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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Sat Dec 21, 2013 10:19 pm 
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My favorite is the synclavier stuff. Beat the reaper, dio FA, feeding the monkeys at ma maison, (song) buffalo voice, I love it, so intense. I don't classify it as an era though I just group it separately as I do the classical stuff. As above, as far as lineup era Zappa goes 78-80 for me. But back to the topic, I live all of joes garage but disc II is more appealing to me. And for some odd reason little green Rosetta I just find it so entertaining.

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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:58 am 
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I hope it's not inappropriate to dig up an old thread around here, but I figured it was better than starting a new one about the same topic.

I loooooove Joe's Garage and although there are other songs and compositions that I like better than any single piece on this album, the album as a whole is my favorite of all Zappa stuff, and it's the one I try to "recruit" people into Zappa's music with most of the time, heh.

I don't know how many of you have ever bothered to listen to this album on a serious stereo setup, but it's DEEP. It has a lot of things going on simultaneously, more so I think than most of his albums, and it's obvious he spent a lot of studio time polishing the thing up. The point is you're going to hear something new in it every time you listen to it, and I've been frequently listening to it since 1983.

I'd also point out that the overall tone of the thing is markedly different from anything he did before or after. I can't explain it but it's like different instruments and effects were used on this album that didn't sound like anything he'd used on any other albums. I suppose Act III sounds a bit more like later stuff, but certainly I and II are unique. Also certainly his narrative role is unique! The Central Scrutinizer stuff is pretty hilarious.

The drumming is superb on this album and although I've only heard around half of Zappa's complete catalog, I haven't heard drumming on any other albums that really tops it. I seem to remember Zappa saying that Vinny was his favorite drummer. I realize this album was manufactured in a studio so that probably helped matters a bit, but you gotta give it up for the guy.

The xenochrony stuff I didn't learn about until years later and only recently listened to Occam's Razor (is there a complete performance of that available?). But even knowing that, the guitar solos still seem to fit together so seamlessly to the rest of the music that it doesn't even cross my mind while I'm listening to it.

Its overall "message", if there really is one, is also a timeless one: a government can pass laws that make the ordinary citizen (or racial or religious or ethnic group) a de facto criminal and can control a population in this manner. It's something that's happened plenty of times in our past and what we need to be watchful of in our future.

Although the album is presented as a cheesy high school musical type thing, there are a lot of dark undertones in the music and the subject matter. I dare say some of it even sounds like "serious" music. Take for example the aforementioned solo "Toad-O Line". The "Occam's Razor" solo ripped from Inca Roads sounds almost whimsical -- but he set it to an A-minor bass line and suddenly it sounds rather sinister. It wasn't much later that Zappa was really waste-deep into politics and I wonder if his obsession in that area started around the time he made this album. I know CNN helped later. I'm just saying that he seemed to be more cynical and pessimistic later in life and more of his music seemed to reflect that. The Reagan administration probably didn't help matters any.

I was always disappointed that the live versions of Keep It Greasy (that I've ever heard / watched) never had the complex rhythms present in the studio version. Anyone know of a live performance that sounds like it does on the album?

And just so as not to start a new thread, does anyone know why Frank later started constantly playing everything in Reggae style?

P.S. I forgot to mention that I also consider this the best studio album I've ever heard from anyone.


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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:58 am 
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McMick wrote:
I hope it's not inappropriate to dig up an old thread around here, but I figured it was better than starting a new one about the same topic.


Hi McMick,

It is absolutely okay to dig up old threads; feel free to dig away! Mr. Nice Guy will be very happy you didn't start a new thread.

McMick wrote:
I don't know how many of you have ever bothered to listen to this album on a serious stereo setup, but it's DEEP.


This is the Zappa forum. We have. :)

McMick wrote:
I loooooove Joe's Garage and although there are other songs and compositions that I like better than any single piece on this album, the album as a whole is my favorite of all Zappa stuff, and it's the one I try to "recruit" people into Zappa's music with most of the time, heh.

I don't know how many of you have ever bothered to listen to this album on a serious stereo setup, but it's DEEP. It has a lot of things going on simultaneously, more so I think than most of his albums, and it's obvious he spent a lot of studio time polishing the thing up. The point is you're going to hear something new in it every time you listen to it, and I've been frequently listening to it since 1983.

I'd also point out that the overall tone of the thing is markedly different from anything he did before or after. I can't explain it but it's like different instruments and effects were used on this album that didn't sound like anything he'd used on any other albums. I suppose Act III sounds a bit more like later stuff, but certainly I and II are unique. Also certainly his narrative role is unique! The Central Scrutinizer stuff is pretty hilarious.

The drumming is superb on this album and although I've only heard around half of Zappa's complete catalog, I haven't heard drumming on any other albums that really tops it. I seem to remember Zappa saying that Vinny was his favorite drummer. I realize this album was manufactured in a studio so that probably helped matters a bit, but you gotta give it up for the guy.

The xenochrony stuff I didn't learn about until years later and only recently listened to Occam's Razor (is there a complete performance of that available?). But even knowing that, the guitar solos still seem to fit together so seamlessly to the rest of the music that it doesn't even cross my mind while I'm listening to it.

Its overall "message", if there really is one, is also a timeless one: a government can pass laws that make the ordinary citizen (or racial or religious or ethnic group) a de facto criminal and can control a population in this manner. It's something that's happened plenty of times in our past and what we need to be watchful of in our future.

