Frank Zapper

I am wondering if very many people who are celebrating the Zappadan holiday have read the Barry Miles biography. I read it again over Thanksgiving. In some places, it just plain seems that Miles doesn’t like Zappa very much. In others, it seems that Zappa’s just going right over Miles’ head. I dunno. It is worth a read, especially this time of year.

If you have read it, I hope you’ll leave comments about it.

Speaking of biography: I stole these from here. They are certainly worth a viewing.

Merry 13th Day of Zappadan!

5 thoughts on “Frank Zapper”

  1. My name is J and I am a….zappa-addict.

    I’ve read a bit of Barry Miles bio of Zappa , and agree he was not entirely sympathetic. Miss Paglia’s review was sort of copacetic:
    Paglia/Zappa

    The other Zappa bio–the ‘real FZ book” –however tends to go in the opposite direction, ie hagiography. I suspect Miles is sort of correct that regardless of his musical genius the person FZ was like, an asshole (I have over the last few years been shaking a zappa-addiction). And let’s not forget all the other great musicians that made the Zappa/mothers sound.

    FZ ‘s harsh anti-dope stance in late 70s, 80s also bugged me, slightly. While I do understand reasonable concern about narcotic abuse, Zappa took his anti-dope paranoia too far, I believe (and rumors are–like among some dead-heads–he actually ratted out some people). There are distinctions to be drawn–smoking a bit of reefer is not the same as heroin addiction.

    Nice z-dan posts btw.

  2. Hi, J.

    Thanks for the review link. It is pretty much spot-on. I think generally Miles’ book is good, especially if you want a hard-copy of an excellent discography. I mean, show me a charismatic, brilliant leader who’s not kind of an asshole.

    There is one critique in the Miles that really struck me, his criticism of the song “Bobby Brown Goes Down.” Miles focuses on being (as Paglia points out) squeamish about the S&M theme but completely misses the song’s most striking parallel…who is Bobby Brown? He’s Mister America walking on by, of course. Duh.

    I just love this time of year. Merry Zappadan!

  3. Yes. Bobby Brown’s a …Honkay. Sort of Dan Quayle or Mitt Romney type.

    My first experience of Zappa was the Overnite Sensation album, like in late teens. What a band. Montana , camarillo brillo still quite intense. Apostrophe also an early fave. It took some time to realize he wasn’t just a rock-fusion and porno-comedy maestro, but doing modern classical, jazzy stuff, and experimental muzak. To be honest, his Joe’s Garage era glam-rock stuff doesn’t do much for me… Thankfully he went back to freak-jazz roots late in life (like that captured on yellow shark CD). The Palermo big band FZ stuff also pretty cool.

  4. Thanks for the stuff. I had the fortunate experience of growing up around a bunch of guys that were record reviewers and also to have been a lighting designer/groovy light show guy as a kid. Never got to work with Frank. Anyway, I was exposed to Zappa at about 15 years old, in 1969. I’m still a collector and fan of his music.

    I had no idea about Zappadan, until yesterday. How that happened, I don’t know. I suppose I’m immersed in my own projects and general laziness to be “in the groove” about it.

    I did get to “meet” Frank once. The short form of the story is that Frank said: “Get away from me.” after I offered him some grapes during a sound check at UCSD. It was perfect! Jeff Simmons liked the grapes allot more than Frank.

    I have somewhat regular conversations with Sherman Barrymore Keene, Frank’s studio and road sound engineer from the Overnite Sensation and 200 Motels days. The Ohm Lad. He’s a swell guy.

    I’m pretty much “retired”, whatever that means, and out of the business for sure.

    Thanks again for the “stuff”.

    -Doc

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