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Frank Zappa


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Since we seem to have a surprising amount of fans here - and by that, I mean more than myself - I thought a Frank Zappa thread would be interesting. Perhaps more so to the uninitiated (I'm particularly looking at Troels here).

 

Right now, I'm loving the hell out of circa 1973/1974 Zappa. He was always a multi-faceted human and musician, starting his career ostensibly playing hippie music (ironically, he was a conservative even back then) with satiric undertones and continuing to explore different genres until he untimely departed this plane as, perhaps, the most unique electronic/classical composer the world has ever seen. But there was one era of Zappa that just plain brought the funk, and that was 1973-1974. The bands he had around that time, consisting of a very eclectic combination of black and white musicians were all absolutely fantastic and may well represent Zappa at his most accessible.

 

Centered around drummer Chester Thompson (of Weather Report and Genesis fame), keyboardist George Duke, monster percussionist Ruth Underwood, saxophonist/vocalist Napoleon Murphy Brock and brothers Tom and Bruce Fowler on bass and trombone, respectively, the iterations of Zappa's band at that time were able to take the most complex pieces of music (Zappa was heavily into Stravinsky and Edgar Varèse) and make them swing like you wouldn't believe. The Zappa studio albums from around that time don't even begin to bring justice to the awesomeness that was this band of - as Miles Davis tended to call musicians he found exceptionally talented - motherfuckers.

 

Cases in point:

 

 

This band was so tight that this take on "Inca Roads" appears, in a remixed and overdubbed state on the studio album "One Size Fits All". With the guitar solo from a 1974 gig in Helsinki dubbed in for good measure.

 

 

The solo in this particular version of "Montana" is sick. This one doesn't feature Thompson on drums, but Ralph Humphrey, the drummer here, and Tom Fowler lay down one hell of a groove for Zappa to jam over.

 

 

I hadn't watched this one before posting it, so right now, I'm cracking up at vintage Disney characters playing Zappa.

 

People seem to usually recommend stuff like "Sheik Yerbouti" or "We're Only In It For the Money" to aspiring Zappaphiles. While being a huge fan of both albums, anyone interested in getting acquinted with Zappa should seriously check out his live work from around this time. He would come pretty close, but he would never quite reach the same levels of greatness again.

 

So now that I have wrapped up the rant I promised in another thread, feel free to discuss the genius that was Frank Zappa  :)

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I'm assuming Troels will see to that. But, yes, NIN also seems to be a constant.

 

In fact, when I met up with Troels and Ken Allen last year, Ken mentioned my being a fan of Nine Inch Nails and immediately followed it up with "that is awesome!" I get a kick out of that. The man behind the SQ4 and SQ1VGA soundtracks likes Nine Inch Nails :)

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Right now, I'm having a Manic Street Preachers period, thanks to drdrslashvohaul. (Fucker got to see the Manics perform The Holy Bible live recently; I would've gladly bashed his skull in to take his place for that one.)

 

So I'm not going to be much use in a Zappa thread at the moment; sorry. :P

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