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Thread: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

  1. #1
    Registered User John G.'s Avatar
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    Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    I've heard a few Zappa songs here and there, but I've always hesitated taking the plunge into his recorded output because, well because there's just so fucking MANY of these damn albums... there's like an average of 3 a year or something absurd like that. I'm sure it must be an absolute dream for fans to have so much music released, but for someone like me it seems like a rather daunting task of getting started.

    So we'll turn this into a "list your Zappa albums" thread. What was YOUR first Zappa album and what did you think of it? What is your favorite, what do you think would be a good album to start with, etc. etc.

    By the way, I just listened to "Didja Get Any Onya!" and I haven't laughed this hard in a while... that crazy German-accented dude (whoever the hell does it) that comes in always cracks me up. Is Zappa always this damn WEIRD?

  2. #2
    Capitán Klonopin William R.'s Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    Man just hold your nose and dive in. Zappa is a really rewarding artist to explore. I started with "Apostrophe" and "Joe's Garage". Grabbed both on vinyl for a two dollar total and they both blew me away. I then went and grabbed nine albums he released from 1966 to 1970 ("Freak Out!" up until "Chunga's Revenge"). I took a break for a while and whenever I returned for new Zappa it was sporadic albums along his career. I think he reached his zenith with "Joe's Garage".

    I think the thing with Zappa is that you'll ask where to start and get a different answer from everyone.
    i don't know butchie instead.

  3. #3
    ********* Damian P's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    I hear ya, his output was amazing. And so much unreleased music as well.

    I recommend:

    Freak Out!
    Apostrophe
    Roxy & Elsewhere
    Joe's Garage
    We're Only In It For The Money
    Hot Rats

    There are many more fine albums but those are good starters. I also highly recommend The Real Frank Zappa Book. Such a great read.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067...83155&v=glance

  4. #4
    ********* Damian P's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    Apostrophe and Sheik Yerbouti were my first Zappa albums. Soon after I took a plunge into his world with the purchase of BEAT THE BOOTS cassette box set.
    A brilliant release which contains some of the most popular Zappa bootlegs recorded around the world. Clever move on Zappa's part.
    I still kick those tapes now and then. Great music.

    Zappa and THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION are not something I listen to often but whenever I do I wonder why I don't listen to them more.
    Zappa's brilliance will one day be considered (on a larger scale) on par with the great classical musicians. His compositions were complex, smart and often very funny.

  5. #5
    Registered User Marshall Crist's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    I'm pretty sure my first was FREAK OUT, and I would urge you to start there as well, as it's Zappa's first LP too. (It helps with the conceptual continuity.) My favorite might just be his second album, ABSOLUTELY FREE.

  6. #6
    Registered User S. Chivers's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    I've got about 50 Zappa albums at this point, the first of which was Freak Out. Every few years I go through a period of a couple of months when I can't listen to anything else. His work is defiantly idiosyncratic but you can certainly identify periods/ phases and could use that as a guide to investigating his discography.

    Anyway, my top ten, in approximate order are:

    Lather
    Hot Rats
    Burnt Weeny Sandwich
    Sleep Dirt
    Overnite Sensation
    One Size Fits All
    Orchestral Favourites
    Waka/ Jawaka
    Uncle Meat
    Roxy and Elsewhere
    "Only a prostitute or a virgin could respond with a smile to a gaze such as mine." (M. Ageyev)

  7. #7
    Nay, Superwoman! mark t's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    My first Zappa album was Them or Us, it was my uncle's. Despite some half decent instrumentation from Steve Vai and Chad Wackerman, it's not a very good album. My second, third, and fourth albums were Sheik Yerbouti, Joe's Garage, and Freak Out! All 3 are solid albums, but Joe's Garage is my favourite.

    John, if you want something accessible to sorta point you in the right direction, you might want to start with Strictly Commercial. But for the most part, you can't go wrong with Zappa.

  8. #8
    Also known as evilskippy Gary Banks's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    APOSTROPHE hands down.

    "The price of meat has just gone up and yer old lady has just gone down".
    "...I'm glad you'll be able to watch it. And... happy Halloween."

  9. #9
    Taste my danish! Jesper Maintz's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    JOES GARAGE is an excellent place to start - listen to the music and read the libretto while doing it. It usually gives new listeners an unexpected (and actually kindda impressing) listening experience.

    Knowing you taste, John, I would recommend ZOOT ALLURES as a good "starter" in Zappas universe - one of the heaviest and most mean-spirited albums in the Zappa catalogue - and go on with SHEIK YERBOUTI - it have a few weak tracks, but are for the most part masterful.
    En god banan!

  10. #10
    Registered User John G.'s Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    One year update... I currently own these Zappa albums, so yeah, I've become something of a FAN...

    Freak Out!
    Absolutely Free
    We’re Only in it for the Money
    Lumpy Gravy
    Cruising with Ruben and the Jets
    Uncle Meat [2 Discs]
    Hot Rats
    Burnt Weeny Sandwich
    Weasels Ripped My Flesh
    Waka/Jawaka
    The Grand Wazoo
    Over-nite Sensation
    Apostrophe (‘)
    One Size Fits All
    Zappa in New York [2 Discs]
    Sheik Yerbouti
    Joe’s Garage Acts I, II and III [2 Discs]
    Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar Boxset [3 Discs]
    You Are What You Is
    Them or Us
    Jazz from Hell
    Broadway the Hard Way
    Make a Jazz Noise Here [2 Discs]

  11. #11
    Nay, Superwoman! mark t's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    Nice, John. Looks like you dug him alright, huh?

  12. #12
    Registered User John G.'s Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    I dunno...he's not really my cup of tea. I think I'll buy a few dozen more just to be sure though.

  13. #13
    Smutty paper enthusiast Michael Greenwood's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    I started with Joe's Garage as well but I would suggest Hot Rats. It's a superb album and often pretty cinematic/soundtrackish in the instrumental bits. It's superb and I also agree that Zoot Allures is magnificent. The production is always so stellar too. I love the man.

  14. #14
    Registered User Steve P.'s Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    What's really scary about Zappa is that he always claimed to have been largely drug free. He tried pot a couple of times, but it made him sleepy. At least according to his autobio.

    "My name's Jimmy Carl Black and I'm the Indian of the group".

  15. #15
    Smutty paper enthusiast Michael Greenwood's Avatar
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    Re: Frank Zappa... Where the f*ck do I even start?

    The drug-free thing is one of the main facts about him that appeals to me so strongly. He was just naturally very creative and interesting and cynical of everyone else.

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