Another appealing aspect of Frank Zappa’s music was his ability to self mythologize what occurred in his life into his music. This is seen quite a lot in literature, but rarely in music (which, I might add, is part of Zappa’s unique genius). Zappa’s composition, “Holiday In Berlin” is an excellent example.
Performed live at their early show the Fillmore East in New York on November 14th, 1970, that version of “Holiday In Berlin” (including Inca Roads and Easy Meat Themes) (above) has always been one of my favorites particularly because of FZ’s use of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan‘s voices as musical instruments.
Also performed at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on November 6th, 1970, that version (below) makes an excellent comparison with the Fillmore East version.
While Zappa self-mythologized throughout his career, it was during the early to mid 1970s that Zappa was most interested in mythologizing (at least lyrically speaking), particularly through the albums, Just Another Band From L.A. to Roxy & Elsewhere. He did, however, continue to mythologize, self and otherwise, on his numerous album covers, and through conceptual continuity clues left for us who happily came along for the ride.
6 thoughts on “Holiday In Berlin, 1970”
a wonderful collage, do you know where the video is from?
I always loved this composition, as I’ve always loved the Flo and Eddie lineup. There was just something about the instrumentation… it has this soft California vibe.
Long live “Mystery Roach”!
I have been in love with this melody since I heard it
MANY years ago on BWS.
It’s even better with the words.
from text above:
“Another appealing aspect of Frank Zappa’s music was his ability to self mythologize”
Are you saying this MYTHOLOGY business is nothing new?
I’m practicing my BOLdNESS under theory repetition will enhance learning and retention.
Certainly, Bob, this mythology business is nothing new – how Zappa self-mythologized his own personal history, and the personal and public history of his bands into his music, lyrics, movies, album covers certain was something new and unique in his day. Not before, or since, has an artist made use of such conceptual continuity of which Zappa’s use of self mythology is such an integral part.
…the vault is a myth.
Beside the mythologizing aspect, which I see as part of self-referencing and continuously refining his musical language, I like it that Zappa always uses his personal point of view and themes that are left out of other’s aspects. Too many artists avoid to involve their own thoughts sticking to platitude … someone has to talk about dental floss, cleaning the kitchen or penis dimension, and he was provoding that service 🙂
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