I'm hardly a newcomer, but I'm a new to the board. I discovered Frank at age 8, but got into his music at age 11. I'm now 20, so I'm probably newer than most people here.
where you heard about him?
Since you asked, here's a piece I wrote for Pauline Butcher (author of "Freak Out! My Life with Frank Zappa") that was rejected for being 'too writerly' (whatever that means)...
"I was first acquainted with the music of Frank Zappa during Christmas shopping for my mother around the age of 8 or 9. My dad owned the Ryko two-fer from the mid 80's of "Apostrophe (')" and "Over-nite Sensation". I had been listening to, up until that point, a lot of 70's groups such as Tull, Rush, and Floyd (never was I interested in the radio!), but I could tell immediately that there was something different about Frank's music. We rode around for the day, listening to the two albums on repeat as I studied the rather menacing "Apostrophe (')" cover, as my young mind was filled with tales about Eskimos, yellow snow, mystery men, and dental floss farmers, all the while listening to the searing guitar work that accompanied the strange humor of Frank Zappa. I remember clearly being mesmerized by "Cosmik Debris" and all of the unique sound effects that accompanied the deep narration, and was later shocked to find out that they were all performed by members of his band. However, then, it had a mystery ... it was special and it was very, very different from anything I'd ever heard.
I asked my father if he had anymore Frank Zappa and he responded that he only had the "Yellow Shark" album and warned that it was 'very, very different'. I elected to stay away from it for awhile and it wasn't until November 2005 when I was about 11 that Frank's music found its way into my life again. Being fans of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab's (MFSL) version of several Tull albums, when they returned out of hibernation with a Frank Zappa album, I immediately alerted my dad. We bought the strange album, entitled "We're Only in it for the Money" and brought it home, expecting another "Apostrophe (')" / "Over-nite Sensation" style affair and to be quite honest, were both deeply disappointed by what we heard.
However, being raised in a time in which the Thrills weren't Cheap, my dad urged me to listen again and we did, this time each with headphones and I was hooked at that very moment at that second listen, to that weird album of short songs and sound effects. The ensuing Christmas season was one of the greatest I've ever had, with my father and I gifting each other Frank Zappa albums via Amazon research. He bought me "Waka / Jawaka" and "Roxy and Elsewhere" and I gifted him "Lumpy Gravy" and "Best Band You've Never Heard in Your Life" and I spent the Christmas season (my dad is notorious for giving early Christmas gifts!) absorbing "Waka / Jawaka". Slowly, but surely, we built up an entire library of Frank Zappa CD's, DVD's, and vinyl until we had every release, and we listened to the together. Zappa has the distinction of being one of the few artists that my dad and I discovered together.
The thing that makes Frank Zappa so special is that he was not a passing phase. Now that I'm 19 (approaching 20 in a week!), I have since discovered many other artists and genres since Frank, but every time I return to studying the man, I seem to uncover something new that makes it all interesting to me again. Now, with these new remasters, I've been slowly relistening to Frank's catalog, reevaluating them with my 'new' ears and matured tastes, and they seem to appeal to a different side of me. That speaks volumes to the depth of the music and the man and discovering his art so early in life has undoubtedly shaped my tastes in music and who I am.
These days, my favorite Zappa era is the early Mothers and in my opinion, they really hit it out of the park with the 1969 double album, "Uncle Meat", an album which my vinyl copy is near and dear to my heart."
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