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Von Cello 

Post No. 707
01/21/2007 02:08 PM
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Was Zappa a Lesbian?

I'll look forward to Neal's response about Warren Cucurillo. Canarsie had two high schools, and in a way was divided into two neighborhoods by that fact. Neal went to my Junior High School but then went to the other high school and we fell out of touch more or less until he found me here. In my side of the "hood" I was considered by many to be the top guitarist...before I flipped everyone out and became a cellist. But I had heard about this guy Warren from the other side of Canarsie and wondered how the hell he got to play with Zappa, who after all was based out in California. I never did get to meet him. I wonder what he is doing now.

As for lesbians...well...I think the U.S. is a more religious place than Europe, so even though most people believe gays should have many rights, their lifestyle is not "approved of". I think it is very accepted in San Francisco and parts of Manhattan, but in the "heartland" it is not considered "normal". I don't know if it ever will be.

Speaking about San Francisco...I heard the SF Symphony today conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas playing Gershwin's "An American In Paris". I have to say, it was the best recording of it I have ever heard! I was feeling like that piece may be the most important of the 20th century! Gershwin seems to freeze in ice so many of the styles and moods of the mid 20th century. What a postcard to the future!
fred and murry 

Post No. 706
01/21/2007 04:04 AM
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was marvin?

been gone a week to scuba in the canary islands(part of spain) and just saw a show on iptv called the L word. is this show popular in the states?
its about a group of girls lesbians in los angeles...i was amazed cause i am used to european attitudes about homosexuality and the show seems to make gay as kind of negative,stll in thr closet while here its outof the closet, worn and onthe floorwiththe rest of the clothes.. even the title THE L WORD makes it coded talk....

Post No. 705
01/20/2007 08:50 PM
Email eaburke81  go to the Homepage of eaburke81
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Wow....It's amazing what you miss when you don't post in a few days. I appear to have planted the seeds for quite a conversation with my geeky, gushing of Zappa's brilliance. It's great to see that others agree that Zappa did much to show that not all rock musicians are beer and drug-hungry, sex-craving, un-intelligent bottom feeders.
I was looking through a few boxes of CD's my radio station's e-board were thinking of throwing out and i found an album by accapella group The Persuasions: Frank-ly Accapella. I had found this album many years ago and reviewd it before anybody else had a chance too.... maybe this is just my opinion, but how could the e-board think of getting rid of such an important tribute of Zappa's genius? I claimed the album as my own since no one else would be likely to want to play it, and since working for a radio station means I can get free music from time to time.
Just say it....I'm a geek. I know.

Neal - it's cool you knew Warren Cucurillo. As Zappa backers go I havn't heard many songs with his playing on it, but I he did have a cool solo at the end of "Peaches III": the 1988 version of "Peaches En Regalia" on Tinseltown Rebellion....don't ask em to describe it becuase I have almost no knowlege of music theory.
Personally, I wish I had had the chance to meet Frank himself, or Zappa vocalist/guitarist Ike awesome musician and singer. I understand he was known as quite a clown and a jokester in the band and frank played off Ike's puns frequently.
Willis sings and plays on much of the Broadway the Hard Way album. I especially reccomend "Outside Now".

Oh well, maybe someday I'll get to meet Dweezil Zappa....he recorded an awesome cover of Dr. Suess's "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch" recently.
Von Cello 

Post No. 704
01/19/2007 07:06 PM
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Oh yeah, and Brecker had his funeral in Westchester. In fact, an old friend who has been working on my house went to it. Apparently he and Brecker both grew up in Hastings. My friend Dale was working on my house last weekend and had to stop saying he was going to the funeral. Isn't that strange? Dale was the one who told me Brecker was Jewish. The ceremony was held at the Jewish Center there in Hastings. Dale is not Jewish so I don't know why he told me that. But maybe he thought I'd be interested. He leaves behind a wife and kids. Sad.
Von Cello 

Post No. 703
01/19/2007 07:02 PM
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Neal's Garage

Yes, I know about those Canarsie folks on that album due to you. Too bad you weren't on it. Frank should have at least let you tell a joke, or say "credrils" or something!

