Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Zappadan 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year... it's Zappadan. Zappadan is a festival celebrating all things Zappa, running from Dec 4 to Dec 21 each year. It's barely enough time to remember the spirit of Frank Zappa, American Composer. You can celebrate Zappadan in your own way- in fact, why would you possibly celebrate Zappa by doing anything that anyone else might be doing. That's why it's so perfect. I was trying to think of what to post, top five or ten records, great live performances, wonderfully skewed quotes, favorite moments. I'm still struggling.

I have a friend who has tried to let me get him into Zappa for several years. He's a pretty regular guy and likes music and wants to have an open mind, but every time we sit down and I play him some Frank, the music eventually gets too weird for him and he can't take it. Don't ask me to explain this behavior. I think it may be that there's so much going on in Zappa's music that he can't process it all.
A few years ago I made my friend a CD of Zappa tunes that I felt was a swell mix of humor, guitar playing, jazz, and well, all things Zappa in a single CD. Of course, it included many of my favorites. The track list was:
1. Peaches En Regalia Hot Rats 1969
2. Cosmik Debris Apostrophe(‘) 1974
3. Stairway To Heaven The Greatest Band You Never Heard In Your Life 1991
4. Watermelon In Easter Hay Joe’s Garage 1979
5. Hot Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel Broadway The Hard Way 1988
6. Re-gyptian Strut Sleep Dirt 1978
7. I’m The Slime Over-nite Sensation 1973
8. Black Napkins Make A Jazz Noise Here 1991
9. Inca Roads One Size Fits All 1975
10. For The Young Sophisticate Tinsel Town Rebellion 1981
11. Uncle Meat Uncle Meat 1968
12. Oh No Weasels Ripped My Flesh 1970
13. The Orange County Lumber Truck Weasels Ripped My Flesh 1970
14. RDNZL Studio Tan 1978
15. Duke Of Orchestral Prunes Orchestral Favorites 1979
16. Let’s Make The Water Turn Black We’re Only In It For The Money 1968

I'm listening to it now. All songs from my own CDs or LPs. I still think it's one of my best ever compilations, if I may say so myself.

The CD did not apparently turn my friend into a Zappa fan, but your results may vary.


  1. I understand your friend very well. I somehow got through my first 55 years without much interest in or experience with Frank Zappa. In the beginning it was psychedelic and hard rock, then jazz, then a ten-year love affair with opera before returning primarily to the music of my youth.

    Then, one year ago during the last Zappadan I began to learn about Frank. I mark that time as one of the major milestones in my music appreciation career.

    But, as I said, I understand your friend. Some of the music is immediately appreciable, but some takes time, and I must admit, some is still beyond me. But, what enjoyment, what beautiful, complicated and exciting music.

  2. That's a great mix! Zappa has such a large catalogue, there's a ton of stuff I've yet to hear. One of the joys of Zappadan is getting turned onto some stuff I've never heard before. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jeff is red hot on the comments section. Mark Hoback is the king of Zappadan.

  4. I was pleased to be spotted by Mr. Hoback, and thanks to markb and zencomix for comments as well. By the way, in response to zencomix, the tracks on my CD that I attribute to Sleep Dirt, Orchestral Favorites, and Studio Tan are all available on the Lather CD.