C ompared to today's youth, who are used to having the
latest music available to them in the stores, we had it really bad when we were
in our teens. There were hardly any new western pop/rock music albums released
After having listened to the incredible melodies of the Beatles, the poetry of Jim Morrison, the instrumental dexterity of BS&T and the powerful sincerity of CCR, the music these guys made could only be called controlled chaos! Zappa sure opened a lot of doors for me that day and my natural Rocker's instinct to welcome experimentation at all levels, saw me give this band a good listen. I must admit that my immature teenage mind was unable to grasp what Zappa was trying to say! It was only years later when Zappa moved on to his Rock-guitar-hero role that I understood this musician. His vast world of orchestral soundscapes, interspersed with humor and incredible instrumental complexity, opened up and widened my horizon with its musical possibilities.
Zappa's early musical influences were said to be '50s R&B and the post-classical avant-garde, with a special fondness for the composer Edgard Varese. Zappa faced problems with authority right from his very first album "Freak Out!" The name of his band "The Mothers" made his record company wary and they changed the name by adding "of Inventions" to it. Just "Mothers" was thought to be too dangerous! This gives you an indication of his non-conformist nature and the constant struggle he faced against censorship. His disrespect for control and authority of any kind unfortunately served him badly, as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rejected him twice for induction. Perhaps the voters remembered Zappa's curt dismissal of rock journalism as ''people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read!''
Zappa constantly made strong and controversial statements through his music and lyrics and always cleverly thrashed anything that smacked of fakeness. He made his distaste for the whole hippie culture obvious with "We're Only In It For The Money" ('68), released only a few months after "Sgt Pepper's". Every year would see more than a few releases from this prolific composer and soon Zappa's most likable persona was destined to emerge. The guitar in Zappa's hand became a powerful weapon that wowed thousands of fans and his career as a guitar hero took off with the release of the album, "Hot Rats". A string of guitar-featured albums were to follow and Zappa was soon recognized as one of the finest guitarists around.
Zappa sure had an affliction for strange
albums names that immediately caught your attention. Here are some, just to
give you an idea! Names like "Lumpy Gravy", "Uncle Meat",
" Burnt Weeny
Zappa, who had battled prostate cancer for several years, remained active to the end, vowing not to let the disease conquer him. He said he didn't care how he was remembered after he died. "It's not important to even be remembered," he said ", "I mean, the people who worry about being remembered are guys like Reagan, Bush . . .. I don't care." You can be sure that for anybody who has heard Zappa's music, this is one guy you could never forget! Rock On