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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 7:37 am 
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This was originally posted to the affz board way back when Strictly Commercial was released.  A friend has been telling me of the posts against Ryko restructuring it and asked me to post the letter one mo time 'gin .... so here it is.  I did send it to Ryko.  They ignored it, except to circulate it  It is an attempt to show how vapid and wrong their marketing division was.<br><br>=========================================<br><br>RYKODISC RELEASES "STRICTLY COMMERCIAL" CD<br><br>For the first time since 1969, consumers now can enjoy [consume] the best of Frank Zappa [read -- the "most radio friendly" of Frank Zappa].<br><br>On August 22nd, Rykodisc released Strictly Commercial, the first official Zappa retrospective since 1969, featuring 75 minutes of classic material.  Encompassing 19 years of his illustrious career [barely, but concentrating on that portion of the mid-70's when he was a commercial viability].<br><br>Strictly Commercial contains such essential material as "Trouble Every Day", "I'm The Slime", "San Ber'dino", "Dancin' Fool" and 15 more of Frank's "clean" tunes.<br><br>[And it doesn't include such essential material as "King Kong, "It Can't Happen Here", "Pound For A Brown", "She Painted Up Her Face", "Inca Roads, "Titties And Beer", "The Purple Lagoon", "Brown Shoes Don't Make It", "Little House I Used To Live In", "Bogus Pomp", "Black Napkins", "Ship Ahoy", "While You Were Out", etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum ad astra forever and ever with zero my hero how wonderful you are and the list goes on and on, most of which don't have any words at all and are therefore as clean as you please.]<br><br>The new CD features single versions of 3 songs (never before available on CD) [because they were originally intended for a recording format that is now obsolete to us -- the 7" 45 rpm vinyl record, which a lot of you have never even seen] -- Don't Eat The Yellow Snow (containing an edit of Nanook Rubs It) [and Yellow Snow is considerably chopped up, as well], Montana [which is missing the guitar solo], and the classic Joe's Garage [which chartbusted radio all the way to Bognor Regis, replacing the Mudshark in your mythology].<br><br>As with any [radio oriented] compilation disc, there is always things that should have been on that aren't, and vice-versa.  [There *are* things, goddammit.  Didn't you pay attention in English class?  Ignorance of your native language is not considered cool.]<br><br>However in the case of Strictly Commercial, there isn't a lot of "clean" material that was left off [other than every instrumental in his catalog, because as we all know Frank Zappa was this dirty old fucker who liked to shit on a stage and make music fart -- he had no class and no talent because he said "fuck" freely like any other word].<br><br>The biggest highlights of his musical career -- Dirty Love [oh, man it took me four months to learn to play the changes to this one!], Cosmik Debris [rereleased here for the umpteenth gazillionth time], and Muffin Man [1/5 of which is Frank introducing his wonderful bunch of sidemen for that particular month] -- are all here [These are the only tunes that we thought were highlights because after all they sound like ordinary rock music.  The rest of his catalog doesn't, so therefore it's the most godawful, boring, ear-wrenching crap you've ever heard in your life, so we're going to keep that away from you] along with many others [that aren't particularly memorable to those who worship the radio dial].<br><br>The CD also includes two instrumentals -- the classic "Peaches En Regalia" & "Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace" from the Guitar album [included because we couldn't be bothered to actually listen to 4.5 hours worth of Frank noodling on the guitar to pick out what might actually be transcendant; we just wanted to make a few fuckin' bucks -- we can't even remember which album "Peaches En Regalia" came from.]<br><br>It would have been nice to include Black Napkins instead of say, Be In My Video or Fine Girl [because we're not giving you the option of hearing it without searching through every disc in the catalog], but overall, Strictly Commercial will do a fine job of introducing [schlepping] new fans [check-mailing nincompoops] to the rock side of Frank Zappa [whilst furthering the notion that Zappa was nothing more than a rock 'n' roll freakshow].<br><br>=========================================<br><br>This included the kind suggestion of packaging a box set at a loss leader price with minimal information other than what song the album is from, with at least one track from all of his LP's, with a nod to every style being represented in some way.   Maybe this letter is where that "Cheep Thrills" crap came from.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 8:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 6:13 pm
