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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifying
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 17 months ago by WatcherOfTheSkies

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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"
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...
Published on Jan. 8 2004 by James Burke


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifying, Feb. 21 2013
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This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (Paperback)
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
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This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (Paperback)
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
By 
LAURENCE MACKENZIE (Chanhassen, Minnesota, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (Paperback)
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
This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (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.
In fact, the so-called "Book-family" has some distinct advantages over living friends and family. You can enjoy the company of the most admirable and truly intelligent individuals in the history of the world whenever you care to. Just as the distinguished dead are beyond our bodily reach, likewise the distinguished living are usually just as unreachable. Perchance they are asleep, uninterested, watching TV, or, in the case of my cousin Bernie, just stupid. (Just try reaching your husband while he is watching Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, or your wife during the Lifetime Movie of the Week, and you have that picture.)
The Real Frank Zappa Book is for use, not for show. Besides, you should own no book that you are afraid to place on the dining room table, wide open and face down, or to mark up with your favorite crayon. (You should always mark your favorite passages in books, so that in later years it will be like visiting a deep forest where you once blazed your own trail. You then have the gratification of going over your old stomping grounds, and recalling both the overall cerebral landscape and your own preceding self. Additionally, your future generations will get a general idea of your likes, dislikes, and overall interests in this mysterious forest of your contemplations.) If that's not a damn good analogy I don't know what is.
Remember, (and this is a most precious gift), in your personal library you can at any moment have a discourse with, or pick the brains of, individuals the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Harris, William Shakespeare, Robert E. Howard, Michael Crichton, Plato, Pluto, Mark Twain (who was also know as MC Six Feet), Allan W. Eckert, Charles Dickens, or, more importantly to our current purpose, Mr. Frank Zappa. And there is no doubt that in books you experience Frank, and indeed all these learned men, at their very finest. They have "laid themselves out" for you, as it were, and they have done their categorical best to entertain you, guide you, inform you, uplift you and make a favorable impression upon your life. You are as indispensable to them as peanut butter is to jelly; as Bruce Willis is to his youthful ward Dick Grayson, as ants are to an anteater, or as ear lobes are to earrings, (or vice-versa)... only instead of seeing these great men protectively masked as we see our present acquaintances, you look into their inner-most thoughts and their most intimate soul. Read more Zappa.
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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
By 
James Burke (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (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
By 
W. Boulier (Vancouver, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (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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4.0 out of 5 stars Real Frank Zappa, Jan. 29 2010
By 
Johnny Me (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (Paperback)
I enjoyed the book and will keep it for another read sometime. It's no surprise that Frank is very intelligent. He also has a well rounded general knowledge and insight into various aspects of 'the systems' in life ... He can be cynical but really a lovable guy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You Must Pick This One up!, June 6 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (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. But are in fact the US equivalent of the Mongos blowing the shlt out of the Middle East".
In the chapter titled "Practical Conservatism", Zappa makes a strong case for the Libertarian point of view and offers up a good skewering of so-called anti big government Republicans. I also highly recommend reading the chapter entitled "Porn Wars" in which Zappa details his battle with the PMRC. Highly essential reading, especially in the recent puritanical crackdown by the FCC on people such as Howard Stern.
The final two chapters in the book feature Zappa showing off some of his more outrageous ideas that never really came to fruition (IE: A Football Opera) and the last one allows him to get in a few more digs at certain political targets as well as offering some advice to the readers (IE: Vote!).
The Real Frank Zappa book is an interesting read overall. I liked both halves of it equally. But some of the not so politically minded readers will prefer the first half. Puritanical types are advised not to read the second half, as it will doubtlessly infuriate you. Pick up a copy! Another unconventional Amazon quick-pick I heartily recommend is THE LOSERS CLUB by Richard Perez -- just wonderful!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest composers the US has ever produced, April 30 2004
By 
James D. Schreiber "joshuacrime" (Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (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. I'd recommend it to anyone, anywhere at any time. It was such a loss for everyone in the world when we lost Frank Zappa. Besides the music he left behind, this book is an incredibly humble view of a great man.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I laughed out loud reading this, April 18 2004
By 
R. J. Marsella (California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Frank Zappa Book (Paperback)
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. Zappa had a twisted sense of humor and that comes through loud and clear. I thought the last third of the book was less amusing since FZ used it as a sort of Dennis Miller style collection of rants on many aspects of American culture that clearly bugged him. The guy was not without his insight and at times he is serious and funny simultaneously. I enjoyed the book and learned a bit as well.
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Real Frank Zappa Book
Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa (Paperback - May 15 1990)
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