The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa
The legendary Frank Zappa, one of the most influential, innovative and controversial musical artists for the past 20 years, takes us on a wild, funny trip through his life and times. Along the way, Zappa offers his inimitable views on many things such as art, politics and beer.
Zappa was, in no apparent order, a first-rate cultural gadfly dedicated to upsetting American suburban complacencyand puncturing the hypocrisy and pretensions of both the U.S. political establishment and the counterculture that opposed it; a contemporary orchestral composer uncompromisingly rooted in 20th-century avant-garde tradition; a rock bandleader who put together a series of stellar ensembles both under the rubric of the Mothers of Invention and under his own name; an erudite lover of the most esoteric traditions of rock and roll and of rhythm and blues; an innovative record producer whose use of high-speed editing techniques predated the later innovations of hip-hop; and one of the premier electric guitar improvisers of a generation that included Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. One of the great polymaths of the rock era who, arguably, possessed a broader range of skills and interests than any of his peers, he was an instinctive postmodernist who demolished the barriers and hierarchiesseparating “high” and “low” culture.
Zappa was a prolific workaholic who released more than 60 albums in his 30-year career. His first release with the original Mothers of Invention, the conceptual double album Freak Out! (1966), was a key influence on the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, released the following year. By way of wry acknowledgment, the cover of the Mothers’ third album, We’re Only in It for the Money(1968), parodied that of Sgt. Pepper’s, just as the musicchallenged the Beatles’ visions of love and beauty with the deliberate “ugliness” with which Zappa assailed what he saw as the totalitarian philistinism of the establishment and the vacuous fatuity of many aspects of hippie subculture. Zappa was not a hippie, he claimed. He was a “freak.”
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