Bad Zappa Songs, Anyone?

This is a guest post by Alan Wechsler from Albany, NY.
If you’ve written an article which you think would make for some interesting discussion, feel free to send it to us at hello[at] Perhaps we’ll even publish it!

Everyone knows how prolific Frank Zappa was as a composer. So it’s natural that such a great songwriter might have a few duds. I thought it would be fun to put a list together of his worst. Yes, it’s arbitrary and petty, but if you don’t like it you can grow your own green rosetta…
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Frank Zappa’s Original PMRC Letters

PMRC Envelope

Newish niche blog Letterheady publishes letterhead designs from the rich and (in)famous. The site recently got picked up and linked to by everyone and their grandmother. In the process, it came to light they also had Frank Zappa’s letterhead featured. That’s when Joe Crawford aimed this tweet at KUR, saying we should “blog it!”

Ah, but you see: Letterheady’s source is in fact…
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The Rondo Hatton Report #1

As announced back in October, the inaugural edition of The Rondo Hatton Report is now available for download. Topics explored are:

  • King Kong: A Conversational Analysis — Paul Carr & Michel Delville
  • The Bard Of Baltimore — Kanguy Chow
  • Zappa’s Music Is a Sphere — Guillaume Dauzou & Sabrina Bergamin
  • Author/Recipient Relationships in FZ Movies — Manuel de la Fuente
  • My Dogs Are Barking — Andrew Greenaway
  • Trouble With Pigs And Ponies — Andy Hollinden
  • FZ And The English Language — John Loska
  • When Zappa Played Like Coltrane — Philippe Mérigot
  • La Dérive Uncle Meat — Didier Mervelet
  • Waxing Lyrical; Why I Love Frank — Sarah Moore
  • Isn’t It Romantic, Punky? — Simon Prentis
  • Frank Zappa Versus the People — Pacôme Thiellement
  • Are You Hung Up? — Hugo Vanneck
  • On “Oh No” From Weasels Ripped My Flesh — Ben Watson

Direct link to the PDF.

Happy reading, and happy holidays!

On This Day

The Rondo Hatton Report

Just spotted over at Andrew’s place: The Rondo Hatton Report, “an independent electronic platform where people can creatively confess their addiction to the music of Frank Zappa”.

A consensus emerged from the 20th Zappanale in Bad Doberan that most of the people who come there just might have something to say, if only they had a place to say it. Ours is no ordinary addiction, after all. We do not come to worship at the Stucco Shrine merely to sing along to some catchy tunes. Many of us have had life-changing experiences at the hands of the Man with the Imperial.

So what’s the deal exactly?

This site is conceived as an online version of an imaginary quarterly journal. We are open to contributions from anyone who has anything interesting to say about the music of Frank Zappa, but to help focus minds and ensure that people a) have a point to make and b) get to it, all texts submitted must be between a minimum of 500 and a maximum of 1500 words.

The first edition of the journal will be uploaded to the site on 21 December 2009, and updated thereafter at three-monthly intervals. This may well turn into something very, very cool…

Frank Zappa And Sex

Paul Carr, who wrote earlier about the ZFT’s agressive copyright policies, has published another paper. This time, the subject is Zappa’s attitude toward sex. The essay closes with a quote from Herbert Marcuse which pretty much hits the nail on the head:

Obscenity is a moral concept in the verbal arsenal of the Establishment, which abuses the term by applying it, not to expressions of its own morality but to those of another. Obscene is not the picture of a naked woman who exposes her pubic hair but that of a fully clad general who exposes his medals rewarded in a war of aggression; obscene is not the ritual of the Hippies but the declaration of a high dignitary of the Church that war is necessary for peace.


Trent Reznor Has Some Advice

The point is this: music IS free whether you want to believe that or not. Every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. This is a fact – it sucks as the musician BUT THAT’S THE WAY IT IS (for now). So… have the public get what they want FROM YOU instead of a torrent site and garner good will in the process (plus build your database).

Read the rest here

The Mothers of Invention – Conflicted Histories

As time has passed since the publication of The Real Frank Zappa Book, and more interviews of original band members have emerged whose individual recollections contradict was had been written (and often taken as factual history) — it further sheds light on the complexity of this band, and the need for an ongoing, objective, and scholarly view of the Mother’s history from those who were actually there (well beyond the usual pop culture biographies and rock critic hokum), the musicians themselves.

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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: