USA, 1966, experimental rock / satire

The Mothers of InventionFreak Out!: I’m sure plenty of Zappa fans out there will disagree with my assessment of the man as a musician, but to me, his music always strikes me as meta-music. Like, he can’t switch off. He can’t just make a song for normal enjoyment and consumption. There’s always a sense of him standing just outside a group of musicians and saying, “hey guys we’re musicians. We make music. That’s what we do. That’s what we’re doing. We’re making music. We’re musicians, and we make music.” Instead of just making music. I mean, he does make music, of course, but it’s always conscious of it being music, which is why he plays in so many styles and is always experimenting. It’s all a kind of puzzle to him. I’ve listened to a lot of his music–a lot–and I’ve seen Baby Snakes and other nonsense. He’s not a rock star. He’s not enjoying himself. He’s like a marionette master, manipulating his fans and micro-managing his band. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just why Zappa stands apart from every other artist in my collection. He is an outsider. He’s too smart for his own good. I guess that’s the hallmark of every good satirist.

One thought on “

  1. For me, this attitude can get in the way of my enjoyment, when it takes the form of, say, “penalty” tracks. This does not mean he is not a consummate artist and that his work is not exceptional. He is, and it is. But I have no patience for his self-absorption.

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