teaching mark s a *LESSON* response one: ZAPPA

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I read that BW piece on Rip It Up and thought he made a lot of good points!

Dadaismus (Dada), Friday, 14 October 2005 10:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

seven years pass...

Random bump... A lot of tremendous and compelling writing and thinking on this thread.

Clarke B., Sunday, 6 October 2013 00:04 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five years ago) Permalink

ultimately i couldn't hang with the zappa wacky.

adam, Sunday, 6 October 2013 01:17 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

(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 (five years ago) Permalink

help i'm a rockist
― mark s (mark s)

the late great, Sunday, 27 October 2013 19:40 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five years ago) Permalink

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