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Monday, December 13, 2010

Zappadan Again

I missed the annual "Zappadan blogswarm" last year.

Since then, I have - from time to time - took some serious consideration as to what my favorite Zappa moment was. This year, I opted for a non-musical moment in Zappa's history - but one that is none the less powerful.

Here is his testimony before Tipper Gore's unconstitutional PMRC committee discussion what would ultimately become a form of censorship to the music community - the dreaded "parental warning" labels on music that we purchase.

This was one of my earliest memories of Zappa - hearing him discuss the dangers of legislation against the music industry, quite possibly the only industry that the Houses of Congress have no stake in.

I was in 4th grade when this happened.

This was long before the Al Gore that we all know, a past which I'm sure had long since faded during his Presidential bid. None the less, it is all too real and something that I recall even to this day.

But back to Frank.

From my perspective, Zappa was one of the pioneers in the push to make America realize that musicians weren't all doped up hippies that were more concerned with making noise and banging groupies. He was intelligent, thought provoking, and honest - some would say all too honest for his time. I would have to disagree with the later.

There is a lineage of musicians that continue Zappa's legacy of melding intellectual thought and thought provoking expressionism into music. Unfortunately, these aren't the songs that we hear from radio and MTV today. The music realm doesn't really embrace people that take the same path as Zappa these days. And while there are artists that hold true to what Zappa - and all like him during his day - showed us, it's up to the individual to find them. And I think that's what Frank Zappa would have wanted. He wouldn't want us to be lazy and be fed pablum by the pint.

We are to be adventurous in our endevours, to push the boundaries of musical and lyrical expressionism each day - just like Zappa did.

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