Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by howdo3313 » Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:53 am

Scout wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 7:52 pm
I've always liked Zappa though never had a chance to see him live.
About ten years I took my son to see Zappa plays Zappa on a bill with
Return to Forever, he's a keyboard player and I wanted him to hear Chick Corea
play live but he flipped over Zappa's music and is as big a fan as I am.
Of course he loves Chick Corea also but it was a hoot going into my twelve year olds
room and hear Peaches and Regalia blasting out of his computer.
Have you and son heard the 50th ann Hot Rats yet?
Wonderful set...lot of piano insight.
And of course if you're really familiar with his music you can hear bits of future tunes all over the place.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=O ... 0NpZl0LaHE
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by epizootics » Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:31 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:48 pm

And then all of a sudden I heard this motherfucker, and I was just following the guitar lines interweaving with fuck, I still aren't sure, a clarinet? Some kind of woodwind. It opens up with Holst's Jupiter but I didn't know that then. But I still find it thrilling to listen to, I've heard it a million times and I never get tired of it.

I was pretty sold.
That's actually a soprano sax. You can usually tell soprano from the other saxes for its 'shy-hen' timbre. Kluck. Brassier than a clarinette, and much, much louder. I actually played the damned thing for years and it has a very unique way of blending in with a rock'n'roll band, sonically speaking. It competes for the front spot with distorted guitars...and usually loses the battle, leaving that oboe-type high-end floating above the rest of the mix. You can tell Buck Gardner listened to Charles Mingus's 'The Black Saint and the Lady Sinner', released only three years before Absolutely Free. The first song on that record pretty much set the precedent for a chatty soprano sax keeping continuous lines in the middle of a big racket (as well as Coltrane's use of the instrument, albeit in a sparser setting).

Sorry for the digression on the old sop'. That's one of my favorite instruments.


Haven't watched the doc yet, I was worried it would be another one of those superficial, high-definition rehashing of the Zappa myth, but apparently it's not?

I got into Zappa quite late as I'd associated him with the hippies of the many communities I grew up around (South of France, countryside, Kevin Ayers, etc.) 'He's a trip, man'. Yuck. I think I initially got into punk just to annoy those people, incidentally recreating my own artificial 1970's divide...in the 90's/early noughties. This German dude, who was my parent's age but by far the coolest of the bunch, told me 'Hey, it's OK if you don't like Frank, but you should at least give Captain Beefheart a try. The other guys hate it when I play Trout Mask Replica'. He'd obviously seen through my teenage shenanigans. I loved Trout Mask Replica. Hot Rats made the transition. He said I should listen to Sheik Yerbouti next. 'Adrian Belew plays on that record!'. Oh shit. It was the perfect amount of stupid for me. That was that.

Years ago I found a copy of The Real Frank Zappa Book. It doesn't try to hide its being written with a ghost writer, and it contains a bunch of hilarious stuff, as well as some serious insights into his life and processes. I think I read it thirty times before giving it to a friend. Much recommended.

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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by antisymmetric » Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:25 am

epizootics wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:31 pm
Years ago I found a copy of The Real Frank Zappa Book. It doesn't try to hide its being written with a ghost writer, and it contains a bunch of hilarious stuff, as well as some serious insights into his life and processes. I think I read it thirty times before giving it to a friend. Much recommended.
8) Thanks for this, just requested it from the library. Your discovery of Beefheart sounds a bit like mine, I also was turned onto him years ago by an older friend who lent me Trout Mask. I have a much more passing acquaintance with Frank Zappa- I've read plenty about him and know he has a great body of work, heard mentions from friends for years whose taste I respect, but I haven't given his music much time. I will right this wrong.
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by Scout » Fri Dec 11, 2020 9:49 am

I’m not a huge fan of Frank’s guitar playing, I do enjoy his ceaseless modding and use of the latest effects to mold his sound. I’m not sure he ever attained satisfaction from the guitar until he found someone to play his “impossible guitar parts “. His compositions are ridiculously difficult for the average player, I can relate because I sure can’t play music at that level but it still lights me up inside.

