Ben Watson (born 1956) is a British writer on music and culture of Marxist views, known especially for his books on Frank Zappa.
Watson is well known for his writing in The Wire, as well as the author of numerous books, often entailing studies of popular culture from a Marxist perspective. Watson was a member of the British TrotskyistSocialist Workers Party for thirty years; his writing combines this background together with influences from Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School, the Situationists and wider cultural interests including the writings of James Joyce and J.H. Prynne. Excerpts from his first full-length book, Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play were read to Zappa shortly before his death. Watson calls his own field of study in this area Zappology. He is also an experimental poet and novelist; his first novel Shit-Kicks and Dough-Balls was published in 2003. In November 2010, he and Andy Wilson founded the Association of Musical Marxists (AMM).
Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play (1995)
Art, Class and Cleavage: Quantulumcunque Concerning Materialist Esthetix (1998)
The Complete Guide to the Music of Frank Zappa (1998)
Mad Pride: A Celebration of Mad Culture (with Robert Deller, Esther Leslie and Ted Curtis) (2000)
Shit-Kicks and Dough-Balls (2003)
Derek Bailey and the Story of Free Improvisation (2004)
Frank Zappa: The Complete Guide to his Music (2005)
Academy Zappa: Proceedings of the First International Conference of Esemplastic Zappology (with Esther Leslie) (2005)
"Noise as Permanent Revolution: or, Why Culture Is a Sow Which Devours Its Own Farrow". In Noise & Capitalism, edited by Anthony and Mattin Iles, 104–20. Kritika Series. Donostia-San Sebastián: Arteleku Audiolab, 2009.
Honesty Is Explosive!: Selected Music Journalism (edited by W.C. Bamberger) (2010)
Adorno for Revolutionaries (edited by Andy Wilson) (2011)