Zappa Versus the Packard Goose

It’s easy to understand where FZ got his distaste of rock ‘n roll (and music) writers from — just read some the reviews of his albums and concerts, here.

On the other hand, though FZ wasn’t known as a very avid reader of books, he did publicly recite “The Talking Asshole” excerpt from William S. Burroughs’ seminal novel, Naked Lunch:


Author: urbangraffito

I am a writer, editor, publisher, philosopher, and foole (not necessarily in that order). Cultural activist and self-described anarchist.

7 thoughts on “Zappa Versus the Packard Goose”

  1. I think that Frank was more of a reader than he would admit. He quoted Dylan Thomas from memory in the YCDTOSA version of Yellow Snow. He makes allusions to poems by Keats and Browning in the “Information is not knowledge” section of Packard Goose. Perhaps his downplaying of reading is related to his anti-academia stance. Frank dismissed college but championed self-education.

  2. yea, but on the flip side: a lot of my friends have long hated zappa precisely because he was lionized by the press. my guess is that if ya did a scientific study the percentage of positive/fanatical pro-fz articles would far outweigh the negative.

  3. Frank’s recitation of the ‘The Talking Asshole’ excerpt from William S. Burrough’s Naked Lunch inveigled me into acquiring a copy of the novel when I was sixteen; an acquisition, which, consequently, had an impact equally immense as that of Zappa’s own intromission into my life. Almost three years on, and it’s still one of my favourite books.
    Matt; you made a mention of an allusion to a poem by John Keats in Packard Goose — which poem of his would that be?

  4. Matt – I’ve always been astonished by that big chunk of Under Milk Wood and would love to know what it was doing in his brain – the inverted Keats’ quote’s not so inexplicable, being a famous quote by itself (but can you imagine Frank reading the Grecian Urn?) – at least Under Milk Wood he only had to listen to…

  5. Reuben, the Keats poem is Ode on a Grecian Urn. The Browning poem is Love Among the Ruins.

  6. Ah — “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’ — that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
    Thank you very much, Matt!

  7. Frank might have heard Under Milk Wood as a teenager as it was recorded as a radio play in the early fifties. I think I read somewhere frank indeed listened to radio plays. He really should credit Dylan Thomas on ycdtosa 1.

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