How old were you when you figured out there was something seriously different with you? When did you discover that the world was going in one particular direction, and you the other? That age for me was around eight or nine years old. The same time I discovered the music of Frank Zappa. The album, Just Another Band From L.A. to be exact. It just made sense to me. Then and now. It was also plainly obvious, even to my young mind at that time, that I was different from my peers. I was a Freak.
The freaks, by Zappa’s reckoning, resisted the binaries of right versus left, dominant culture versus counterculture, or squares versus hippies, preferring instead to align themselves with an aesthetic not narrowly defined by fashion or political leanings.
Of course, it drove my family to distraction and despair as my collection of Zappa records grew, and many a Zappa album found it’s way shattered against the wall like a frisbee, or gashed with long scratches across the vinyl from being too hurriedly de-needled. But by high school, my Zappa fix was a close as the nearest record store (or for those who couldn’t afford them — the nearest public library).
Where do you fit along the Zappa continuum? Passing Zappa listener? Zappaholic? Full fledged Zappa Freak? Then read Ben Watson’s paper, “Houston … Fort .. Marcuse: Sin Versus Archetype in Zappa” addressed to the International Conference of Esemplastic Zappology on 16 January 2004 at Theatro Technis, Crowndale Road, Camden Town, London.
Some Zappa Freaks are really out of this world…