How To Rekindle Your Interest In Zappa?

Steven Harker has a problem. He writes:

I’ve been a long time follower of KUR. During the ZFT bruhaha I expressed the opinion that if it wasn’t for your blog my interest in all things FZ would have disappeared up my own poop chute never to be seen again. I didn’t buy the latest ZFT offering, truth be told after the luke warm stuff I did make the effort to buy recently I felt I’d be better off stocking up on petrol. It’s a sad state of affairs that my interest in Zappa is waning. So, perhaps everyone out there could recommend something that I need to do to rekindle my interest. Is there one album I should dust off and give my undivided attention to or even just one song? Should I buy a blow up doll and stick a gas mask on her? Or should I just give up and go to the Elton John concert tomorrow which is ten minutes down the road from my house? Help!

My first suggestion would be to get an account at Zappateers and act like the kid in the candy store. Anyone else have any good tips? Let’s hear it, freaks!

33 thoughts on “How To Rekindle Your Interest In Zappa?”

  1. I really haven’t listened to Zappa very often for years. Every once in a while, I’ll check out “Shut up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar”, “Guitar”, or “Trance Fusion”. Unless someone says something provocative about a specific track or album, I’ll listen to other things. Some time within the next week, I’ll overcome Zappinertia and listen to “Freaks and Motherfuckers” to hear the end of side one.

    If you consider your condition to be a problem, try listening to Beefheart’s “Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)”, maybe “Quebec” by Ween (how’s “Cucaracha”?), or just take some time off. It’s alright. KUR is still interesting even if you don’t listen to Zappa very much.

  2. Pour a stiff drink & play Watermelon in Easter Hay, then enjoy a little Green Rosetta.

  3. It’s only natural for one’s focus to drift about. But the timelessness of Frank’s work will draw you back. Don’t force it. One day you’ll throw on Sheik Yerbouti and it will sound all fresh and great, and you’ll be back in sync with Frankness.

  4. @ mr the pimp
    sure listen to WOIFTM again and again.Tthen start remembering body odour is a gas (sorry already too long ago that Gruppo sportivo did a FZ cover). Anyhow there is a whole lot of tribute bands and what you got, to drop out, tune in and turn on again.

  5. Enjoy the original music in the first place!

    My advice: stay away from most posthumous releases, ZPZ and I would stick to the original lifetime catalogue. Makes a huge difference. When I couldn’t help myself and bothered to consume ZPZ in concert and on DVD and returned to the originals afterwards, I couldn’t believe how big the difference is. The original catalogue of releases is everything I need. Don’t let your appreciation be spoiled by anything posthumous. It is not Frank’s fault (well … he could have thrown away more stuff).

    And under all circumstances avoid the forum at A real ugly place of mass stupidity lately.


  6. Immerse yourself in Shut up ‘N Play Yer Guitar, i’d say. Take two hours off and put on headphones. Now don’t focus on what FZ plays but on what the others are doing. This exercise always works for me.

  7. Yesterday I listened to ‘Heavy Metal Bebop’ by the Brecker Brothers and it reminded me of FZ’s ‘in New York’. The distinctive harmonies between the sax and trumpet (and use of an electronic harmonizer by Randy Brecker) really light up the FZ band. And also, both albums feature Terry Bozzio. I wish FZ and the Breckers could have had more collaborations.

    So that’s my recommendation – rediscover FZ via the Brecker Brothers.

  8. Some great ideas so far, thanks everyone. Hardly a scientific experiment but I might go through them one by one and see how I get on. I’m not sure my wife approves of my dancing though so taking my clothes off whilst I’m doing it might be a step too far. In the meantime I’ve ordered up the non-FZ recommendations and I’m looking forward to a few audio treats.

  9. AKACOD, Bourbon Princess, Morphine, Chris Whitley…

    I used to think that Zappa Freaks had a wide and eclectic taste in music, but lately I’m really beginning to wonder. There is really a lot of excellent music to be heard today, just as complex and intricate as Zappa’s on many levels, if one just gives them a chance. Or does being a Zappa Freak mean listening to nothing else but Zappa and Zappa alumni?

    Go to CD Baby and look around and listen. There’s a lot there to fill one’s ears and CD player until the ZFT come to their senses and start to release material worthy of FZ and his fan base.

  10. [quote comment=”1573″] , maybe “Quebec” by Ween (how’s “Cucaracha”?), .[/quote]
    It’s starting to grow on me…..

  11. [quote comment=”1583″]There is really a lot of excellent music to be heard today, just as complex and intricate as Zappa’s on many levels, if one just gives them a chance. Or does being a Zappa Freak mean listening to nothing else but Zappa and Zappa alumni?[/quote]

    I tried recently. Went to my local trusted CD dealer (yes, this involved actual walking) and he recommended giving Les Claypool’s “Of Whales and Woe” a try. Complex and intricate stuff, with statistical density here and there. But the outcome of this experiment was: The whole record has less musical ideas and inspiration than a few bars of an FZ guitar solo (plus backing combo). So i’m back to FZ again for now and continue to look for alternatives. Will give the suggestions posted here on KUR a try, though.

