2011-03-06

A Morning With Frank Zappa

Sunday morning. I've spent it listening to the 1996 PRI documentary Frank Zappa: American Composer. On all levels, this is a fantastic documentary, and I highly recommend it to any and all. (Yes, I even recommend it to those of you who are not Zappa fans. As many have discovered, Zappa's television, radio, and cinema contributions are entertaining on a more public level. But you don't have to take my word for it...)

Cruise on over to Zappa.com and stream the documentary directly to your chair now!

One of the standout aspects of this documentary is the recurring theme that Zappa's music is essentially the artistic representation of freedom. I whole-heartedly agree. One of the real challenges of being a Zappa fan is the tragic shortcoming of language as tool used to describe the beauty and importance of Zappa's work. All Zappa fans run into this. We try to explain to people what they're dealing with, and the words just don't come.

But it comes down to freedom, beauty, creativity, and the pioneering spirit.

Zappa was creative essentially every waking hour of the day. He was constantly composing or planning an idea of some sort. Today, we all sit surfing the internet rather than pursuing the kind of intense creativity that Zappa pursued. (And others!) I think this comes through in art today. We are so incredibly lazy in our intellectual pursuits. We have too many distractions to invest in anything whole-heartedly. I think Zappa was among the last people in the modern world who had the kind of dedication and intellectual integrity to rise above the distractions.

Well, have a listen to the documentary and learn something. Then get out there and do something