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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by Maggieo » Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:19 pm

True story, I swear- my MOM bought me my first FZ record; a cassette of Joe's Garage vol. I.

"Toad-O Line (re-titled "On The Bus" in 1987)" absolutely blew my mind. And "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee," is still a sing-along staple with my sister when we hang out. (We're always sitting in my backyard and singing at the top of our lungs.)
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by Scout » Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:04 pm

:-* :-* :-* :-* Everyone should sit somewhere and sing at the top of theirs lungs,
my favorite spot is knee deep in a river with a fly rod in my hand.

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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Dec 11, 2020 4:01 pm

epizootics wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:31 pm
Larry Mal wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:48 pm

And then all of a sudden I heard this motherfucker, and I was just following the guitar lines interweaving with fuck, I still aren't sure, a clarinet? Some kind of woodwind. It opens up with Holst's Jupiter but I didn't know that then. But I still find it thrilling to listen to, I've heard it a million times and I never get tired of it.

I was pretty sold.

Sorry for the digression on the old sop'. That's one of my favorite instruments.

No, thanks for letting me know. I never quite knew what it was, now that you mention it's a saxophone I can hear it now, but I never could be 100%. I actually looked it up a couple of times but couldn't find anything precise.
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by Maggieo » Fri Dec 11, 2020 4:28 pm

Scout wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2020 2:04 pm
:-* :-* :-* :-* Everyone should sit somewhere and sing at the top of theirs lungs,
my favorite spot is knee deep in a river with a fly rod in my hand.
Oh man, that sounds great! Effin' pandemic. Stuck in town.
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by BoringPostcards » Wed Dec 30, 2020 5:59 am

Thanks for posting. I will watch when I get the chance.
I love Zappa, but I prefer his instrumentals. I don't get his approach to lyrics. He sang about some weird, often sleazy stuff.

Black napkins is one of the most beautiful guitar songs he wrote.
The black page, on the other hand, was almost sadistic. He wrote that to be impossible for a drummer and then would use it to test auditioning drummers. Bozzo was one of the only people to ever figure it out, without having to spend weeks on it. It is complicated for the sake of being complicated.
He was responsible for bringing some genius musicians from the underground and giving them a steady gig.

One aspect of his music that I will never get used to, was his use of vibraphones in his breakdown sections (a good example is the breakdown directly before St.Alfonzo's Pancake Breakfast). Always sounded so out of place and dated to me. The lady, who played the vibes with him, was a genius though nonetheless.
Some of his stuff has that1970s TV cop drama theme song sound. The bridge part in Peaches en Regalia is a good example.
Hard to explain, but he pretty much created that whole vibe.
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by mackerelmint » Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:16 am

I love his weird, sleazy lyrics, but I'm kinda weird and sleazy. He got a lot of play at home when I was a kid, and it probably warped my brain. Some of his stuff, the "complicated for the sake of being complicated" kind of thing, that doesn't do much for me. Like the "shut up and play yer guitar" records are maybe the most unlistenable guitar wheedles I've ever endured. And yet he made crazy music just to try to push music forward, and I can't not appreciate that. His contempt for basically everyone who fell into a clique or easy categorization was as entertaining as anything in the world at the time. And you gotta love this:

Image
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by BoringPostcards » Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:45 am

mackerelmint wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 6:16 am
I love his weird, sleazy lyrics, but I'm kinda weird and sleazy. He got a lot of play at home when I was a kid, and it probably warped my brain. Some of his stuff, the "complicated for the sake of being complicated" kind of thing, that doesn't do much for me. Like the "shut up and play yer guitar" records are maybe the most unlistenable guitar wheedles I've ever endured. And yet he made crazy music just to try to push music forward, and I can't not appreciate that. His contempt for basically everyone who fell into a clique or easy categorization was as entertaining as anything in the world at the time. And you gotta love this:

