Lex Neon on Frank Zappa (The Mothers of Invention, solo)

I consider myself lucky to have the same birthday as Frank Zappa, December 21. He’s one of my favorite composers.

Some people may just think of Frank Zappa as a crazy, weirdo rock musician who looked strange and sang smutty songs that bordered on atonal musical porn. Yeah, he was that, too.

I first saw him on a couple of episodes of classic ’70s Saturday Night Live. In one episode, his band performs (special appearance by John Belushi), and he’s shanked by a Christmas tree. In the other, he appears in a Coneheads skit and tries his best to keep up with Dan Aykroyd to “consume mass quantities” of beer and fried eggs.

I later heard Frank interviewed by Dr. Demento, and I was hooked.

He worked in almost every musical genre and wrote music for rock bands, jazz ensembles, synthesizers, and symphony orchestras, as well as musique concrète works constructed from pre-recorded, sampled sources. In addition to his musical recordings, he created feature-length and short films, music videos, and album covers.

He was one of the first musicians of his generation to openly denounce drug use (this was 1967, folks)!

He was a satirist. After all, he did immortalize one of the most truly American of all pastimes in “Wet T-Shirt Night.” “Dancin’ Fool” blew the best raspberry at the disco sub-culture and makes you laugh so hard, you’ll plotz! He blows the “hippie” myth to smithereens on 1968’s We’re Only In It For The Money. Go and dig “Flower Punk” and “Who Needs The Peace Corps.”

Frank’s autobiography, The Real Frank Zappa Book, is still, without a doubt, the most enjoyable read I’ve ever had! Check out the chapter entitled “How I Almost Blew My Nuts Off.” I honestly never knew you could make explosives out of ping pong balls.

Frank’s Absolutely Free is probably my favorite Mothers record. It’s pop Stravinsky. It still confirms all of my old suspicions; rock is dead, vegetables keep you regular, high school is a sham, and we’re all doomed (at some point) to bad lounge singers and elbow bending until closing time.

And sure enough, I live in Vegas!

In ’85, Frank testified before the US Senate Commerce, Technology, and Transportation committee, attacking the Parents Music Research Center (PMRC), a music censorship organization founded by then Senator Al Gore’s wife Tipper Gore and including many other political wives, including the wives of five members of the committee. Zappa would also go on to argue with PMRC representatives on the CNN’s Crossfire in 1986 and 1987.

Thanks for the inspiration, Frank. And if you are indeed “weird,” then “weird” should become all of us.

The poodle bites, the poodle chews it.

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Currently listening :
Absolutely Free
By Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
Release date: 02 May, 1995

~ by Poppermost on September 6, 2008.

One Response to “Lex Neon on Frank Zappa (The Mothers of Invention, solo)”

  1. me too! I was born on december the 21st!!


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