Frank Zappa: The Complete Guide to his Music and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Frank Zappa's Negative Dialectics Of Poodle Play Paperback – Mar 28 1996


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
CDN$ 139.68 CDN$ 28.97

2014 Books Gift Guide
Yes Please is featured in our 2014 Books Gift Guide. More gift ideas

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 621 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (March 28 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312141246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312141240
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.6 x 3.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #773,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

There is probably no figure of modern popular music who so deserves the sort of scholarly exercise undertaken by Ben Watson in this book, and I am personally convinced that Zappa will be regaled by 21st Century music historians as a "crux of the biscuit" of 20th Century music.

And this 700 page tome will certainly be cited by our music historian descendants. In fairness, it may confound today's Zappa fans with it's copious references to Adorno, Freud, and Marx, but is likely to delight the erudite with its excerpts of the playfully situationist lyrics of Zappa, completely deconstructed by Watson. There is no doubt that Zappa was a genius--albeit a peculiarly American sort--and there is no doubt that no book has yet attempted such a thorough (albeit peculiar) analysis of his genius. Highly Recommended. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Frank Zappa's manic energy and weird lyrics may make him seem like a rock-cult eccentric, but to British journalist Watson, Zappa (1940-1993), founder of the Mothers of Invention (which disbanded in 1969), was a pioneering composer who forged a third stream between classical and rock music, a radical visionary whose works attack class oppression, the conformity of mass culture and the hypocrisy of conventional morality. Fusing musical analysis, cultural criticism and biography, this overblown, provocative study discusses Zappa's music in the context of avant-garde art, William Blake, Wyndham Lewis's Vorticist prose, punk rock and the Marxist politics of the French leftist group Situationist International. Watson unravels Zappa's formative influences as he discusses the ex-Mother's film 200 Motels, Broadway-musical parody Thing-Fish, sonic experiments conducted by Pierre Boulez, freewheeling orchestral scores, electronic synthesizer compositions and recent iconoclastic songs. Including a 1993 interview with Zappa and a discography, this is the ultimate book for serious Zappa fans.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

By S. M Marson on April 5 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have read the following books by or about Frank Zappa. In addition, this list constitutes a ranking of my assessment of the quality of these books.
1. THE REAL FRANK ZAPPA BOOK by Frank Zappa and Peter Occhioigrosso
2. MOTHER! THE FRANK ZAPPA STORY by Michael Gray
3. FRANK ZAPPA: THE NEGATIVE DIALECTICS OF POODLE PLAY
4. ELECTRIC DON QUIXOTE: THE DEFINITIVE STORY OF FRANK ZAPPA by Neil Slaven
5. NECESSITY IS... THE EARLY YEARS OF FRANK ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION by Billy James
6. COSMIK DEBRIS: THE COLLECTIVE HISTORY AND IMPROVISATIONS OF FRANK ZAPPA by Greg Russo
7. NO COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: THE SAGA OF FRANK ZAPPA by David Walley
8. THEM OR US by Frank Zappa
9. UNDER THE SAME MOON by Suzannah Thana Harris
10. BEING FRANK: MY TIME WITH FRANK ZAPPA by Nigery Lennon
When I started reading FRANK ZAPPA: THE NEGATIVE DIALECTICS OF POODLE PLAY, I found myself having flashbacks to the days of my doctoral studies and to the philosophical debates emerging from the 60's liberation movement. While a Ph.D. student I studied Postmodernism, Feminism, Liberation Philosophers, etc. You know, all the stuff you'd think would have no application outside of graduate study. As a result, I was fascinated because reading this book was the first time I had to actually reflect back to the philosophies I studied. I actually found myself reading POODLE PLAY in the manner that I read my required readings as a Ph.D student. I checked and read some of the citations; I searched for more information on topics for which I was unfamiliar (i.e.," Situational International"); I discussed major themes and ideas with colleagues who were professors of economics, philosophy, sociology and political science.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
Alternately ludicrous, entertaining, informative and pretentious, Ben Watson's book on Zappa is nothing if not different. The clue is in the title: "Negative Dialectics", Theodore Adorno is mentioned almost as often as Zappa himself is (but could he play guitar like him?). The thing about Zappa is that he may be probably the most intelligent man ever to strap on a guitar in rock 'n' roll history but (like Beefheart), he ain't no intellectual. Mr Watson however is, and he has uncovered a whole barrel-load of entertaining, but frankly ludicrous, philosophical, literary, political and psychoanalyical allusion and meanings in various Zappa songs and albums. The thing that makes me most suspicious of Mr Watson is the way the lamer an album is the more time he spends expounding on it's "actual" meaning - thus Apostrophe is compared to King Lear, I could go on - no wonder Frank and his missus were in stitches.
The fact that Watson has to spend so much time and hard work on Zappa's oeuvre post-1970 perhaps tells it's own story - the fact is Zappa stopped saying anything very interesting in his songs throughout the entirety of the 1970's, only the intervention of the PMRC into his increasing smug and self-refential universe helped reignite the kind of indignation and passion Zappa had displayed in the 60's.
Watson goes thru all sorts of ingenious and amusing contortions trying to defend or explain away his hero's often rancid social and sexual politics. He does at least nail Zappa's hopelessly petit bourgeois hatred of unions but struggles to convince on such gems of Zappa's back catalogue as "The Illionis Enema Bandit" (a glorification of a convicted sex offender) and gives up altogether on the truly repulsive "Jumbo Go Away".
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
It's amazing that so much different music came from one man, the genius Frank Zappa. Also amazing is Ben Watson's knowledge of Philosophy, Psychology, recorded music and literature. and politics.and history.and etc. This book is a combination of Frank Zappa and Ben Watson. Ben using loads of intellectual,materialist arguments to analyse FZ's music (well, mostly his lyrics). The method of negative dialectics brings low culture and high culture together and ridicules the class system, or something like that. It's quite difficult, one moment you can be reading the lyrics to Easy Meat, and suddenly you're plunged into the intellectual reduction of Beethoven's music to orgasm. It's heavy stuff, and it isn't helped by the long-windedness of the writing.
The chapters on the early stuff, from freak out to 1972, are pretty damn good.He draws a lot of his information from other books (Michael Gray Mother!The story of Frank Zappa - loads of quotes from this book; also david walley 'no commercial potential'), but he gives us loads of his own insights too, loads of Karl Marx and Freud. For example, the uncle meat analysis is brilliant.(When he reads it to Frank in the epilogue section, frank leans over to shake his hand). Ben uses a lot of quotes from a philosopher guy called Theodore Adorno, these are used to illustrate certain points but sometimes are incredibly difficult to understand( to non-philosophy readers like me).
Then things get really insane. Overnite sensation and apostrophe are analysed almost to death, and this is where he starts bringing in Shakespeare and Plato and James Joyce and other things. He doesn't talk a great deal about the 'music' in these albums, it's all poetry.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most recent customer reviews



Feedback