The Real Frank Zappa Book

The Real Frank Zappa Book

I have to admit that I read The Real Frank Zappa Book a long time ago. I still remember it as being one of the best books by a musician that I have ever read. Zappa was a wild guy who surrounded himself by wild people – musicians, artists, creeps and just plain weirdoes.

Zappa’s music is very hit-or-miss. Some of his albums, especially the jazz/rock of Hot Rats or the comedy rock of Apostrophe, appeal to the masses, while others are just plain peculiar, like the classical music he made in his last years, such as on the Yellow Shark, his last album before his death. Or, some of it is just plain terrible, like his do-wop excursion Cruisin’ With Ruben and the Jets or the very promisingly titled but ultimately disappointing Jazz From Hell. (I’m sure that many people love these albums, however.)

Unlike Zappa’s musical output, The Real Frank Zappa book is pure gold. He was a sharp, inquisitive man who embraced weirdness while sticking to a someone rigid value system. As odd as his sensibilities were, he tolerated no drug use whatsoever, much like he had no love for religion or conservative politics.

His musical journey and legacy is legendary. And, like his music, humor plays a major part in the book. You have characters like Bill the Mannequin F***er and the guy who was addicted to electricity.

You don’t have to be a Frank Zappa fan to like this book, just like how you don’t need to be a Frank Zappa fan to enjoy Hot Rats. You just have to give the man a chance.