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 Post subject: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:28 am 
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So the 80's divides some Zappa fans but I ask you people. What is Frank's best album of the 1980's? One that kicks ass from start to fucking finish. TBBYNHIYL doesn't count because it was released in 1991!

For me it would be YAWYI followed by the SUAPYG set.

Also what is it about the 80's that seemed so hit and miss with Zappa?

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:40 am 
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I like 80's Zappa, i always knew over-nite sensation, Apostrophe(') and Live In New York, my older brother had these albums at home and thats how as a 14 year old i found Zappa...

The first 80's album and the first Zappa album i brought myself was Them Or Us which i loved immediately, and from there i started collecting all his vinyl, "you are what you is" is just amazing, i also loved the vinyl version of the man from utopia, Jazz from hell was just amazing as well.. as a whole i loved his 80's output, it was of it's time and i would have hated for him to be stuck in the 70's, i think the people that don't like it were stuck in the 70's, but Zappa was always moving forward, and that's what i loved about him and that's what i love about his 80's output..

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:03 am 
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Narrow definition - Recorded in the 80's, released in the 80's. Guitar. YAWYI. Ship arriving etc. All prime Zappa. And the DHBIM EMI CD has become some kind of revelation lately.

Great 80's stuff released in the 90's: Make A Jazz Noise Here, YCDTOSA 5, disc 2. The 1982 disc of YCDTOSA 5 is possibly my favourite collection from the 80's.

There's lots of great stuff from that decade, but he was more of a vital current in contemporary music and culture in the Sixties and Seventies - it doesn't sound wrong to say Cream, Hendrix, Zappa in the same sentence, while Bon Jovi, Billy Idol, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Zappa sounds more... YUCK... but that was the context. Plus he got heavily into orchestral music and the synclavier and that blew the cohesion away from the output. How many different styles did he dabble in in 1984, for instance. And then again it's the image thing - short hair, pot belly and pink jacket - it just can't compete with the earlier hipness... Funny thing is - since around the mid-90's I've probably listened more to the 80's stuff than the earlier records. SUAPYG, Guitar, Jazz Noise, YCDTOSA 5-2 etc. First to get to grips with it, later because it's so energetic and addictive... But I am returning to the earlier stuff again, for obvious reasons...

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:54 am 
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Probably YAWYI. I think he got way too into releasing live recordings in lieu of actual studio albums. And that's just one lapse in artistic judgment in addition to embracing state of the art synthesisers, drum engineering, relying more and more on sidemen so skilled, but also so slick they could play in Toto. But his composer chops certainly sharpened. That's one heck of an irony about "Jazz from Hell": composition-wise it approaches the statistical density of Uncle Meat, but in terms of cosmetics it sounds like a Miami Vice score. Plus, he reputedly had a hearing loss (anyone care to elaborate a bit further?), made questionable remixing decisions, incl. the George Lucas-ised treatment of vintage Zappa/MOI recordings.

Moving on with the times can be a mixed bag.

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:03 am 
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While he continued honing his composition skills and guitar chops, you can look at the songs written in the respective decades and conclude that he peaked as a songwriter some time during the Seventies and never really got back. YAWYI is probably the last collection of great songs that he wrote, and many of those were already written by the end of the Seventies. He wrote some good satirical rock stuff with the Bozzio bands, which ended up on Sheik Yerbouti, but after that the songwriting went downhill, arguably with a small peak again on Broadway the Hard Way.

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:25 am 
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Best rock album would be YAWYI although if you could combine side two of Ship Arriving... with some cuts from Them Or Us you might be able to put together an equally great and more instrumentals-centered album from the later Thunes/Wackerman band.


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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:16 am 
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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:07 pm 
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According to many fans, it was over-produced. I agree, but I think the reason why was because YAWYI was the first album produced at the newly-Christened UMRK. Whereas, throughout the '60s & '70s, FZ was more than a little frustrated by the block-booking schedules of other artists at top-name studios in Metro LA. So he more than understandably decided to go hog-wild once UMRK was finally operational. And I love him for it. Not only do we get the two suites that were later perfectly executed live by the '81 band (who I think really came into their own by mid-late October) but we get the incredibly catchy title track, along with Sinister Footwear III and debut of stunt guitarist Steve Vai. And while most of FZ's '80s titles weren't as popular as his '70s or even '60s titles, not to mention most of my favourite FZ/Mothers albums came from these two other decades, he definitely produced a lot of gems in the '80s. Long live You Are What You Is...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc2mmqiO8mk

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:09 am 
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Reading back at this I feel like I was such a n00b back then. Really love his 80's output now. Currently can't stop listening to TMFU, BTHW & TOU.

