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Added: February 4th, 2013 in Questions
On Feb 3, 2013, at 12:48 PM, Christopher Slitor wrote:
Dear Gail and Zappa Family and helpers,
This is really not a question, just a message, to be put up in your FAQs or in a comments category. Consider it a SALUTE to the legacy of Frank Zappa and good wishes to all of you
The first time I heard the Mothers of Invention was in 1968, on a hot July afternoon, in an un-air-conditioned second story room of my teenage friend, Dave. He had just purchased We’re Only In It for the Money, at Zayre’s record bin, for the sum of about $3.47. The cover was obviously a satire on SGT PEPPER by the Beatles.
The music and the socio-political lyricism blew us teenage boys away! Both of us became hooked on Frank Zappa’s clever arrangements, unique musical style, his cynical but funny satire. It inspired my buddy Dave to become a guitarist. Even though he became an electrical engineering professor, he does excellent college town bar room rock n roll music with other talented local musicians. They even won a state battle of the bands contest, but they did not secure a record contract. Thus, they stuck with their day jobs.
Frank was born in Baltimore. The great columnist and political pundit H L Mencken was known as the Sage of Baltimore, at least until some of his commentary, post-posthumously, was adjudged too Politically Incorrect and offensive. All I can say about HLM is that he managed to offend everybody, equally, of every race, creed and color. His sarcastic and biting commentary was not always easy to handle or endure. It was his stock in trade. Frank Zappa was the other Sage of Baltimore.
Later, from 1969-82, I purchased various FZ and MOI albums of my own, including Mothermania, Ruben and the Jets, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Uncle Meat, Joe’s Garage. FZ’s prolific output outpaced my ability to buy his albums. Usually, as people get beyond their teenage and college years, they spent less and less time and money on record albums, CDs, etc.
When I heard that Frank Zappa died in 1993, I was very sad. I felt that a huge, under-served batch of sentient beings were having their fix of political-music satire laid to rest, that a sincere-controversial proponent for artistic freedom had been quelched.
I felt that no one could equal the quality of Frank Zappa. He was a terrific artist with an indefatigable energy. As the years passed, I learned a lot more about music. Frank Zappa and Brian Wilson inspired me to teach myself music theory, in my mid-50s. I am now composing little ditties of my own, but do not pursue it as a day job. The greatest message of Frank Zappa was to be ACTIVE, to make your own opportunity, make your OWN DOOR when “opportunity” doesn’t knock. Take your musical-political-satirical desires and give them VOICE, by whatever means at your disposal. Get busy, be disciplined and bring your dreams to life. Frank wasn’t perfect, but he was FUNNY, a bit eccentric, and his human-ness showed threw his often iconoclastic displays. I salute FZ, will always remember him, and have learned great lessons from this self-made, hard-working genius.
FZ was a huge inspiration to millions of people. Dweezil is a superb guitarist and musician, and he is helping preserve and expound-expand upon father Frank’s great work. I regret never having seen Frank Zappa in concert. Maybe the wife and I will try to see Dweezil and his gang next time they tour in the Washington, DC metro area.
To Gail, Dweezil, Moon, Diva, Ahmet, and other family and Family Trust folks, carry on this fine legacy, build upon it, and may more folks join you in continuing the essence and most positive aspects of Frank Zappa’s artistic mission.
Very Kindest Regards,
Thank you so very much for sharing your sentiments with us. It is always appreciated, especially when one’s voice is so obviously sincere and well-considered.
And by the way, I know where you are coming from in so many ways. Apart from my father being buried in Arlington National Cemetery, I spent 2 of my high school years at Falls Church and Jeb Stuart, respectively and for a time lived on John Marshall Drive in Arlington.
Thanks on behalf of my family, Kit.