Thursday, October 16, 2008

To paraphrase Olivia Newton-John, "Let's get classical!"

Alot of people don't realize that Frank Zappa never did drugs. Most of you probably just reread that and are now wondering why I've begun lying on this blog to inflate my already self-aggrandizing ego. In fact, I am telling the truth; Zappa was notorious for living on a diet of cigarettes and coffee only. He wouldn't even allow his band members to do drugs.

Most people point to the names of Zappa's children, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Ehmuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen, and suggest that the acid didn't fall too far from the tree. In fact, there was no acid; Zappa frequently decried the trippy-dippy nature of 1960s psychedelic rock, even, unlike John Lennon, during the actual 1960s. This album was Zappa's answer, as you might guess from the cover art, to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He asserts sarcastically, "Who needs the peace corps?" [From a political standpoint, I might recommend his bitch-slap on CNN's Crossfire from the mid 1980s investigations into obscenity on recording albums <--Way before Jon Stewart ever did it...]

I could've posted Joe's Garage, which is perhaps a better known album, but simply doesn't showcase the outright bizarre oddity that is We're Only In It For the Money. Some of his more comedic, better known songs, (I might suggest "Jewish Princess" or "Catholic Girls") are great, but not indicative of his true genius. He was also a classically trained composer; his last public appearance before his death from prostate cancer, was by invitation to conduct a German chamber ensemble through his song "G-Spot Tornado."

This album is very weird. I'd recommend headphones and perhaps some of that stuff Zappa wouldn't touch. Listen to it in full first...but for clarification's sake, I think it's extremely important to note that many of these songs do stand alone, both lyrically and musically, separate from the larger cohesive unit of the LP as a whole. Most notably: "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body," "Concentration Moon" and "Bow Tie Daddy." When listening, keep in mind that this album was released in January of 1968. If I turn just one of you on to Frank Zappa, I'll consider it all worthwhile.

Happy Thursday morning...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

one of the greatest albums OF ALL TIME - get it! and cheers!