Saturday, June 27, 2009

Half-Time Score: Frank Zappa 14 - Michael Jackson 0

“Do we really want to know how Michael Jackson makes his music? No. We want to understand why he needs the bones of the Elephant Man -- and, until he tells us, it doesn't make too much difference whether or not he really is ''bad.'' (FZ)

How many of the world mainstream media outlets lead with the story of Frank Zappa’s death in 1993?

None, that’s how many!

Today’s unwarranted adulation of Michael Jackson exposes the injustice of a ‘true musical-genius versus marketing pantomime come phenomenon’.

We see this, in both the public and media circles.

Fuck throw-away POP-ULAR fucking Music!

It’s SHIT!

Let me spell it out for those of you, who may be hard of hearing……S…..H…..I…..T.

Ya, got it?

When The Spices Girls sell more than Radiohead, it’s apparent to anyone above puberty and doesn’t have a poster of their favourite band on their bedroom wall, that record sales are never indicative of talent.
When a so-called musician/singer (whatever you term him) is remembered for 'turning music videos into an art-form' and his dance-routine - we need to take a big step back & ask ourselves 'what about the music'?".

All this unjustified adulation of MJ, merely goes to prove Frank Zappa’s immortal quote:

Most people wouldn't know music, if it came-up and bit-them on the ass”.

Sure it was sad to see Jackson drop-dead prematurely, but musically he was never on the same scale as immortals like Zappa and Lennon.

David Bowie is another, who towers above Michael Jackson.

I’ll leave you with some more Zappa quotes which seem to be purpose-built for this article.

“I don't give a fuck if they remember me at all”.

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe”.

“Rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, in order to provide articles for people who can't read”.

“I have an important message to deliver to all the cute people all over the world. If you're out there and you're cute, maybe you're beautiful. I just want to tell you somethin' — there's more of us UGLY MOTHERFUCKERS than you are, hey-y, so watch out”.

“If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest or some guy on TV telling you how to do your shit, then YOU DESERVE”

“There is no hell. There is only France ”


Anonymous said...

I understand your point in relation to the media hype around opposed to Frank's....

In fifty years from now, they'll still be studying Frank's music...and what will be left of Michael, will be Quincy Jones enormous influence on a kid with one glove.

Imagine what they will say when Don Van Vliet goes down.....!


Anonymous said...

"Most people wouldn't know music if it came up and bit them on the ass."

Your quote is missing a word.

Thanks for thinking of FZ at this time.

Honesty is too rare these days.

Feel free to delete this post.

Seth said...

Hell yeah. FZ was the *man*. Probably the smartest guy in the music business, and an awesome guitarist to boot. Whereas MJ had a few good tunes, a few good moves, but it was all empty pop tripe at the end of the day, wasn't it? Did he say anything particularly meaningful in his entire lifetime? I really can't recall.

Anonymous said...

I think your juvenile rant makes no sense.

I discovered Zappa in the early 80s (I was born in 71) and really got interested in his music since I was playing the guitar myself. He's got a very eclectic body of work and inspired me as a musician.

But I also think some of Michael Jackson's music was awesome. When it was Thriller's 25th anniversary, I was still amazed at how fresh and great the songs were.

I don't get star adulation, so the whole circus revolving around Michael Jackson's life and subsequently, his death... I really don't give a fuck about that. But then again, I don't care about the eccentricities of any "star", including Zappa.

I'm with you on one thing: I don't get all this admiration for Jackson changing the way music was presented from an auditive experience to the MTV video-era. It has to be pointed out that it was bound to happen sooner or later, though. With the technological changes (advent of video shoots as opposed to strictly film, appearance of specialized TV networks, including music channels, media explosion, the growing trend of hyper-marketing in a world where capitalism and corporate entities were growing fast).

But that doesn't change the fact early Michael Jackson music was amazing. Great songs, blending elements previously found in music that was considered "black" with a more stereotypical caucasion pop/rock style... not to mention Michael Jackson was a very, very good singer with a unique style.

