Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Music Is The Best, or How I Fell In Love With Frank Zappa

Rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, in order to provide articles for people who can't read - FZ

Happy Birthday Frank! God I wish you were still alive! Most people think Zappa was a crazy musical Frankenstein who ''once ate a shit onstage'' (I don't know where that myth came from!). But to me, Zappa was my introduction to music, alternative lifestyles and Coffee....Lots of Coffee.
My mum n dad used to own a hotel, It was named after me and one day when I was 14 a man stepped in wearing a camo jacket, shoulder length hair with a Silk Cut in his mouth; he ordered a pint of stout and sat down. This guy took out a bunch of cds from a blue and white striped plastic bag; after half on hour I walked over and asked him what they were. Instead of replying he asked me two questions, “Do you like Frank Zappa? and do you smoke dope?”

Id never heard of Zappa and I hadn't even had a cigarette, even though id watched kids at school smoke, let alone smoked a joint. He told me about this guy who creates his own type of music, comedic classical rock and roll. A filmmaker and t-total chain smoker who funds his own projects, constantly improves and re-records his music. And who's dead.

I went down to the local independent music shop and looked under Z. Their was a mad cd with lots of squiggles and cartoons called 'Cheap Thrills,' I paid my five quid and went into my room. Catholic Girls, Bobby Brown Goes Down, Joes Garage, My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mamma. I was hooked.

17 albums later I started to grow my hair long, start playing bass guitar to Peaches en Regalia. He was weird, I was weird. He didn't believe in censorship, neither did I. It was righteous maaaan. Some people have Dylan, some people have The Beatles, I had Frank Zappa.
People would swap videotapes of him performing; now this was during youtube, but nothing was online. Dvd burning had just started so you could buy bootleg VHS and DVD's of 200 Motels (I don't think that film is still out) or other rare and out of print Zappa Films. You watched to see how he hit those notes, his bell like guitar tone...through 100s of synths, compressors and things I couldn't even imagine.

He was the and no one was like him. Eventually I realised that some of the music he played was taken from other bands, like Whipping post and Plastic People. But that made it better, it was like a club, you had to find all the influences and all the references and who he was insulting. 

Then The Libertines happened and I got swept up in The Strokes and The White Stripes. Zappa took the back burner. But every year on the 21st of December, I drink some coffee and play Apostrophe.

I still can't play the whole of Peaches En Regalia.

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