Frank Zappa - is he good or not?

Discussion in 'music, bands, clubs & festies' started by Left, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. Left

    Left aimless

    I can't decide. He's obviously a hugely talented musician with a great ear for arrangements. His music -the little of it I've heard - seems to cover a huge range stylistically. His composed music is apparently good enough to be taken seriously by Pierre Boulez, which is quite an achievement. On the other hand, his sense of humour is sophomoric and often unpleasant, his vocals can be annoying and he seems to rely almost entirely on irony and pastiche, which I find off-putting.

    Zappa fans - try to convert me. What's he best at in your opinion, and what is his best work?
  2. MillwallShoes

    MillwallShoes Don't kill the Lion

  3. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    too clever for his own good
    Kaka Tim and Wilf like this.
  4. Clair De Lune

    Clair De Lune Well-Known Member

    Yes he's great, but if you don't like him so what?
    Not being a jukebox jehovah
    kazza007 and fen_boy like this.
  5. SaskiaJayne

    SaskiaJayne Rural Guerrilla

    Excellent thread.....:cool:... When I was a sprog I pretended to like him as a deeper version of Captain Beefheart but the reality was it was the Captain's stuff that got played while we discussed the 'depth' of Zappa's stuff all night long. Its fair to say that some of the best music ever made came out of the mid 60s-mid70s but plenty of it is probably best left there. If you love Zappa's stuff, love it for it's content rather than because you feel you should. :D
  6. SaskiaJayne

    SaskiaJayne Rural Guerrilla

    nino_savatte likes this.
  7. SaskiaJayne

    SaskiaJayne Rural Guerrilla

    Back in the day the 37/6d(old money)that an LP cost was an awful lot of money to spend on a load of bollocks in order to appear uber cool so I do not recall buying any Zappa albums but its still possible that I did. We may well have unpleasantly tried giving friends bad trips by repeatedly screaming "weasels ripped my flesh" at them. :D
    ska invita likes this.
  8. bi0boy

    bi0boy Power User

    He was good, at certain things anyway, but he's dead now...
    kazza007, pogofish and SaskiaJayne like this.
  9. Kaka Tim

    Kaka Tim Crush the Saboteurs!

    This. Supremely talented at making annoying music.
  10. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    lol :D
    kazza007 likes this.
  11. Wilf

    Wilf Dances like a Christian

    Too wibbly for my unsophisticated palate. Like Saskia I preferred B-Fart. Both a rum pair of coves by all account. EVen if I was a great fan I'd still think he was a daft bastard for the names he gave his kids (Moon Unit and Dweezil?).
    SaskiaJayne likes this.
  12. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    I have no interest in attempting to convert anyone, or covering up his numerous flaws and downsides.

    Personally I like his 1960's albums with the Mothers where he is taking the pee out of the late 60's form of pop/rock/hippies. And a late 80's period where he was attacking politicians rather well, especially Republicans and TV Evangelists (eg Broadway the Hardway).

    I'm not a huge fan of the jazz stuff or the excessive guitar wanking stuff, with some exceptions. My ears would probably have preferred it if he had been easier to collaborate with, and I like it when someone else is singing. eg Willie the Pimp. I still like plenty of songs where he is 'singing' but mostly for the social commentary & politics, and I still go through periods of years where I dont want to listen to most of them.
    krtek a houby likes this.
  13. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank We kill the flame

    All that effort and attention to detail, all for the sake of a very large number of very tedious records. Can't help thinking he'd have been better off just writing tunes instead.

    e2a: And are his lyrics supposed to be funny or something?
  14. friedaweed

    friedaweed Sitting down for a wee

    I think a lot of his stuff is shite but I do love Bobby Brown and you're an asshole.:cool:
    kalidarkone likes this.
  15. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    At least they say something.

  16. Buckaroo

    Buckaroo Donkey piss and tractors

    Cue the loons and 'Jewish Princess':eek:
  17. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    A. Producing.

    B. Hot Rats.

    I don't like his lyrics, in general. And he has a tendency to over egg.
    Cheesypoof and littleseb like this.
  18. geminisnake

    geminisnake a complex mass of conflicting ideas

    Sheik Yerbouti is my favourite Zappa album but there are bits of it I don't like. I like his lyrics.
    I have been listening to this an awful lot lately, often after I see political stuff ;)
    friedaweed and ericjarvis like this.
  19. Knotted

    Knotted Sweet when you stir it up

    You should listen to the first three Mothers albums especially Freak Out. After that the problems identified in the OP tend to overwhelm anything positive. Some of the classical stuff is worth a listen especially Yellow Shark. An obscure album from the late 70's I quite like is Sleep Dirt which is worth a listen too. Uncle Meat's OK too.

    Help I'm a Rock:

    Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin
    ska invita likes this.
  20. Johnny Canuck3

    Johnny Canuck3 Well-Known Member

  21. TitanSound

    TitanSound Mr Beardy Drummer

    Not a great fan, but he always used awesome musicians. Vinnie Colaiuta (monster of a drummer) cut his teeth in Zappa's band.

    Prob my fave song of his. Guitar riffing is awesome.

  22. mwgdrwg

    mwgdrwg Be a Pisces. Jam.

    This is the Central Scrutinizer.....Zappa rules!
    teqniq likes this.
  23. seeformiles

    seeformiles Lost in the wood

    His 60s stuff is my favourite period - more social commentary and humour as opposed to his 70s attempts to shock with gratuitous obscenity (imo). "Absolutely Free", "Only In It for the Money", "Uncle Meat" and "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" are my faves from the 60s. Some excellent bits in the 70s - "Apostrophe", "Joe's Garage" and the like. As has been said before - Beefheart is much better!
    krtek a houby and Meltingpot like this.
  24. xslavearcx

    xslavearcx time for a nu-metal revival?

    I blame his 'wackyness' for primus. also hes to blame for steve vai - so its not looking good...
    ouchmonkey likes this.
  25. not-bono-ever

    not-bono-ever Not what they want but what is good for them

    much of it is unlisternable self indulkgent doodling tbh. yes, he was talented and thatt that jazz, but do you really want to sit down and listen to a couple of hours of his stuff with a noce cup of tea ?
  26. Meltingpot

    Meltingpot Living in our pools we soon forget about the sea

    Zappa was interviewed on Radio 1 once and he said there were a lot of things to listen to besides tunes (he was apparently a fan of Weber).
    SpookyFrank likes this.
  27. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    He was an adherent of Nicolas Slonimsky's Thesaurus, too. The book became popular in the jazz community when it became known that Coltrane was using it in his rehearsal regime. Zappa would have come across it as a result of that. A lot of Zappa's aesthetic comes directly from Slonimsky.
    xslavearcx likes this.
  28. nino_savatte

    nino_savatte No pasaran!

    I like Zappa's stuff from 1965 to 1978. After that, it's patchy and often self-indulgent.
  29. xslavearcx

    xslavearcx time for a nu-metal revival?

    That book looks amazing. perfect accompainant to chord chemistry!
    danny la rouge likes this.
  30. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    :D You want to give yourself headaches, don't you?
    xslavearcx likes this.

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