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  1. #1

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    I don't know his stuff too well, but I do like two of his songs.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Genius, very odd music to the people who listen to mainstream stuff. Just look at some transcriptions of his stuff. Amazing really, he once said something like "The stuff I write is so complex that no musicians can even play it." And he was in charge of his tours, arranging practice and rehearsals, in charge of all the $.

  4. #3

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    Yeah dude. He's got 80+ albums out, there's stuff of his for basically EVERYONE.

  5. #4

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    There's nothing wrong with Zappa, it just smells a little funny.....

  6. #5

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    I've listened to every Zappa album. He's got some awesome comedy ones, but my favorites are his instrumentals. Especially waka/jawaka and the grand wazoo.

    Also check out the enormous double album 'joes garage' perfect blend of instrumentals, comedy and everything really!

    Roxy and elsewhere is a live album and also onemof his great ones perfectly blending awesome instrumentals with some really funny songs as well.

  7. #6

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    "Don't eat yellow snow."

    Very wise words.

  8. #7

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    Hot Rats, Burnt Weenie Sandwhich and Grand Wazoo are the best places to start, IMHO, for great instrumental Zappa.

  9. #8

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    My favorite album is his last, "Yellow Shark". The tunes on that album are compositions for orchestral music. Here's the finale:


  10. #9

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    I'd say listen to Hot Rats then if you don't know the genius and are into jazz, as it is a jazz-rock album (with a fairly good balance between jazz and rock).

    Here are two interesting videos about Zappa imo:

    - Zappa's thoughts on the decline of the music business



    - Steve Vai remembering his audition with the master:




    Unlike Sandor I enjoy and would encourage you to check Zappa's "joke songs", as the guy was pretty funny and it can't hurt to have a laugh while listening to a tune from time to time. It's very rare to see actually a musician so inclined to include humor in music.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandor
    He has some interesting things, but I don't care for his joke songs. Pretty impressive amount of work he put out.

    I can't remember where I read it, but I saw an interview with Joe Pass where he talked about playing with zappa one time. Apparently Joe had heard all about what a huge genius Frank was, and was REALLY nervous about meeting him. Funny thing is, Joe had not actually heard his music, so he was expecting some monster jazz player. When they did play together, Joe ended up laughing his ass off since frank didn't know any jazz tunes.
    It's a story some idiot made up and someone else posted it on the internet. Never happened. Like many other stories about Zappa.
    Frank was an amazing musician with integrity and vision, and a great guitar player.

  12. #11

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    Zappa was God, and I'm not biased or anything ...

    Check out the "Shut up and play yer guitar" series (three albums); all instrumentals, and some of the best wah-wah playing ever.

    Frank didn't consider himself a "jazz" musician, so there's really no point in discussing him as such. His autobiography is up there with Miles' autobiography as far as being entertaining and informative, so it's a must-read.

    I saw him live several times, and the shows were always incredible.

  13. #12

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    I chose my moniker in homage to Cosmik Debris. It defines part of the cosmic gumbo legend. Thank you, Frank.
    Last edited by cosmic gumbo; 01-03-2012 at 01:08 AM.

  14. #13
    Is there a link or a post on the Showcase section to your playing, Coz? I'm interested in hearing your sound and style.

  15. #14

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    I too think Frank was a genius. There are at least 3 interviews on this site, here is one-
    http://weirdovideo.com/wv68/content/...tional-tv-1973

    Cosmik Debris could have been written about a old friend of mine;


  16. #15

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    Joe's Garage is awesome. Frank is one of those guys in a league of his own.

    He Like Fripp Pioneered many of the sounds and approach's, some say they were both doing fusion before Miles went electric, that are Fusion all the way.

    I never cared for Frank's silly albums, but there are some real gems in his repertoire. He was a Genius plain and simple. I have read he never did drugs. Hard to believe. What a Free Spirit.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by brwnhornet59
    I have read he never did drugs. Hard to believe. What a Free Spirit.
    Indeed, which is good, it shows you don't need to be high to make good and inspired music - even though he was heavily into cigarettes.

  18. #17

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    Agreed. The only reason I mentioned it is because how bizarre some of his music and thinking was.

    Drugs and alcohol suck. They kill creativity as well as us.

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by brwnhornet59
    Joe's Garage is awesome.
    Yeah, that's the other song I like, "Watermelon in Easter Hay."

    I think, as far as how he comports himself in interviews, I would say the closest to Zappa, or the English equivalent, would be Pete Townshend. Critical of hippie culture, critical of establishment, tough on other rock stars, etc. They also both have shitted on their respective groups, The Mothers and The Who.

    I have read he never did drugs. Hard to believe.
    He said he smoked a total of ten joints, it just gave him a sore throat and made him sleepy; however, he was against the war on drugs. I wonder what he would have made of Ron Paul.
    Last edited by Smelodies; 01-03-2012 at 09:00 PM.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by reventlov

    I tend to believe JB in this, when he says that Tommy T 'liked to hang out with Joe Pass and Frank Zappa' rather than the story referred to earlier in this thread.
    I can believe that. Due to the fact that my memory of the story was off, and its most likely false, I went ahead and deleted my posts related to it. I Don't wanna spread misinformation.

