15 thoughts on “Zappa On Crossfire, 1987 Edition”

  1. FZ knew that CNN Crossfire was nothing more than a conservative circle-jerk, and obviously showed his contempt and disdain with the tone of his remarks as he was baited again and again and again. Strange how if Zappa was still around today, the right-wing would’ve accused him of being “unpatriotic” ala “dixie-chicks”. Where are the artists & musicians of today? And how are they standing up against the conservative-religo-fascists like Zappa did? Discorporate and come with me…coming Frank!

  2. I remember watching this video before even listening to Frank for the first time. I should give it another watch now that I’ve taken the time to get into his music and general mood.

  3. On a more general musical line.

    A lot of wisdom on music can be found in ” Bruits” , a book written by Jacques Attali ( translated in several other languages).

    Just read the first three chapters. Amazing.

    Basic message = just listen and you’ll hear the shape of ( societal ) things to come.

  4. urbangraffito: I believe that since the Dixie Chicks were “brought down”, undoubtedly by the strong influence of conservative corporations and general unwavering ‘patriotism’ and stupidity of average Country music fans, a lot of artists are reluctant to make such a stand. The biggest trend in music, at least in the good ‘ol USA, is groups and singers concerned with common denominator appeal, and are are quite willing to go along with whatever the record company tells them to in order to be filthy rich and notorious then disappear in a few months. Who wants to rock the boat, much less ‘the vote’?

  5. danny: If I am understanding you correctly, the corporatization of the music business that began in the 1970s has reached its zenith. I wonder, could artists like FZ and groups like The Mothers of Invention have a ghost of chance nowadays? I’m optimistic that such artists will find freedom in the very technologies we are currently using (i.e. internet, ipod, etc.), and the days of the corporate stranglehold on free ideas are quickly coming to a close. Personally, of all the things I’d like to make (music, love, peace), money just doesn’t rank that high.

  6. Huh? This is a Crossfire i had yet 2 gawk upon — FZ begins w/ very UN-Zappa-ish pithy “NO.” & keeps it up, one after the next. It’s lovely … & no, ladies & germs, you sure’s hell do NOT get that level of sentience from folks w/ a TeeVee Cam pointed at them no mo’ …

    Imagine how surreal this was for Zappa: defending a DISCO SONG from George-Michael after having defended another DISCO SONG by Prince – oh, & he was also standing up in support of JOHN DENVER (!!), whose sales got nuked when he did anti-nuke material – & got sexy & shirtless 4 a video (bletch) —– let alone 2 have folks keep telling him “we won, good on ya” only 2 behold the Tipperstein-Zombie rise up prior 2 yet another election like some fugly Golem …

    bleeeeuccchh & pheeeeeeeeeeeeuuw!

  7. jim – you said a mouthful there (couldn’t agree more) – huurumph…bleeeeuccchh…pheeeeeeeeeeeeuuw! Now, who said it couldn’t happen here? That they would “freakout” on Crossfire?

  8. Actually, I was going to add in the fact that I’m glad that the internet has laid strong foundation for better music by giving the kids more choices, and I believe when the dust settles, bands that are a cut above regular entertainment will be a big part of the popular landscape. My 17-year old daughter has discovered some great music in the last couple of years and turned me onto it. She never listens to terrestrial radio and ignores MTV and such. They’re really boring. With all that;s happening, I always wish Frank was around. I think he would have been glad about the internet system. And he would have an amazing website!!

  9. danny – I couldn’t agree with you more. My 18-year son (much like your daughter) are far more savvy than our generation could ever hope to have been at that age. What with us being brought up on 70s AM Radio top ten crap (remember BRANDY, she’s a fine girl), all I can say is THANK the airwaves back then for blessed FM (when they used to play entire sides of albums – which is how I first heard Roxy & Elsewhere). Zappa has always been my link to “real” music, before the corporations got a hold of the business and started “manufacturing” music. Kinda makes one wonder what sort of a website he would have created (though you really knew it would have something to do with a muffin & a kitchen & perhaps even a burnt weiner too)?

