Frank Zappa – Jonestown (Reblog)

Source: Frank Zappa – Jonestown (Zappa)

Happy Belated 75th Birthday Frank Zappa!

Your music drifted in and out of my life. I first heard you whe a friend of my brother’s brought over a copy of Absolutely Free in 1967 (when I was 12). It amazed me and I kept listening to it through high school. It shaped my thinking about school spirit and team sports and cheerleaders. Look, he wrote this when America was coming out of the 1950’s teeny-bopper Greaser mentality and America was confronting its darker aspects with men dying in a stupid war in Vietnam and race riots raged.

Zappa went on to skewer just about every social convention and conceit. He once said that he had a rock band so that he could finance his work as a “serious composer.” He was a devote of Varese and Stravinsky, and the latter is quoted in the middle of that previous song. Near the end of his life he was getting recognition, mostly in Europe, for his work as a composer. Pierre Boulez conducted his work, and one of the last performances of his work was in Berlin by the Ensemble Moderne. This was recorded and put out on a posthumous album entitle “Yellow Shark.” It contains another of my favorites by him: “G-Spot Tornado.”

The dance was choreographed and performed by Louise Cavalier.

Hard to believe he passed away in 1993. So many excellent musicians passed through his bands over the years–Ruth and Ian Underwood, Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, Captain Beefheart, Adrian Belew, and Steve Vai are just the tip of the iceberg.

We have no iconoclastic genius like this in our midst these days.

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