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The Real Frank Zappa Book Hardcover – Jun 1989

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Hardcover, Jun 1989
CDN$ 101.38 CDN$ 48.70

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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Poseidon Pr (June 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067163870X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671638702
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #416,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

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

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By A Customer on June 6 2004
Format: Paperback
We start with Zappa's rather sarcastic yet opinionated introduction in which he claims that he never reads. That claim may be misinterpreted by a few, yet I took it as a stab of sarcasm at those who never bother to, preferring to keep their mind on what's on TV at the time. From that point, it's a short read to the first chapter, which opens with a quote from a Baltimore Sun interview in which Zappa observes: "I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird". The first chapter is a brief recollection of his childhood years, in which he describes in detail why his birth certificate lists his first name as Frank rather than Francis and his early interests in science. In the second chapter, he talks about developing a love for music (Rock, Jazz and Classical especially Stravinsky) and his first attempts at bands.
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.
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Format: Paperback
As a guitarist and very amateur composer, someone like Frank Zappa was someone I had always admired on multiple levels. As a guitarist, he was never what you would call "overly gifted". His solos were madcap forays into his own influences, and he could hit it really big sometimes, and sometimes he could be rather choppy and noisy. But that's OK, Frank never touted himself as a virtuoso or even a premier kind of soloist. He had fun with it, he did it with gusto and panache and I was always entertained by what he did. As a composer, he ranks up there with Copeland in my opinion.
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.
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Format: Paperback
I was never a huge Zappa fan growing up. His music was incredible, but his lyrics were stupid, so I thought then. I started to pay attention to him when the rock and roll trials happened during the 1980's. He skewered the PMRC during both the hearings and late night news talk shows. It was this reason I decided to read his book. What came out of the book was a very thoughtful man who looked on his life with a great deal of humor. He writes about his early childhood along with the early years of the Mothers of Invention. The various stories of life on the road with the hanger-ons is truly hysterical.
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.
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By A Customer on July 5 2003
Format: Paperback
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). Early in the book he claims his father was of Greek-Arab background but Sicilian by birth. What the hell does that mean? When exactly did Zap's dad's ancestors come from Greece to Sicily? 2500 years ago maybe? Yes 2500 years ago. That's the time the Greeks were colonizing Sicily 750-500BC. And exactly how were Zap's ancestors arabic? What Arab land did they hail from. Syria? Saudia Arabia? Jordan? And when? 1000 years ago or more? By the AD 1000's the Normans had the Muslims of Sicily under Christian control and over the next couple of centuries the Islamic folks were nearly completely expelled frpom the island. Or maybe Zap's father is referring to the Carthaginian occupation of the island (also in the BC era!). And there's more. According to Zappa his ancestors on his mom's side go back to France! Yeah like any French folks would really want to move to that poor starving Sicilian island (or even Naples). He elaborates very little on all this and it looks to me like these are nothing more than totally unsubstantiated family legends containing not a kernel of truth. It appears Zappa's dad was well-educated and knew Sicilian history and in an effort to distance himself from the mafia, in the eyes of Americans around him, created these fanastic stories that he was of recent Greek-Arab origin. And to make the family seem classy claimed his wife was of French origin. Old Mr. Zappa probably feeling that claiming himself to be all three was too farfetched. On another note, I remind you all this book was written by someone else alongside Zappa and the words in it may not be the musician's all the time. Some parts of this book look rather fictional indeed.
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