  10. First, while most of the posts here are correct in the observation that FZ once again laid waste to the Religofuckwads of Crossfire. The contention that the current “younger generation” is “more savvy than our generation could ever hope to be” is not only ridiculous, but cannot be supported by any data.
    Just because Johnny and Susie have become wonderful at manipulating the technology doesn’t, necessarily, indicate any savvy or sophistication whatsoever. The current crop of “savvy juniors” are, by and large, the perfect reflection of the brain dead culture that sired them. Their vapid pursuit of “trendy fashion” and “fabulous technology” underscores the vast wasteland that is their goal in society.
    No one listened to AM radio in the 70s-it was as dead as the pteradactyl. The wonder and greatness of “commercial music” in the 60s & 70s was that virtually EVERYTHING recieved some airtime. (Thanks in large part to FM!) Where today can you tune your radio (if anyone bothers to even use one anymore) and hear the variety, quantity, and quality WE were fortunate enough to have back in the day? The Internet?? Ha! It is just as narrow cast as the radios, movies, and television today.
    In order to DEVELOP tastes for a wide variety of music, one must have the opportunity to be exposed to the alternatives. Such an avenue simply doesn’t exist. DJs played everything that interested them (even mildly) and listeners derived the benefit of exposure to “non-mainstream” audio entertainment.
    Where do you get that exposure today?
    The greatness of FZ was his ability to cut through the crap and get to the heart of the matter, immediately. If his answers seem terse; it is because the question left no need for anything other than a “Yes” or “No”-The “reverend” Jeff Ling was truly fortunate that FZ didn’t level his intellect and blast him point blank for being the shitheel he continues to be today. There was nothing more to be said to the two moron representing “the Right”.
    In fact, the most delightful part of this entire clip is watching FZ. His terse responses and body language clearly state to all FZ’s true feelings:
    “Mere words fail to express the contempt I have for your socially retarded ideas!”

  11. Trecherous Cretin – Perhaps I am pining nostalgic for a time that never really existed, or if it did, it exists solely in the caverns of my memory. I agree with most everything you bring up. However, when I suggest that current crop of juniors are more savvy than our 60s & 70s counterparts, I am not suggesting that all of them are savvy, but that a larger number of them today are far more “on the ball” as compared to the youth of my day. I mean, is it not these very juniors that have taken onto themselves the very means of production (garageband, mp3s) and bypassed the corporate recording labels (sony, virgin, etc.) and gone directly to the listener/consumer just as Frank Zappa had envisioned in the early 80s? It seems that our generation, while justifiably cynical, shouldn’t be blinded by it either.

  12. All valid observations, Urbangraffito, to be sure; but didn’t we have the same “garageband/independent label” movement back in the late 70s/early 80s? Many of the “underground” artists in those ancient times resorted to basement cassettes being swapped through “networks” of people all over the world -the equivalent of MP3 technology today.(I still possess many of the tapes AND friendships from those tape swap networks from Europe and Japan.) Those same artists also either started their own lables (eg: Jello’s Alternative Tentacles or the infamous Pusmort label from the midwest) or worked with very small independent record companies/distributors (eg: Mike Varney’s Combat Records or John Zazula’s Megaforce Records) to “bypass the corporate recording labels” to go directly to the consumer. The youngies of today are merely using the “up-to-date technology”; the strategies are the same-avoid the kkkorporate suckholes of the “Nig Bizniss”.
    My biggest complaint with the majority of the new “artists” is the complete lack of creativity and originality. It is all quite calculated to generate HUGE SALES-artistic quality be damned! The tools used are a more efficient delivery system; yet we are swept under a tsunami of sludge.
    Two quotes of FZ lyrics best illustrate my point:
    “So off they go to SIR to learn some stupid riffs and practice all their poses-in between their powder sniffs” (conceptual continuity= 1/2 a dozen provocative squats-but no real art to be found)
    “They were totally empty (totally empty!)and their lives were really useless so What The Fuck?”

    I often wonder, with quite a lot of nostalgia, just WHAT FZ would have had to say about American Idol, Nashville Star, SuperNova, and all the rest of the programming that seeks to twist its ugly yellow nozzle of terpsichorian ejectamenta upon the grey matter of the Lemmings, Gerbils, and Grasshoppers gathered around the Holy Cathode Ray Tube seeking validation of their tragically pathetic and useless little lives.

  13. Trecherous Cretin – You are absolutely correct. When you are brought up on crap (American Idol, Nashville Star, SuperNova) that’s all you know. I heard an FZ interview on BBC on which he said that in America a recording artist is deemed successful by the number of individual sales, not by the quality of the work, and for that reason he figured that folks in the future would remember Micheal Jackson far more than himself. So then, what are we to do in the face of this “tsunami of sludge” known as modern entertainment? And how are we to find and promote those shining examples such as Zappa now and in the future? Hey, without hope and a sense of optimism, we all might as well turn to channel 500 and zone out for good (accept the slime that they feed us, without question).

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