PackardGoose.com Forums
Not logged in [Login ]
Go To Bottom

Printable Version  
Author: Subject: The five bands that Frank Zappa hated
ursinator2.0
Apostrophe Status
*****




Posts: 197
Registered: 11-7-2022
Member Is Offline

Mood: in between :-) and :-(

[*] posted on 14-8-2022 at 18:56
The five bands that Frank Zappa hated


The five bands that Frank Zappa hated


Frank Zappa is one of the most lauded musicians in the history of rock. A true visionary with a colourful back catalogue that draws on rock, jazz, classical and the avant-garde, whether it be in The Mothers of Invention or as a solo artist, he delivered many stellar moments that set him out from the crowd as a true modernist.

Whilst others claimed to be flying the flag of innovation by changing the traditional blues structure of four chords around, Zappa was creating challenging music that made the listener sit and down and really engage with what he was doing — and the significance of this cannot be understated.

A true individualist and one of the greatest satirists we’ve ever known, Zappa’s personality coursed through all of his music, augmenting his artistic aptitude. This has made his work some of the most coveted out there.

Running concurrently with his creative efforts was that Zappa’s life was brimming with unbelievable moments, such as escorting fans out of his show in Montreux Casino as it was burning down to serving as a cultural ambassador to Czechoslovakia in 1990 after the fall of Communism, showing that whilst Zappa talked the talk, he invariably walked the walk as well – confirming him as one of the all-time greats of popular culture.

Zappa was such an iconoclast that despite being a hero of the counterculture and rubbing shoulders with some of the most prominent hellraisers in the game, he never did drugs, which gives you an indication of the extent of his nonconformist. He once hypothesized: “Drugs do not become a problem until the person who uses the drugs does something to you, or does something that would affect your life that you don’t want to have happen to you, like an airline pilot who crashes because he was full of drugs.”

Given that Zappa was full of such opinions, unsurprisingly, he was critical of many of his most famous peers and wasn’t afraid to publicly air his opinions about them. Duly, today we’ve listed the five bands the Mothers of Invention man hated, complete with his explanation as to why.
The five bands Frank Zappa hated:
The Velvet Underground

Whilst on paper you might expect Frank Zappa to be a fan of The Velvet Underground, as they were one of the most pioneering bands of his era, it transpires that it was the opposite. The feud between Zappa and the New York band is one of the most notorious in rock history, kicking off all the way back in 1966 when The Velvet Underground were playing in Los Angeles as part of Andy Warhol’s The Exploding Plastic Inevitable.

Allegedly, the spat started when Zappa made a sarcastic quip about The Velvet Underground and the clique of Warhol hangers-on that filtered through the underground music scene. Zappa’s vitriol was only exacerbated by the fact that both acts were signed to MGM and that Zappa, as the other most prominent alternative act on the label, was receiving much greater promotion than his Warhol-affiliated labelmates.

In response, The Velvet Underground’s own outspoken frontman Lou Reed was said to have declared: “Frank Zappa is the most untalented musician I’ve ever heard.” Later adding, “He can’t play rock ‘n’ roll because he’s a loser.” To which bandmate Sterling Morrison added: “If you told Frank Zappa to eat shit in public, he’d do it if it sold records. I would do it if I liked to.”

Zappa never really made it clear in public what his problem with The Velvet Underground was. However, his Mothers of Invention bandmate, Jimmy Carl Black, accounted for it, saying: “I don’t remember Zappa actually putting them down on stage, but he might have. He really disliked the band. For what reasons I really don’t know, except that they were junkies and Frank just couldn’t tolerate any kind of drugs. I know that I didn’t feel that way and neither did the rest of the Mothers. I thought that they were very good, especially Nico (whom I secretly fell in love with or was it lust?).”

Relations would seemingly cool down between both parties, though. Lou Reed posthumously inducted Zappa into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Zappa played tracks by The Velvet Underground during guest radio DJ sets, labelling them a truly “authentic” band.

The Beatles

The Beatles are the most consequential group of all time, and what they did for the proliferation of popular music and culture as a whole cannot be understated. It’s a testament to their work that many of the foundations they laid sonically, aesthetically, and in terms of perspective can still be found alive and well today.

However, just because they were the biggest band on the planet and made many strides in pop music, this didn’t mean that Zappa was a fan. In fact, he was scathing of the Liverpool group.

Notably, The Mothers of Invention album, 1968’s We’re Only In It For The Money, was a cutting satire on the “movement” of the 1960s, and of course, it contained evident digs at The Beatles, the most famous of the lot. The intended cover of the album was originally intended to be what is now a notorious parody of The Beatles’ record Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which dropped in 1967, but at the behest of Zappa’s record label, it was included as part of the gatefold sleeve.

