Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Shroud of Zappa



Zappa the boy grows up out in the Los Angeles dessert. His buddy is Don Van Vliet . They dream while they are driving the in Don’s father’s bread truck - the one welcomed by the housewives on the dusty bakery road. This is a truck which Don will drive for a while. Zappa is a lonely boy. They are buds and they dream on. Incessantly play R&B. Dwell on things. Imagine a homemade movie, Capt. Beefhart and the Clay People.
Zappa is a lonely boy whose father works in the electronics world. The aeronautics world. The Lockheed-Martin-American part of it that world that is at cold war. Move 95, 100, 145 miles at a clip three or four times while zappa is growing. From San Diego to Lancaster, back, and beyond. Like American Graffiti, but more dusty.Zappa is growing so Zappa gets the growing lonely boy in the L.A. dessert blues. And he doesn’t go out for sports. Instead he is about Savoy 78s. The cutting guitar of Johnny Guitar Watson. But most especially Pachuco Doo-Wop.
He dug this culture. That and satire of the overriding culture, the sports culture, the one with cheerleaders and booming quarterbacks. That will be the fodder for his great shticks. Even in the dessert there was some radio. Even TV.So he dug Radio Stan Freiberg too. Okay the signal said. You can filter this and survive. Yet, he was in the marching band. Until he was seen smoking in the band uniform under the football stands. Yet the high school music teacher had the students try and play his scores. Cause he’d found Varese the classic Euro who wrote down the strange sound. And he saw Stockhausen on Steve Allen.. He read about this weird fancypants music in Life, maybe he read it at the dentists’.
Whatever, with a bass in the Chicano rocknroll camp, smart Pisano but inept drummer that he was, it was all the misogyny he needed. Wrote post cards to Varese.Made long-distance phone calls to Varese. But the satire and the high-culture had not come together with the blues and doo-wop yet when the satire melded with the doo-wop on Memories of El Monte.What was El Monte? It was first of all blessed by Earth Angel Gods The Penguins who with some original member gone winged into his sphere. This number is like Those Oldies But Goodies that Remind me of you. It predates The Mothers of Invention.
But for-shadows it to…remember, remember the dance, I held you so tight?
El Monte was where the pachuko doo wap champions would dances hold .. zappa's small opera its also like those weird mixes where one group after another is thread together with songs attached, to say, a Martian invasion .. this is what they did on radio in those days...in his rev its tony allen .. marvin and Johnny .. The Penguins.. and so on… they would imitated be… .. it was Frank’s first real record.. The Penguins winged into his sphere and did so with gusto - didnt mind comping on the medium, which they helped create. the snake eatin itself to zappa's tune.
The popcorn was littering the movie theatre floor and Phi Zappa Krappa
Frank was like Fellini of the valley.
So Go Cry On SomebodyElse's Shoulder. It was what it was. This all came to frutition for me later. When I walked darkly into Soulville on Main Street and I picked up Freak Out!Note: This is art. Not all of this happened as in details depicted here. Some of the people were protected. Some of them were innocent.

Big Nod to Barry Miles.


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