Frankie Say: YouTubing The Talk Shows With Frank Zappa
“Remember, 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.” – Frank Zappa
I have commented here before about the immeasurable talent and influence of the late, great composer, guitarist and iconoclast Frank Vincent Zappa (1940-1993).
His music was at times complex and challenging, other times mere rock and roll pastiche employed as a backdrop for some social comment or parodic statement, but one thing Frank Zappa never did was hold his tongue. I’ll never forget my former boss, a then suit-wearing lawyer and closet Zappaphile David Basskin (Hi David, I hear you don’t wear suits anymore!), lending me his copy of The Real Frank Zappa Book, written by Frank himself with Peter Occhiogrosso. That book changed me, and I think it contains most if not all the backstory you need to understand (better) the music.
The music, after all, speaks for itself. Here’s a 1968 BBC performance of “King Kong”…
But as I troll YouTube, I sometimes come across interviews with Frank that can be frankly, just as entertaining, albeit in a curmudgeonly sort of way. The man did not suffer fools, but he was always happy to go head to head with ’em. Come with me on a short tour of Zappa as he competes with the slime oozing out of your TV screen.
Here he is talking about the Decline of the Music Business, the Parents Music Resource Center, with no romantic love for the 60’s…
And here’s a 1974 interview with a Finnish TV interviewer, where Frank discusses the merging of “serious” music and rock.
Here’s the unlikely matching up of Frank with the late, evil Robert Novak, on CNN Crossfire, where calls out Reagan for attempting to create a “Fascist Theocracy”
On a lighter note, here he was on David Letterman‘s old NBC show, still raising funds for his musical Thingfish.
And here is “National Treasure” Frank Zappa, promoting both Them Or Us and Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers of Prevention, on the great Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, April 3rd, 1986.
Finally, for now, here’s a somber clip from one of Zappa’s final interviews, with NBC’s Today Show correspondent Jamie Gangel, in 1993, shortly before he died of prostate cancer.
This is just a place to start, there’s so much more out there, get browsing.