April is National Poetry Month. Well, I missed it, so read this instead:
Pigshit by Gary Pig Gold: ZAPPA’S LIST
April 30, 2010 by Gary Pig Gold
Long before the Valley Girls, Jewish princesses, mud sharks, dental floss, yellow snow and, tragically, the cancer which claimed him in 1993, there was simply Francis Vincent Zappa, a young kid with an above-eclectic record collection who escaped the confines of Lancaster, California to arrive in Hollywood with his “rockin’ teen combo” The Mothers of Invention in 1965. His career on stage and disc thereafter caused countless unsuspecting youngsters such as myself to immediately set aside their Monkees albums in order that we could join our newest mentor upon this most adventurous of all, as it turns out, musical paths.
But exactly how did this seemingly unassuming composer/guitarist with a penchant for sinister footwear become one of the most musically and socially iconoclastic participants of the 1960s; an era seemingly awash in just such creatures? A fascinating new documentary from Sexy Intellectual, Frank Zappa: The Freak-Out List, uses the 179 names listed within the original 1966 issue of the Mothers’ debut album Freak Out! as a guide to explaining, well, why the music therein sounded the way it did.
As in, sounded like NOTHING ELSE released that year …or ever since, for that matter.
Setting aside the litany of Zappa’s friends, teachers, business associates and various showbiz personalities (such as Lenny Bruce and John Wayne) to concentrate instead on the seventy-one musical figures listed (which Frank said at the time “have contributed materially in many ways to make our music what it is; please do not hold it against them”), The Freak-Out List and its superb cast of interviewees – including three former Mothers and the University of Southampton’s Professor of Music David Nicholls – duly cite the connections between, for example, Bob Dylan and “Trouble Every Day,“ not to mention The Cadillacs and the Cruising with Ruben and the Jets album …yet I’m still not exactly sure why Frank dedicated one of Freak Out’s most alarming numbers, “Help I’m A Rock,” to Elvis Presley (though I have my theories).
(keep reading on here:frank zappa's freak out list
Labels: Frank Zappa