YAWYI is definitely amazing but some of the songs are slightly filler. I thought Vai debuted with TTR?

Atleast according to Wikipedia it says Rhythm guitar and vocals.

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:57 am 
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Anything from the 88 tour - best band since 74 IMO

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:07 am 
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Them Or Us.

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 11:25 am 
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NuclearProstate wrote:

YAWYI is definitely amazing but some of the songs are slightly filler. I thought Vai debuted with TTR?


Vai's first recordings with Zappa were in summer 80 for YAWYI, then he joined the touring band for fall 80 when most of TTR was recorded. Confusing matters more TTR was released first.


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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:53 pm 
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Thanks for clearing that up. I knew both came out in 81 but I figured TTR was recorded late 80 and YAWYI was early 81. I suppose TTR was a faster album to throw together and release?

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:57 pm 
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well, 80s is the decade which had it's ups and downs. my favorite albums from the 80s must be YAWYI, TR, Broadway and BBYNHIYL. all the others... oh, I forgot Thing Fish, even though it's not my favorite I can listen to it. others are not that attractive to me. Them or Us neeeh, Perfect Stranger, can't stand, Make a Jazz Noise Here, sorry to say, but it's boring. those solos are too much for me to handle etc.

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:40 am 
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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:15 pm 
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DHBIM, very tight live set. YAWYI had the best collection of songs. Recently listened to TOU and it was more consistent than I remembered.

Seeing FZ at The Pier in August '84 does make me extra fond of that band...

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:39 am 
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Tinsletown Rebellion....


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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:46 pm 
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I love TOU. It used to be bottom on the top 10 Zappa albums I need and recently has moved up in the top 5. Great songs, great band, decent writing, awesome guitar work, varied and engaging.
Not too fond of Ya Hozna.

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:44 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:24 pm 
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I think I can honestly say that the '81 band is now my favourite FZ touring band. This is due to the fact that I haven't stopped listening to them in well over a month and because of the almost non-stop exceptional performances (from mid-October through until the end of the tour in mid-December), solos, setlists, segues, etc. My top 5 favourite shows are:


1981 11 17 - The Ritz, New York, NY
170 min, FM, A+/A
With Al DiMeola on guitar (*) and Brian Peters on vocals (**).
Treacherous Cretins, Montana, Easy Meat, You Are What You Is, Mudd Clubb, The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing, Dumb All Over, Heavenly Bank Account, Suicide Chump, Jumbo Go Away, Envelopes, Drowning Witch [parts on SATLTSADW], What's New In Baltimore?, Moggio, Bamboozled By Love, Sinister Footwear, Stevie's Spanking [parts as basic track on TOU], Cocaine Decisions, Nig Biz, Doreen, Goblin Girl, The Black Page (q: Smoke On The Water), Tryin' To Grow A Chin, Strictly Genteel, Clowns On Velvet* [parts as basic track on TF], Ride Like The Wind*/**, Zoot Allures [parts on Truck Driver Divorce, TOU], This Is My Story, Whipping Post, Watermelon In Easter Hay

1981 11 21 - Assembly Hall, University Of Illinois, Champaign (a.k.a. Urbana), IL
130 min, Aud, B+
Sinister Footwear, A Pound For A Brown, Drowning Witch, What's New In Baltimore? [parts on FZMTMOP], Moggio, We're Turning Again, Alien Orifice, Teenage Prostitute, Sinister Footwear, Envelopes, Stevie's Spanking, Cocaine Decisions, Nig Biz, King Kong, Sharleena, Cosmik Debris, Doreen, Goblin Girl, The Black Page, Strictly Genteel, The Illinois Enema Bandit, Brahms's Lullaby

1981 11 01 - Palladium, New York, NY
160 min, Aud/SBD, A/A-
Zoot Allures, I'm The Slime (q: Perry Mason Theme), A Pound For A Brown (q: Stayin' Alive, incl: audience participation), Cosmik Debris (q: Stayin' Alive), Montana, Easy Meat, Dumb All Over, Heavenly Bank Account, Suicide Chump, Jumbo Go Away, Envelopes, Drowning Witch, What's New In Baltimore?, Moggio, We're Turning Again, Alien Orifice, Teenage Prostitute, Sinister Footwear, Stevie's Spanking (q: Stayin' Alive), Cocaine Decisions, Nig Biz, Goblin Girl, The Black Page, Strictly Genteel, Whipping Post, Broken Hearts Are For Assholes, The Torture Never Stops (q: Stayin' Alive)

