Frank Vincent Zappa Born December 21, 1940 – Died December 4, 1993
If you have never heard the music of Frank Zappa, then I suggest you buckle up you’re in for a wild ride. This is indeed a portrait of a musical genius.
This new documentary directed by Alex Winter (Bill, from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) explores the larger-than-life and not quite normal times of an avant-garde musician, who, to millions of fans was (and possibly still is) the undisputed master of the outrageously bizarre.
Using thousands of hours of previously unseen archival footage dating back to his childhood combined with some on-stage and backstage clips, this trip into the world of Zappa examines his cutting edge style of music and often controversial public image that profoundly influenced the attitudes of several generations.
Twenty-seven years after his death from prostate cancer, we are treated to a fresh look at Zappa the enigma that was indeed a tour de force to be reckoned with whose nonconformity and freeform musical genres crossed the borders of rock, blues, experimental jazz, classical, pop, Avante-Garde, and doo-wop.
I suspect that even though Zappa released sixty-two albums with an additional fifty-three released after his death, was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1997 as well as directing or appearing in more than forty films he is relatively unknown to most of today’s young so-called music connoisseurs.
Back in the ’60s when I was in my early teens, the distinctive-looking Zappa and his creatively named band ‘The Mothers of Invention’ did not appeal to my taste in music. To be honest, I never really understood what he was talking about, and I could never dance to his zany tunes.
Although I was introduced to his music through songs like Billy The Mountain to me, most of his compositions sounded like a disjointed, mixture of out-of-time and mismatched rhythms played on the wrong instruments.
Compared to my playlist which included the melodic sounds of bands like the Beatles, Beach Boys, and CSNY, it was as if he was from another planet. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was.
Regardless of where he was from Frank Zapper was truly a superstar who created a different type of music from real with real musical instruments. This film reveals that he was obviously respected by many of his peers such as Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, and John Lennon for his slightly left-of-center music style.
Produced by his son Ahmet Zappa, it has unprecedented access to hundreds of previously unseen archival footage hours. Through interviews with friends, band and family members, this documentary gives us a revealing glimpse into the world of this enigmatic perfectionist.
Although an iconic musician of the psychedelic 60s and 70s he unexpectedly claims that he never indulged in taking drugs except for coffee and cigarettes. He once claimed that “a lot of the things that is wrong with society is the direct result of people using drugs”.
I now have a completely different view of Zappa and his music. He is certainly not everybody’s taste and today he may even be considered a ‘weirdo’ but don’t FREAK OUT! that’s possibly how he wanted to be remembered.
Zappa is showing at a cinema near you visit http://www.umbrellaentfilms.com.au/movie/zappa/ to confirm screening times
To view, the trailer click the link below