Talk:Frank Zappa

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Proposed Wikiproject (your name here)[edit]

A Frank Zappa Wikiproject has been proposed here. If you would in any way help support this project, please add your name to the list found on that page. Thank you. Friginator (talk) 23:05, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Political views[edit]

As noted above, there's enough analysis and discussion of Zappa's politics among multiple sources to provide for a large-sized section which has been mostly merged with the rest of the article, except for cited statements from Zappa's biography and a LA Times article which were outright deleted. Later, a shorter section appeared solely cited from the biography and the LA Times, but was deleted for being "based entirely on a single source" (except, of course, the LA Times article, which was overlooked). If there's significant coverage and analysis of Zappa's political and philosophical views to create an entire section, why isn't this coverage a part of its own section, separated from his music career and general biography? The placement of the PMRC hearings was debated, but aside from needing to resolve that issue, there should not be an issue with having a problem on Zappa's views. --24.250.150.187 (talk) 00:31, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

The following seems to be the text OP added in a "Political views" section:
Describing his political views, Frank Zappa categorized himself as a "practical conservative."[1] He favored limited government and low taxes; he also stated that he approved of national defense, social security and other federal programs, but only if recipients of such programs are willing and able to pay for them.[1] He favored capitalism, entrepreneurship and independent business, stating that musicians could make more from owning their own businesses than from collecting royalties.[1] He opposed communism, stating "A system that doesn't allow ownership [...] has–to put it mildly–a fatal design flaw."[1]
While Zappa disapproved of drug use, he criticized the War on Drugs, comparing it to alcohol prohibition, and stated that the United States Treasury would benefit from the decriminalization and regulation of drugs.[1] Describing his philosophical views, Zappa stated, "I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a 'temporary license to exist'–in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government–it doesn't own you."[1]
  1. ^ a b c d e Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, The Real Frank Zappa Book, pp. 315-316, 323-324; 329-330.
I don't terribly mind having section like this. But I think, given that Zappa seems to have fairly typical libertarian views, I think a couple of sentences about it can be tucked away elsewhere in the article. Much like the way we mention how he encouraged his fans to vote. A separate section overemphasises his politics; Zappa was a musician, first and foremost.—indopug (talk) 16:02, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

From a writing standpoint, I think it interrupts the flow of the biography to be discussing a part of his life and then jump to "he was opposed to raising taxes". Except where there's a major event, like testifying about the PMRC - that works as part of the biography flow. Randomly mentioning what he thought of the military or "assholes in action" drug users interrupts the story. --24.250.150.187 (talk) 16:48, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Also, the citations of Barry Miles' Zappa should be called into question, as Miles' writing is very much not neutral and attacks Zappa's personal life and politics. --24.250.150.187 (talk) 19:54, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

I strongly disagree in regard to the idea that Zappa's political activity should not have its own section. I think that it should, as Zappa was very politically active, including the senate testimony and such. --24.250.150.187 (talk) 20:01, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Also, "fairly typical libertarian views" contradicts Zappa's statement that he was a conservative and he also stated that he met with the Libertarian Party, discussed the possibility of running for president on their ticket, and then decided not to run with that party because he thought that their platform didn't make any sense. --24.250.150.187 (talk) 20:12, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Genres[edit]

He really played genres prog rock, protopunk and Comedy rock. You should not delete this genres. I citad source is Allmusic.com. Protopunk and alt rock are album Freak Out! prog rock are Absolutely free, Hot Rats, Zoot Allures, Apostrophe (,), Wakka Jawakka and Great Wazoo, One Size at all and other. Rock music - is The General Definition music genres, but not separate genre.

P.S. Help me I am bad know English. He is not the native language.--Mmlov (talk) 21:09, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

This is [2] , [[3] ], [4], [5] and other......Mmlov (talk) 16:49, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Without looking too carefully at what you presented, two things: 1) More often than not, there is a tendency to insert genres into an infobox which may be appropriate or make sense today, but not within the context of the period when the album was released; 2) The overuse of AllMusic on Wikipedia amounts to borderline undue weight. Other sources exist in abundance, even if the information doesn't automagically fall into your lap like it does with this one. RadioKAOS  – Talk to me, Billy 18:05, 5 January 2013 (UTC)
This is completely unnecessary. We have "Rock" listed. That includes Protopunk, Alternative Rock and Progressive Rock. And those sources you're citing? They don't list progressive rock, protopunk, or alternative rock as genres. All of those terms are found in a box marked "styles," which is completely separate from the "genres" box. So in other words, Allmusic doesn't list those as genres at all. So your sources don't work, your edits are unnecessary, and there seems to be consensus against you. And while I hate to say it, the fact that you claim not to be fully fluent in English doesn't help your argument. Friginator (talk) 18:39, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

I disagree! This styles he played in his band The Mothers of Invention as well as psychedelic rock (album We’re Only in It for the Money , 1968). Source (about psychedelic): [6].--Mmlov (talk) 20:49, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

