― Britain's Obtusest Shepherd (Alan), Friday, 14 October 2005 06:22 (twelve years ago) Permalink
from pov of "cackling crack," my dad was there and assured me that even then it was viewed with carpetbagging suspicion, precisely because it landed right in the middle of possibly the most happily extended period of mainstream experimental weirdness/cohabitation in pop - in other words you had this whole STREAM of fuck-what's-going-on-here records arriving week after week, from revolver to pet sounds to aftermath to ammmusic to heliocentric to tauhid to globe unity to a quick one to blonde on blonde + the esp stuff was only just coming through to britain + lamonte y & reich was just starting to get noticed + etc. etc., thus freak out was subjected to the "anyone who says they're mad" isn't meme. whereas vu + nico seven months later was bought by nobody, but the nobodies who bought it (incl my dad) thought, ok this is crackerbarrel warholian carpetbagging, but of a higher order. obv it was unplayed on mainstream '66 uk radio but peel noticeably didn't bother with zappa/mothers much at all throughout his/their career/s though it must have got some late night pirate plays.
my pov on freak out now is that if mike love had gone diving instead of brian w this is how smile would have come out sounding - ostensibly "adventurous" but incredibly smug about it, as in hey chicks dig my weird record collection (this is also the differential between the 148 names on freak out and the names on NWW's chance meeting 'cos stapleton KNEW that only blokes were likely to buy the record, even though laura bought it back in '79 time ahem).
but then it becomes more complicated insofar as hot rats DID get to me when i was v young (7/8, maybe) and underwood's alto and sugarcane's violin freaking out on gumbo variations hit me (ditto ponty doing king kong as opposed to king kong on uncle meat) so that + peaches en regalia (greatest chatshow theme tune never) + beefheart's vox made it a truly guilty pleasure.
maybe he needed to get into the top 40 more. but perhaps the airsucked airs and graceless graces conspired against that (see also mark s' brilliant post on "subversion" in current brown wedge menu). that being said, i spent the summer of '82 in new york while valley girl was top 20, and predictably IT ALL SUDDENLY MADE SENSE, thus zappa falls into the same category as the police, viz. insufferable when out of the charts, indispensable when in them.
the tears of quiet rage in ben w woefully trying to convert derek b to the frank z cause in invisible jukebox are still a compelling magnet for the discernible reader.
― Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Friday, 14 October 2005 07:00 (twelve years ago) Permalink
couldn't have said it better!
i never cease to be impressed at mark's willingness to dig into his own likes and dislikes this way, espec since it yields such interesting and weird results.
― J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Friday, 14 October 2005 08:28 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Friday, 14 October 2005 08:36 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Friday, 14 October 2005 08:47 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover (s_clover), Friday, 14 October 2005 10:42 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Friday, 14 October 2005 10:43 (twelve years ago) Permalink
― Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 14 October 2005 10:46 (twelve years ago) Permalink
Random bump... A lot of tremendous and compelling writing and thinking on this thread.
― Clarke B., Sunday, 6 October 2013 00:04 (four years ago) Permalink
agreed. this thread prompted me to buy that ben watson book back in the day and make a mighty effort to get into zappa tho all that really stuck was hot rats, jazz from hell and bongo fury. when i romanticize "old ilm" i think of this instead of like, politely twee 100000 word disagreements about the manic street preachers.
― adam, Sunday, 6 October 2013 00:47 (four years ago) Permalink
Totally... And the Dave Q "x versus y" threads. I'd buy a book that compiled all of his intro paragraphs for those threads.
― Clarke B., Sunday, 6 October 2013 00:50 (four years ago) Permalink
And I find myself in this thread because I'm in the middle of an "intro to Zappa" phase myself, and am trying to work out my thus-far pretty complex response pattern to his works.
― Clarke B., Sunday, 6 October 2013 00:51 (four years ago) Permalink
ultimately i couldn't hang with the zappa wacky.
― adam, Sunday, 6 October 2013 01:17 (four years ago) Permalink
I'm having this weird repulsion/attraction thing where some of the stuff really puts me off but I can't help wanting to relisten to it. (Part of it is because it just SOUNDS so damn good--did you notice how beautifully and dynamically recorded his stuff is? At least on vinyl, which is how I've been gathering them.) My favorite stuff so far, probably unsurprisingly, is the really instrumental-based early-'70s fusion stuff: Hot Rats, Waka/Jawaka, Grand Wazoo. But I'm also loving One Size Fits All (this one might be The One for me), Uncle Meat, and Overnite Sensation. It's Zappa himself that I'm having the hardest time with--figuring out where he's coming from, what he likes about what he's doing, how sincere he is, etc. It's fascinating but a bit obtuse and difficult and not like many engagements with music I've ever had before. That's probably what keeps me digging and investigating.
― Clarke B., Sunday, 6 October 2013 01:32 (four years ago) Permalink
Listening to FZ's work performed by non-Zappa chamber ensembles is a good way in to get a clear sense of the composer, past the mustache and the ego and the dumb comedy music and the baggage. Omnibus Wind Ensemble, Le Concert Impromptu, Ensemble Ambrosius, Ensemble Modern. Inventionis Mater has some really good duo arrangements for clarinet and guitar. I've played a couple of pieces by Le Concert Impromptu for someone who claimed to loathe Zappa's music. "I quite like this!" -- turns out they just hated FZ's rep, not his music.
