Talk:Frank Zappa

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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 ([1]). 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)

No. The original Mothers were broken up for several reasons, but one of them was public apathy in the U.S. to their music, but as Frank stated, not in Europe. Sales in Europe were higher than the USA until at least the 1980's, somewhere on the order of 4-to-1, if I recall. Apostrophe' sold well in the States, and Zappa hired a small marching band to go by Warner Bros in appreciation for them promoting the album.HammerFilmFan (talk) 01:24, 4 October 2014 (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)

atheist claim[edit]

I checked the archives, saw some discussion on this. Anyway, there are two cites - one of which is merely quoting Howard Kaylan, and is him making a statement with no background to it and Frank is not here to dispute it. The other is Nugent's book, which I haven't read, but I don't think he interviewed Zappa. There is no claim to atheism in any interview the Zappa that I have ever read. In fact, in 1984, during a radio interview with Frank Zappa (the first half - the 2nd half was with Ernest Borgnine), one of the callers stated "Are you an atheist, Frank? I am ..... " and started into some diatribe that the interview MC tried to curtail. Frank's words were, " ... Well, I wouldn't say that." In the same interview, a woman called in and wanted to ask Gail Zappa what it was like being married to him. Frank said hold on, I'll get her, and Gail responded briefly " ... it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it." I cannot remember that far back what network this was - it was the era of the "Night Flight" rock late-nite tv show, if that, and the Gail Zappa interlude, can help any Zappa-fanatic find it in their personal recordings. I used to have it on cassette, long gone now. He had major issues with organized religion in any form, and was not outwardly "spiritual" - and even a song such as Dumb All Over is not necessarily atheist - it's just very critical of people taking religious writings to violent extremes, and also shows a cynic's view of a diety. As was stated in a previous discussion, his "The Real Frank Zappa Book" does not specifically address this, neither does any article I have that featured him that I have going back to 1968, nor does "The Negative ... Poodle Play" nor "No Commercial Potential." I think we need to be careful with biographers who are not using direct quotes by Frank, or someone very in-the-know - fellow musicians giving their rap about him is not proof. My PERSONAL impression from that radio interview was he had a sort of nebulous idea of "something" out there, but for him, ceremony and so forth were not part of how he would address a supreme being.HammerFilmFan (talk) 00:49, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

He wasn't an atheist in any meaningful sense of the word. Calling Zappa an atheist is like saying Gandhi was a poor basketball player. It's maybe literally true in some sense but it's not meaningful or helpful. It's not meaningful or helpful because Zappa was not interested in metaphysical issues. He didn't address religious issues at all in The Real Frank Zappa Book and so forth. Nor in his many lyrics AFAIK. He could have if he'd wanted to but he didn't.
He had a low tolerance for nonsense, was no prude, and was sometimes sardonic, but that doesn't make him an atheist. I'd like to see a clear quote from him saying that he was a committed materialist or didn't believe in God, deities, a supernatural plane, spiritual life separate from the material world, or that sort of thing, and not just an off-the-cuff remark but something showing that he'd given the matter at least a bit of thought (if someone said "Thank Christ I bought my condo before the market bubble" we don't write that that person was a Christian and so forth).
Got one? Otherwise let's not characterize him as an atheist. Herostratus (talk) 03:31, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
Watson's book (Poodle Play) has a memo from Zappa where he refers to God as "energy" but in the context of making music ... Perhaps it would be better to list him as agnostic? But in any event, the bold statement about him being an atheist should go, I think. Without direct quotes from Zappa, or Gail, or his children as witnesses, biographers are writing about themselves in this regard, in my opinion. We could keep Kaylan's quote, but should state he claimed, or according to, rather than accept it as a fact. To my knowledge, during Zappa's lifetime, only two books in English were written about him, No Commercial Potential and The Negative Dalectics of Poodle Play, and only Ben Watson ever read large sections of his text to Frank prior to publishing it - these would be the books I would turn to on this subject, and any radio or magazine interviews, plus TRFZB; post-mortem opinions on Zappa's specific spriritual beliefs that are not based on direct quotes are hazardous. HammerFilmFan (talk) 16:36, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
P.S. - will the Canadian anon ip that recently tried to edit the article to the effect that Zappa was not an atheist, please cite the interview you refer to? Also, did that interview include Gail Sloatman Zappa during a short part of it? Thanks. HammerFilmFan (talk) 17:53, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
Here is the interview. Zappa is asked if he belongs to any religious organization and he says no, but when asked if he is 'religious', he says yes (and goes on to explain how he lives out his religious beliefs): [1] 99.229.213.1 (talk) 08:33, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Could we get a time stamp on that? I don't want to sit through the whole thing. (I'm skeptical that this could be used as a reference -- I don't know if they're flat forbidden by our rules, but videos make very poor references because 1) they're not available to people who are reading a hard copy or who otherwise can't view videos, 2) they're not searchable, 3) in the case of YouTube anybody can upload a (fake) video (although that's not likely to be the case here). But even if not usable as a reference it's certainly sufficient to remove the statement "Zappa was an atheist" from the article, assuming that the above poster's chacterization of Zappa as saying "yes" is accurate. So let's do that.) Herostratus (talk) 13:21, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Splitting navigation box for Zappa discography[edit]

