Zappa Making It Cool To Be A Smart Guy In Rock n Roll


I watched the new Zappa Documentary this weekend. It's one of those things you don't realize you needed to know about until you see the real deal behind the guy who sang 'The Apostrophe'. I remember reading Creem Mag in the 70's thinking Frank Zappa was the coolest of all rockers because he made funny music that was too long for even AOR radio to play about things that were sorta raunchy but seemed to have deep meaning (to a teenage girl's brain). Anyway, It was definitely not something you could listen to very loud in your parent's house because: Dynamo Hum. But I was striving to destroy the pedestrian existence of living in 70's Sandusky, Ohio, so to listen to Zappa was to define yourself as a unicorn. Nobody called it that then, of course. Smash cut to the weekend and the debut of Alex Winter's faithful exploration of Zappa's depths. He was a 'composer' in a very real way, scoring orchestral pieces and in his later life performing them with a pair of dancers that must have inspired the Jim Rose Circus' sideshow. He also played one of the first concerts for repressed fans in Post-Communist Czechoslovakia and campaigned against Tipper Gore's early 'karening' of rock n roll. Then a Senator's wife, she represented a Junior League incarnation of womanhood that Zappa naturally found annoying enough to cut his hair and testify before congress to remind Tipper and the rest of the United States of America to mind their First Amendment and stop trying to slap warning labels on artistic expression. During that activism, Frank toured the country in an effort to get the word out and change the minds of young adults in hopes that they would understand freedoms they were squandering that Czech teens gave their lives to earn. I met him for a several question interview when he was playing Columbus, Ohio. It was possibly like that scene at the beginning of 2001-A Space Odyssey, where the cave people were gaping, leaping and throwing bones at the obelisk trying to suss out what it was. I was out of my depth, but incredibly impressed at an individual with the ability to create music like 'Don't Eat The Yellow Snow' who could also sit before representatives of our government and make them look like that gang of Space Odyssey pre-historic bone throwers. Frank Zappa left behind an enormous body of work, some of it I don't truly understand to this day. But I felt after watching his story, that he wanted us to find out more and keep the idea of being unique and intelligent progressing forward. He would've been a star player at Burning Man. Just sayin'. Thanks to Alex Winter for undertaking Zappa. He's now made two of my favorite movies of 2020: Bill & Ted Face the Music, and Zappa.