Getting into Frank Zappa

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by englishbob, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    I thought there wasn't a controversy about ZINY - FZ did it first, which is why Warners had access to proper artwork including credits and liner notes. Did FZ say something about the other three albums in the Halloween box? I don't remember hearing that.
     
  2. Psychedelic Good Trip

    Psychedelic Good Trip Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    1. [​IMG]
    2. [​IMG]
    Love this album. Good one to start with. The production was dramatically better than the previous Mothers albums.
     
    ParloFax likes this.
  3. Archtop

    Archtop Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greater Boston
    I've been reading along and waiting to post, so now's as good a time as any. My take on getting into an artist/band that has a strong improvisational element is to start with top shelf live material. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach: 1) if you don't like the live material, odds are you won't like the rest of the material either, so your decision can be made and done with rapidly with little to no financial input; but 2) if you love it, you may have reached the zenith on day 1.

    Of course, some folks love studio stuff and Zappa certainly has plenty of great studio material. He also fiddled with the live stuff so much in many cases that it's an amalgamation of occurrences from different performances, thus leaving the listener to experience something that never actually happened (which was certainly FZ's right). All that said, if one doesn't like live 1973 Zappa, the question has been asked and answered. That late 1973 band may be the most talented group of musicians ever assembled in any genre (I would note that a band of Mingus, Monk, 'Trane, Miles and Haynes never happened, to my knowledge). Right behind that incarnation was the previous 1973 group that had Ponty in place of Brock and Underwood in place of Thompson. Anything from 1973 is a good way to make a decision regarding the rest. There is plenty of other stuff to devour, but live 1973 is the peak for me. A few other suggestions:

    Meat Light
    Hot Rats
    Waka/Jawaka
    The Grand Wazoo
    Tiny Dots
    The Crux of the Biscuit (Down in De Dew is one of FZ's finest performances ever - it's stunningly fantastic)
    Apostrophe'
    Sleep Dirt
     
    Instant Dharma, Tristero and ParloFax like this.
  4. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Oh, bless your heart.

    This is not at all an issue. The debate is whether or not Frank created Läther before or after the four separate albums. That is totally irrelevant to what his intention was.

    I have said before that I don't believe Frank created Läther first. That doesn't matter.

    In early 1977, Frank intended to release Zappa In New York. That's indisputable.

    There is evidence that Frank created Orchestral Favorites as early as the year before.

    Whether or not Frank would have created Studio Tan or Hot Rats III without the legal dispute is a matter of debate. Regardless of that, he did create them. He delivered them to Warner Bros., along with the other two aforementioned albums, to fulfill his contract.

    I take it that you do not dispute any of this.

    Since WB did not release those four albums, Frank thought that he was free to release that material however he saw fit. He could have shopped the four albums to other record companies. He didn't do that. He changed his mind and created Läther in the summer of 1977. This was his decision and he did so according to his own artistic vision. There were test pressings. He played it on the radio. He explained how he wanted it released in interviews. None of this is in dispute.

    WB got wind of it and filed an injunction to prevent its Halloween release.

    Okay, so follow me here: The four albums were Frank's intention at one point and Läther was Frank's intention at another point. Again, none of this is in dispute.

    So, then, WB releases the four albums in 1978 and 1979, butchering ZINY against Frank's wishes and creating covers for the other three without authorization.

    Frank would release the four albums on CD in 1991 in altered form while Läther was released after he died.

    I bring up Frank's altering of the CD versions because Frank never saw an album as a finished product. It was always just a snapshot of what he was working on. That's why there are so many alternate versions of albums in the vault or that got to a test pressing stage, only to be changed later.

    This was Frank's MO. The fact that the four albums were created first is not relevant, has never been relevant, and will never be relevant.

    :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh:

    So, you've taken an oscillocope to side two of Sheik Yerbouti and found that it is put together better than any side of Läther? You sound like tons of fun.

    You could try listening, dear boy.

    BTW, you do realize that sides 3 and 8 of Läther are the same as Studio Tan. Does that mean that Studio Tan doesn't work, that those two sides are exempted, or the added dialogue snippets throw it all off?


    Yes. You "think". It's your opinion, by definition. That's cool. You are entitled.
     
    danner and prognastycator like this.
  5. jawaka1000

    jawaka1000 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    The thread is called "getting into Frank Zappa" guys!
    Come on, keep it greasy!
     