Image
I hear ya 100%. Zappa has a little bit of something for everyone, if you dig into his discography. He managed to record over 80 albums in his lifetime.
My friend's father has every record set up in a shrine to Zappa. We spent a lot of time going through his stuff as teenagers.
I remember being blown away with just how much variety there was. He would go from stuff like Willie the Pimp with Beefheart, to a song like Watermelon in Easter Hay, and then you find a classical album, and a synclavier album....
I have yet to hear all of his material. You need to almost be an academic to really get through all of it.
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:45 am

Those early Mothers albums are just amazing, once you get a little down the road, though, the self indulgence starts killing it all for me. You'll find moments of greatness, but they get fewer and far between. And to make matters worse, the parts that had formerly been less than great become outright excruciating.

I still respect the guy, and enjoy the time I spent with it, but I'm not likely to play something like Thing-Fish again, you know?
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by Scout » Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:54 am

I’m not sure Zappa was writing music just to be complicated, but I’m not one for conjecture. Musicians copy
what they know , you almost can’t help it, but the rare individual hears shit above and beyond that and goes
somewhere else entirely.

Zappa also had something that allowed him to create and evolve his music past the point in his life when
most people lose that spark and revert to what they’re comfortable with, I call that his genius.

Plus he hated TV, the government and Industry, too.

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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by BoringPostcards » Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:31 am

Scout wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 8:54 am
I’m not sure Zappa was writing music just to be complicated, but I’m not one for conjecture.
I was specifically referring to the piece titled 'the Black Page', which began as an experiment to make an impossible drum piece. Something a single drummer could not do.
Turns out guys like Terry Bozzio existed, and it was possible, just incredibly difficult.
Just looking at the sheet music makes your brain hurt.
Wasn't implying he took that approach in general, just that he loved to throw out the rules sometimes and go all out with compositions.
Especially when vetting people for his touring band.

His band was very fine tuned like an orchestra. They would drill a single riff for days, if he felt a quarter note somewhere was off by a split second somewhere.
It was hard to work for him, unless you were used to working with a conducter. He made you stay sober and made you practice very challenging drills daily.
The reason so many virtuosos came out of his band or got hired for his band, was due to how challenging and fine tuned his work was.
The average player, even the highly skilled ones would be a fish out of water on day 1 of a Zappa job.
There are countless stories of how intimidating it was to try and keep up with his ideas, even from seasoned guys like Chick Corea.
Complicated isn't the best way to describe this. It was difficult for these guys for many reasons, but much of it came down to how different Zappa's structures and ideas were in comparison to the world his musicians came from.
He hired people from bebop, rock, r&b and jazz, and then had them learn and perform pieces that were absolutely alien to them.
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Re: Anyone seen the new Zappa doc yet?

Post by BoringPostcards » Wed Dec 30, 2020 10:47 am

I want to add that it is sad how underappreciated he is as a guitarist. He was no slouch.
Look at the piece 'What's new in Baltimore?' The main head melody of the intro is based on a complete guitar piece he wrote. If you can find a version of somebody playing just the riff, be it Steve Vai or Dweezil, listen to it closely.
It must have been mindblowing to hear him play that at the time. It doesn't seem like much now, but at the time.
It doesn't sound like blues or anything. It is just music. It is also very hard to play.
On the album, the part is played in separate pieces by separate instruments, but it started with that riff he came up with one afternoon. All the notes and timings are all there in that original riff.
It's some spider hands stuff. I can play it after practicing, but this guy just spit it out while noodling one day.
The guy was a virtuoso. Was he too weird to get respected for his skills? His lead playing was kind of choppy, but his main themes and ideas? Wild stuff to be playing on a guitar, in that time period.
I don't like the idea of a guitar god, but he definitely deserves to be on those silly lists.
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