The other day I mentioned I had thought about Frank Zappa off and on as I wrote my Flash Fiction post #8. Images of Dental Floss, Montana, and Zircon encrusted tweezers danced like sugar plum fairies, well maybe it was really bounced around aimlessly and they weren't sugar plum fairies but more like big badass bikin mamas with apples stuck in their mouths. Anyway, I thought about Frank and how much his music and personality had influenced my warped sense of what was important in this Life and what wasn't. I even punched up "Hot Rats" and played "Willie the Pimp" a few times at volume wow on my wannabe high end headphones that were now approaching not old age but ancient relic status. I was in the groove.
So tonight I spent some time visiting some bike shop blogs I have linked through my sister bloggin ship CRUM Cycles. I am sure it was no coincidence that I found it on a site that emanates from that bastion of Charm, Bawlemer, Murland. You see he was born and raised close by. He is a native son and I would be too if I had my druthers. I lived there for some years but it just isn't the same as being born there. It never is. Sorry about that.....I get ahead of myself. When that happens I tend to fall behind and then I get nowhere fast........
Baltimore Bicycle Works, a very hip and cool shop if you want to base said hipness and coolness on the town they exist in and on their blog. Well they had some great videos embedded. First up was a video of a blind trials rider. This guy did things on a bike I can only do in my wet dreams. And he's blind. Awesome stuff. I will be poaching their link for a post at some point on my strictly commercial to draw in paying customers blog about all things cycling and a few things in between.
Well one video led to another and I spotted in their recent posts section, "Frank Zappa plays the Bicycle". First I must say that Frank and I go way back. At least I thought so. It was in 1967 when I picked out "Freak Out" from the pile of albums the record guy had in his delivery van. I was sure I had pretty much discovered over the years about all there was to discover about Frank. And I knew he had odd and amusing ideas about what music was about. Many called him a genius. Some called him an asshole. But no matter what, Frank was never boring. When I punched up this video, it was a clean cut Frank dressed in one tight fitting cool hip suit of an early 60s rocker standing on the set of the Steve Allen Show. A very young Frank. In front of him were two bikes and Steve Allen. It is hard to describe what went down because I am still not sure, but it was classic Frank Zappa. Bizarre, clever, witty. The audience, Steve, and I loved it.
As it is with those You Tube videos, they always try to hook you with more videos that are in some way directly or even tentatively connected to that first video that sucked you in. I watched Frank's last interview before he died. I watched his last real interview of substance a year or so earlier. I watched him on the Johnny Carson Show. I watched him giving Congress a hard time back in the first efforts of Tipper "I'm still married to Mr Global Warming" Gore to save our children from the evils of Rock N Roll music. The man was awesome. He got in their face. He did not back down. When his testimony was over, in the background an unidentified Congressman could be heard, "Well we sure had a bear by the tail. I don't think I ever heard anything like that even during the Mafia hearings." Or to that effect - not a ver batum quote.
The video that made me realize why I respect Frank so much was his appearance on I think an early version of Crossfire during CNN's early days back in 1986. They definitely had a tiger by the tail. He was sure Ronald Reagan had set the table for a theocratic fascist state. The tight asses on the panel were absolutely caught off guard. Reagan walked on water back in 1986. Now we are just waiting for the Second Coming. When that happens Frank won't turn over in his grave. He'll shove his skinny arm through the casket and flip us all off.
So in conclusion I have sifted through more than a few videos and decided the following "Three-Fer" is a good representation of what Frank was musically. He was this and more, but these three give a good taste. Enjoy.
Note - Frank's lyrics can be unsettling to timid and sensitive minds. The middle video, "Frank Zappa on Acid" is well, let's see...... I liked it fine and Tipper Gore most assuredly would not. That should be warning enough.
I know Frank's laughing his ass off somewhere.......................
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