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This whole monstruousity was originally conveived February through March 2001 by the members of The Big Note - a Frank Zappa YahooGroup. After an arduous gestation period, this site was birthed on April 11 2001. True to the essence of collaborative effort, these people are held responsible.

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The On-Going Thing Fish Debate

Yes. She seems youthful; vigorous...with the kind of fresh Zappa outlook that many of us may have lost...although I like to think I've kept some of it, not even having all the albums yet.
Mr. Pugh.

What!!?? You don't have ALL the albums??? SECURITY!!!!
Poodle

Well, only stuff like Francesco Zappa (not even Frank's music), a couple of YCDTOSA's (any prior reluctance stemming from actually having most songs already) and a couple of albums that everybody - I mean EVERYBODY - seems to HATE (Man From Utopia, Thing Fish) with the possible exception of Ben Watson. Hee-hee!
But seriously folks, recently my CD collection is notably lacking in "non-Zappa". He's still my number one guy.
The Wandering Mr. Pugh

Hi, I'm nobody and I like both of those albums, especially Thing-Fish...
effzee

I agree on Thing Fish...
I have bought this album no less than 3 times in my life, thinking, Ňsurely I'll like it this timeÓ, only to pawn it to buy prawns. (Or is it prawn it to buy pawns?) At any rate, chess was involved in some way, and (on one occasion) throwing it out of the window of a moving car. Of course, psychoactive substances may have been involved on that occasion... There's just something about a road trip with only one tape in the car (ugh).
stinkfoot

A belated reply on this one. I certainly don't hate those albums, but neither are they my favorites. However, like all Zappa produced albums they are, ultimately, essential. If there's one thing I've learned from many years of listening to FZ, it's that music that you don't like now may be among your favorites at some time down the road.
Poodle

Hey, all!
I certainly agree with this. I don't have Thing Fish (WHAT!?? SECURITY!!!), but an album I'm not very fond of is Uncle Meat. (Don't hit me) I've ignored it for years and just now I'm trying to get it. Jazz from Hell is another example (after many years, now I really like it! It's one of the best.)
There are also albums you can listen to on certain occasions: for example, I put Reuben and the Jets on Sunday afternoons to do the ironing. But, my husband (also a zappafan) says it's a torture...
It makes me laugh all the more!
SHARLEENA

Then the record produced what the composer intended...
Albeit in a roundabout way.
SOFA

Y'know...
I think there's a difference between disliking something like Uncle Meat and Jazz From Hell (both BEYOND EXCELLENCE) and something like Thing-Fish (from what I know about it). The former albums are thickly encrusted, complex, peculiar etudes - the more you listen to them the more layers your ears peel off (?); i.e. the more new things you discover within the music. The early to mid-eighties rock songs largely consist of humor and catchy riffs - if you dig it, you dig it. And the more you listen to it the more it GROWS on you, if you choose to continue listening to it (and most of my friends wouldn't).
I myself, however, love Them Or Us and Drowning Witch... So I guess I'S A HI'LY CONTAYJMUS VICTUM!
As for Ruben and the Jets: that's the one I play for pretty girls. HOTCHA!
Mr. Thing-Pugh

Them or Us is GREAT!! And, it's true: the more you listen to some works, the more they grow on you. It's possible to discover new things every time you listen.
My ears can't peel any "layers" in Reuben and the Jets, but I like it anyway.
SHARLEENA

I just have to say here, that I really enjoy THING-FISH when I listen to it, which is not all that often when compared to other Zappa albums. I also agree with the fact that the speech is far more important than the muzak. However, the story, while it does not really have a conclusion, is deeply layered and there are so many little in-jokes and obscure references to what has come before in the story that every time you listen, something new pops up. I love the characters of Harry & Rhonda and what happens to them! It's so absurd and extreme and Ike Willis cracks me up every time I listen... Tremenjious, Harry as a Boy, simply tremenjious!
Fruney

As far as Thing Fish goes, I think it is funny in parts, but lacks the great musical moments that I listen to Zappa for... It's probably the only album of Frank's I would list under my "don't like" column. I just get bored with it I guess.
stinkfoot

Stinkfoot makes an interesting observation, with "lacks the great musical moments" that he looks for in Zappa. Thing Fish was not written to be a Zappa "music" album. It was a treatment - more a screenplay, than an album... Believe me, the story for Thing Fish existed before the music was chosen - not the other way around, which was Frank's norm. Thing Fish is not a collection of tunes assembled in such a way as to create a greater whole, like Joe's Garage or Tinseltown Rebellion.
I recall responding to a post on yellowmud's site where I suggested the listener "turn off the CD, and read the Libretto", because that's where the beauty of Thing Fish lies - in the story. The music is there, and it's FZ and it's still good music, BUT the music is definitely secondary to the story.
I do not place Thing Fish high on my FZ favorites list - neither do I Francesco. So I know where stinkfoot's coming from on this. But that doesn't mean that they are not excellent works that can be appreciated for the right reasons...
And, I believe, that's what attracts us all to Frank's music. There's shit for everybody in there. And it all changes to suit your mood! My God, Madge... Where would I "rate" Uncle Meat? Where would I "rate" 200 Motels? The Yellowshark? CPIII? Bongo Fury? I'd have to answer that question with a question:
WHEN? It makes a difference; ya know?
(My 2 cents)
SOFA

A good point there SOFA, strongly supported by the fact that the music on Thing Fish is mixed significantly lower in relation to the speaking parts. This would seem to indicate it was very much FZ's intent to place the emphasis on the story.
In addition to WHEN I would add IF. Frank always maintained that there was no one who liked ALL of what he did. Technically, I think he was wrong, as I believe there are a number of people who DO like ALL of it, but the majority of FZ listeners, even hard core fans who must have EVERTHING in their collections, like some types of FZ music better than others, and may indeed not like some things at all. Frank didn't mind, so I guess we shouldn't either.
Poodle

Frank Zappa


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