Some of the interesting responses that we've gotten, both good and bad...
John Packel (via Facebook)
As a green fan since 1984, and having lived through this starcrossed history with the band, I applaud this awesome and sadly accurate portrayal. Thanks, Matt! http://www.furious.com/perfect/green.html
Subject: Great Zappa article!
Hi Kurt Wildermuth,
I'm going to assume your are the KW who wrote the insightful and searching two-part online essay on Frank Zappa --- if so, my compliments; you captured many of my own doubts and passions about the great man's varied (to be calm about it) output. Well done.
I just visited your website -- I suspected something literary was going on there; you are a fine writer indeed; I much enjoyed exploring your poems and stories and look forward to doing more of it. I've always been a bit suspicious of the publishing industry's claim that gate keeping -- in the form of weeding out the tons of awful writing that flows into their purview -- is an arduous affair (thus cementing their stolidity facing the wave of internet publishing). Bad or clumsy writing reveals itself in the first page, no? Just look at most of the novels featured on internet publishing sites and you see the typos, bad grammar, the odd passive voice, the heaping of cliché, the dialogue freshly torn from some TV sitcom, the underlying assumptions that push, unintendedly, to the foreground, et al. Good writing does exist -- I think that is my point -- and I was glad to see it posted on your site.
Your Zappa article made me think, as follows using your numbered system:
1. The power of Zappa's art is that it can make you forget what you know -- you are under his spell, temporarily, until you step back. In FZ's universe did Walt Whitman not write his poems, Wallace Stevens, nothing? His sense of grievance, it seems, wouldn't let him acknowledge that all artists, throughout time, have something of rebellion in them. Plus, in art, I would like to tell Zappa, poets usually get there first. 2. The question for FZ would have to be: Does adulthood -- which can partially be defined as some seriousness about life --- exist or not? I think he would give different answers to the question at different times in his life. At no point did he seem to reflect that human beings might need a pause, a light shift of gears as we perceive the jester changing to the advisor to the prophet to the wise man to the (potential) king...
3. But mostly for FZ it is all so simple: life, cynicism, etc...the way life is simple to a smart 12 year old fan of science fiction: Civilization? Bah! Who needs it? Just an excuse for hypocrisy. Law? Politics? Study? Just more occasion for plastic people to hoodwink the masses. Class dismissed.
4. The FZ world not well oxygenated; he would deny his contemporaries the power to experience the atmospherics of simple songs the way he admits swooning to the early-md-fifties R & B singles. More: unwilling to admit that mankind has been swooning to simple love songs since we all gathered around Bronze Age campfires; that popular music is not just a vast merchandizing conspiracy/swindle of the evil recording industry (though it is pretty evil)...
Beefheart - Sheet Music / Tabs?
Thank you very much for your site, which I got to know in 1998-1999. I wonder if you have any knowledge about quality sheet music / tabs for Captain Beefheart's songs?
I would like very much to play Hot Head, Big Eyed Beans from Venus and others. One can approximate from the recordings, but its often useful to have a tab for the more complex sounding parts...
ED NOTE: We're pleased to note that would-be Beefheartians can get their Beans on here.
Subject: Too Funny
I enjoyed your list of the worst songs ever.
Most of the songs, I also either hated, or I had grown really tired of hearing them over and over and over.
But some of the songs--I thought “thanks for reminding me!” and I went to iTunes to buy them, to add to my library. What can I say? We all have our own music histories, making certain songs loathsome, while others become special instead.
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