parodies by nacrowe
its difficult to quantify, verbalize or even get my head around the cultural impact of FRANK ZAPPA. when you think about truly INNOVATIVE musicians from the last century, the short list includes the likes of everyone from composers like IGOR STRAVINSKY, ARNOLD SCHOENBERG, GEORGE GERSHWIN, DMITRY SHOSTAKOVICH, AARON COPELAND, SERGEI PROKOFIEV and JOHN CAGE to songwriters like BOB DYLAN, JOHN LENNON / PAUL MCCARTNEY, LOU REED, NEIL YOUNG, LEONARD COHEN and DAVID BOWIE just for starters.
what makes ZAPPA so COMPELLING in my mind was that he took a bit from both camps and was an EXPERIMENTAL songwriter and AVANT GARDE composer. not only that but he was politically OUTSPOKEN and seemingly BOUNDLESS in his drive to create, making use of virtually every genre imaginable and molding such to his IRREVERENT sonic sensibility. even friend and out-there creatives he played with and championed, like CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, are today considered musical pioneers for the ages. learning about ZAPPA is endless fascinating because he was MERCURIAL and ever expanding his CREATIVE PROCESS, whether that be TECHNIQUE, PRODUCTION, TECHNOLOGY and/or a new vein of INSPIRATION. for instance, his son DWEEZIL showcased some of his guitars and many had PECULIAR, BESPOKE preamps and out-of-phase pickups installed to expand his sonic palette (video linked HERE). it was an ongoing affair and really speaks to his unending fascination with sound.
i also appreciate his ability to speak in opposition concerning causes he passionately believed in, whether that be the VIETNAM WAR or the PARENTS MUSIC RESEARCH CENTER (PMRC) hearings. everything these days related to musicians feels TRIVIAL and part of a branding exercise, even political advocacy. none of this modern crop hold any cultural weight. LENNON had that. DYLAN had that. ZAPPA absolutely had that.
not sure who has that sense of CLOUT these days. ED SHEERAN? MILEY CYRUS? DRAKE? we're all doomed.
embedded below is a DEER GOD RADIO episode on nonprofit internet radio station MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC that originally aired exactly four years to the day back in 2019. the playlist includes music from throughout FRANK ZAPPA's ECLECTIC catalogue. enjoy!