Frank Zappa: The Muffin Man
Samiul Bashar Samin
If you consider yourself to a huge fan of the avant-garde genre and you don’t know who Frank Zappa, you sir, are a poser. Frank Zappa is one of the best things that ever happened to the music scene and the reason is clear as daylight when you play any of this numerous albums, the man is pure genius.
Very few people can boast about having the same kind of talent as this songwriter, composer, conductor, record producer, activist, filmmaker, actor and author. He burst into the scene with “The Mothers of Invention” and had everyone caught with their jaws wide open with the release of their first album, Freak Out in which they tried to produce an antidote to the “relentless consumer culture of America”.
Although it is difficult to pick out just one of his prolific talents, being one of the most amazing guitarists that the world has seen has to be one of them. Till this day, people fail to replicate his unique tone and dynamic guitar techniques. His definition of music as “a commentary of society” has to be one of the best ways to describe the art form.
Over his 38-year tenure as an artist of paramount caliber, the legend had always been vocal about human rights and the censorship that was being implemented on lyrics and art in general and has called and called their proposal for voluntary labelling of records with explicit content “extortion” of the music industry.
On December 4, 1993 fans and critics alike were shaken to the core at the news of
the death of one of the finest artists that has ever walked the earth after Zappa had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1990.
He was posthumously inducted into the RocknRoll Hall of Fame in 1995 and he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievements Award in 1997. Zappa has managed to hit every milestone that any musician would ever dream of getting to and has changed an entire generation’s definition of music.
He has inspired musicians that would then go on to change the course of history such as The Beatles, Jeff Buckley, George Clinton, Steven Wilson, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper. In addition to that, he had mentored Steve Vai, one of the greatest guitar virtuosos that led the shred movement of guitar players in the 80’s. Infact, a lot of people are unaware of the fact that Deep Purple’s iconic “Smoke on the Water” was based on a story where one of the fans had set fire accidently onstage in a Mothers of Invention Concert.
Frank Zappa was one of the first to try tearing down the barriers between rock, jazz, and classical music. In the late Sixties his Mothers of Invention would slip from Stravinsky’s “Petroushka” into The Dovells’ “Bristol Stomp” before breaking down into saxophone squeals inspired by Albert Ayler. To this day, his music is viewed as one the greatest works of art that has been conjured. Rest in peace, Muffin Man. You’ve earned your rest.