  12. My advice is to listen to most of the garbage that passes for music nowadays and you’ll suddenly be hankerin’ for FZ again! Don’t backslide people, follow Frank!

  13. When I drift away from Zappa the first thing that sends me back is when I hear an artist that directly or indirectly reminds me of him.

  14. Agreed, Mr Urbangraffito! There’s plenty of stuff around to spend your money on besides the ZFT output. My suggestion; try Django Bates.

    And I listen to loads of other stuff besides FZ. where to begin…? Beatles, Stones, Mahler, 13th Floor Elevators, Todd Rundgren, Sibelius, Thelonius Monk, and many more, and occasionally – Bobby Darin.

  15. Just go back to the catalogue of stuff you had when you first got into Zappa… the actual albums.

    Also go for the “harder” stuff for want of a better term, like the double LSO album, Phase III etc. Lots a meat to dig your teeth into that you may have previously passed over.

  16. get some q-tips. clean out the ear wax. grab some z in format of your choice. sit back and enjoy (beverage optional). You CAN dance to Z… not widely practiced (observation based on the fact that at recent P/O concerts AND ZPZ… I was like.. the ONLY person actually dancing)…… and you don’t HAVE to take your clothes off (and that may be preferable to stay clothed for the sake of other people…but if you must… go for it, it’s ok). Great place to start… Roxy and Elsewhere… Beebop Tango… you’ll love it.

  17. just go to you tube and watch the lost interview
    then put The Shaggs record and wank with your electric tooth brush thinking about global warming

  18. Zappa is in the upper echelon of musicians for me, where I can listen to his music at any time and immediately be reminded why I love him so much. Him, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, The Clash, and Cheap Trick all share that distinction for me.

    My advice? Crank up We’re Only In It For The Money or Uncle Meat or Sleep Dirt – the vinyl, not the CD.

  19. Just to follow up: if that doesn’t work, I guess don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out to the Elton John show. 🙂

  20. i have a problem with the basic premise of this topic – that of losing interest in zappa. if one HAD interest at some point, and is now at the point where they are LOSING interest … that’s just all wrong. that’s like losing interest in Scotch whickey. what the hell? did Bud Light start tasting better?

    i wonder if this fellow overdosed on Billy The Mountain or something (plz don’t flame, just one of the songs i personally don’t have any desire to hear again. it’d be like reading the same Archie comic over & over).

    to me, there’s so much more than just the tunes – there’s the bands, the side-stories of the different tours, a plethora of killer arrangements of same songs… i guess i’ll give in and offer up my suggestion: check out the Zappa + CNN Crossfire clip on YouTube, and then put on some Prince. i’m really not sure how that might actually help, but it’s better than pouring concrete in this blast-furnace-type weather we’ve got here in Montana today.

    KUR is great, but my interest in Zappa is completely independent of any tangible thing, it’s like a big zit that rears up every couple of months, yet never goes away. after awhile, you can’t imagine life without it. special thanks to barry & crew for keeping this site living.

  21. if you temporarily loose interest in FZ, search the list on the Freak Out cover for musicians and try theese … you will end up with lots of groovy R’n’B as well as tons of avantgarde classic stuff

  22. [quote comment=”1668″]ZFT tactics and FZ music are two completely different entities. Treat them accordingly.[/quote]

    Well said, Barry. There’s really nothing anyone or any “trust” could do to lessen my enthusiasm for the music of FZ. KUR has proven it can survive without little thumbnail pixels of FZ and Friday boots. Why? Because like the music of FZ, KUR is more than just the sum of its parts. It, too, possesses a particular, and peculiar gestalt. Where it will ultimately wind up, and in what form, who is to know? One thing I am sure of: the journey is half the fun.

  23. If your rekindled interest in Zappa lasts longer than four hours…seek immediate medical attention… side affects may include wanting to purchase ZFT vault releases…

  24. PS…. I love it when I hear my neighbor blasting FZ! I moved to a new house about a year ago. This spring, after a few Cheezy rehearsals in the living room… what do I hear but strains of Florentine Pogen… WAFTING… through the neighborhood, emanating from his upstairs window (the guy is in his late 50s). How lovely. Yet another story of a (ahem) Zappa cover band inspiring a … rekindled interest? Maybe he will go buy a reissue.

  25. you call that a tuba? looks more like a piccolo – a tiny one, at that!

    zip up and wipe that grin off your face.

  26. One week on, still no nearer Zappa and a bit lighter in the wallet but enjoying the latest musical diversions!
    Brecker Brothers – fantastic, how the hell did I miss them?!
    Ween – definitely a grower. What should I go for after “Quebec”, “The Mollusk”?
    Elton John? No. I could hear the strains of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” from the back garden, ran indoors and immediately ordered some triple glazing.

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