Classic Albums

1. Introduction

0:00:32

FZ (c. 1974): It works like this. If you take any kind of a melody—I don't care if it's Hawaiian music, or whatever it is—and you play it with a Fuzztone guitar and a certain kind of a drum beat, people will call it rock 'n' roll. But what you got is a Hawaiian song, so how are you going to categorise it?

[...]

0:05:32

FZ (c. 1974): I started writing so called "serious music" or non-rock 'n' roll music about the time I was 14 and I didn't write anything that even resembled rock 'n' roll or rhythm and blues until I was 20. I liked Varèse's music from the minute that I heard it and I just thought that it was— it was beautiful, you know. And I couldn't understand it when my mother would start screaming at me to take it in the other room, 'cause it bothered her while she was ironing, you know, and I would say, "But listen to the siren!"

[...]

0:07:07

Elliot Ingber (2006): The facility to write these charts and to conduct like he did—When we recorded Freak Out!, when I got to the session, there were all these, you know, first-call studio musicians. There was some extra percussion, and then there was a French horn, and who knows what. Comes time to record, and Frank steps on a podium, of all things, and he conducts these guys, with the certainty of— I mean, this guy could really do it. So I said, "Where'd you learn all this stuff, man?" He says, "Oh, I went to the library."

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2. The Band

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0:08:59

Elliot Ingber (2006): For me it had real purchase. And you know, he was right at the time, I mean, that's for darn sure, I mean, what he was putting down, that was, that was part of the deal. It wasn't just getting up there and playing, you know, guitar instrumentals.

[...]

0:12:05

FZ (c. 1974): The one thing that's been consistent about the albums that I've put out is that each one appears to go in a different direction. But if you look a little closer, it's all part of one continuous whole, and that's the way it's designed.

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3. Orchestration

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4. The Style

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0:22:11

FZ (c. 1974): If you try and sing a complicated text—I mean, a complicated text is not a collection of words that are readily apparent, you know. If you start talking about "the leaves," "the love," "baby," those things, words you've already heard a million times, the text doesn't matter, because you can take those words and sing them melismatically—you know, turn them all over the place—and people can still follow the contour of the idea. But if you're talking about concepts, or using phrases which are unfamiliar, it's hard to get that information across if you're singing elaborate musical lines at the same time. I do that every once in a while, just to be nasty, but most of the time, if the idea is out there someplace, I try and talk it.

[...]

0:23:48

FZ (c. 1974): Don't trust anybody who's that short and who tries to go through customs with $80,000 worth of wristwatches.

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0:24:48

FZ (c. 1974): If you're gonna have to write words to a song and you don't identify with most of the rest of the lyrics that are coming out, you know—Writing songs about how the leaves fell down so nicely on that October day and then the wind blew them and then it rained and then you fell in love, your heart broke and then stuff came out from the side of your mouth because you were lonely and that kind of stuff—That's not my idea of a good time, so if I have to write lyrics because people like to hear the human voice attached to instruments, I'll write about things that interest me and have an honest reflection of my point of view. So, I'll tell them the same way I feel. I think gurus bite it.

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5. The Process

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0:29:10

FZ (c. 1974): I try and remember which concerts I liked out of the tour and I listen to those first and then I find the parts of the concerts that I think are exceptional and I cut those out and make a build reel. And then I go back and listen to parts of other concerts that I think might have contained individual, wonderful events. And I keep collating this and I have one section of tapes that are just accumulation reels.

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6. The Man

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0:36:10

FZ (c. 1974): If there's one thing I like, it's erotic activity. This being the best of all possible worlds, the rock 'n' roll industry, ladies and gentlemen, it affords opportunities for things like that. Well, my basement may be great for working on tapes and cutting film, and sitting there and planning arcane procedures over vast 10-year periods and so forth. It's not quite the same as going on the road, you know what I mean?

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0:45:55

Gail (2006): I remember a conversation with Frank and Beefheart where they were talking about the perfect note. And the perfect note is really the only one that is possible to play, that is absolutely correct.

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0:48:39

FZ (c. 1974): To me, absurdity is the only reality.

7. [Credits]

 

All compositions by Frank Zappa except as noted
Site maintained by Román García Albertos.
http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/
Original transcription from the subtitles, with minor corrections by Román
This page updated: 2015-09-13