Robin's Reviews > The Real Frank Zappa Book

The Real Frank Zappa Book by Frank Zappa
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's review
Mar 06, 2009

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bookshelves: biography, music

I greatly enjoyed the first part of this book. Zappa’s humorous look at his early years and musical experiences is entertaining and somewhat informative. As the book progresses, though, it becomes more of a series of rants against his various critics and pet peeves. Several of Zappa’s associates have noted that this account is largely fictionalized, tending to reflect Zappa as a more just and generous character than he actually was. I recommend reading Barry Miles’ “Frank Zappa” first, to break down some of the myths in the autobiography.

The chapter that is largely transcriptions of his defense before the British high court of justice reveals much about how Zappa can turn a phrase and redirect a conversation, changing something that obviously indicates sex to something that is ambiguous—which is humorous and fascinating. Zappa enjoys his wordplay and excels at it. At another point he asks himself “Am I sexist?” and after a fashion answers that with “Those songs are about stupid men.” (Huh?? How did we get there?) This is definitely stream of consciousness writing, complete with generous and inappropriate use of italics, bold, CAPS, and underlines, which becomes quite annoying after the first 50 pages.

Still, some of the rants might be of interest, depending on your point of view. I, for example, enjoyed the chapter on Church and State very much. The chapter entitled "Failures," about Zappa's ideas and projects that weren’t realized, shows some innovative thinking and conceptualizing, far ahead of his era. Read the book if you like Zappa’s music and/or satire, but feel free to skip sections you’re not enjoying. You can pick up (or leave) his stream of consciousness at any point.

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Reading Progress

March 6, 2009 – Shelved
March 6, 2009 –
page 20
Started Reading
March 13, 2009 – Shelved as: biography
March 13, 2009 – Finished Reading
March 27, 2015 – Shelved as: music

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