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Frank Zappa: “Cosmik Debris”

Frank Zappa was a singular personality in the history of rock music. He was as important for his iconoclastic views and role in the ongoing battles over public decency standards as he was for his music.

It doesn’t make sense to write much about him. It is best to let him define himself through Wikiquote:

The Ultimate Rule ought to be: ‘If it sounds GOOD to you, it’s bitchin’; if it sounds BAD to YOU, it’s shitty. The more your musical experience, the easier it is to define for yourself what you like and what you don’t like. American radio listeners, raised on a diet of _____ (fill in the blank), have experienced a musical universe so small they cannot begin to know what they like.

Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute.

I’ll tell you what classical music is, for those of you who don’t know. Classical music is this music that was written by a bunch of dead people a long time ago. And it’s formula music, the same as top forty music is formula music. In order to have a piece be classical, it has to conform to academic standards that were the current norms of that day and age … I think that people are entitled to be amused, and entertained. If they see deviations from this classical norm, it’s probably good for their mental health.

Here is Zappa’s site and a long bio at NNDB. Zappa, it always should be remembered, also was a fabulous guitarist. Here is an insight from guitarist Steve Vai on what playing with him was like. It doesn’t sound too relaxing.

Zappa died of prostate cancer in December, 1993 at the age of 52.