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Aren't you being a bit too critical of Ryko? I mean, talk about over sensitive, I have that cd and it comes off as more of an 'easy' listening Zappa album than a patronization of a classical composer. And I have found both the Cheep Thrills and the SC comps to be very helpful when first getting into Zappa. True, they may contain some of the more trivial aspects of his catalog but all in all it is a useful guideline to his various musical directions albeit nothing synclavier or classical (on SC) but plenty of doo-wop, jazz, rock, satire and anything else under the sun.<br>Now, I hate compilations but I also hate people who are over critical about something, I mean, what is music?<br>Enertainment, right?<br>And the one thing I can say is that Strictly.... is about the only Zappa album that appeals to friends, adults and kids. They may never realize musical complexity, conceptual continuity or anything off of Lumpy Gravy but they would had someone tried ramming it down their throats! So if they can have fun simply listening to music why should you be against that?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 9:11 am 
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Well, no.  <br><br>I was asked to post this and signed on specifically to post it.   I wasn't going to post it at all because I generally have outgrown forums.  My friend who asked me to post it thought it was funny the first time around, and it is for him.  He thought it would be even funnier in the light of the recent threads (before the Makeover) bashing Ryko, much in this manner.<br><br>I saw this BIG HOOPLA about this compilation after Frank had died.  I thought that was pretty distasteful.<br><br>The sticking to basically ONE facet of Frank's music and calling it "The Best" struck me as dishonest.  I thought "well, who the hell are you to call this the best?"  (or the cleanest, or what have you). <br><br>The bit about music farting struck me odd too .... I never heard Frank's music fart.  I always heard music, period.  Nothing gastric about it.  I suppose if it eats cabbage it would fart, but as far as I know Frank's music doesn't eat anything.<br><br>In general, I kinda felt insulted as a consumer that this album exists.<br><br>In short, this seemed to be an album where someone at Ryko said "let's put together a compilation of Frank's and move this huge catalog" and then the morgue files came out and represented Frank as though they were *gospel.*  So I thought I'd poke fun at it and attempt to show what the corpspeak *really* meant -- just in case you couldn't tell.<br><br>And if I'd never heard of Zappa this *wouldn't* have turned me on to him to the point I am now.  I caught on around the time of "Dancin' Fool."  I thought it was cute, but it took the second side of Studio Tan to convert me.   The number one Zappa fan making album so far is "Make A Jazz Noise Here", at least with my friends (maybe it's the quality of my friendships).   I just play it as incidental music and people ask what it is when it's on.  That works much better than cramming your musical taste down someone's throat (which no one would take from me because Zappa is almost the only pop music I listen to anymore, preferring Sun Ra, Diamanda Galas, Byg/Actuel, and all sorts of Fire Music as something to call Good, Interesting Music).  Music is very important to me but I rarely talk about favorite music to anyone other than my closest friends.<br><br>And if someone gets their jollies listening to Strictly Commercial, hey more power to them.  I think it plays guts frisbee really really well.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2002 6:13 pm
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It sounds reasonable when explained, when I first read it I found it a bit too negative (still do) but can understand how Ryko is milking the best-ofs  waaayyy too much with the current comp. series, I hope I didn't come off as attacking, sorry if I did. I'm just really tired of hearing hard core fanatics getting huffy about Frank's music, taking it way too serious and ruining it for everyone else and although I still find your response to the first comp. to be unjustified I could see an equal response for the upcoming series. Plus, are best-ofs really for the hard core fans anyway? <br>Peace.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2002 7:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 27, 2002 7:06 pm
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No offence taken ..... it was intended to slap Ryko in the face at the time (the context of time is very important to this one).<br><br>However normally I don't post to forums so this one's a rare treat.


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