Frank Zappa. I’d forgotten what a huge fan I was of the music of FZ; I’d shut the door on him for quite a significant period of time. But now a restrospective is in progress: coming back again to all the old albums brought back to me how much I used to enjoy the music.
I guess nowadays I find the comedy/social comment songs a bit tedious (actually, I could never get through ‘The Torture Never Stops’) but the sheer invention and the range of styles he used still floors me. My first encounter with Zappa’s music was when I saw a copy of ‘Freak Out’ in Woolworths. In the liner notes it quoted Edgard Varese: ‘The present-day composer refuses to die’. Cool, I thought, here’s a rock musician who’s heard of Varese (whom I had already discovered before I got into Rock).
I was hooked instantly. It was rather ironic, I thought, that one of Zappa’s favourites – Anton Webern – was shot in 1945 by an American soldier because he was out after curfew.
Wish Frank had given up the fags (British meaning) and coffee years ago; he might still be with us now.
Oh well, there's the legacy. And the fact that his music is still performed, not only by his son Dweezil but also by 'classical' ensembles. I think he would have been happy about that.