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  #1  
Old 10-09-2004, 09:34 AM
mr_freeze338 mr_freeze338 is offline
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Frank Zappa

Recently my interest in classic prog rock completely skyrocketed, I've only just begun to discover it (up until now I've only been listening to progressive metal, which I also discovered not too long ago, sometime over a year). I've managed to get into some of the basics, like Pink Floyd's Dark Side, but for this particular artist, I think I'll be needing a little advice.

Being one of the most influencial artists on my favorite band, Dream Theater, I figured Zappa would be the next best thing to look into. But asking around about him didn't get me anywhere... since all I've been hearing is how disgusting of a man he is, and that the only thing he ever accomplished was making the first double disc album ever made. If there's more to it than that, I'd really appreciate someone telling me. Any idea where to start?
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Old 10-09-2004, 10:07 AM
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careful......

you could go broke buying Zappa music. There must be hundreds of actual titles, and many more unofficial ones floating around.

Depends on what you're into...his music can range from silly to incredibly jamming. Most people have Overnite Senasation, Apostrophe, Hot Rats (the 70's period). They seem to have the most straight tunes. The Ike Willis period (Joe's Garage etc late 70's early 80's) also another period well-liked. He's got live, orchestral, guitar records. There really is a lot to choose from.

Zappa not only was prolific, he accomplished more than possibly any other musician. Your sources are short-sighted. The list of people who played with him - Ponty, Vai, O'Hearn, Wackerman, Bozzio, there are SO many more - are like a who's who. And they all say he's the best. Some of his solos like in "Pojama People" and "Black Napkins" are incredible.

I'm in the middle on him. I think he's funny, but I have a higher tolerance for it. Don't play "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes" to you girlfriend for example. But I was innundated with it by a college roommate and now only have a few titles. I have a bunch more recorded on mp3 for me, but time constraints make it hard to catch up.

Hope that helps...there are some rabid Zappa fans around, so hopefully they will chime in.
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Old 10-09-2004, 10:12 AM
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Rick's advice is solid. My take would simply be to listen to AuralMoon. When a Zappa song (or any other artist) pops on that you really like, request something from the same album. If you like that, do it again. Still like? That's a safe buy.

If you're just itching to buy, get Hot Rats first.
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Old 10-09-2004, 10:48 AM
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Indeed...

Most musicians (me included) view Zappa and his numerous collaborators as "Damn they can play.", but at times even I find myself putting on a Zappa CD and quickly turning it off if the mood isn't right. For me, there's something about his overall sound and delivery that makes him a "now and then" listen. Admittedly, I do not know even 50% of the Zappa repertoire, if that.

Though I always snicker at "Yellow Snow"....
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Old 10-09-2004, 03:47 PM
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I've always enjoyed Jazz from Hell.
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Old 10-10-2004, 11:42 AM
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"Hot Rats" is almost entirely instrumental, except for some vox on "Willie the Pimp". which also includes some great jamming. It's a solid first choice for prog fans.
"Jazz From Hell" has a much more modern sound - Frank plays synclavier and no guitar - fairly complex, another good chice.
"Waka Jawaka" is another solid prog choice, from the same period as "Hot Rats". Few vocals, and not the most controversial ones.
"The Grand Wazoo" has vocals only on "Calvin and his next 2 hitchhickers", and they only last a minute or two into an eccentric jazzy piece. Another good choice as long as you don't mind some serious jazz leanings.

Try those and if you want more suggestions after that, post again and we'll work you into the vocals...
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Old 10-10-2004, 02:39 PM
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comfirmation

talked to a friend last night, a Zappa freak, he says there are 73 official Zappa titles. He has 69 (there are 4 compilations).

I was regaled with stories about Zappa, a fascinating man.

Quote from my Uncle when I was 14...."cut that long hair boy or you'll end up like that Frank Zippo guy"!
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Old 10-13-2004, 10:50 AM
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Gail Revs It

73 . . . and quickly rising as the Zappa Family Trust start releasing more things from the vault.

So far, there's been a concert from Australia in '76, a compilation of early Mothers demos, & a newly released rehersal tape from the Petite Wazoo band in '72. Oh, and the just released QuAUDIOPHILIa DVD-A with old multichannel mixes Frank made (including the full studio Wakka/Jawaka ).

It's starting to get much more fun to be a Zappa fan. I think the total count is near 80 now . . . Good God.

More promised fetish items include a DVD of the Roxy concerts from '75 (Roxy & Elsewhere), Lost Episodes II, an eventual Petite Wazoo concert, some new remasters done by Dweezil & plenty more material from the vault (their old swimming pool Frank covered over).
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Old 10-15-2004, 06:48 PM
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The Real Frank Zappa

Quote:
But asking around about him didn't get me anywhere... since all I've been hearing is how disgusting of a man he is, and that the only thing he ever accomplished was making the first double disc album ever made. If there's more to it than that, I'd really appreciate someone telling me. Any idea where to start?
Pick up a copy of The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa with Peter Occhiogrossso. 1989 POSEIDON PRESS. This will clear up allot of the myth associated with him. I found it to be easy reading, very informative and humorous.
As for his music follow rickandrole's lead.
The first Eff Zee LP I listened to in its entirety was Bongo Fury. The Muffin man left an indelible impression on my brain. From that day forward I acquired as much Eff Zee as I could. Not all of it was an enjoyable experience for me, but the stuff that was is some of my favorite music to listen to.
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Old 10-18-2004, 06:49 AM
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I remember Frank zappa using a tv commercial to market his Roxy and Elsewhere cd. My grandmother asked me if I would buy that man's record. I told her no, cause I'd never heard of him. Three months later, I owned Overnight Sensation, Apostrophe and Roxy and Elsewhere.
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