Frank Zappa's Negative Dialectics Of Poodle Play Paperback – Mar 28 1996
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
Most recent customer reviews
This one is very very funny!!
If you have basic knowledge about culture, literature, music, political and western history and philosophy, this is even funnier. Read more
This book is guilty of trying to put FZ in clothing I am not sure he would wear.
I understand that FZ thought the book was 'good' but you can bet he never read this big... Read more
God, how I hated this book. I'm been a huge FZ fan since the '60s; have everything he's ever put out (& then some); but if I had read this book first I would never have even given... Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2003 by Keith Thompson
OK, it's a shame this book is out of print. I bought it years ago, and still come back to it time and again. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2002 by Patrick Williams
I am a Zappa fan with no special interest in postmodernism, Theodor Adorno, or Marxism - but Ben Watson has written an extraordinary book that enhanced my appreciation and... Read morePublished on July 13 2002 by Charles R. Watson
I hope no one will ever read this and take it seriously. Somehow I have a hard time thinkin Frank would be impressed with this self-indulgent intellectual nonsense. Read morePublished on March 2 2002 by Brandon E. Schafer
If there was one thing that FZ hated, it was critics. Frank hated them because they didn't understand what he was doing. Frank hated them for not understanding music in general. Read morePublished on July 10 2001 by Howard
as i swam through the output macrostructure delighting in the accidents of conceptual similtude i streamed into a smoky chamber where a host of zappophiles cast off their... Read morePublished on Dec 4 2000 by Ken Fox
Frank Zappa's work is the product of pure genius. Every serious musician, regardless of genre, is familiar with and appreciates his work. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2000 by Chuck