I meant to mention Brecker and Coltrane. Funny that they would go the same day. There must be some good music up there tonight! Some say that Brecker was the greatest saxophonist since John Coltrane, so maybe there is some divine justice in him going on the same day as Alice. She was an amazing musician too. In the past years I haven't heard of her or of the type of heavy avant garde music she played. It seems to have been another casualty of rap...or maybe just the general lack of support for the arts in America.

I was amazed to hear that Brecker was Jewish! It never ceases to amaze me how so many Jews manage to rise to the top in so many fields. After all, jazz is the music of black America, yet a Jew rose to the top...or close to it. On the other hand, I heard of some black and hispanic musicians getting into Klezmer music. But that kind of music never got accepted by the larger American audience.

Post No. 702
01/19/2007 04:04 PM
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a couple more R.I.P.'s ... Michael Brecker, Alice Coltrane.

by the way, both Warren Cucurullo and Al Malkin (Canarsie-ites and friends of mine) appeared on Joe's Garage.
Von Cello 

Post No. 701
01/19/2007 12:57 PM
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I have my website printed on my CDs.

But back to Zappa...

Yes, I guess he did branch out more than I am giving him credit. "Oh No" is a great song. I think he is punching the flower children right in the nose with that song. "You say with your love you can change all of the fools, all of the hate. I think your probably out to lunch."

I must plead guilty to not being a real expert on Zappa after the first few albums. "Joe's Garage" was definitely a somewhat different move. I believe it is based largely on Canarsie, so that is really cool. Wasn't the "Grand Wazoo" also about a musical war? I guess he was really a social critic, and in that sense, it is natural that he mostly stuck to certain themes. After all, I don't think Art Buckwald wrote many romantic novels either!

By the way, Buckwald just passed away. I saw him asked about what he would miss the most if he died. He said, "Global warming"!
fred and murry 

Post No. 700
01/19/2007 11:18 AM
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von marketing

a qestion
when u give someone your music , you always pass them a CD.have you considered passing them a card containing the address of your online collection?
instead of insertin the disc they go to your page and hear it all

or wat about handing out mp3s with vc on them

Post No. 699
01/19/2007 10:36 AM
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I agree with you on the most part, Von Cello, that Mr. Zappa did stick to a minimum of lyrical themes, although... check out songs such as Love of My Life (a wonderful love song), Inca Roads, In France, Cheepnis, etc. The album Joe's Garage is a so-called rock opera based on a futuristic society where music becomes outlawed, as well as piecing together his music at the time. What is interesting is he wrote more songs questioning love (such as Oh No) or maybe questioning the standard love song (with a few exceptions), maybe more pro-sex songs? Lyrically, he was a social critic, so he did criticize society and its peoples (check out "Dumb all Over"). And I'm not criticizing the critic here, I hope. Oh well, I figure the odds be 50/50, I just might have some thing to say.

Von Cello 

Post No. 698
01/19/2007 10:20 AM
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I may be totally wrong but...

So, I was right after all. Billy the Mountain is a commentary on American culture from the early '70's. It seems to me that Billy represents the so called "counter culture", and his trip across America (leaving damage everywhere to the American institutions of fast food, overly aggressive law enforcement, and double knit suits) is the trip across American that the youth were taking at that time. The government even tries to draft him into the army, but just as American kids were burning their draft cards, Billy just laughs. Studebaker Hoch represents the government which thinks it can stop the youth movement, but "A mountain is something you don't want to fuck with", and in the end he is crushed.

We never hear what happens next, but in reality, Studebaker made a comeback and Billy went back home and became a yuppie! Sad, but true.

But as I said before, these themes were repeated in various incarnations on Zappa's many albums. And most of these themes were already apparent on "Absolutely Free", which is why is flippantly said, "Zappa made more or less the same album over and over again". It's not that he didn't keep coming up with new twists, but he never seemed to comment on much else than a few favoritie themes. For instanse, he never wrote much about true love or romance, foreign countries or cultures, ancient history, futurism. Not that he had to, or should have, but he did stick to the same themes throughout most of his output. Maybe that was because he felt that rock music was best suited for those themes and not others. However, the Beatles and the Dead discussed true love and romance, Hendrix discussed racial politics and futurism, the Moody Blues discussed the meaning of life, Joni Mitchell discussed the conflict between freedom and committment, James Brown discussed hot pants and "doin' the do".

