Was the frank Zappa a genius or was he frank crappa?
Genius is maybe debatable. That he had talent is pretty undeniable.
I can’t stand his music. But the talent is obvious.
“Frank Crappa” would make good bathroom stall graffiti. And, completely aside from Zappa himself, I think everyone who’s that famous in the music world has to have some degree of talent - even if it’s just in marketing/having a massive ego.
Did you even bother to read the extensive wiki?
He’s not to everyone’s taste musically, but he pushed boundaries and experimented and was considered quite technically proficient as a guitarist (22nd out of 100 of greatest guitarists of all time) and is in the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.
You may not like his music or his art but significant artists can’t please everyone, nor should they.
I wonder how he’d fly in today’s PC infested culture. Bobby Brown is probably horrible homophobic or something, and Jewish Princess anti-semitic. Valley Girl must be misogynistic or Caliphobic or something.
I doubt marketing had anything to do with Frank Zappa. His music was rarely accessible or designed for the consumer . You are not going to hear it on classic rock or any kind of commercial radio. He was an iconoclast and genuine free thinker, not easily pigeon-holed. I find it encouraging that he was so successful.
His music often comes off as pretentious-nerd-rock; his lyrics especially are typically nonsensical and contrived. I find most of it pretty abstract and difficult to really get into, but there are plenty of people that did really get into it. He is rarely telling stories, singing about romance or following normal song convention. That being said there is little doubt he was a serious musician and composer, an artist. His music is much closer to Jazz and Experimental than it really is to pop. Long instrumentals, solos, and general musical fucking around. He was well respected as a composer and a musician.
The instrumental Watermelon in Easter Hay, from Joe’s Garage was one of his standard concert closers. It is haunting, anthemic if mellow jam around an awesome guitar riff. I find it both triumphant and sad, (which fits its context within the album). Its a fantastic piece of music.
If you do not find that a product of a great talent you are a fool.
Shouldn’t this be in Cafe Society?
I will report it for a move.
As for Zappa, kind of a sloppy way to ask if it is okay to not like him. Yes, it is okay to not like him. He was really talented as a composer, player, etc. but apparently a difficult personality. So it goes.
I don’t know if qualifies him as a genius or not, but Frank Zappa’s testimony before Congress with regard to the PMRC (Parents Musical Resource Center) was awesome.
Thread relocated to Cafe Society from IMHO.
Zappa was musically far more advanced that most anyone in rock music in his era (and even today). He was strongly influenced by avant-garde classical music like Edgar Varese and Igor Stravinsky (note his song “Igor’s Boogie”) and he managed to meld them into a rock genre.
His lyrics were usually jokes (though I’ve seen some serious critical analysis, notably one that compares “Camarillo Brillo” with "La Belle Dame Sans Merci’), but there were some biting analysis of the social scene of the 60s. Certainly “Trouble Every Day” was a look into race relations.
But he was never going to be popular. His music was complex, especially since he loved to play around with time changes. His “Dancing Fool” – his second most successful single – was a dance song you couldn’t dance to because it changed tempos from bar to bar, and was his disdainful commentary on disco. He performed it on Saturday Night Live, when he was guest host, and the cold intro was an ironic comment on how he was not a popular artist.
So, I’d say, yes he was a musical genius. And, no, he wasn’t for everyone and plenty of people (especially nonmusicians) will never understand him or like his music.
I think he sucks and I can’t understand why anyone would want to listen to that junk.
That said, I know plenty of people whose opinions I respect who think he was pretty hot shit. So apparently I’m missing something, and I will chalk it up to being one of those things I just don’t get.
Well, he was able to use the proper verb tense in sentences, so that’s something.
And Watermelon in Easter hay is an amazing song. I was so surprised to hear it used in the sad end scene in Y Tu Mama Tambien. I’m like, wow, someone else knows that song!
I always liked the idea of Frank Zappa better than I did the reality of Frank Zappa.
I feel the same way about Miles Davis. I keep trying, because I want to like it, but I don’t. I would never say he was not a musical talent though.
Yes, he was undeniably talented. He made music that struck off out into unknown territory constantly, and it was still pretty poppy. That’s hard to do.
I do like a lot of his work, but if I listen to a lot of it, I seem to always get xylophone/marimba fatigue eventually.
Undeniably talented, and he worked very, very hard, which is frankly more important. He was demanding of himself and others. There’s probably no rock musician in history who rehearsed and practiced more than Zappa. I’m not exactly a fan, either, but I have to admire the guy.
Funnily enough, Bobby Brown got a lot of airplay here in Bavaria a few years back. It was kind of weird - not a remix, just the old song, seeing radio play on mainstream Bavarian pop radio in IIRC 2010. Kind of surreal.
As for the topic: have you heard some of what this guy played? Listen to the guitar solos on “Outside Now” or “Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel”. Pretty much the entire CD “Broadway The Hard Way” is pure genius both as music and as comedy. “Drowning Witch”, while kind of a mess musically, is undeniably a virtuouso ensemble piece that is very hard to pull off.
That’s a good way to put it.
He seemed like a smart, caring dude; I always respected what I knew of him. I’ve tried and tried to appreciate his work, but most of it falls flat. Sure, he hit the nail on the head a time or two, but most of it was just noise.
Oh, almost forgot… my vote’s for genius.
Talented; yes. And far more knowledgeable or aware of the technical/scientific side of music than almost anyone else of his generation. Add to that the ability to find and promote other cutting edge musicians and while genius may be a stretch I think he is someone musicians (at least music majors) will be discussing and studying a hundred years from now or more.