1981 12 11 - Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA
Early show
115 min, Aud/SBD, A/B+
With Nicolas Slonimsky on piano (**), Craig "Twister" Steward on harmonica (***) and Ahmet Zappa on dancing (****). And with Lisa Popeil (*).
Zoot Allures, The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou, Dumb All Over, Heavenly Bank Account, Suicide Chump, Jumbo Go Away, Envelopes [parts on SATLTSADW], Drowning Witch [parts on SATLTSADW], What's New In Baltimore?, Moggio, We're Turning Again [basic track on FZMTMOP], Alien Orifice, Teenage Prostitute* [SATLTSADW], A Pound For A Brown** (incl. Call To Post, Slonimsky's Minitude #51: Orion, Young At Heart), Lisa's Life Story* [YCDTOSA6], Broken Hearts Are For Assholes, King Kong***, Sharleena, The Closer You Are, Frogs With Dirty Little Lips**** [basic track on TOU]

1981 11 06 - Civic Center, Hartford, CT
115 min, Aud, A-/B+
Zoot Allures, Montana, Easy Meat, Cosmik Debris, A Pound For A Brown, Society Pages, I'm A Beautiful Guy, Beauty Knows No Pain, Charlie's Enormous Mouth, Fine Girl, Teenage Wind, Harder Than Your Husband, Bamboozled By Love, Sinister Footwear, Stevie's Spanking, Cocaine Decisions, Nig Biz, Drowning Witch, What's New In Baltimore?, Moggio, Strictly Genteel, Broken Hearts Are For Assholes, Whipping Post

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 1:34 am 
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I believe the UMRK was ultimately Frank's undoing. Just listen to how cramped YAWYI is. His best sound is gotten on his live records: if you take TTR, the sound of Fine Girl is horrible. It's like because he was no longer limited by studio time or tools, he started to cram too much stuff in and over-produce, which is my issue with any of the UMRK studio recordings. The YAWYI vocals suffer the most of all the UMRK records. It's the White/Willis/Zappa combination that gets very tedious, one of those singers would have sufficed.

Fave album is Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (I rank this title in the category "after such an awesome title the actual contents can only be a let-down", among the titles "10 Things I Hate About You" and "I Been In Sorrow's Kitchen And Licked Out All The Pots"). Ship was my first full Zappa album, before that I only had two compilation albums. I got to play it so many times before it got drowned in the rest of my Zappa collection.

One of the songs is Valley Girl. Valley Girl has a bad rep out here, but when I first heard it, I'd just spent the final year of my secondary school in an all-girl class, the bulk of them spoilt rotten and fitting the "valley girl" title to a T. I love improvising text that my classmates could have said over the bass line.

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:34 am 
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Yikes Bonnie. I love the vocals on YAWYI. Where they clearly had time to perfect the harmonies and so forth... There is some filler- I never liked the anti-evangelist stuff cause it got old really quickly, but Charlie's, downers, etc are great. Mud Club is shit.

Horses for courses etc

TOU is great- one of my first.
Ship less good. Of all of them this just sounds bad, to my ears.
TMFU is a rough ride for me. That vocal/guitar doubling thing doesn't make a lame song any better to listen to. Plus, I've always hated cocaine decisions. The most tedious track on the whole ycdtoa series.

As for the 88 stuff this is the least best era for me. I just prefer FZ's guitar tone from the 70's, and the brass section doesn't move me at all. The over reliance on shitty sampled noises irritates me.


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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:43 am 
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YAWYI is VERY over produced but I love that album and I think it works in it's favor. It's one I can't just listen to a few songs it has to be the whole album. Not really too fussed about Mudd Club or Any Downers but apart from that it's a great ride. Wild ride.

TMFU is awesome. Maybe in my top 10 zappa at the moment.

FZMTMOP is growing on me. I know some people really don't like We're Turning Again but I really enjoy it and listen to it often.

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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:23 am 
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I love YAWYI, especially because all the songs are segued. In fact, most of my favorite FZ albums are segued: SY, JG, AF, R&E, WOIIFTM, TBBYNHIYL, MAJNH, BTHW, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: 80's Zappa
PostPosted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:34 am 
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Only things from the 80's I have any interest in:

All of The Guitar albums, one song on Joe's (He Used to Cut the Grass), a few songs on Tinseltown, all of London Symphony, and parts of the YCDTOSA releases. I have not been able to find anything I cared for on any of the rest.

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