My overly intellectual point is that Zappa did stick to a certain range of subjects and attitudes, and he constantly invented new ways to say the same things, while other artists said other types of things. I don't know if this matters. I don't know why I am even writing this. In fact...I think I am going to
Von Cello 

Post No. 697
01/18/2007 02:02 PM
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A mountain is something you don't want to...

Billy the Mountain, a rather typical mountain which poses for postcards, lives between the cities of Rosamond, California and Gorman, California with his wife Ethell, a tree. The main features on his mountain edifice are two large caves, resembling eyes, and a cliff for a jaw, which lifts up and down, puffing up dust, brown clouds, and boulders.

The story begins when a man in a checkered double-knit suit drives up in a Cadillac Eldorado, or a Lincoln Continental depending on the recording, leased from the Bob Spreene car dealership in Downey to deliver Billy's royalty check, a payment for the postcards. Billy the Mountain becomes very excited, and Billy's jaw, again, made of a cliff, drops thirty feet, allowing a boulder to fly out and crushing the car (which the lyrics mistakenly call a Lincoln). The man in the suit then goes looking for a ride back to the San Fernando Valley.

When Billy breaks the news to Ethell, she also becomes excited, and they immediately plan on taking a well deserved vacation to New York City, first stopping in Las Vegas. They set off, moving across the Mojave Desert, however, while Ethell searches for a Howard Johnson's to eat at, Billy begins to leave a trail of destruction, due to his massive size. The first noteworthy piece of destruction, however, is Billy and Ethell's consumption of a rocket sled at Edwards Air Force Base.

The media quickly alerts the public of the phenomenon and starts generating false tabloid story about Billy the Mountain and Ethell's past lives, claiming them to be involved in a San Joaquin Valley smut ring. Meanwhile, Jerry Lewis is provoked to host a telethon to raise funds for the newly injured and homeless in Glendale (or Denver, again depending on the recording) after Billy flattens while passing through. This leads to further disaster, when Billy causes an "Oh mein papa" (a reference to the song by Eddie Fisher[1]) in the earth's crust over a secret underground dump next to the Jack in the Box near Glenoaks, releasing gas from obsolete germ bombs, just as a freak Tornado cruises through. The poisonous Tornado claims many lives, including that of an accordion-player named Howard Kaplan, who, like many, is pulled into the cyclone and is dispersed over the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Though little actual effort has been taken to stop Billy, when Billy reaches Columbus, Ohio, he receives notice that he has been drafted and must attend his induction physical. Ethell protests, and Billy continues his vacation. The media goes wild, reporting that he is a communist and that he practices witchcraft.

Finally, a telehone rings in the secret briefcase of the only man who might have a chance of stopping Billy, a fantastic new superhero named Studebaker Hoch (pronounced HAWK, and named after, of course, the Studebaker Silver Hawk automobile). It is noted that little is known about Studebaker Hoch, however, all his origin stories are relatively dull. His personality is little known, his powers are rumoured to be flying, swimming, and/or singing like Neil Sedaka.

Much time had passed since the beginning of the destruction, including several months, days, cities, funny cars, walnuts, and Big John Masamanian. However, Hoch, clad in a Dudley Do-Right wristwatch and flexy bracelet, answers the phone call in his briefcase relatively uninformed of the previous destruction, and must be informed of what had occurred. At first he is somewhat in disbelief and uninterested, and briefly goes into casual discussion about family events, asking if the unnamed caller has received the album he sent him with "the pencil on the front," referring to the Zappa album Fillmore East - June 1971. Soon, however, he begins to take notes about Billy's path of destruction with much interest.

