Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Whimsical Wednesday

Frank Zappa's Whimsical Songs Will Stand the Test of Time...

This week for 'Whimsical Wednesday' I wanted to focus on whimsical songs...when I typed those 2 words in my yahoo search bar I was once again transported back to my teen years as the name 'Frank Zappa' appeared on the screen. You see, Frank spent part of his early years growing up in the same area of the California desert as I did. He along with his musical buddy, Capt. Beefheart, graduated from my rival high school and I saw them perform together several times in the 60's during our local fair's 'Battle of the Bands'. I was a major 'band groupie' in my teen years and have fond memories of attending the practice sessions of several local 'garage bands'. Additionally I remember many small concerts and the best time of my high school years... attending the Monterey International Pop Festival.

Frank's time in Lancaster is written about here in his Wikipedia Biography...

By 1956, the Zappa family had moved to Lancaster, a small aerospace and farming town in the Antelope Valley of the Mojave Desert, close to Edwards Air Force Base, and Los Angeles.

At Antelope Valley High School, Zappa met Don Vliet (who later expanded his name to Don Van Vliet and adopted the stage name Captain Beefheart). Zappa and Vliet became close friends, sharing an interest in R&B records and influencing each other musically throughout their careers. Around the same time, Zappa started playing drums in a local band, The Blackouts. The band was racially diverse, and included Euclid James "Motorhead" Sherwood who later became a member of the Mothers of Invention. Zappa grew more and more interested in the guitar, and in 1957, he was given his first guitar. Among his early influences were Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Howlin' Wolf and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. (In the 1970s and 80s, he invited Watson to perform on several albums.) Zappa considered soloing as the equivalent of forming "air sculptures", and developed an eclectic, innovative and personal style.
Zappa's interest in composing and arranging proliferated in his last high-school years. By his final year, he was writing,
arranging and conducting avant-garde performance pieces for the school orchestra. He graduated from Antelope Valley High School in 1958, and later acknowledged two of his music teachers on the sleeve of the 1966 album Freak Out!

So my search for whimsical songs lead me to an article entitled "His Whimsical Songs Will Stand the Test of Time" from which the following text was borrowed...

"Frank Zappa was and is an American rock music icon. Born in 1940, he passed away much too young at the age of 52 in 1993. Although he was perhaps most well-known for being the leader of the 'Mothers of Invention' musical group, Frank Zappa was also a very accomplished music producer and engineer. In addition, Mr Zappa was a very talented painter and filmmaker who created and produced a feature motion picture in the early 1970's titled "200 Motels". Although electric guitar was his primary instrument of choice, Mr. Zappa was proficient on many other musical instruments as well. His droll, often-spoken vocal deliveries were as much humorous observations as they were aural paintings and stories that were easy to visualize, due to his relaxed, absurdest manner. Much of Frank Zappa's song titles and content to this day, are still baffling to many people. Zappa, along with his contemporary, cohort and sometimes band mate, Captain Beefheart, created a body of work populated by whimsical and absurdest characters and themes very similar to bizarre musical cartoons. While much of Mr. Zappa's music can certainly be described as 'hard rock', at times, there are distinct elements of classical music evident in many of his works.

And so this week's Whimsical Wednesday is dedicated to the whimsical songs of Frank Zappa.



  1. Love the Zapster T!

  2. Your age is showing...teeheehee
    I love Frank too!!!