink ? What do you Think ? There are several biographies on Frank Zappa and he’s all over the web if you look for him. I haven’t even scratched the surface so if you want to be entertained, click onto anything featuring Frank Zappa.
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One Response to “Frank Zappa: Remembering The Eccentric Genius”

  1. Eccentric genius | Trueconviction Says:

    […] Frank Zappa: Remembering The Eccentric Genius | Whada we think … […]

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