{{Frank Zappa}} is not very aesthetically pleasing. Does anyone else think something should be done in the same vein as {{The Beatles albums}} and {{The Beatles singles}}?--Ilovetopaint (talk) 01:19, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

It looks pleasing to me. Also note that as far as content is concerned—i.e. what goes where—, Zappa's discography is a hard one to play. See Template_talk:Frank_Zappa#RFC and the places it points to, a.o. Talk:Frank Zappa/Archive 7#Zappa Template and Wikipedia:Dispute_resolution_noticeboard/Archive_24#Frank_Zappa_discography.2C_Template:Frank_Zappa. - DVdm (talk) 06:54, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, but it's very cluttered navbox with dozens of links to "miscellaneous" articles only because the box would reach an unbearable height if, for example, every bootleg/tribute/compilation was delegated to its own section. I think {{Frank Zappa albums}} and {{Frank Zappa singles}} are desirable. The album template could look something like this

--Ilovetopaint (talk) 05:44, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

Musical artist versus person infobox[edit]

Is there any actual objections to including this as the article's infobox template? Zappa had more occupations than being a performing artist. Just taking from the lede:

  • [He] was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, composer, recording engineer, record producer, and film director.
  • He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers.
  • He was a strident critic of mainstream education and organized religion, and a forthright and passionate advocate for freedom of speech, self-education, political participation and the abolition of censorship.

In addition, the article's contents paint him as a(n)

  • Businessman:
    • During the late 1960s, Zappa continued to develop the business sides of his career. He and Herb Cohen formed the Bizarre Records and Straight Records labels, distributed by Warner Bros. Records, as ventures to aid the funding of projects and to increase creative control.
    • many additional self-owned record labels
  • Actor:
    • In 1967 and 1968, Zappa made two appearances with the Monkees. The first appearance was on an episode of their TV series, "The Monkees Blow Their Minds", where he plays Mike Nesmith and Nesmith plays him.
    • Zappa later expanded on his television appearances in a non-musical role. He was an actor or voice artist in episodes of Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre, Miami Vice and The Ren and Stimpy Show.
  • Filmmaker:
    • Category:Films directed by Frank Zappa
    • Co-directed by Zappa and Tony Palmer, [200 Motels] was filmed in a week at Pinewood Studios outside London. ... It was the first feature film photographed on videotape and transferred to 35 mm film, a process which allowed for novel visual effects
    • On December 21, 1979, Zappa's movie Baby Snakes premiered in New York. ... It also contained several extraordinary sequences of clay animation by Bruce Bickford who had earlier provided animation sequences to Zappa for a 1974 TV special (which became available on the 1982 video The Dub Room Special). The movie did not do well in theatrical distribution, but won the Premier Grand Prix at the First International Music Festival in Paris in 1981
  • Political activist
    • See the entire section devoted to Zappa's politics and religion
    • In early 1990, Zappa visited Czechoslovakia at the request of President Václav Havel. Havel designated him as Czechoslovakia's "Special Ambassador to the West on Trade, Culture and Tourism"
    • Zappa also planned to develop an international consulting enterprise to facilitate trade between the former Eastern Bloc and Western businesses.
  • Writer

Although he was mainly a composer/instrumentalist, the article already demonstrates that he was notable for several other endeavors. Also, in response to "'musician' is not a religion", whatever counts as a religion is decided not by us, but by the article's content, and the article just happens to state: On Dweezil’s birth certificate, for father's religion Zappa put “musician”. --Ilovetopaint (talk) 20:10, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ5W897em5Y