You knew it was coming. I could only hold off so long before indulging my passion for the music of one Frank Vincent Zappa. What can I say about Frank Zappa? A man so widely misunderstood, capable of more moments of sublime beauty, irreverent humour and drunken, anarchic frenzies in a single song than many artists fit into their entire career. Oh, and downright weirdness. A man who I unashamedly, and in all seriousness, rank alongside Mozart and Bach as one of the greatest musical geniuses who ever lived. A man whose tragically short life overlapped with mine for only a few months before he succumbed to cancer. A man who, to put it bluntly, I don’t think I’m qualified to analyse.
Zappa wasn’t Rock’s most technically gifted guitarist, nor was he its most successful by any means. But his compositions were so unique, dense and rich that often only his interpretation could really do them justice. The song I’ve chosen today isn’t Zappa’s best by any means, and it’s not one of my favourites either. But it does show one tiny aspect of his genius, a glimpse at what he was capable of. The amazing truth is that there are about 30 songs I could list which all show a different sliver of Zappa. What’s amazing as a Zappa fan is when you begin to see all of these aspects together. Only then do you realise the true magnitude of his creativity and his remarkable stylistic breadth.
Stucco Homes is a guitar instrumental that comes across as a miraculous blend of classical Spanish Flamenco guitar and a space-like soundscape reminiscent of Pink Floyd. It’s an odyssey in pink, grey and tangerine; a staccato ballet, lilting yet insistent. And yet it could just as well been a sugary sweet doo-wap ballad, a cooler-than-thou improvised jam, an Indian/Hindu influenced electric violin solo, or a story about a man’s pact with the devil entitled ‘Titties and Beer’. Such is the variety of Frank Zappa’s discography. But I’ll shut up now; as the man himself said ‘Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best.’ Having said all that you probably won’t like it anyway! Humbug.
Here’s a good quality version on a German site (don’t know if it will be blocked in other countries…)
Next off the (word)press should be a rant about Liberals. So you all have that to look forward to.