Thursday, January 20, 2022

Throwback Thursday: A Zappa Quotebook, Revisited


While blog surfing I came across a collection of quotes attributed to Frank Zappa. Many are quite poignant. Others reflect his wit and somewhat amusing ways of turning a phrase.

In many ways he stood alone, dedicated to the craft of his art and inner vision. Over a three decade period he produced as many as sixty albums, with few becoming commercially successful. Not surprisingly, Zappa’s creative commitments made him uncompromising. He would not be a sell out for fame, and was reputedly an exceedingly demanding taskmaster in the studio. Sloppiness was not acceptable in an artist.

Zappa’s canvas was anything, no holds barred. Thus he stood against religion which he believed set arbitrary boundaries on where an artist could explore. He likewise opposed recreational drug use, which was permeated the music scene at the time his star was rising.

It takes little effort with Google to find more than your money can buy in terms of Zappa data. So, if you want more, you know where to go. Here’s a collection of quotes purportedly originating with da man.

"Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny."

"Stupidity is the basic building block of the universe."

"Tobacco is my favorite vegetable."

"There is no hell. There is only France."

"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid."

"It is always advisable to be a loser if you cannot become a winner."

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it’s not open."

"If we can’t be free at least we can be cheap."

"Sometimes you’ve got to get sick before you can feel better."

"There will never be a nuclear war; there’s too much real estate involved."

"Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?"

"Outdoors for me is walking from the car to the ticket desk at the airport."

"You drank beer, you played golf, you watched football -- WE EVOLVED!"

Interviewer: "So Frank, you have long hair. Does that make you a woman?"
Zappa: "You have a wooden leg. Does that make you a table?"

"Without deviation from the norm, ’progress’ is not possible."

"Hey, you know something people? I’m not black, but there’s a whole lots a times I wish I could say I’m not white."

"Most people wouldn’t know good music if it came up and bit them in the ass."

"Politics is the entertainment branch of industry."

"There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."

"Let’s not be too rough on our own ignorance, it’s what makes America great."

"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST."

"The creation and destruction of harmonic and ’statistical’ tensions is essential to the maintenance of compositional drama. Any composition (or improvisation) which remains consonant and ’regular’ throughout is, for me, equivalent to watching a movie with only ’good guys’ in it, or eating cottage cheese."

Fade to black.
Frank Zappa: 1940-1993

Most of the images of Zappa on this page were created over a period of two nights for the purpose of embellishing this collection of quotes which were assembled for a blog post here in 2008.

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