― cops on horse (WilliamC), Sunday, 6 October 2013 01:40 (four years ago) Permalink
i really enjoyed the real frank zappa book, his autobiography, even before i got into the music. it veers between scatology and paranoid defensiveness and self-righteous near-libertarian proselytizing in an oddly pleasant way, like the best of his music. i can't speak to the recording quality as all my zappa shit is budget-ass 90s rykodisc but i agree that the Problem of Zappa, so to speak, is to some degree his greatest appeal.
― adam, Sunday, 6 October 2013 01:40 (four years ago) Permalink
William, I can appreciate that perspective, and in fact if I were trying to get some of my friends into Zappa I'd probably play them something like side two of Grand Wazoo, something entirely without his voice/persona. I'll definitely check out some of the chamber arrangements... Although, I do think as Adam states above that his persona is one of the most compelling things about his body of work.
― Clarke B., Sunday, 6 October 2013 01:55 (four years ago) Permalink
I don't think anyone has to embrace the entire Zappa catalouge but just focusing on the late 60s-early 70s stuff gave me an apprecition of the man.
― I got the glares, the mutterings, the snarls (President Keyes), Sunday, 6 October 2013 02:08 (four years ago) Permalink
when i romanticize "old ilm" i think of this instead of like [insert anything]
otm. hell of an op. makes me almost want to try to like zappa. again. almost.
― pervilege as a meme (contenderizer), Sunday, 6 October 2013 02:16 (four years ago) Permalink
yeah I agree, mark s and dave q threads are amazing and awesome
see also "is _____ rock?"
― outsider house rules (Drugs A. Money), Sunday, 6 October 2013 02:35 (four years ago) Permalink
i'm watching 200 motels right now! i like the music in 200 motels.
― scott seward, Sunday, 6 October 2013 02:43 (four years ago) Permalink
Yes! 200 Motels is amazing. Really love the acid-rock Flo & Eddie-assisted jams on it. The plot is nonsense unless you watch it a dozen times and read about it and then it's still nonsense but at least you sort of understand the point behind the nonsense.
My favorite Zappa stuff I think is the 1st side of "We're Only In It For the Money". "Concentration Moon" is like a mix of '67 Flower Power folk hymns and weird angular Talking Heads-style spoken word pre-punk.
― Emperor Cos Dashit (Adam Bruneau), Monday, 7 October 2013 20:54 (four years ago) Permalink
Just found out last night I've got a ticket for 200 Motels
― Tommy McTommy (Tom D.), Tuesday, 8 October 2013 12:11 (four years ago) Permalink
Jealous. I may have posted this on some other FZ thread, but if you've never seen it, it's fun.
― Low down bad refrigerator (Dan Peterson), Tuesday, 8 October 2013 13:56 (four years ago) Permalink
(xp) Having just seen the "200 Motels" film last night, as part of the Rest of Noise festival, I'm debating whether I should just give my ticket for the concert to some poor hapless ticketless Zappaphile, so abysmal was the movie. I'd seen it before but hadn't realised just how dire it was, however I did stay to the end, half the audience didn't!
― Thomas K Amphong (Tom D.), Sunday, 27 October 2013 11:33 (four years ago) Permalink
help i'm a rockist― mark s (mark s)
― the late great, Sunday, 27 October 2013 19:40 (four years ago) Permalink
doesn't ringo make an appearance in that movie? what an odd film career he had.
― (The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 28 October 2013 17:21 (four years ago) Permalink
An FZ fan for nearly 35 years and I still haven't seen 200 Motels. I really dislike the Flo & Eddie era.
― Victor Immature (WilliamC), Monday, 28 October 2013 17:37 (four years ago) Permalink
Agree on the 200 Motels movie. I haven't seen it since it was on TV years ago (that long ago that I videotaped it, but never ever watched it again). I think it was Danny Baker that judged it "unwatchable", which is just about OTM.
― Bloody Snail, Monday, 28 October 2013 21:32 (four years ago) Permalink
I have a VHS copy too, haven't watched in years but certain parts still resonate with me: the "Broth" segment above, the animation sequence ("Dental Hygiene Dilemma") and the finale, "Strictly Genteel." And "Magic Fingers" is a good rocker. It's an incoherent mess, but not without merits imo.
― The sweet spot between bad and unpleasant (Dan Peterson), Monday, 28 October 2013 22:07 (four years ago) Permalink
The music's OK, esp. the rock stuff and I like Flo + Eddie's vocals (I prefer the Turtles though)
― Thomas K Amphong (Tom D.), Tuesday, 29 October 2013 13:57 (four years ago) Permalink
So saw this last night and (eventually) enjoyed it but, Jesus, there's far too much of it - but that's Zappa for you, I suppose. The, uh, dramatic elements of the production were a bit amateurish (despite Jessica Hynes(!) being one of the pariticpants) but the singing was good and the orchestra fine. There's too much avant garde skweedly-skwonk - stuff I usually like but there didn't appeat to be enough variety in Zappa's skweedly-skwonk writing - but from "Penis Dimension" onwards, when it just becomes sort of bomabstic showtune/ rock opera music, it was great and genuinely stirring.
― Thomas K Amphong (Tom D.), Wednesday, 30 October 2013 09:06 (four years ago) Permalink
I love all the sweaty 70s rock tunes from 200 Motels like "Mystery Roach", "Magic Fingers", and "Shove It Right In".
It's true that the movie is overly long, but there are tons of great moments throughout.
― Moodles, Wednesday, 30 October 2013 13:49 (four years ago) Permalink
Didn't play any of the rock stuff @ the concert unfortunately.
― Thomas K Amphong (Tom D.), Wednesday, 30 October 2013 13:58 (four years ago) Permalink