“Everybody else thought they were God!” Zappa once said of The Beatles. “I think that was not correct. They were just a good commercial group.” Whilst anyone can find agreement with some of what Zappa says here, it is made unfathomable when we note that he preferred The Monkees, the ultimate commercial group and fodder for teenyboppers everywhere.

Accounting for his hated of The Beatles is Pauline Butcher, who was Zappa’s PA from 1967 to 1971. In Louder Sound in 2012, she said: “He was a precociously intelligent man in a business which is not necessarily filled with a lot of intelligent people, and he stood out”.

Butcher continued: “He worked out he wasn’t a pretty boy like The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, he didn’t play their kind of music, he didn’t even like it, and if he was going to get himself heard he was going to have to do something radically different. He went out of his way to have outrageous photographs taken: the one on the toilet, the one with his pigtails sticking out like a spaniel, dressing up in women’s clothes. All these things were calculated because he had to get himself attention.”

Jethro Tull

British rockers Jethro Tull are one of the most eminent bands from the 1960s and 1970s, and their signature prog rock sound, which draws on hard rock, folk, and classical, is one of the most unmistakable out there. Fronted by the multi-talented Ian Anderson, Jethro Tull does consistency like no other, but this didn’t stop Zappa from throwing some barbs their way.

Anderson recalled in a radio interview with BBC Radio 2: “Sadly, I never got to meet Frank Zappa; we nearly did. And I actually read that he didn’t like Jethro Tull at all back then in the 70s. He rather resented the fact that us British bands Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple and so on. We were going over there (United States) and making tons of money. Seemingly while he was struggling to run his band.”

He proceeded to explain that he was invited to speak to Zappa when the former Mothers of Invention man was dying of cancer, but never took him up on the offer because he was fearful of what the ‘Cosmic Debris’ singer might say, as Zappa had been “rather unkind” about Tull in the press. Added to this concern was that Anderson couldn’t fathom how to speak to a dying man he didn’t know.

He said: “So he was rather unkind to some of us in the press, which was a shame because I was a big Frank Zappa fan at that point. I was in fear of taking up the invitation to call him shortly before he died. I’ve got a message from one of his musicians that I knew, that said ‘Frank wants to speak to you, he wants you to call him.’ I thought ‘How do you speak to a dying man? You know, picking up the phone talking to someone for the very first time in what turned out to be the last weeks of his life.”

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin are one of the most revered acts of all time. They took music down a heavier, mystical route and helped hard rock and metal kick on. At their pomp, the English group was unmatched and composed of four geniuses, frontman Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham.

Zappa had a lot to say about Zeppelin because he was the iconoclast and an opponent of big rock groups. Notoriously, Zappa made Zeppelin’s alleged mud shark incident a recurring theme of The Mothers of Invention’s two shows in New York City that comprise the lauded Fillmore East – June 1971 album. There are also references to Robert “Plant-it” and Robert “Planet” on their previous album, 200 Motels.

Zappa had so much disdain for Zeppelin that on his 1988 tour, he and the band performed a wholly sarcastic reggae-styled cover of ‘Stairway to Heaven’. Interestingly, Zappa had stayed so clear of Zeppelin that according to the tour’s guitarist, Mike Keneally, there was “widespread disbelief among the band” when Zappa asked them to play the track from start to finish, as he had never heard it in its entirety but that “he knew that it was a huge song and he was curious”, per his account in Record Collector.

Of course, when Zappa heard the song, he had his criticisms. Keneally said: “He remarked that he really didn’t like the chord progression for the guitar solo… but he decided he wanted to play the song live because he knew audiences would be flabbergasted by it.”

What transpired is one of the greatest satires in Zappa’s lengthy back catalogue and one of the most effective pops at the overblown side of Led Zeppelin in history.

The Doors / Jim Morrison

Frank Zappa didn’t have much of a problem with The Doors or Jim Morrison, but he hated what he symbolised and the machinery that created his infamous ‘Lizard King’ persona, which he saw right through. It transpires that Zappa’s wife and Morrison grew up together, but Zappa could not get past how distasteful he perceived the “merchandising” of The Doors to be.

Zappa explained: “Well, I knew Jim Morrison too. As a matter of fact, my wife knew Jim Morrison when she was a child. They used to play together. In fact, I think she even hit him on the head with a hammer or something. And so, I know all about Jim Morrison. And, as a matter of fact, Herb Cohen tried to manage him at one time. And they were playing around LA when we first started.”

