A blog post

Zappa once more

Posted on the 21 December, 2010 at 3:42 am Written by in Music

Despite his puerile, provocative and sometimes sexist lyrics, there is no escaping that Zappa remains a musical giant. Give him the right (underpaid) orchestra, and he would perform on his guitar like a time machine. Amazing fact: I steered ar0und Zappa for fifteen years, 80-95, after an early interest, having got tired of the man’s monochromatic output. Turns out, I was wrong. I started listening seriously to his modernist music about fiften years ago, enjoying greatly his LPs Hot Rats and Waka Jawaka, and others, on the way. Strange that such a megalomaniac didn’t see his own greatest mission as guitarist, but then again, the pieces for his guitar work were not written when he played them, so he had to start the whole thing himself.

Zappa was not a giant, for me, but more like a bit older contemporary, who often took off in odd directions, in the late 60s and 70s, though  I loved parts on his early LPs like “We’re only in it for the money”. All the more enjoyment, therefore, for reassessing these albums anew and getting the taste for his concert work, like Zappa: Guitar (2 x LP from concerts 89-84) and Shut up and play your guitar (3 x LP). Zappa’s instrument work is sometimes too insistent, perhaps too coffein-driven, to my ears, but the musical innovation factor is very good. For biography, cf Miles, Barry 2004: Zappa – a biography, Grove Press, New York