Sometimes I am quite delighted to discover a fan-made Frank Zappa video like the one posted above. It reinforces my belief that the future of FZ’s public image is in the right hands: creative, open-minded, technology embracing hands. This is how I always envisioned Zappa’s legacy being spread.
This video also got me to thinking about FZ’s contemporary image. Who IS the REAL Frank Zappa, anyway? Is he just a Brand? A Trademark? An image or a sound to copyright? There seems to be at least three camps. The FAN camp. The ALUMNI camp. The ZFT camp. Each camp has their own and often dissenting views of who the REAL Frank Zappa happens to be, and how his image should be projected into the future. The ZFT camp has almost completely abandoned the very technology that Zappa had envisioned [i.e. the internet] and instead of embracing the technology, and FZ’s fans through it as a means mass promotion, they retreat further and further into an abyss of their own design – taking whatever recordings FZ left along with them [everyone is going to play by our rules, or not at all]. Of course, the ALUMNI CAMP saw this coming long before the FAN CAMP did; many alumni jumping the mothership unable to play by their strict perspective. There was little they could do except celebrate and play the music of the maestro on their own terms.
One recent victory in this three way conflict concerning the Zappa image was the victory of the Arf Society in the German Courts regarding their use of the Zappa image and the Zappanale festival.
The Zappa image, like his music, and his movies, is a living breathing thing – it continues to survive through new generations of listeners and the very minds that his work’s inspires now and will into the future.
Turning Zappa into a Brand controlled by one entity, one person is no different than turning Frank Zappa into the equivalent of a box of Cornflakes [NoName Cornflakes, at that], bland and tasteless. It’s my opinion that how we each experience FZ is what gives him his ultimate flavour.
I’m sure THE ALUMNI and THE FANS would agree, though the ZFT camp would no doubt have their own opinion. Too bad, since our’s is the only generation that will be able to enjoy Zappa’s and the Mother’s music with living alumni.
Once they are gone, there is only we fans and the ZFT.
Note: The above video is the second video used in the post. The first was removed by the user. This is prime example of the fear that still exists within the FAN camp of bringing unwanted attention upon oneself by posting anything Zappa related. For this reason, I edited out the prior users name and vidieo with added apologies.