    Instant Dharma likes this.
  6. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Okay. Here's the short version:

    I recommend Läther. Terrapin Station does not.

    It's all good. :righton:
     
    Terrapin Station and jawaka1000 like this.
  7. vince

    vince Stan Ricker's son-in-law

    Everyone here knows MY opinion....so, instead of my usual answer to the 'where-to-start?' question, I'll add this:
    There have been a hand-full of cases where, the post-homunous releases contain some of his most BEAUTIFUL music!
    Usually, a deceased artists' archive would only contain some 'out-takes', or mediocre pieces that would only be entertaining for the 'hard-cores'....
    This is NOT the case with Zappa!!
     
  8. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    This comment makes no sense. Unless you're considering Frank creating albums unintentionally somehow.

    (If you want to keep arguing about this, I'm just addressing one point at a time. That's the first one.)
     
  9. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Isn't this what you are suggesting? We know Frank created Läther (nobody else did), yet you somehow suggest he didn't intend to. I was trying to paraphrase your point.
     
  10. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    I didn't say he didn't intend to, lol. I said that he concocted the idea years after the original intention, which was to create the four separate albums he created.
     
  11. jawaka1000

    jawaka1000 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Guys , i've got a confession to make.
     
    PIGGIES and dlokazip like this.
  12. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Years? Try months.

    Zappa In New York was supposed to be released in June 1977. Frank played the test pressing of Läther on the radio in December 1977.

    Where are you getting "years" from?
     
  13. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Well, spit it out, son.
     
    PIGGIES likes this.
  14. jawaka1000

    jawaka1000 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    LATHER !!
     
    PIGGIES likes this.
  15. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    Studio Tan, Sleep Dirt and Orchestral Favorites were all planned by 1974, and work on all of them began by 1974.
     
  16. vince

    vince Stan Ricker's son-in-law

    On a side-note:
    Did Warners hire Gary Panter for the artwork, or Frank?
     
  17. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Orchestral Favorites was recorded on September 18, 1975, regardless of when it was "planned". Most of Sleep Dirt was written in 1972. So what?

    Zoot Allures was supposed to be a double album that was going to contain "Filthy Habits" and "Sleep Dirt". This was before he ever assembled the album that we now call Sleep Dirt.

    Again, so what?
     
  18. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    Warner Brothers did
     
    vince likes this.
  19. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    So, the original intention was the four separate albums, and the Lather story was concocted years later.
     
  20. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA


    SECONDS MAGAZINE:
    How did the Zappa covers happen?

    PANTER: Those were unauthorized and it was really a strange moral dilemma with some guilt attached. Maybe I'm dramatizing the thing but Zappa wanted to put out a three-record set called Lather and Warner Bros. wanted to dump these records on the market, and I didn't know that. They hired me to do covers and I was wondering why I wasn't meeting Zappa because I know he's a total control freak. Then I found out while I was doing the third one that they were unauthorized, and that's why I wasn't meeting him. He was going to sue Warners. I'd written him fan letters and I'd met Cal Schenkel when I first went to California. I wrote him after I did those covers but I never heard from him. Matt said he liked the images okay and Gail used them again in reissuing the records so I guess it's okay. I liked the music a lot and I'm a total Zappa fan since high school.
     
    ParloFax and vince like this.
  21. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    There's no doubt that there was a story promoted about that. The question is whether the story is true, or whether it was merely concocted for an ulterior motive.
     
  22. mneveux

    mneveux Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Was scanning this thread to see how long it would be before Sleep Dirt was mentioned...Sleep Dirt is essential Zappa.
     
  23. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Läther was created in 1977. The accounts of how it was created are in dispute. I'm sure one of those is the "story" that you are referring to.

    By all accounts, the assembled albums of Studio Tan and Sleep Dirt were not created as albums until 1977 when Frank decided to get out of his contract. The tracks on those albums existed separately for years prior, but he had yet to place them on albums, although, as I mentioned, he was going to put "Filthy Habits" and "Sleep Dirt" on Zoot Allures before he shrunk it to a single album. But no, the albums were not constructed in 1974. Frank didn't work like that. The tracks were just floating around.
     
  24. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Location:
    Austin, TX, USA
    Ulterior motive? Are you suggesting Frank created Läther as a publicity stunt?
     
  25. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC Man
    What is your source for that? Did you work with him? I've worked with people who worked with him, although I never had a chance to work directly with him.
     

Share This Page