Which FZ To Buy?
I just thought I'd throw out a preliminary question or two, before we all descend on you with our recommendations. Which, if any, FZ recordings do you currently own, or are at least familiar with? Also, what sort of music do you enjoy outside of the realm of FZ? (The only wrong answer to the second one is "everything." Whenever anyone tells me that, I can always find at least one recording to prove them wrong.)
What ho, fluffy one.
I own so few recordings just now... I am mildly abashed however to admit that I have many, many gigs of ill-gotten Napster music. I divested myself of about 4,000 LPs back in 1983 right before hegira to the UK; this by way of saying that I have never faltered for an instant in my total devotion to rock and roll. So Zappa is really on the fringes of my musical consciousness. (As the testosterone level of this group indicates, it's kind of a guy thing, isn't it? By way of demonstration -- I seem to recall the derivation of the name Poodle, with regard to Zappa's lyrics [insert blush here.]) I am here to learn, however and appreciate the indulgence of this august group toward a novice.
Lately, I am like a lab rat on cocaine with this Marilyn Manson song, Rock is Dead. I listen to alt-rock in the car, Stone Temple Pilots, Limp Bizkit and so on. On the side of nostalgie de la boue, I have been listening to the Stooges, David Bowie, T. Rex, early Genesis, Brian Eno, Herb Alpert and Cab Calloway. All these largely for nostalgic reasons.
I am an ex-glam rocker and ex-Goth, actually (Bauhaus, Virgin Prunes Sisters of Mercy etc.), not for the music so much as the clothes, the vibe, and the really sexy looking vampire guys I used to date. The Yellow Magic Orchestra in general, and Yukihiro Takahashi in particular.
"Serious" music: I love early music - renaissance polyphony, Joaquin Desprez, Palestrina, stuff like that... I am not expert, but I love it. Aaron Copland, Norman Dello Joio, Gershwin. Gilbert and Sullivan, most especially "Patience" which I could probably sing you off by heart (fairly off-key.) I love Oscar Wilde and doggerel verse - an unbeatable combination. Anyway...lead on, MacDuff!
Luv on ya
So Zappa is really on the fringes of my musical consciousness. (As the testosterone level of this group indicates, it's kind of a guy thing, isn't it?
Ooooo, what she just said!
The stuff you're listening to is quite varied; I mean, the Stooges and Cab Callaway? It sounds like my music collection. If your tastes are that spread out, it would seem to me that FZ would be right up your alley. One of the main reasons I listen is that I never get bored. If I don't like a particular tune, I wait patiently because the music will change soon. If you have NO Zappa in your collection, an excellent place to start is the "Lather" 3CD set. It is about as wide a spectrum of musical tastes under one roof as anywhere on the planet. You won't like it all, but I'd wager you'll like some - and that's a good way to start. I could go on from here, but you should crawl before you begin to run.
Hey Tomato, I was going to recommend Lather as well, but SOFA beat me to it. If Lather isn't available you might consider One Size Fits All. It doesn't have as wide a range of styles, in comparison to Lather, but it is an excellent album and not a bad starting point.
Another good place to start may be the "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore" series, Volume 1 through Volume 6. Each volume consists of two CDs, and the music spans from the beginning to the end...
My favorite is Volume 2, which is a live concert recorded in Helsinki, Finland on September 22, 1974. Much of the music and band are from the Roxy album, which is also one of my favorites...
BTW, does anyone know when the live Roxy video is to be released?
I've been listening to "Apostrophe (')" a lot lately (again). The reason being that my 16 1/2 month old daughter loves it and it's good for dancing. We're not terribly good dancers; we basically have 3 steps that we alternate at different tempos. I think this one makes a very fine introduction to FZ's music, although I do wish he had cut about 2 minutes from the title track and given the space to "Uncle Remus". The album's got just enough weirdness to give the newbie an inkling of things to come. Actually, I got a friend interested in Zappa by burning a copy of Apostrophe and giving it to him for his birthday. He absolutely fell in love with it, I'm happy to report.
I just got zet's mail about the YCDTOSA series. I love those albums too (who doesn't?) and I especially like #2, same as zet. I've seen them suggested as starting points for FZ music before, but personally I think it's somehow...purer to start with a studio album.
There's another thing about Apostrophe that I like, the text. I've been meaning to ask, can anybody here explain to me, in a sort of father-knows-best way, what the text to Excentrifugal Forz is all about? And barring that, just tell me what you think is going on in there? It seems pretty damn biographical ("Since I never cared for sports") and seems to say, "Fuck it if I look like a lonely geek from the outside, I got my own little world and my little imaginary friends who play music with me".
Ben Watson says it's all sexual imagery...
I'd also recommend to you the YCDTOSA series (I like specially #3, where you can listen to a fabulous version of "my" theme "Sharleena") and The Best Band you Never Heard in your Life is one of my preferred ones too. But what I do NOT recommend is Strictly Commercial; not because of the songs it contains (which are very good), but because it's better to listen to those songs in their context. Go slow, and try to get the albums. It's better that way.
Armed with this valuable lore I go anon (with charming but vapid teenagers in tow) to the local CD panderers. Thanks to all!! I hope to be making slightly more intelligent commentary any time now (please do not however hold me to this). I am looking forward to further tutelage, SOFA. My tastes are indeed spread far and wide. Many thanks for your patience with these interminable posts, and my near-total ignorance. Best to all,