Frank Zappa

I have never (knowingly) heard any Frank Zappa music, but I have long been curious about him.

So I have just ordered an LP of ‘The Grand Wazoo’ from Amazon USA. I have no idea what to expect, other than the unexpected.

I don’t recall Zappa’s output being discussed much - or indeed at all - on this Forum.

Any advice or guidance would be most welcome.

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He was an amazing musician that really pushed the other musicians in his band to excel at their instruments. However, that did not always give musical enjoyment to my ears……his albums were a bit hit and miss for me.

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The other thing to watch out for (apart from Gazza’s comments above) is his lyrics. They tend to toilet humour and shock value, most of the time I really love it, but once in a while (mood dependent I guess) I just find myself thinking “Grow up!”.
A great guitarist who had great bands, and a questing experimental style.


Grand Wazoo maybe a bit ‘out there’ for a first listen.

Overnite Sensation / One Size Fits All / Apostrophe / Waka Jawaka maybe are better albums? So much choice with such a prolific artist.

Depends on individual tastes though.

Oh, and as @Eoink said some of the lyrics/humour are a little childish and dated.


He was way ahead of his time. He has such a large and diverse collection to listen too. Oh yes, nearly forgot, he could actually play guitar, read music and was partial to the odd chilli :blush:


I’ll join the Apostrophe and One Size Fits All recommendation mentioned above, both are great albums. You could also try Bongo Fury with Captain Beefheart and Zappa in New York. Joe’s Garage is excellent too. There are couple of releases focused on fabulous Zappa’s guitar playing, such as Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar, and Guitar.


This was a great Hi Fi demo album back in the day.
:face_with_hand_over_mouth: :+1:t2:
Over-nite Sensation


Agree greatly. Musician of the first order, whose imagination and musical intelligence were extreme. Most albums well worth listening to, except the quasi classical ones he produced electronically. Links with Avant-garde classical and Jazz as well as pure Rock make his oeuvre constantly interesting if also uneven and unwieldy.
Agree about the lyrics, sometimes on the edge, and certainly not to everyone’s taste!
Also worth following links to Captain Beefheart if you’re feeling brave. Found some vinyls secondhand last week I’m looking forward to listening to once they’ve had a good clean


‘The Grand Wazoo’ is a great album. Don’t forget to check out ‘Hot Rats’ as well.

An album that showcases the range of Zappa’s talent is ‘Lather’


Interesting topic, dont forget his “classical” output as well, he was a big fan of Edgard Varèse, Igor Stravinsky, Pierre Boulez and Anton Webern.


I’ve always thought Hot Rats was the way in to FZ’s way out music.


I dislike Zappa’s humourous side which why my favourite album of his is Hot Rats. Five of its six tracks are instrumental and one has vocals by Captain Beefheart but they’re only a few minutes of a long track. I guess you could describe the music as Jazz Fusion but not really what you think of when you think of Jazz Fusion. But it is good.

…….and Trance-Fusion :+1::ok_hand::blush:

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A massively overrated fret-wanker with a highly exaggerated opinion of his worth. Apart from the first album Freak Out! most of the music is bogged down with an unmerited self-satisfaction. The supposedly “satirical” lyrics are mostly tiresome frat-boy humour. The obsession with groupies is really, really creepy. FZ’s music is nowhere near as clever – or indeed as radical – as it thinks it is.

Curious really, as Zappa is obviously gifted and intelligent and has excellent taste (the European avant-garde, doo-wop and Johnny Guitar Watson). It’s just a pity the music’s no good. I’d rather read about Zappa than listen to him.


Yes, and Trans-Fusion. Another example among many others, Zappa released too many albums.

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My advice would be to give Strictly Commercial a go. It’s an easier look into Zappa’s world.

My favourite album is Guitar. The tracks Do Not Pass Go, Republicans, For Duane and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace should be appreciated by most people.

Obviously you’ll find haters hating pretty much any artist you can think of. Ignore that worthless bile and as ever, decide for yourself. I’ve about 30 albums, so I’m happy enough, and I’m not into prog rock at all! :wink:


Harsh, but partly true.


To like particular music or not is a personal matter. My personal limit is one of effort; how much [perceived] effort artists put into their art. And, yes, some can fake it and I might [blissfully] never know. It is my perogative as long as I do not impose that sentiment on others. The outburst you put forth here goes slightly beyond the music and touches upon listeners’ perception of it, dismissing the music and with it those who love it. I don’t care if Frank Zappa was elitist and a musical demagog, which I might even agree with. The important thing for me, though, is that I actually liked his music and still enjoy it every bit as much today as when it was fresh. So, all but saying that I (and others like me) have a misunderstood perception of music is bordering on the insensitive.

It would be so easy to simply say you don’t like it and perhaps even why. But disparaging those who do is just not appropriate and, at the very least, does not bring much new information to the original poster, helping him locate a good entry point to Frank Zappa.

Which album I would suggest as a good first impression depends on what you might also listen to. assuming it is not Captain Beefheart that is the reference here, Joe’s Garage would be my suggestion and Shut Up’n Play Yer Guitar a wonderful full-instrumental companion box. Both are accessible.


38……was at 64, before I slimmed the collection down.

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