The Real Frank Zappa Book Hardcover – Jun 1989
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This is the second-best way to expose yourself to the particular genius of Frank Zappa (music is the best, after all)--through his own words. In addition to being an idiosyncratic American composer of some degree of controversy, Zappa was an orator of no small ability or scope. He was known for his ability to expound at great length (and to hilarious effect) on any number of topics. The Real Frank Zappa Book faithfully captures this side of its author, composed of essays on everything from his background and upbringing, to politics, capitalism, and raising children. Zappa takes the opportunity to dispel some of the most pervasive rumors that surrounded him right up to (and even persist after) his death in 1993 (no he didn't do drugs, or sleep with all those groupies). If you're familiar with the man, you will be able to hear his distinctive enunciations (aided by the bold-facing of certain words and Zappaisms) as you read the assorted road stories, his views on making music for a living, and scenes from two--count them, two--organized hearings on obscenity in music. Of course, the chapter titles speak for themselves and include such Zappa winners as "All About Schmucks," "Marriage (As a Dada Concept)," and "America Drinks and Goes Marching." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
Determined to write a book that had " real stuff in it," the outspoken Zappa, one of the most inventive and controversial artists of the past 20 years, is frank, often disgusting, and always entertaining in describing his life ("How weird am I, anyway?"), his philosophy of music ("Take it or leave it, I now will this to be music "), and art in general ("The most important thing in art is The Frame "). Zappa also relates his opinions about the music performing and recording industries, but then rattles on about a myriad of things: church, drugs, yuppies, politics. The book would have benefited from a discography and a bibliography. Recommended for libraries with large pop culture collections.
- Donald W. Maxwell, Carmel Clay P.L., Ind.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
It continues that way through the first half of the book. We get chapters on his various bands through the years up until 1988 (when this book was written), his association with Lenny Bruce, his formation of The Mothers Of Invention, Various tour stories, a treatise on why he doesn't like Great Britain and a chapter devoted to his own dad.
The second half of the book shifts gears totally and moves away from the memoir side to the polemical side. We get chapters in which Zappa comments on marriage, the failed drug war, the PMRC, Reagan, Republicans, the religious right, Big government, high taxes and so on.
What's interesting about the polemical second half of the book is that while a lot of the events that much of it was written in response to are now history, so many of the rants about them are still on target. From the opening of his Church and State chapter: "A lot of the mongos in the TV religion industry claim to be conservative.Read more ›
This book is not a big hoorah about how culturally important he was and still is, or anything pretentious and high falutin. He was a very normal man with a grasp of the absurd, a very vivid imagination and a firm hold on reality that few other people have. This book is about the MAN and his views on the world. I think he wanted people to really understand that he's not this weirdo genius that other people tried to make him into, but a normal man who writes (brilliant) music and has very intelligent views of the world around him.
His political views virtually mirror my own (very Libertarian) and his stories of the old rock and roll days are amusing. But I loved the fact that, despite all of the weirdness around him, he retained a very grounded view of himself and the world. His caustic wit and acute observations of things he came into contact with are, in my view, utterly brilliant and shows the man for what he was. A true genius and a very nice man who didn't like a lot of what he saw in this world, especially the political powers-that-be in the US.
I still miss him greatly, and this is a great book because you get to see him as he wanted to be seen and, in my opinion, how he really was.Read more ›
This book is not about his music per se, but how he views the world. His decriptions of his version of the rock and roll hearings and the meanings behind them may seem a bit dated today, however they were certainly very important at the time. Zappa also explores his views on marriage and children. What comes across is a man who is very devoted to his loved ones and is actually very ordinary despite the insanity that seemed to surround him with the music world. His section on "What Frank Eats" is truly one of my favorite parts of the book.
My only complaint with the book is that he does not spend enough time on his later work, which I think is a true shame and he does not do analysis of his music. As you read his book you will left thinking that he would think this portion would be a waste of time. This is a wonderful book and is highley reccommended.
Most recent customer reviews
In fact, rather than learning a great deal about the chronological details of his life (those that you will learn are definitely interesting) the reader is treated to an often... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2013 by LAURENCE MACKENZIE
An intriguing book that cuts through all the misinformation about the man and his deeds. Well written and presented in a humble Zappa-like manner. Worth the read.Published on Feb. 21 2013 by WatcherOfTheSkies
I've just finished reading this little tome of Zappaness. There is humor, honesty and a good deal of sense on a number of topics contained within the pulpy cover. Read morePublished on June 17 2010 by W. Boulier
I enjoyed the book and will keep it for another read sometime. It's no surprise that Frank is very intelligent. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2010 by Johnny Me
The Real Frank Zappa book is a modern day masterpiece. The Zappa experience, or the point by point aspects of "who might this man be who makes music and sings of how the clouds are... Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by A Concerned Citizen
This is a loosley structured brain dump which touches lightly on a variety of topics. There is some biographical background and rock and roll anecdotes included. Read morePublished on April 17 2004 by R. J. Marsella
Somewhere in this book, Frank mentioned that he's a huge fan of coffee and cigarettes. This book proves it. Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2004 by James Burke
Very little historical information; instead, mostly dated rants, opinions, and ah, yes, information about what Frank ate for dinner, if that strikes your fancy. Read morePublished on Sept. 9 2003 by twinky buttspong