At this point, there is a brief dance lesson with Studebaker Hoch, for apparently the rumors about his dancing abilities were true. One such rumor, published in Rolling Stone, is that he can write the Lord's Prayer on the head of a pin. The widely accepted origins of Studebaker are apparently that he was born next to the frozen beef pies in a supermarket, underneath Joni Mitchell's autographed picture, next to Elliot Robert's bank book, next to a boat in which David Crosby was arrested whil throwing away his "stash." The beef pies are said to have been the main influence, and possibly the source of the powers, of Studebaker Hoch.

Now with a plan, Studebaker Hoch gathers some large, unused cardboard boxes, some Aunt Jemima syrup, some Kaiser broiler foil and a pair of blunt scissors. Then, hiding in between a pair of customized cars in the parking lot of Ralph's on Sunset Boulevard, he cuts out some wings from the cardboard, covers them in foil, and then places them under his arm. He walks to a telephone booth, where he spreads the syrup onto his legs, attracting a swarm of flies. The flies know Hoch by his reputation for how he "treats the flies alright" and, on his command, lift him and the telephone booth out of the parking lot, into the sky, and to New York in musical fanfare.

After the musical break, we rejoin Studebaker Hoch, who, standing on Billy the Mountain's mouth, tries to reason with Billy. At first he is friendly, but after Ethell protests, he tries to aggressively taunt Billy, who simply laughs at Hoch. Hoch, unfortunately standing on his jaw, once again, a cliff, loses his balance and falls perilously to his own injury and defeat. The moral of the story is stated in song: "a mountain is something you don't want to fuck with."

Post No. 696
01/18/2007 10:22 AM
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Billy was a mountain. Ethel was a tree growing off of his shoulder.
Von Cello 

Post No. 695
01/17/2007 10:31 PM
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I discovered this today:

*Absolutely Free (1967) is the second album by The Mothers of Invention, led by Frank Zappa. A continuation of the first release, the double LP ''Freak Out!'', ''Absolutely Free'' is once again a madhouse display of increasing musical technicality and severe, acerbic political-bashing wit.Like the first album, almost every genre under the sun can be found either being used and performed expertly or being barbed at and musically disemboweled by the outstanding performers of the Mothers aggregate. Speaking of which, several new members joined the group including saxophone player Bunk Gardner and keyboardist Don Preston.For this album, the emphasis is more on interconnected movements, as tracks 2-4 and 5-7 form mini-suites. It also features one of the most famous songs of his early career, "Brown Shoes Don't Make It," a track which has been described as being "an entire musical compressed down to 8 minutes."The CD Reissue adds a single The Mothers released at the time between where side one would have ended and side two would have begun featuring the songs "Why Dontcha Do Me Right?" and "Big Leg Emma," both described as an attempt to make dumb music to appeal to dumb teenagers.In his book ''Necessity Is...'' , former Mothers of Invention band member Ray Collins claimed that ''Absolutely Free'' is probably his favorite of the classic Mothers albums.*

Glad to see someone agrees with me!

Anyway, I can't find which album that was one, but the meat pies quote that I was referring to was in a song that sounded like the end of "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" where Steve Stills sings in some foreign language. It sounds like he sings, "Keri, a salmala sang walahua". Maybe it was an African language. Then Zappa takes the same melody with the same background "do do's" and has someone sing in a working class voice, "Meat pies. I bought them down at Maria's". It's very funny!

I think meat pies became a recurring theme for Zappa as did other things like Suzy Creamcheese and Fuzzy Dice. I think he was a creature of the early 50's more than the 60's even though he was biggest in the 70's and 80's.

Billy Was A Mountain, is really a commentary on the 60's and all of the characters and dialouge was really symbollic. I wonder if anyone has done a treatise on it on the internet.

Post No. 694
01/17/2007 07:43 PM
Email eaburke81  go to the Homepage of eaburke81
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A slice of the mountain

Von Cello wrote:

"Meat pies. I bought them down at Marias" (or something like that). It is clearly a take off on the end of "Suite Judy Blue Eyes", by Crosby, Stills and Nash".