  21. #20

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    i first took notice of one of my now-favorite musicians, george duke, when he played with frank zappa.

  22. #21
    Insightful interview with an ailing Zappa. Kind of reminds of me Christopher Hitchens's interviews in the past two years. Frank answers the important questions with dignity, but you can see some fear and knowledge that he was facing death.


  23. #22

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    Spot on melissa536,that's Frank in a nutshell!
    cheers Yorg from aus as well.

  24. #23

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    My wife is a huge Zappa fan, and had the sad honor of interviewing him on her radio show shortly before he passed away.

    I find his stuff musically great for the most part, but lyrically, I have trouble channeling my inner 8th grader enough to enjoy that aspect.

    Just my opinion.

  25. #24

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    He seemed like a cool, down-to-earth guy. He probably had a bit of arrogance, but I guess that comes with being that awesome. I also heard that he was a workaholic who would stay up for 2 days at a time. I don't know how he did that without crashing. I love the rhythmic approach towards his guitar solos too...so yeah.
    Last edited by Astronomer; 01-07-2012 at 09:25 PM.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by patskywriter
    i first took notice of one of my now-favorite musicians, george duke, when he played with frank zappa.
    Hi Pat! Very nice seeing you here. I also became aware of George Duke on "Overnight Sensation", which is one of my fav Zappa albums. Zappa was an awesome guitarist, composer and very funny.
    Last edited by bobby d; 01-07-2012 at 09:55 PM.

  27. #26

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    That would be a "yes" on the chemical engineer who worked in defense;

    Frank Zappa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  28. #27

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    I agree that Zappa is a genius. He had that way of making music that sounded odd and non main stream (and maybe less accessible) but stilled worked musically and sounded great.

    Going in that same direction, I would pose that same question about Captain Beefheart....probably a much more loaded question.

  29. #28

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    I thought beefheart's album 'safe as milk' was awesome, so in faith that it would be vaguely similar bought the infamous 'trout mask replica' which I actually still haven't got all the way through and I got it a year ago

    I'm sure some people like to pretend that they 'get it' and that it's art, but its just nonsense!
    On a side note, frank Zappa produced trout mask replica or something like that.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by the*doctor
    I thought beefheart's album 'safe as milk' was awesome, so in faith that it would be vaguely similar bought the infamous 'trout mask replica' which I actually still haven't got all the way through and I got it a year ago

    I'm sure some people like to pretend that they 'get it' and that it's art, but its just nonsense!
    On a side note, frank Zappa produced trout mask replica or something like that.
    Yes Frank did! I do Love their collaboration, (Live Gonzo? oops so I can't love it too much!) with Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy. My favorite Beefheart tune is Run Paint Run.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smelodies
    Insightful interview with an ailing Zappa. Kind of reminds of me Christopher Hitchens's interviews in the past two years. Frank answers the important questions with dignity, but you can see some fear and knowledge that he was facing death.


    and you can see some denial too. denial about tobacco use.

    i preferred Mickey Mantel's humble admission that he "screwed up" and killed himself with drinking. it didn't change his behavior or the outcome, but at least he didn't accuse others ("the authorities"?) of exaggerating the risks.

    Yes it's too bad, and i'm not judging, but Frank was simply wrong. The truth is that the number of health issues related to smoking is extensive and ever increasing - and - they are all bad, friggin, news.

    as for me, i love Cuban cigars but have to say - don't smoke.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billnc
    Yes Frank did! I do Love their collaboration, (Live Gonzo? oops so I can't love it too much!) with Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy. My favorite Beefheart tune is Run Paint Run.
    You'd be thinking of 'Bongo Fury'

    The muffin man is a classic as well

  33. #32

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    I really get a kick out of the "Reuben and the jets" album, It's all really cheesy 50's teen doo wop. and I like too pull out "my guitar wants to kill your mama" for blues gigs, and "goblin girl" around halloween

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by voelker
    I really get a kick out of the "Reuben and the jets" album, It's all really cheesy 50's teen doo wop. and I like too pull out "my guitar wants to kill your mama" for blues gigs, and "goblin girl" around halloween
    Cruising with Ruben and the jets is a great album!

    If you've only heard the reissued version it sounds pretty awful IMO, but the original vinyl version is way better, same with we're only in it for the money.

  35. #34

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    To be honest I haven't heard any music of his that I didn't find horrible. He seemed like a nice guy though

  36. #35

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    I found the album "Jazz from Hell" to be unlistenable. I actually returned it.

