Frank Zappa – In conversation with Charles Amirkhanian recorded on May 20, 1984, San Francisco Exploratorium – KPFA – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Continuing our new series with a rare interview/conversation/Q&A session featuring Frank Zappa, conducted by Charles Amirkhanian from Pacifica station KPFA in Berkeley and recorded during the San Francisco Exploratorium’s Speaking Of Music series on May 20, 1984.
Frank comes with new material (at the time) and plays several tracks off new albums (no live band) and talks about his music in general. It runs the gamut, and at a little over 2 hours, it’s a thorough and thoroughly enjoyable look into the life and creative workings of one of the truly most innovative and iconoclastic figure in music.
I would image we’ve arrived at the point where there are a lot of people who weren’t around during Frank Zappa’s intensely productive period – who were born after he left us in 1993 and missed all the live gigs.
For those who don’t know – here’s a little rundown on Frank Zappa and his music, just to get you ready for the Q&A that comes throughout this interview
Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, and bandleader. His work is characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity, and satire of American culture. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse rock musicians of his era.
As a self-taught composer and performer, Zappa’s diverse musical influences led him to create music that was sometimes difficult to categorize. While in his teens, he acquired a taste for 20th-century classical modernism, African-American rhythm and blues, and doo-wop music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands, later switching to electric guitar. His 1966 debut album with the Mothers of Invention, Freak Out!, combined songs in conventional rock and roll format with collective improvisations and studio-generated sound collages. He continued this eclectic and experimental approach whether the fundamental format was rock, jazz, or classical.
Okay – that was a taste for the newly-initiated. Now hit the play button and dive in and remember, it’s a little over 2 hours long, so stock up on refreshments.
And man, is he ever missed!