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Which are the best books on Zappa and his music?
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StatusBaby
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Post 2007-10-25 20:15   [Quote] 
pynchon wrote:
Yeah. I gotta admit that you have a point there. Nevertheless, I supose he knew Zappa quite well. Which book, then, would you recommend?


http://www.zappateers.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=56657#56657

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xander1964
Joined: 2005-10-20
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Post 2007-11-11 16:49   [Quote] 
I agree with the majority opinion that the Miles book is dreck. As far as I can make out, Miles' contact with Zappa consisted of interviewing him a few times. What particularly narks me is the constant harping on about the negative effects of Zappa's lifestyle on his art, all based on total and utter supposition e.g. if only Frank had moved to New York he would have been more open artistically (!!!) Also there are numerous inconsistencies, even in his judgements, claiming, for instance at one point that Zappa was not an intellectual, he end up in the conclusion stating that he was an intellectual. The only book that's worse is Michael Gray's which not only has numerous errors about Zappa but even bizarre geographical mistakes e.g. according to Gray, when Zappa played Helsinki he was in Iceland.
At least Watson's book is fun and I quite enjoyed Kostelnatz's as well. However I think that, despite the amount of biographies out there, most of them are cash-ins and the definitive biography is still left to be written.
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dada
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Post 2007-11-14 00:26   [Quote] 
--DISCLAIMER--> this is more sort of a fun fact; I realise that a Czech book on FZ published during an era when you couldn't get first hand information is about as relevant as a Braille-only publication to the international community of readers, but since this thread lists the books on FZ, I thought I might as well include it. If you don't care, please just don't read, thank you! : )

Way back when (in the 80's), in communist Czechoslovakia, where the few Zappa records available were Hungarian fakes (I'm exaggerating, they weren't all fakes, but nevertheless, Zappa was even more unattainable than bananas and quality shoes), a book called "Suplik plny Zappy" ("A drawer full of Zappa") by a certain Petr Doruzka appeared. It made reference to the fact that any type of culture that couldn't be praised or at least released officially was coloquially called "drawer culture", because that was where it was kept. Zappa, quite inevitably, wound up there too. Because of this, the publication was made available only to the members of the Club of Friends of Young Music, so as to minimize its impact on society, which shows that in authoritarian regimes, you must put extra effort into hiding stuff from the public that most people wouldn't even care about in the first place. Although this Club was a state-approved organization, it didn't succeed (maybe even didn't try, I don't know by whom it was run at the time) in preventing the guileful subversive individuals (e.g. - the people that were really interested in FZ's music, and, oh, by the way, often also really pissed off by the regime) from getting their filthy hands on the above-mentioned material. Until the Velvet Revolution in 1989, it was the only book on the subject of Frank Zappa available in Czechoslovakia. Thus, it became some sort of Bible among FZ aficionados. It was a mixture of facts, personal opinions and quotations, a rather slim volume, not a detailed biography for knowledge freaks - you couldn't have written something like that from behind the Iron Curtain even if you had wanted to. It commented on some local FZ activities as well, recounting for example one memorable afternoon Zappa session in Prague in the 70's which was entirely spent listening to George Duke's diabolical laughter at the end of Sofa No.2. I read the book, and though I disagree with some of the author's views (I wouldn't dismiss Tinseltown Rebellion by stating that it only "repeats the already said"), I must say that I find his approach (selective, not encyclopaedic presentation of facts, personal point of view) more entertaining and enriching than, for example, Neil Slaven's, whose book I read with pleasure, but was a bit overwhelmed with facts. Anyway, my point really is that any judgment on FZ books is relative - I'm quite sure that you folks who lived during all your lives in democratic countries (or at least in countries which try hard to be democratic) would find Doruzka's little FZ guide superfluous, incomplete and maybe even irreverent. And still, for a relatively small group of people, it was (or still is, because of its past significance), essential. I was born in 1988, so I didn't really experience the communist regime, but I always felt this was a good example of a piece of writing about a type of music the enlikening of which, back in those times, could often lead to jail. Although once there, you probably wouldn't get raped by former music business execs like poor Joe. Mind you, the wardens could still beat the crap out of you.
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haab
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Post 2007-11-25 01:16   [Quote] 
dada wrote:
Mind you, the wardens could still beat the crap out of you.