First of all, to my knowledge, no one is saying Zappa didn't play psychedelic music. But it doesn't belong in the infobox. As for your source, I've never read that book all the way through, but as for the pages your link took me to, they don't list We're Only in It for the Money as psychedelic rock. The book is called "Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock", yet even with a title like that it STILL doesn't list the Mothers of Invention albums as psychedelic rock. In fact, the book you link to doesn't seem at all appropriate for use in an article on Frank Zappa. It uses (on multiple occasions) works by Ben Watson (a Zappa historian who's actually notable) as sources for its own quotes. But one of the things that really made me think to myself "Okay, this guy doesn't know what he's talking about" was the sentence stating "The cover of 1968's We're Only In It for the Money parodied Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Anyone who does a little fact-checking knows that isn't true. This, and alleging that "its lyrics mercilessly lampooned the hippies," while arguable, tend to make me think that Jim DeRogatis, the music critic who wrote the book, (and who I hadn't previously heard of), isn't a good source of info on Zappa. He also seems to be misinformed about the production of Lumpy Gravy. So it's not a reliable source and even if it were, there's no reason to add any more genres to the infobox. Friginator (talk) 02:42, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Are you kidding me?--Mmlov (talk) 16:38, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Sounds psychedelic to me if nothing else..it`s pretty much how I would describe it. Lonepilgrim007 (talk) 18:02, 16 August 2013 (UTC)

@Friginator - how does this quote from the "We're Only It . . ." article here at Wikipedia square with your contention about that album? "Zappa decided to change the album's concept to parody the Beatles album, because he felt that the Beatles were insincere and "only in it for the money". I am, perhaps, missing your point on the album NOT being a parody as it certainly appears to be - at the very least the album artwork does. Could you help me understand your thoughts on the subject? Thanks!THX1136 (talk) 16:26, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Synclavier - claims made for it[edit]

The article states "The Synclavier could be programmed to play almost anything conceivable, to perfection" and "Even though it [the Synclavier] essentially did away with the need for musicians...".

These seem very large claims - and I do not think they are really true. Are they direct quotes from Zappa? (Though they are not in quotes.) Or would it be correct to state them as opinions of Zappa? (I do not have access to the sources to check.) If so I think it would be clearer to say "Zappa considered that...".FrankSier (talk) 23:12, 17 January 2013 (UTC)



This is a pretty accurate description of the synclavier. It allowed the user to create a musical score featuring melodies and rhythms of any degree of complexity and the machine would then play it. Zappa certainly expressed both points as his opinion but the first I feel is totally accurate. Doing anyway with musicians? Well, if the composer wants the music played with no human inflection then it would indeed render musicians unnecessary. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.156.194.222 (talk) 22:09, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Composer instead of singer-songwriter[edit]

I have replaced the singer-songwriter notion with composer in the lead and the infobox. Sure he wrote and sang songs, but let's just keep composer, as abundantly mirrored in the article. Of course indeed "composer" is not the same as "singer-songwriter" as was suggested in the HTML-comment that was removed here. - DVdm (talk) 13:15, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree with the term, and endorse the switch. Good catch. Jusdafax 04:55, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Is this worth including?[edit]

Bilingual author and media expert Hans Offringa named his media company Conceptual Continuity "in honor of Frank Zappa who has been a great inspiration to my work and will continue to be so." Throughout his oeuvre, consisting of novels, non fiction books, historical publications and articles, many conceptual continuity clues can be found, as well as numerous references to different Zappa songs. <ref>{{citation | url=http://conceptualcontinuity.nl/ </ref> ?

It seems like trivia to me but I thought I would see what others thought. --John (talk) 20:52, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree. This seems like merely wp:primary sourced trivia to me. We have no article on Hans Offringa, and Google books has just two primary sources mentioning +"Hans Offringa" +Zappa, and only one i.m.o. rather weak secondary source ([7]). Seems a bit meager. And of course there might be a wp:COI. - DVdm (talk) 21:15, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Just a thought?[edit]

Would it be worthwhile to do a breakdown of sales in U.S against Europe? I say this because I think Frank was most popular in the U.S. and maybe his "contribution" should be contexted in that way, so that the reader can make up their own mind? I know this is going to be controversial because his sales were not so good, but a lot of music in the 70s was not perceived as "popular" either but nevertheless gained much more significant record sales. I think that, as a guitarist myself, in the 1980s in Europe Frank was known mainly by guitarists and not by many more and it there is nothing in this piece contextualize that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.66.81.80 (talk) 11:25, 27 October 2013 (UTC)


Could We Add...[edit]

Almost every Zappa Album Needs Way More Info Nerdfighter767 (talk) 02:24, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Mustard Gas and Asthmatic Disposition[edit]

The sentence "Many of Zappa's childhood diseases may have been due to exposure to mustard gas." is nonsense, because mustard gas is highly toxic. They had gas masks in their home, because of the possibility of an industrial accident with mustard gas.

A lot of children have asthma, earaches and sinus problems without any parent working in a chemical warfare facility! These are common diseases! Asthma, earaches and sinus problems are expression of an general asthmatic disposition. Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm. Airways includes not only lung airways (Bronchitis), but also paranasal sinuses (Sinusitis) and the ear canal (earache).