If you open your mind, you'll find masterpieces in all styles of music. Rock, country, progressive, blues, classical, jazz and yes, pop, hip hop and alln those other styles close-minded people look down upon.

I count myself lucky that the world has given us Zappa, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Prince, Johnny Cash, Genesis, Jimi Hendrix, Metallica, Beethoven, Deep Purple, Mike Oldfield, Michael Jackson and many others.

They and many others have all created records that I bought, enjoyed tremendously throughout the years and continue to enjoy today.

I don't think people have to enjoy what I enjoy. I don't presume I can assert objectively that a song is shit if so many other people enjoy it. I define greatness in music only as it relates to me. I look for timeless music FOR ME. And for me, these artists, including Michael Jackson, have delivered music that has stood the test of time.

I don't care about Michael Jackson's controversial life or death. I'm still going to enjoy listening to Off The Wall. I don't care about some of Zappa's weird life. I'm just thankful I can listen to Joe's Garage and all his other stuff.

I'm a musician to this day and continue to share my passion with other musicians as well as with passionate people who love music. I love discovering newer bands, some of which will stand the test of time too.

Open your mind and grow up.

Canterbury Atheists said...

Attention; Person who is willing to spend 10 minutes on an inane dissertation, insults and not have the fortitude of their convictions to even sign their name.

1.)To call Frank Zappa’s life ‘weird’ and not touch-on the messy subject of Jackson’s own plastic-pantomime shows me where you are coming from.

2.) The song ‘Thriller’ which you say you wax lyrical over – was not even composed by Jackson. It was written by Rod Temperton. Jackson only wrote 4 of the 9 songs on this album. He was only involved in 3 of 10 songs on ‘Off The Wall’ as well = wrote only a minority of ‘his’ so called hits.

3.) Frank Zappa was a musical genius. He didn’t need a dance routine or ghost-writers to formulate his music which included penning everything from orchestral arrangements to acid-jazz.

4.) Zappa was very much in control of his own life and music (even after death) Jackson was a puppet of exploitive executives, family members and a sundry hangers-on.

I never try and say “you must listen to this music” but if you are going to debate the relative merits of one artist versus another at least get your facts right on the objective aspects.

All the best and at 49 I am what I consider 'grown-up'.


Tracy said...

It's obvious that you know absolutely nothing about Michael Jackson. You mention only 2 albums, Off the Wall and Thriller. So I presume you didn't bother to listen to anything after that. MJ's greatest work was as a humanitarian - donating more than $300MM of his own money to charity. He even left 20% of his $2B+ estate to charity.

Songs like Heal the World, They Don't Really Care About US and Earth Song are reflective of MJ's message to uplift the planet that, while you revile pop music, was actually in a more palatable format that could reach and influence millions of people. A billion people tuned in for Michael Jackson's memorial because of the LOVE he sent out into the world that was reflected back to him.

Anyway, since you don't know much about MJ, here's something that may surprise you - one of his compositio techniques was beat boxing - creating sounds for his songs with just his mouth. Frank Zappa probably would have been impressed by this.

Canterbury Atheists said...

When the hell does humanitarianism enter the debate on the relative merits of the musical abilities of artist A versus artist B? By your own self-imposed standard The Boomtown Rats singer must surely be the world’s 'greatest'? (pun intended)

Jackson sent LOVE to the world – please give me a bucket I’m going to regurgitate my stomach contents.

Give me a break.

Zappa composed, played-on over 90 albums and was involved in film and stage direction. He fought for freedom of speech appearing in front of U.S Senate, produced albums by Lenny Bruce and Alice Cooper etc. He conducted The London Symphony orchestra whilst they played his compositions. Wrote and produced Broadway shows.

This is fairly easy to grasp.
Zappa was a musical genius.

Michael Jackson was a famous pop-star.

walter said...

MJs most influential contribution to music videos is 'crotch grabbing' - classy.

As for FZ, I do not have the words to describe his genius.

MJ produced 'product' - FZ produced 'art' - case closed.