Frank Zappa once asked us “Who are the Brain Police?” and I think that the answer to this particular question would be a lot harder for him to get to the bottom of in our world of today thanks to things like Facebook and the myriad other Social Networking mediums on top of the other things that we contend with in our lives. That said we are officially at the 20th Anniversary of the passing of this great and forward thinking musician and true composing genius.
Zappa influenced so many musicians during his career and after he had passed away this didn’t seem to change at all. There were times when he would leave you scratching your head and wondering what it was that you had heard but it would always impress you and it was without question that his unique wit was second to none. Since Zappa first came onto the music scene in the late sixties I can say that I was far too young to know what he was all about, but I would eventually get to absorb his greatness thanks to some musicians I worked with who loved his material and even more so after seeing him perform live in concert on a few occasions. Continue reading Frank Zappa: Gone Twenty Years But Still So Relevant (12/4/93-12/4/13)→
It’s pretty wild to realize that it was eighteen years ago today that the world of music lost the genius of Frank Zappa. I have to admit that I was very late in the game in becoming a supporter of what he did and this surprised me since his clever “weirdness” would have been right up my alley had I started listening sooner. At the time I was sadly locked into three or four bands in terms of my musical focus and this is a very unhealthy practice because it limits your discovery to the other wonderful things that are going on in the world of music.
Zappa had been active for pretty much my entire life by the time that I got into him and it was thanks to my friend Riz that I got a couple of albums as a Birthday or Christmas present, I no longer recall which it was but I do remember that it was a vinyl LP of “You Are What You Is”. From there I was hooked and I snared a couple of other albums from the local record store with both “Zoot Allures” and Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Invention”. Really great stuff, but clearly music that you had to let do its thing on your musical psyche first to get the proper effect. Since we were all musicians we used to sometimes have Zappa hangs where all we would do was enjoy his music and drink some cold beers. It was a fantastic way to indulge in his genius with ones own musical comrades.
He was an innovative music creator, a filmmaker, an elder statesman on music life and pretty much a composing genius along with being an ass-kicking guitar player. Thanks to the music of Zappa I first heard of folks like Steve Vai and Terry Bozzio to name a few. The list goes on but I will keep it short. Frank did so much and all of it was inspiring to learn about. I learned a lot about his life in the autobiography “The Real Frank Zappa Book” and cannot recommend it highly enough. Sadly, Zappa would leave us in 1993 because of prostate cancer. According to press reports, it had been working its sinister design on the musician for ten years and was not diagnosed before it was far too late to help him. He died just short of his 53rd birthday. Frank was survived by his wife Gail and their four children. Of them all, his son Dweezil continues to play Frank Zappa music in a touring sense with his “Zappa Meets Zappa” show. I’ve seen the DVD and its fantastic. Well worth buying and seeing live if at all possible.
So much can be learned about the musician and his myriad of achievements for the betterment of what we call music via his Wikipedia page. Check that our HERE.
I created a Widget in Amazon.com that features a ton of his work in music and even some books on his life. If you consider yourself a true Connoisseur of edgy and Progressive music, then you need to do yourself the favor and treat your library to some Frank Zappa if you find that it is sparse along those lines. You can thank me later.
Thank you Mr. Zappa for all that you gave us. You’re sounds will live on forever thanks to all your recordings and ideas along with those whom your style influenced the strongest. We owe you a tremendous debt for trying to make a difference. The world will never know another like you.
Oh yeah, before I forget. I shot this photo awhile ago as its in my direct path on the avenue I hit when I am off to the market. It always struck me as a curiosity, but I shot the image for the hell of it and now I have a place to put it. I admit that I am not sure whether this was just someone’s similar surname or if this was a hardcore fan who etched it into the cement forever. I will go with that one okay? Enjoy and again, listen to some Zappa – It does a musical mind good.