Allergic diseases are elevated in the surrounding of chemical plants, because of artificial chemical substances released into and blowed away in the air. But these are other substances than mustard gas. --MBelzer (talk) 16:12, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Ok, good point. This was almost a good change, but I removed the unsourced part (see wp:RS) about what is more likely, and kept the properly sourced part about what Zappa believed. The net change is now this. - DVdm (talk) 16:50, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention[edit]

The policy is at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Music#Names (definite article). Rothorpe (talk) 00:23, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Sure, that is the relevant guideline(not policy b.t.w.), but I reverted your edits because it had a number of instances where the capital should have been kept. For instance, when the prose refers to the proper name:
Having more time than yesterday, I now partly undid my revert, keeping "The" in these three cases. Cheers - DVdm (talk) 09:02, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
By the way, I think the header of this section should have the capital too:
  • Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention
Subtle Face-smile.svg - DVdm (talk) 09:04, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
It's a genuine distinction, but a pedantic one, and to make it looks pedantic. For the same reason inverted commas are not required in such cases. Rothorpe (talk) 13:20, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. - DVdm (talk) 14:22, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Note - I did not agree with this. I agreed to keep the talk page header of this section. - DVdm (talk) 16:57, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Then you misunderstood what I was replying to. It is pedantic to insist on capital 'The' only for some cases. There is in fact one case: the Wikipedia article is called The Mothers of Invention. Rothorpe (talk) 19:49, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
I see more exceptions:
but not
With lowercase "the" these are just not correct, and I don't see anything pedantic about it.
Note that without referring to 'the band', the first example would be correct:
You see the differnce? It is subtle indeed, but not pedantic.
Input from others please? - DVdm (talk) 21:05, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I fully understand the genuine distinction you are making. But I don't think it is necessary for us to refect it in our use of capital letters, especially since we have had a lot of problems with people saying that in the names of bands it should always be capitalised. I too would welcome input from others. Rothorpe (talk) 21:24, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
... a bit like "Pop history started with the band The Beatles" and "Pop history started with the Beatles". When referring to the name, we capitalise. When referring to the people we don't. Quite similarly: "In our Reptiles article we talk about..." and "In our article about reptiles we talk about...". Both are 100% non-pedantically correct Face-smile.svg. - DVdm (talk) 06:29, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Dunno about that. ""Pop history started with the Beatles" or ""Pop history started with a band known as the Beatles" seems fine to me. "the band The Beatles" is awkward and actually elides a required word or phrase ("the band [name/called/known as/whatever] the Beatles"). On the merits, how was Zappa supposed to have people refer to the band? "Frank Zappa and Mothers"? The addition of the definite article is more or less mechanical, like adding a period at the end of the sentence. Since it's mechanical I don't really consider it part of the name.
Merits aside, this is one of The Vexing Situations we deal with here. Based on the long contretemps over t/The Beatles, can we agree to not fight over this? Granted the person closing that discussion tried to be all like "I'm not establishing any precedent!" just as the Supreme Court tried to do with Bush v. Gore. But you don't get to decide whether or other people choose to take your decision as a precedent or not. I do, primary for the sake of just having the matter settled (I'm a "t" partisan, but would be fine with "T" if that was the general guideline.)
At any rate, I'm very much against having thousands of band-by-band discussions stretching over years and decades. My proposal is to put it back the way it was, however that was, and do one of these things: 1) start another centralized discussion and RfC and so, after checking through all the previous discussions, provided you think you can come up with an argument that finally the wins the day for "T" (or "t", whichever is your flavor) and good luck with that. Or 2) just let it go. Accept in some articles it's going to be "Somebody and The Something's first record..." and in others it's going to be "Nobody and the Nothing's first record..." and just live with the fact, in all its glory and sorrow, that that's what you get when you have a project like this, and don't roil the articles about it. Herostratus (talk) 14:15, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments. I can perfectly live with just about anything, but not really with the 3 "not-examples" above, which I find--ahem--almost revolting. I propose we "let it go with the way it is now". - DVdm (talk) 15:20, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Almost revolting to you ("called themselves the Xs"), as opposed to pedantic or finicky to me ("called themselves The Xs")! Rothorpe (talk) 17:42, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough. Note that my remark wasn't personal—on the contrary. It's just... some things really hurt... such as "Genesis are a British rock band formed in 1967." And that is in accordance with the guidelines. Yikes! Hate it—the plural, not the band. - DVdm (talk) 18:32, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
British English. How about 'The Beatles is...'? Aagh! Same thing, bands are singular in American, plural in British, regardless of what the noun looks like. Rothorpe (talk) 20:38, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, silliness galore on both sides of the Atlantic... - DVdm (talk) 06:16, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
But there's still no consensus for this 2rd revert. The first was "per talk" where there was no consusus. Your second revert still suffers from the same lack of consensus. - DVdm (talk) 21:04, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
Where is your consensus to depart from the MOS? Rothorpe (talk) 22:01, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
MOS is a guideline, and I think that talk page consensus normally takes precedence of that. Herostratus seems to have no preference either way. Agree to wait for one more voice before we put our attention to more important things? DVdm (talk) 07:29, 25 June 2014 (UTC)