He continued: “They were working at the Whisky a Go-Go and all that stuff. And so I am pretty well-acquainted with the rise of Jim Morrison. And the thing that was obnoxious about Jim Morrison was when Crawdaddy decided to proclaim him the Lizard King of rock and roll and went on this bizarre rampage. And the type of merchandising that was originally associated with Doors music I thought was really distasteful and stretching the boundaries of what it actually was beyond the realm of credibility.”

Speaking to Guitar World in 1982, he elucidated on his point, after being asked if he was making fun of “the deification” of Morrison: “No, I’m not even picking on Jim Morrison. I am talking about the machinery that takes anything and exaggerates it to the point where it’s blown out of proportion and the public believes the inflated version of what the reality is. I am a realistic kind of a guy. I just try and look at things the way they are, take them for what they are, deal with them the way they are, and go on to the next case. But, Americans thrive on hype and bloated images and bloated everything, and anything that’s realistic they turn away from. They want the candy gloss version of whatever it is. And Jim Morrison is only one example of that.”
Mick McStarkey
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Eddie RUKidding
Apostrophe Status
*****


Avatar


Posts: 121
Registered: 11-7-2022
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 15-8-2022 at 09:21


Nice post - and i can see where Zappa was coming from Zeppelin in particular was always set up as a money making machine- even thou the music was good it was overblown and the Beatles wouldn't have been half as big without the 5th Beatle George Martin



South of the Border
View user's profile View All Posts By User
AGuyWithAWrench
Hot Rats Status
***




Posts: 40
Registered: 15-7-2022
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 15-8-2022 at 16:43


If Zappa hated the Beatles and Led Zep, why did he cover I Am The Walrus and Stairway To Heaven? (The Beatles medley not included in the question because of the satirical lyrics).
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Calvin
200 Motels Status
****




Posts: 93
Registered: 20-8-2006
Location: Neebraskey
Member Is Offline

Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 15-8-2022 at 20:54


Personally, Frank is my favorite composer/musician of all time, but I couldn't care less what bands he didn't like. But it makes for an interesting article.



Hi there.
View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
Eddie RUKidding
Apostrophe Status
*****


Avatar


Posts: 121
Registered: 11-7-2022
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 15-8-2022 at 22:12


Quote: Originally posted by AGuyWithAWrench  
If Zappa hated the Beatles and Led Zep, why did he cover I Am The Walrus and Stairway To Heaven? (The Beatles medley not included in the question because of the satirical lyrics).


Well Zappa didn't exactly have a friendly relationship with John Lennon after Rag Jam affair, so would suggest there was a similar message with I am the Walrus. but Zappa did named it one of three Beatle songs he really liked.

As for Stairway - I think Zappa thought it a joke, like I do.




South of the Border
View user's profile View All Posts By User
Plook
Apostrophe Status
*****




Posts: 101
Registered: 11-7-2022
Member Is Offline


[*] posted on 20-8-2022 at 00:12


Great read very insightful, thanks for posting...:)
View user's profile View All Posts By User
polydigm
Frank Zappa Status
*********


Avatar


Posts: 1984
Registered: 1-4-2006
Location: Horse Tray Ya
Member Is Offline

Mood: Inspired

[*] posted on 3-9-2022 at 00:03


I've always been a fan of Led Zeppelin. Horses for courses. I think Stairway To Heaven is a good composition and the version on TBBYNHIYL is hardly taking the piss and is the best cover of that song I've ever heard.



View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
polydigm
Frank Zappa Status
*********


Avatar


Posts: 1984
Registered: 1-4-2006
Location: Horse Tray Ya
Member Is Offline

Mood: Inspired

[*] posted on 11-9-2022 at 00:44


Actually, I get really irritated with articles like this one. I also get irritated with people who think they know how Zappa would think these days. None the less, one thing I'm sure of, a headline like "The five bands that Frank Zappa hated" would have pissed him off. FZ critical of a lot? Yes! FZ a hater? I doubt it. He is the one, after all, who said "Fuck hate!!".



View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User
polydigm
Frank Zappa Status
*********


Avatar


Posts: 1984
Registered: 1-4-2006
Location: Horse Tray Ya
Member Is Offline

Mood: Inspired

[*] posted on 15-9-2022 at 01:22


Frank Zappa: the lost Interview, 1990

Niles Lesh: The Beatles?
Frank Zappa: They were okay. I was never as big a Beatles fan as a Rolling Stones fan ... the Rolling Stones were more entertaining for me because of the rhythm and blues ...




View user's profile Visit user's homepage View All Posts By User

  Go To Top

Powered by XMB 1.9.11
XMB Forum Software © 2001-2010 The XMB Group
[Queries: 18] [PHP: 60.7% - SQL: 39.3%]