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Electric Don Quixote

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  231 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Frank Zappa's reputation as one of rock's maverick geniuses has continued to grow since his death in 1993. This successful biography has now been revised and reprinted and is still the most comprehensive chronicle of his extraordinary life and career. Neil Slaven has brilliantly brought together the complex strands of Zappa's life and work in a book that will please not ju ...more
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Published January 12th 2009 by Music Sales Corporation (first published 1996)
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Karl
Dec 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the whole, some interest in Zappa is probably a pre-req for enjoying this book. The good news is that it is better (and better informative) biography than either The Real Frank Zappa Book — the 'autobiography' which Peter Ochiogrosso assisted Zappa in compiling . . . which, while it has its certain (in Zappa's phrase) 'folkloric' significances, gives the reader to understand that Zappa was prepared to focus for hours getting the music right, but didn't have the patience to apply to 'proper au ...more
Tim Bold
To be honest, this was a bit of a struggle. There were some fascinating insights into Zappa's music, but the book was very 'listy' - who was in the band, what did they play, where did they go on tour, which bits of the tour later appeared on which albums etc. Considering Neil Slaven's credentials, I would have expected a lot more narrative - the book is woefully short on anecdotes (which make the on tour bits interesting) and interviews etc with the man himself or those that surrounded him. More ...more
Nick
Apr 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zappa fans
Shelves: music
Not just another Zappa biography. A labour of love, and one that needed to be done. Clearly Slaven is not going to do as good a job as Frank Zappa (in the Real Frank Zappa Book), who has an unfair advantage in being able to remember most of this life better than everyone else. However, he does have one advantage over FZ - he can also write about his death, and the impact that that had. The usual cast are there, and the events that surrounded Zappa's life are narrated in good detail.

What Slaven a
...more
Bradley
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Slaven, a record producer and renowned expert on blues music, has been a fan of Frank Zappa since hearing about the Mothers of Invention in 1966. There are a few books on Zappa out there, but most are considered substandard or inaccurate by fans and music historians. Slaven’s document on rock’s great iconoclast is considered to be the best currently available.

Zappa was born in Baltimore, but his family would eventually head west to California where Zappa would begin his career in music. He star
...more
Sean
Jan 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, biography
This being the only book about F.Z. that I've read so far, I'm not sure how it stacks up against the growing volume of muso-lit concerning him.

Slaven is clearly a mega-fan and his writing shows it. He seems reluctant to criticize even Zappa's lyrical excesses, such as in "Jewish Princess" and "Dinah-Moe-Hum"...and possibly his nadir, "The Jazz Discharge Party Hats" (don't ask). The only time he even dares to is when he's discussing the almost-universally panned "Thing Fish" album.

There are some
...more
Jason West
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1982 when my peers were just leaving Two Tone and getting into Duran Duran and the Human League (who aren't half bad BTW) I (somehow) stumbled upon Frank. I think it happened when I was on a rugby tour in Toronto and they took us to a record shop and I bought Live in New York.

Well, the lyrics had an instant puerile appeal to a teenage boy but the music was amazing, like nothing I'd heard before.

This book is helping me to finally undertstand exactly why I love Frank Zappa and his music. It's b
...more
Andy
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been interested in learning more about Frank Zappa and set out to do this in honor of the 20th anniversary of his death. As in the case of many other artists, Zappa was a bit too ahead of his time - in his views of the music business, U.S. politics and embrace of technology. My only crticism is the book focused too much on the music and not the person. I likely will read one more Zappa book before moving on to either some good fiction or tackling another subject.
Anne-Marie
My old man got this for x-mas about a million years ago from his lovely wife. He is still on page 75 a decade later. I thought I would show him a thing or two and finish it in a few days. Turns out, I like this book about Zappa even less than I like Zappa's music. It was a pretty good time when I told Kevin that Zappa's maternal grandmother was a conjoined twin though. I will never ever understand.
Fraser
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't enjoy this book as much as Barry Miles biography of Frank. It was very technical in terms of his music, and you cannot criticise Slaven for knowing his Zappa inside out.

I wanted to learn a lot more about the man behind the music and Miles biography delivered that. Taken both books together, you do end up with a great and complete picture.
Jeffrey Brown
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very informative. I got a little choked up when he passed away. so much was going on and the dude was possibly gonna enter into politics. Would have been great if he got that chance. Highly recommended for any one interested in this man's story and his music. All around great for any one interested in forward-thinking and innovative music composition or listening.
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