Zappa said in a an interview that a Czech guy had told him that the wardens used to beat prisoners and say that they would "beat the Zappa crap outta you".
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Pepe Nusbaum
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Post 2011-09-21 12:40   [Quote] 
StatusBaby wrote:
Russo - Cosmik Debris (Essential)


hasn't a third eidtion been released? Amazon still has the 2nd

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drdork
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Post 2011-09-21 12:57   [Quote] 
Pepe Nusbaum wrote:
StatusBaby wrote:
Russo - Cosmik Debris (Essential)

hasn't a third eidtion been released? Amazon still has the 2nd

There has been at least a fourth edition, possibly a fifth.
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Pepe Nusbaum
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Post 2011-09-21 13:13   [Quote] 
drdork wrote:
Pepe Nusbaum wrote:
StatusBaby wrote:
Russo - Cosmik Debris (Essential)

hasn't a third eidtion been released? Amazon still has the 2nd

There has been at least a fourth edition, possibly a fifth.


ok does anyone know where its being offered i have to pick up a new one

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If you just been lowered down here on tv by a wire connected to a brown leather harness, forced by a crazy person to insert a mysterious imported lamp into the reproductive orifice of a lady harpist, and you were a dwarf.....would you do it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEr7ym4-r5I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdx7M5ufDfQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ip7U-aAMTc
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drdork
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Post 2011-09-21 17:07   [Quote] 
Pepe Nusbaum wrote:
ok does anyone know where its being offered i have to pick up a new one

You can order it directly from Russo's Crossfire Publications.
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Pepe Nusbaum
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Post 2011-09-21 17:12   [Quote] 
thnx man

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If you just been lowered down here on tv by a wire connected to a brown leather harness, forced by a crazy person to insert a mysterious imported lamp into the reproductive orifice of a lady harpist, and you were a dwarf.....would you do it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEr7ym4-r5I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdx7M5ufDfQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ip7U-aAMTc
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vivalapsych
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Post 2011-09-21 19:38   [Quote] 
wildfisherman wrote:
And there's no excuse for missing out on "The Negative Dialectics Of Poodle Play" by Ben Watson.

Maybe sometimes he finds stuff in the lyrics that Frank never quite intended but he does come at it from a very erudite angle and opened my eyes to all sorts of things I would never have otherwise seen.

You'd be missing something quite special if you never saw this book.


My fave. A joy to read, but certainly not for everyone, hardcore fan or not.
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yetanother
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Post 2011-09-21 20:29   [Quote] 
The best book on Zappa's music has yet to be published (and probably never will), but you can get it here: http://etd.ohiolink.edu/etd/send-pdf.cgi/Clement%20Brett%20G.pdf?acc_num=ucin1248708091

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Pepe Nusbaum
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Post 2011-09-22 17:13   [Quote] 
the slaven book is available for kindle. do you think that would be fine or is hard copy necessary?? thanks

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If you just been lowered down here on tv by a wire connected to a brown leather harness, forced by a crazy person to insert a mysterious imported lamp into the reproductive orifice of a lady harpist, and you were a dwarf.....would you do it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEr7ym4-r5I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdx7M5ufDfQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ip7U-aAMTc
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StatusBaby
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Post 2011-09-22 23:13   [Quote] 
Pepe Nusbaum wrote:
the slaven book is available for kindle. do you think that would be fine or is hard copy necessary?? thanks


Depends really on if you like to see it on the shelf - I do.
The book is a good read - if you're happy with Kindle that should be fine.

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Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them - Karl Popper

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warewolf95
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Post 2011-09-23 00:16   [Quote] 
pbuzby wrote:
camabrillo wrote:
I think "Zappa" from Barry Miles is also very good!


Can't agree on that, sorry. Full of factual errors and whining.

It wasnt that bad. For a "fly by the seat of your pants" zappa bio, I thought it was excellent for anyone looking for Zappa info. But you are right, there was a good amount of errors. It did have, in my opinion, a lot of very interesting info about his childhood and family. And he didnt leave any albums out (at least they all got mentions and slight detailings) but I was like "Wtf?" when he was talking about the dates around '83/'84 for some things. But if you are a new Zappa fan looking for basic introductory knowledge and then some, I think its a great book. But who am I to judge? Smile

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