1978 October – Capitol Theatre Programs
Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention
Combining a Theater of the Absurd sensibility, sharp-edged satiric humor and a hair-trigger threshold of outrage, Frank Zappa's odes to teenage life, set in a Fifties backbeat, are classics of the snide put-down and Zappa was the first (and is still perhaps the only} musician to bring a classical orientation to the rock and roll form.
With his group the Mothers of Invention, in the summer of 1967 Zappa brought a wicked and spontaneous theatricality to the rock stage at the Garrick Theater, long before anyone else was doing it. Since then Zappa has extended his vision further into the realms of classical music, rock, jazz and r & b.
"Los Angeles in 1965, the time I wrote most of the songs on my first album, at that time, in the kiddie community that I was hanging out in, they were all getting into acid very heavily and you had people seeing God in colors and flaking out all over the place.
"I went up to San Francisco once or twice but I wasn't interested or influenced by the scene there. Whereas in LA you had people freaking out; making their own clothes, dressing however they wanted to dress, wearing their hair out, that is, being as weird as they wanted to be in public and everybody going inseparate directions – I got to San Francisco and found everybody dressed up in 1890's garb, all pretty specific codified dress.
"In San Francisco they had a 'more rustic than thou' approach.
From LA Zappa and the Mothers moved on to New York.
Says Zappa, "I don't like books. I very seldom read. My wife and I have a joke because she likes to read. I say there's two things wrong with the world today, one of them is writers and the other is the readers. The main thing wrong with writers is that they're dealing with something that is almost obsolete, but they don't know it yet – which is language. Language as a by-product of the technological growth of civilizaiton has, well, think of what's happened to the English language as a result of advertising sloganism. The meanings of words have been corrupted to the point where, from a semanticist's point of view, how can you convey an accurate piece of information with this language?
"I think, ideally, the way it should be is you could use the words for amusement purposes only, because the spoken word, the sounds of words, stirkes me as funny, because of the differences in people's noise-producing mechanisms. But as far as the information communicated in the words, it would be better if people could communicate telepathically.
Actually that's all a bunch of crap. Who needs to worry about all that technical stuff? I'm telling you folks, I just don't read very much. I don't like books too much. I don't like poetry at all. And that's it.
"I think that it's quite possible that what I have to say is useful only to very few people and I should not bust my ass to make it available to a large number of people, because, first of all, they can't use it, second of all, they probably don't need it and third of all, I know they don't want it. So kiss it off –boogie! "
Why then, would an artist keep making records? "I think in contemporary America most artists try to make records so they can eat.