I think you may mean: "beef pies/he was born right next to the beef pies/right beside/Joni Mitchell's autographed pitcure"....This lyric is from one of Zappa's "rock operas" "Billy the Mountain" on Just Another Band from LA My Dad played "Billy...." for me when I was younger; I had no idea what the hell the song was about. Now I understand the lyrics and the overall general theme much better: I think it's much more then the humble tale of a walking, draft-dodging mountain and his communist, arbor-ish (tree) wife growing on his sholder. It's a statement on.....well, let me get back to you. The character who was "born next to the beef pies" was named "Studebaker Hawk": the "Modern-Day Superhero of the current, economic Slump", as Zappa refers to him.
Studebaker, as the song goes, "....was born next to the frozen beef pies at Vinnie's market....just another crazy Italian who drove a red one really knows, 'cause he was so mysterious".

I've played "Billy...." on my show a few times just to confuse people. No one has called in the few times I've played it....I find that surprising.
At the end, the f-word and other swears are repeated fairly fequently, so it is a true test of my dump button-hitting prowess.

P.S.: The French word for meat pie is pronounced "tortsi-eh". I LOVE meat pie on Christmas Eve served the traditional way: piping hot with pickled beets and mulled cider!

Post No. 693
01/17/2007 04:16 PM
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okay, i will listen for the johnny winter in 50/50. you know, that song was written 1st as an instrumental, played back in 1973 before the album came out. I thought of some other great zappa albums: any of the "old" mothers albums, including uncle meat and ahead of their time. any of the "you can't do that on stage anymore" series: all live. ah, so many good ones.
Von Cello 

Post No. 692
01/17/2007 02:14 PM
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"I figure the odds be 50/50, it just might be about Johnny Winter". There's no way to know for sure, but listen to it with that in mind and let me know what you think.

I think Zappa often spoofed the musicians of the day. Like on, I think it is "We're Only In It For The Money", he does a song where someone sings, "Meat pies. I bought them down at Marias" (or something like that). It is clearly a take off on the end of "Suite Judy Blue Eyes", by Crosby, Stills and Nash. At the end of "Call Any Vegetable" on "Absolutely Free", he has this dark chorus where they sing, "Call any vegetable. Call it by name. You've got to call one today, when you get off the train". I have always felt that was a short take off on the "Doors". One of my favorites is "Hey Punk", a clear take off on "Hey Joe".

Back to "Overnight Sensation", I also think "Zombie Woof" is a goof on Johnny Winter. Just listen to the vocals!

Post No. 691
01/17/2007 10:43 AM
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Hey (hoy, hoy, hoy)

Well, you didn't expect me to sit out of a Frank Zappa discussion, did you? Absolutely Free is a great album, and one of my faves, too. But that's only his 2nd album. I love Hot Rats, Waka Jawaka, One Size Fits All, Roxy & Elsewhere, all the instrumental guitar albums, all the flo & eddie albums, joe's garage, bongo fury, etc. And yes, some of the songs are not quite suited for airplay. 50/50 about Johnny Winter? hmm, I never thought of that.
Von Cello 

Post No. 690
01/16/2007 12:10 PM
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Dead Cello Lives! (I hope)

Speaking about the Grateful Dead...I was on the phone yesterday with their publisher. I'm still hopeful that "Dead Cello" will live!
Von Cello 

Post No. 689
01/15/2007 07:42 PM
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Edgar not Johnny

I'll take your agreement on Israel over Zappa any day! And I was exaggerating about Zappa. He certainly did a lot of innovative things, but what I meant was that you can hear the seeds for most of it on Absolutely Free.

Edgar Winter played Frankenstein. Johnny stuck to blues rock. I saw them both many times when I first got into rock...before I got into the Dead, Zappa, etc.

Post No. 688
01/15/2007 03:15 PM
Email eaburke81  
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....And I used to think Johnny Winter's "Frankenstein" was a Deep Purple just kinda sounded like something Deep Purple would play, only they'd need a sax player for the middle part.

Post No. 687
01/15/2007 03:11 PM
Email eaburke81  
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I will Zappa this argument!

Von Cello wrote (on Frank Zappa's career after Absolutely Free !):

"...and then he kept making the same album over and over again, just changing the notes and the words, but more or less doing the same thing".