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smelodies
    I've never heard that cigarette smoking is related to prostate cancer, but I guess anything's possible.
    For the benefit of the young and uninformed, from some one who has learned it the hard way:

    Prevailing theory is that a high percentage of bladder and prostate cancers result from free radicals found in cigarette smoke. These enter the bloodstream through the lungs and pass through the kidneys as part of the excretory function. Occasionally, a free radical will lodge in the bladder permanently to irradiate surrounding cells. This damages cells and is thought to trigger various cancerous growths. Depending on the location within the bladder where the free radical lodged, the resulting cancer might be a transitional cell carcinoma, prostate cancer, etc.

    Absolute proof has yet to be obtained and, of course, free radicals are not only introduced to the body by way of tobacco -- and cancer occurs in non smokers as well.

    However, there is a strong statistical correlation between these urinary tract cancers and cigarette smoking.

    That said, I never cared for Frank Zappa's music.


    (On EDIT and reflection: Actually, I misstated that... Polonium-210 atoms enter the bloodstream from cigarette smoke to lodge in the bladder and irradiate surrounding cells to create free radicals which then interact chemically with DNA.)
    Last edited by cjm; 01-10-2012 at 11:49 AM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by aniss1001
    To be honest I haven't heard any music of his that I didn't find horrible. He seemed like a nice guy though
    Did u only listen to the songs once?
    Because I know that at first when I listened to his music it sounded messy and ridiculous, but after listening to an album about 4 times u really start to enjoy what's going on.

    I started with one size fits all, a good album but a bit to much rock orientated that some of his others.

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby d
    I found the album "Jazz from Hell" to be unlistenable. I actually returned it.
    Man, I haven't gotten through that yet either. I hope it wasn't ur first listen of Zappa! It's not even real musicians playing except frank on the guitar a bit. It was done on a machine.

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by the*doctor
    Man, I haven't gotten through that yet either. I hope it wasn't ur first listen of Zappa! It's not even real musicians playing except frank on the guitar a bit. It was done on a machine.
    I first heard Zappa around 1970. The album with Suzy Cream Cheese. I was too busy laughing to really listen to the music! I later bought and listened to "Overnight Sensation" over and over.

    I thought Steve Vai was on Jazz from hell...

  41. #40

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    Jazz From Hell is a selection of Zappa's electronic compositions, done entirely on Synclavier. I think it's great. Lumpy Gravy is an earlier, very experimental album featuring a lot of tape manipulation, that I like.
    Bongo Fury was actually my first Zappa album and I remember being completely blown away. The solo to Caroline Hardcore Ecstasy is amazing, one of my favorite electric guitar solos ever.

  42. #41

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    I have to place myself in the "I never cared for Frank Zappa's music" category. I'l agree that he had talent and chops but I always felt like I needed to shower after hearing his songs.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoisLevang
    I think that was part of the idea. Shake you and shock you, for example-



    Get you out of your comfort zone.
    Wes, Johnny Smith, Goerge B, and any number of other Jazz guitarists shocked me out of my comfort zone without grossing me out. That's probably why Zappa never made a penny off of me and the others did.

  44. #43
    BM: Did you own a guitar at the time you first heard them?

    FZ: No, my brother Bobby did. He had bought this old guitar for $1.50 at an auction, and he never played it, so I just picked it up and started messing around with it. I actually started on drums when I was 12, but after hearing Guitar Slim and those guys, I began collecting r&b records and working out things. I didn't know any chords; I just started playing the blues... period. That's all I wanted to play. I hated jazz and didn't care about anything else then. The guitar I had wasn't electric – just an arch-top, f-hole, unknown-brand guitar with the strings way above the fingerboard. I didn't know about technique or anything, I just had to teach myself what to do with it. It was all by ear.

  45. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by aniss1001
    To be honest I haven't heard any music of his that I didn't find horrible. He seemed like a nice guy though
    You have that backwards. His music is great, he was a jerk.

    I don't really like his rock music after 1975 or so, but the original Mothers Of Invention and his 1973 band with Jean-Luc Ponty were phenomenal. His avant-garde classical music performed by Ensemble Modern in the early 90s is really great as well. One of a kind composer, and a killer guitar player; played like no one else.

  46. #45
    I watch something like this and think, okay, there's an aspect of his work that's really not much different than Phish.


  47. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by aniss1001
    Well I didn't know him personally so I really can't say. Just think that from what I've seen he seemed sympathetic somehow.
    He's usually down to earth in the TV interviews (more abrasive and rock-starry in print interviews, for some reason).

  48. #47


    Very topical!

  49. #48

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    Could you only imagine if Mr. Zappa was alive today with the technology we have. I remember seeing a video where they said he would be on a plane writing with his manuscript paper and no instruments. Now picture that with a laptop, a score program, Pro Tools or Logic!

    Truly a genius! IMHO

    Tommy

  50. #49

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    I love stuff like waka/jawaka, hot rats, that era.

    I'm not a big fan of the humor over music stuff like Joes Garage, but I do love the Mothers at the Fillmore...

  51. #50

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    I haven’t found much of Frank Zappa’s work that interesting, although I haven’t listened extensively. I did like much of Hot Rats, and still have my vinyl copy. I’d dust off the turntable, but youtube is easier. :-)