Live in Germany 1978
Archive for Zappa
This is a weird way to mark my birthday. In the history of Modern Music, Frank Zappa will go down as a Great American Composer. Embodying Experimentalism from the 1960s and surpassing it. 200 Motels was a culmination of the early work (my favorite period) of Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention. The conductor Zuben Mehta made Frank take his name off the credits. That’s his loss.
Here is a live version of the early Mothers. You might notice that Zappa proceeded the whole “Downtown” music scene and surpassed them long before they finished school. John Zorn eat your heart out. We hear the theme from “Pound For A Brown” which is orchestrated in the following video.
Near the end of his life, Zappa had his own orchestra in Paris. The Ensemble Modern (conduted by Peter Rundel) was something the young composer had to do without. The version of this composition on Uncle Meat has a certain charm. He might of originally done it orchestrally if he could. I prefere the early studio version, and the early Mothers of Invention of the late 60s.
Stravinsky is all over this piece. Frank’s orchestral music from that period sounds much more influenced by Edgar Varese. But Stravinsky was part of Zappa’s music. His melodies as much as the changing meters and pulsations reminicient of Igor Stravinsky. He took all the influences, including the experimental conceptual period he was part of in the 60s, and created his own style and musical legacy. He is one of America’s greatest composers, having redefined what that means.
The following two videos feature Zappa’s guitar playing. “Willie The Pimp,” with Capatain Beefheart, is a classic. “Black Napkins” is new to me. It shows the influence of The Mahavishnu Orchestra and John McLaughlin.
The modern environmental movement began in 1970. That was a big year for me. I not only started recycling, it was the year the world of music opened up for a kid from the suburbs. This world was revealed to me by Frank Zappa.
I was a Rocker turned Zappa Freak. Zappa led me to Modern Music, and wanting to be a composer. I came to love Stravinsky, Varese and other favorites of Frank; while at the same time, through the radio, I discovered jazz. I embraced the music of Coltrane, Rollins, Monk, Miles, Ornette, Cecil Taylor, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, and many others.
You could say I was an environmentalist by recycling and turning off lights(my father loved that), but today the meaning has changed, something that happens with so many words used by the Left. Lost of all meaning are significant words like “peace”, “justice”, “fairness”, etc.
Since 1970 the air and water are cleaner, even with growing population. Starting in the 70s there were environmental activists who cordially sat down with corporations to retool and make changes which were beneficial to the environment. They did not demand closure of all energy producing operations like the Enviro-Marxists and the people who call themselves environmentalist today, who want us to live like the poor of the Third World, or a Soveit clinging to prescious squares of toilet paper.
A Green Monster can’t blend in with the tribe. Let us remember and give thanks to the OG Greens. They were effective and beneficial to all people (except millions of Africans who died because they banned DDT) and the environment.(Yes, I also know they were always a bunch of Socialists. I’m trying to be positive.) This common sense approach should either be adopted by the Green Movement, or the Greens should be recycled. We can make something useful from them rather than be dragged back to being dirty, diseased, cold and hungry. Save the humans, eat the Greens.