experimenting....not just for druggies
The first time I had ever seen Frank Zappa, it was on an episode of The Monkees. He had made an appearance on the final episode of the show, dressed up as Mike Nesmith (with green wool cap) while Nesmith dressed up as him. At the time, I had no clue what was going on, or who Frank Zappa was. But unbeknownst to me, Zappa and Nesmith were friends at the time, which was part of the reason why he was on the show. Their mock interview ended in the trashing of a car on set, Mother People playing in the background.
Before this project, I had never bothered to listen to Frank Zappa or find out anything more about him. All I had known is that he had a guest appearance on a television show (and a movie)....and nothing more. Yet, in keeping with the importance of my project, I decided to give myself a lesson in the avant-garde. Zappa, apparently, was very well known for his interest in creating music that went beyond the norm. Using different instruments, sounds, and even stranger vocals, he captured music in a way that very few had before him.
Now with many suggesting Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention to me, one of my friends told me that if I really wanted to learn more about Zappa, I needed to listen to We're Only In It For The Money. So today, after collecting more "souvenirs" along my path, I decided to let go just a little and spend some time understanding the avant-garde lifestyle.
While I thought the song Revolution #9 by The Beatles was pretty far out there, it doesn't compare to Frank Zappa! Strange phrases? Check. Use of unconventional sounds? Check. Songs that string together but don't necessarily make sense? Check. For lack of better phrasing, I found Zappa to be a bit of a mind-fuck with the way he created music.
Yet, as strange as it may be, I found that Zappa created the music that he envisioned. And that is something beautiful in itself. His fascination with experimental melodies were a big thing during the 60's. The Beatles did it, The Beach Boys did it too. (In fact, the album cover for We're Only In It For The Money paid homage to The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.) Its success during this time helped pave the way to different harmonies and variations on what we call music today. As always, I learned something too.
Music doesn't always need to fit into a neat, harmonizing package. It doesn't need to make sense to everyone. Music can be defined differently by every person, deemed meaningful in various ways. Whether it be in the lyrics, or the singer, or even the instrumentation used. Zappa wasn't exactly one of my favorites to listen to, but I wouldn't discount him either. Because after all, he was suggested as a note-worthy artist. With that being said, another entry in my travel blog....ready to see where the next stop takes me.