The Vortex Of Zappa’s Maximalism

You didn’t think I could write a title like that, eh? Well actually I didn’t. It’s a term taken from Michel Delville & Andrew Norris, both living in Brussels, who have written a book on Zappa, Cpt. Beefheart and Californian freakdom entitled “Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and the Secret History of Maximalism”. Keep your dictionaries at the ready as I present you with a quote:

The vortex of Zappa’s maximalism is a toilet, and here we see him seizing on a creative détournement of the human body: the penis becomes a heart, a conflation of two organs of love — the literal and the symbolic are fused together in an anthropomorphic leap of imagination curiously prophetic of Van Vliet’s later pictorial style with its Wellsian miscegenations.

I love the smell of Watsonian prose in the morning!

Lit Winston

So you get a chance to meet FZ in person, chat a little, and then:

Around now the next elevator opened up, he said, “Nice talking to you,” and got on. Just as the doors were closing he realized he still had a lit cigarette and stuck his arm out to me to take it from him, “Thanks.” I took Frank’s cigarette, the doors closed, and up he went. I looked at the lit Winston, and a woman next to me said, “You’ll cherish it forever,” and smiled. I laughed, crushed it in the ashtray, and went to look for my ride to Madison Square Garden.

Zappa’s Last Project

Back in 1997, the ZFT announced on their website the impending release of Frank Zappa’s last completed project, recorded just 5 months before his death: an album of Varèse compositions selected, supervised and conducted by the man himself. Nine years have passed, and behold:

The long-awaited Varèse album may be coming out after all, possibly by the end of this year. “The Varèse album is on hold for a very specific reason,” Zappa’s widow, Gail, said in December. “We documented three recording sessions with a film crew, and they absconded with the film and tapes, and it took me eight years and lawsuits to get the sucker back.


Jazzappa dot com is a cool, um, Zappa site which I hadn’t come across before. Loads of stuff to peruse, from pictures, midi’s, lyrics, guitar tabs, interviews to mp3’s and more. Plus, as the webmaster states, the site even has a menu:

On the left is a menu. One that works, even. Ho ho ho, and there I go again. It’s so great to be here. Are you really reading this?

Go have a look!

The Lost Amougies Jams

It’s something of a Holy Grail among FZ-fans: Amougies ’69, where Zappa “supposedly” went onstage to jam along with Pink Floyd! In the past, recordings of this gig had surfaced but whether it was really FZ playing remained questionable. Now, apparently a “legit” recording has finally been unearthed which can be downloaded at dimeadozen. See also the related zappateers thread. Anyone get a chance to give this a listen?


Wikipedia explains the term Hum:

The action of humming is produced simply by producing a wordless tone, such as in scat singing or vocables (wordless forms of singing), but with the mouth completely closed so that the sound emerges from the nose. This necessarily keeps the volume at a low level, so humming is often not useful in musical productions, but is nonetheless sometimes used.

Upon which they mention Frank Zappa.

Potatoes On Broadway

In May 2003 we reported about an upcoming live onstage adaptation of Thing-Fish. Today, my inbox tells me a book is being written about the production:

Rumours have it that the author of the book has completed the first bunch of chapters describing the events leading up to the first production in Liverpool 2001. Expect insights into castings, copyright procedures, mask-making and the secret potatoe-mash baking instructions, hitherto only known to very evil princes.

Stay tuned as your humble narrator *might* just possibly be involved in the making…