Frank Zappa, Where to Start?

IsaacIsaac Posts: 3,088
edited December 1969 in Off topic/NON-DINO Music Area
He's extremely prolific, I wouldn't know where to begin. I love his whole personality and humour, but I've never really delved into his music.

Comments

  • AgrippaAgrippa Posts: 5,943
    Personally I got into zappa when he had some hits off the "sheik yerbouti" album (Dancing Fool, Bobby Brown, Broken Hearts are for assholes etc.), then I got into the Joe´s Garage act one album, but gave up on act 2 and 3.
    Too dense for me.
    Latter on I got into the Live In New York album, which is my fave today, along with "the man from utopia" and "Ship Arriving too late to save a drowning witch".
    My very first guitar teacher was a Zappa fanatic, and lend me albums like "Studio Tan" and "Zoot Allures", but then I was a fanatic Rainbow and Rush fan myself, and couldn´t really see the appeal.

    I have a triple cd of the "Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar" series, which is very diverse and with lot´s of examples of Zappa´s considerable guitar genius.

    If you want "normal" shred, it isn´t Zappa you should go to, but if you want challenging music with a twisted humour, it surely is imo..

    But I´m mainly into "Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar" for his wonderful guitar sounds, not for his agility on the fretboard.

    Go on youtube, search words "Zappa" + some of the titles I´ve mentioned, and you´ll find a wealth of guitar and Zappa genius.


    Or maybe, just start here:
  • jebbuddajebbudda Posts: 5,030
    I know Jay G is a big Zappa fan .

    Everybody from Baltimore loves him since he's a hometown hero . Folks around town worship Zappa . :puking: They are putting a statue up in fact . I get a really hard time because I just don't get it and I refuse to jump on the band wagon . Same with The Grateful Dead .

    I've heard a lot of his stuff and I pretty much hate it all . Shut up and Play yer Guitar is totally lost on me .My idea of hell would be listening to that album while being trapped at a Home Depot on a Saturday . Even the really complex arrangements off his other albums just irritate me . Just like steel wool on my nipples .  :036: :sick: Plus he comes off like a total asshole with his non stop yammering . No wonder his " guitar " album is titled Shut up and Play yur Guitar .....but I'm sorry his guitar playing is lame ....and sloppy . 

    Don't waste your time Issac . :fu:
  • Jay GJay G Posts: 2,682
    I will try and help as best I can.  While I think I may be considered a big fan by some members of this forum I in no way am an expert or compare to the fans you would find on a prog forum.  Zappas work is extensive, diverse and sometimes very uneven IMO.  I prefer his later instrumental work and also his live work in spite of the goofy parady covers (Sunshine of your love, Purple Haze, Stairway, Various movie themes).

    I was very fortunate to see him a few times and have also seen many of the Zappa alumn tribute bands.  Live is where it all shined.  His arrangements were just insane.  He provided an environment for some of the most talented musicians to really let loose.  Keep in mid some of the greatest musicians are alumn of his.  Some of these folks are below and you many of their recorded work is in a similar vein to Zappa:

    Steve Vai
    Mike Keneally
    Terry Bozzio
    Joe Travers
    Eddie Jobson
    Jean Luc Ponty
    Ike Willis
    Napoleon Brock
    Ian & Ruth Underwood
    George Duke

    When you state that Zappa is very prolific that is an understatement.  His recorded output out numbers, by at least 3 times, the number of years he lived.  Trying to sort it all out get into Zappa is an investment IMO.  With that being said the best place to start would be to check him out on you tube.  There is some great footage from SNL in the 70s as well as other footage I am sure.  As for recorded work it is safest to start with the CD Strictly Commercial.  It is his most commercial work but will give you a flavor for most of his styles and help you make a decision if you want to invest more time and money.  From there some others I like are:

    Shut up series
    Can't do that on Stage series
    Joe's Garage
    Hot Rats
    Roxy and Elsewhere
    Make a Jazz Noise Here
    The best Band you never heard in your life
    Broadway the hardway
    Jazz from Hell

    If you send me a PM with your address I will be glad to send you a copy of Strictly Commercial as well as some of his live work.

  • IsaacIsaac Posts: 3,088
    I've found  Strictly Commercial in the library, I'll give it a spin.  :up:
  • Jay GJay G Posts: 2,682
    [quote author=Isaac link=topic=10576.msg161839#msg161839 date=1275856639]
    I've found  Strictly Commercial in the library, I'll give it a spin.  :up:
    [/quote]

    Cool, if you are interested in pursuing more after that let me know.  I have no problem burning and sending CDs your way. 
  • JasonJason Posts: 1,931
    [quote author=jebbudda link=topic=10576.msg161711#msg161711 date=1275725553]
    I know Jay G is a big Zappa fan .

    Everybody from Baltimore loves him since he's a hometown hero . Folks around town worship Zappa . :puking: They are putting a statue up in fact . I get a really hard time because I just don't get it and I refuse to jump on the band wagon . Same with The Grateful Dead .

    I've heard a lot of his stuff and I pretty much hate it all . Shut up and Play yer Guitar is totally lost on me .My idea of hell would be listening to that album while being trapped at a Home Depot on a Saturday . Even the really complex arrangements off his other albums just irritate me . Just like steel wool on my nipples .  :036: :sick: Plus he comes off like a total asshole with his non stop yammering . No wonder his " guitar " album is titled Shut up and Play yur Guitar .....but I'm sorry his guitar playing is lame ....and sloppy . 

    Don't waste your time Issac . :fu:
    [/quote]

    Don't bite his head off Jeb. Seriously though...I needed that laugh. The only thing I like about the Grateful Dead is the ice cream flavour.  :rotflmfao: :rotflmfao: :rotflmfao:
  • inmyhandsinmyhands Posts: 11,653
    I think a lot of how a person thinks about Frank has to do with how she or he was initially introduced to Frank's music. I had a stoner buddy who had been a fan of Frank's since the man had joined / took over the Mothers of Invention. My friend took the time to let me know what I'd be listening to and where Frank was coming from. He then, one by one, took me through Freak Out to Hot Rats and Weasels Rip My Flesh to Uncle Meat and 200 Motels. I came to really get into Frank's strange deep mental musical world. Sometimes he'd piss me off, (like when he took "Free Bird" and exposed the magic for what it really was), or when he would make fun of women's issues or codes / beliefs people live by. Yet, because Brad, (my buddy), let me in easy I was able to appreciate the depth of what he was doing.

    Frank's playing was strange because, while every other member of the band had to be spot on perfect, Frank's part was more like a "jam" layered over the top. And .... like any jam band ....... some nights he killed and some nights he died.
  • Demented TedDemented Ted Posts: 1,010
    My favorite Zappa album is Apostrophe.Watch out where the huskies go,and don't you eat that yellow snow.  :biggrin2:
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