Although the album is presented as a cheesy high school musical type thing, there are a lot of dark undertones in the music and the subject matter. I dare say some of it even sounds like "serious" music. Take for example the aforementioned solo "Toad-O Line". The "Occam's Razor" solo ripped from Inca Roads sounds almost whimsical -- but he set it to an A-minor bass line and suddenly it sounds rather sinister. It wasn't much later that Zappa was really waste-deep into politics and I wonder if his obsession in that area started around the time he made this album. I know CNN helped later. I'm just saying that he seemed to be more cynical and pessimistic later in life and more of his music seemed to reflect that. The Reagan administration probably didn't help matters any.

I was always disappointed that the live versions of Keep It Greasy (that I've ever heard / watched) never had the complex rhythms present in the studio version. Anyone know of a live performance that sounds like it does on the album?

And just so as not to start a new thread, does anyone know why Frank later started constantly playing everything in Reggae style?

P.S. I forgot to mention that I also consider this the best studio album I've ever heard from anyone.


Nice take, McMick. While I admittedly don't listen to JG much these days, reading your post makes me want to dig it out and give it a spin. Might do it this week, or even today. Yes Vinnie is killer. Frank had many gifted drummers over the years and hopefully you'll come to appreciate them all. My current "favorite" is Ralph Humphrey. As for your Occam's Razor and Keep It Greasy questions, I don't know the answers and defer you to other forum members who are knowledgeable in this area (and there are many). At any rate, welcome! I for one will be interested to hear your thoughts on any of FZ's music. 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:53 pm 
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McMick wrote:

I was always disappointed that the live versions of Keep It Greasy (that I've ever heard / watched) never had the complex rhythms present in the studio version. Anyone know of a live performance that sounds like it does on the album?


Not by Frank's bands. Project Object have done it. I don't know whether Zappa Plays Zappa or any other bands have tried it.

"Occam's Razor" is the complete solo from "Inca Roads" 3/21/79. The full version of "Inca Roads" from that show is only available on an audience tape, if that's what you're asking.


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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:20 pm 
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McMick wrote:

And just so as not to start a new thread, does anyone know why Frank later started constantly playing everything in Reggae style?


I guess he just liked it (maybe bored with the rock rhythm feel).


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 Post subject: Re: reggae
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:37 pm 
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McMick wrote:
And just so as not to start a new thread, does anyone know why Frank later started constantly playing everything in Reggae style?
pbuzby wrote:
I guess he just liked it (maybe bored with the rock rhythm feel).
frank zappa wrote:
reggae is a ventilated rhythm. if you're going to play a solo with a lot of notes in it and your rhythm accompaniment has a lot of notes in it, then it neutralizes it. I find it more intriguing to play to a reggae background with jagged pulses and big holes in it - there's blank space, whereas the least comfortable thing for me to play to would he something like a fast james brown band. I wouldn't know what the fuck to do with that.

link right here

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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:50 pm 
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I hadn't listened to this album in awhile as well, so I decided to last night while walking the Seawall in Stanley Park.

And it's not only one of his 10 best albums, but the I totally agree with McMick in that the recording is very unique, especially in terms of instrumentation and the clarity of FZ's guitar tone. He just seamlessly xenochronized '79 tour solos from songs like City Of Tiny Lights into Keep It Greasey & Outside Now & Inca Roads into On The Bus & the opening solo from another show into He Used To Cut The Grass so well, that if you didn't already know, you probably would've thought they were initially part of those songs to begin with. Joe's Garage essentially has all the Zappaesque ingredients you're looking for: uniquely solid song structures, musicianship, arrangements, humour, innovative recording techniques, etc. And then once you realize it was released nearly 36 years ago, it simply blows the mind!

You could even argue that if you don't own this album, you can't really consider yourself a true Zappa fan...

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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:12 pm 
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Disco Boy wrote:
You could even argue that if you don't own this album, you can't really consider yourself a true Zappa fan...

I suppose you could argue that. But the music, lyrical content and overall aesthetic impression of Joe's Garage differ enough from earlier works that it's understandable that someone could love Uncle Meat, The Grand Wazoo, Roxy & Elsewhere, One Size Fits All etc and not get much out of Joe's Garage. I for one don't dislike it, but I don't listen to it much, either. I really enjoy some tracks, like the long, scary Keep It Greasy, but rarely sit down to listen to the whole thing. Would have loved to see a genial theatrical production of it, though!

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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:10 am 
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Disco Boy wrote:
I hadn't listened to this album in awhile as well, so I decided to last night while walking the Seawall in Stanley Park.

And it's not only one of his 10 best albums, but the I totally agree with McMick in that the recording is very unique, especially in terms of instrumentation and the clarity of FZ's guitar tone. He just seamlessly xenochronized '79 tour solos from songs like City Of Tiny Lights into Keep It Greasey & Outside Now & Inca Roads into On The Bus & the opening solo from another show into He Used To Cut The Grass so well, that if you didn't already know, you probably would've thought they were initially part of those songs to begin with. Joe's Garage essentially has all the Zappaesque ingredients you're looking for: uniquely solid song structures, musicianship, arrangements, humour, innovative recording techniques, etc. And then once you realize it was released nearly 36 years ago, it simply blows the mind!

You could even argue that if you don't own this album, you can't really consider yourself a true Zappa fan...


Hey I listened to it for a couple years before reading about the "ampex guitar" when i SUNPYG was released, then realizing what had been done. For a while, I would fantasize about what it would be like to be in the studio while he played these amazing solos....

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 Post subject: Re: Joes Garage
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:44 pm 
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Joe's Garage has not only great guitar solos, but also great background tracks to them.


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