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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 8:20 pm 
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I had actually had it described to me before hearing it by my brother so knew what to expect. I heard WOIIFTM and Absolutely Free. This was about 1971 or 72.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:40 pm 
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The local AM station had a low-budget FM sister with 'underground' music and few commercials, and they would play just about anything: jazz, blues, entire albums, even some classical and serious experimental: Reich (It's Gonna Rain, Come Out), Subotnick (Sidewinder), etc. This was when Beefheart and Zappa were starting to peak.

It was great; weird lyrics and incredible rhythms I never heard before, one of the first things I recall: Ian Underwood Whips It Out: 'thud-THUD!, thud-THUD!, thud-THUD!...'

I mean, I had no idea drums could be played that way. It was like a photograph negative, except it worked. Also liked his sometimes percussive-like attack on the guitar. Steve Vai called it 'visceral', rather than virtuosic, but I'd dispute his definition of virtuosic: the sheer range of expression, styles, color, improvisation, layering, arrangement, integration into a larger whole, gadget-experimentation (in a class by itself right there), soloing and supporting and accompanying, even humor, put him in a virtuosic class of his own.

His voice was equal to any nightclub singer if he wanted to, but to him that was worth nothing to him but throw-away parody.

I heard Aaron Copeland in a CBC interview in the mid-eighties or sometime, and they asked him (this was strictly classical/serious stuff, it wasn't a general question) something like:

'Do you see any interesting new composers these days?'
'Well, I'm impressed by the work of Frank Zappa...'

I almost fell outa my chair...

Although it's impossible to put Zappa into any one slot, because of his sheer volume and variety and depth, I have to regard him as THE giant of 20th century music. He went into the rock and jazz halls of fame, having pushed those genres to the absolute limits, and on the other hand provided tons of thoroughly accessible, and simultaneously, brilliant, music in both. Serious Music? Rather than dry, abstract modern vocal experimentation, he integrated the same into the weird and hilarious:

'Whooo... could imagine... they would freak out... in Minnesota...?' 'mi mi mi mi mi....'
'Kansas' becomes an atonal musical figure to play with. I guess we could dispute how much he was playing with vocalization, and how much making a goof-ball song with a bit of social comment, the other members improvising. But to him, I think, it was all part of a whole.

How many pieces really did Glass or Reich and the minimalists do, for example, that Zappa couldn't have equalled in a few days' work?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:19 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:41 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 7:05 pm
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Location: UK
My first time was in late 79 and a buddy who was well into Zappa and Beefheart lent me about 3 of each albums,after listening to all the stuff i was quite hooked on the FZ but not so struck with the Beefheart, that next weekend went to local record shop and bought all the Zappa he had in the rack which was Joes Garage, Sheik yerbouti, Studio Tan and Orchestral Favs, and also ordered a lot of back catalog and have been an avid fan since then.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 8:29 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:40 am
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Location: Ottawa
My first real memory of being introduced to Frank Zappa's music was in grade 10 (in 1980) when my friend played Sheik Yerbouti. That's a perfect start for a teenage boy. We wore out the grooves on that one! It was good times, but it was also around the time that it was actually kinda hard to get his catalog (because of the Warner Brothers thing), unless you went the second-hand route. It was weird because over the next couple of years, some of my friends' older siblings had Overnight Sensation, Hot Rats, and Joe's Garage, so I was able to get some good exposure.

I remain a pretty dedicated fan, and can find some virtue in almost everything Uncle Frank has done.

Peter
http://prcrane.blogspot.com/


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:33 pm 
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The first Zappa I ever heard was We're Only in it for the Money. I was about thirteen, and my girlfriend's friend from the city turned us on to it.

The thing is...the record must have skipped over the part in...is it...Anal Retentive Calilope Music?...where...is it Clapton?...says "god it's god I see god!"

Of course, a few days later we were listening after we got stoned and god it's god I see god happened and we "freaked out"!


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