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The Real Frank Zappa Book [Hardcover]

Frank Zappa , Peter Occhiogrosso
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1989
The brash and outrageously funny autobiography of music legend Frank Zappa--now in trade paperback. Here is the real story of how he became the state of the art in weirdness, as only he can tell it: wild rock 'n' roll road stories, confrontations with bureaucratic idiocy, and more. Black-and-white photographs and line drawings throughout.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Amazon

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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This book exists on the premise that somebody, somewhere, is interested in who I am, how I got that way, and what the fuck I'm talking about. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifying Feb. 21 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read... Dec 20 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
already reading the book for a second time..because of the much detailed perspective of what Frank was going through from his teenage years up to his unfortunate death that i needed to research some of the outline information either it be the members of the band to the PMRC and some of the orchestral shows he did...and the fact that it is by Frank Zappa and if the fans knows Frank ..he remembers alot of everything that's going on...again just a great read ..
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is not your run-of-the-mill autobiography Dec 3 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 succinct account of his point of view on any number of topics and issues which he feels are important to mention. As any fan might expect, his command of the language and his idiosyncratic turns of phrase are a delight - I often had to put down the book because I was laughing too hard. The man was brilliant, fearless and in some ways ahead of his time. Among other things, his astute take on the forces that "run the show" in the world have become ever more glaringly apparent today (the book was published in 1989). He continues to be missed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Addition to Your Literary Family June 15 2004
Format:Paperback
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 really cheap, the way he's seen em' through the ports, of which there is a half a dozen on the base of his resorts. You wouldn't think he'd have too many, since he never cared for sports. But he's never really lonely in his Excentrifugal Forz," is carefully and specifically discussed here by the adept and forward-thinking composer himself, with just a bit of assistance from vigilant co-author Peter Occhiogrosso.
I strongly suggest that you purchase this book for your personal collection. Consider: the habit of reading is probably the greatest mechanism for thought, change, education and even human evolution in the history of mankind; and we specifically take pleasure from reading books that belong to us. Much more than if the books are someone else's. Books unavoidably become a part of your extended family. In any event, this I do swear: Buy this book, and it will provide you with years of literary enjoyment. Its combination of fantastic road stories, political commentary and philosophically sharp wit will make it a favorite son within your personal literary family. Just as with Frank Zappa's musical catalog, this book should be treated as genuine kith and kin, and afforded an affectionate intimacy that eradicates any unbending propriety. As a borrowed book is like some sort of red-headed step-child who must be beaten and/or treated with stiff correctness, (or at least with a certain unsympathetic formality), this book should belong to you as true family, and given a loving home with the care and respect it deserves.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More like "The Rantin' With Frank Zappa Book" Jan. 8 2004
Format:Paperback
Somewhere in this book, Frank mentioned that he's a huge fan of coffee and cigarettes. This book proves it. It reads far less like a coherent chronicle of his life than a five-hour, stimulant-fueled, stream-of consciousness rant about a number of topics apparently irking Frank that day. The unfortunate result is an unfocused, dated train wreck, where we are "treated" to such groundbreaking insights as Televangelists are Bad, Reagan was Conservative, the War on Drugs is Ineffective and the PMRC is a Joke. Thanks.
Now, I don't blame Frank; he was just being honest. I instead focus my exasperation on the "editor" of this disaster, who should have immediately recognized that most of this book would be completely irrelevant the minute it hit the press. What's more, since anyone with a basic background in journalism would instantly know that most of Frank's diatribes were based almost entirely on conjecture, hearsay and dubious conspiracy theories, it should have been obvious that a full half of this book is complete crap.
The result is that not only is the last half of this book unreadable, but also that a wonderful opportunity for a first-hand account of a fascinating story was forever lost. I mean, here's a guy who, I believe, has released almost 100 albums, has produced some of history's most groundbreaking rock music, and became a virtuoso guitarist and respected composer with no formal musical training-where's that story? Instead, we suffer through 50 pages of Frank watching charismatic preachers from Texas on TV, describing point by excruciating point what's happening on the screen.
If the person overseeing this mess would have had the slightest hint of a spine and reeled this thing in, we might have had a truly insightful glimpse into what made this enigmatic genius tick. Instead, we learn that Frank would like to see Apartheid abolished. Oh wait, that happened 15 years ago. A wasted opportunity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stuff June 17 2010
Format:Paperback
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. Highly recommended to anyone with a sense of humor and a love of Frank Zappa in general.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Real Frank Zappa
I enjoyed the book and will keep it for another read sometime. It's no surprise that Frank is very intelligent. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2010 by Johnny Me
5.0 out of 5 stars You Must Pick This One up!
We start with Zappa's rather sarcastic yet opinionated introduction in which he claims that he never reads. Read more
Published on June 6 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest composers the US has ever produced
As a guitarist and very amateur composer, someone like Frank Zappa was someone I had always admired on multiple levels. Read more
Published on April 30 2004 by James D. Schreiber
4.0 out of 5 stars I laughed out loud reading this
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 more
Published on April 18 2004 by R. J. Marsella
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
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 more
Published on Sept. 9 2003 by twinky buttspong
5.0 out of 5 stars Hysterical and Thoughtful
I was never a huge Zappa fan growing up. His music was incredible, but his lyrics were stupid, so I thought then. Read more
Published on July 16 2003 by papaphilly
3.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable genealogy of Mr. Zappa
I spent 20 years of my life in Sicily and I know Sicilian genealogy and nobody in the 20th century had a genealogy like Zappa's (including Zappa). Read more
Published on July 5 2003
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