Well, not neccsarily (sp?). There was Cruisin' With Rueben and the Jets, which was put out after Absolutley Free! The whole album was compiled of doo wop satires, and the songs were enough to fool pop DJs into thinking that Rueben and the Jets was the next, up-and-comming, white doo-wop sensation. They were prooved horribly wrong once again by the notorius Zappa and his Mothers of Invention.

Then in the late Eighties and early Nineuties, Zappa started wriiting classically-inspired, instrumental compositions on the synclavier (which he dubbed "La Machine"...Nite School is a good example, from Jazz from Hell ) and even dabbled in conducting his own material with such orchestral groups such as the London Symphony Orchestra, and the Ensemble Modern.

1969's Hot Rats , and Waka Jawaka in the Early Seventies, were entirely interumental jazz albums, except for Hot Rat's "Willie the Pimp", with lead vocals by Captain Beefheart.

So Zappa had many formats; he wore many was not just the same type of stuff hashed and re-hashed over and over again. I dissagree with you Aaron.

But I am still with you in the quest for a free Israel...I have joined your side, as it were.
Von Cello 

Post No. 686
01/15/2007 02:37 PM
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Phi Zappa Krappa

Did you ever see that picture of Zappa, pants down, on the toilet, with the fake fraturnity name above, "Phi Zappa Krappa"? What a character!

That song 50/50 I always thought was about Johnny Winter. "Well my dandruf is loose. And my hair is chartruese. I know I aint cute. And my voice is kaput. But that's alright people. I'm just crazy enough to sing for you!" And the music sounds like a JW song.

It was songs like that from Zappa that helped convince me to get out of the rock business and become a "serious" musician. I didn't want to become just another idiot crazy enough to sing for the rock public.

But then years later here I am.

I think I took some of his lyrics too seriously when I was a teen.

My favorite album is still Absolutely Free! That seems to be his basic statement...and then he kept making the same album over and over again, just changing the notes and the words, but more or less doing the same thing.

Post No. 685
01/15/2007 02:14 PM
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Oh yeah....I forgot "The Blue Light" (Tinseltown Rebellion)

I'm a geek, aren't I?

This should start a mad search for you next time you go to Borders or Barnes and Noble, eh?

Post No. 684
01/15/2007 02:04 PM
Email eaburke81  
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"Zap goes the dynamite"!

Oh yeah, "Magdalena" is a favorite Zappa tune of's on Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's "Just Another Band from LA" It's a great song with a funny monologue from FZ, but the whole song is so sexually explicit that I'm afraid to play it on my show. I mean, here you have this adult male raping his teenage daughter....maybe that's alright in Canada, but I think that's frowned upon here in the states. I know, from Reading Zappa's auto-biography, that he was all about anti-censorship in the pop/rock music industry, but I shy away from sex songs because it's just my personal opinion commercial radio is getting too explicit (i.e Howard Stern, The Bob and Tom Show, ect...)
Not that I don't think about sex sometimes as a 25-year old male looking for a mate, but I think nationally-syndicated morning radio shows need less sex and more actual comedy.

My other Zappa favorites (these are a little more radio friendly):

"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow"
"Stink Foot" (both from Apostrophe')
"Eddie, Are You Kidding"?
"Dog Breath" (both from Just Another Band From LA)
"Peaches En Regalia"
"Son of Mr. Green Genes" (both on Hot Rats)
"My Guitar Wants to kill your Mama" (Weasels Ripped My Flesh)
"50/50" (Overnite Sensation....that's Ricky Lancelotti on lead vocals)
"For the Young Sophisticate"
"Pick Me, I'm Clean" (both from Tinseltown Rebellion)
"The Idiot Bastard Son" (from "We're Only in it For The Money)
"Ya Hozna" (Them or Us)

....And this doesn't even begin to scracth the surface!
Zappa's wife and kids just put out an album last year of rare, live FZ guitar solos entitled "Trance-Fusion". I definately reccomend it.
Von Cello 

Post No. 683
01/15/2007 11:02 AM
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My Little Magdelena

My Little, that goes back to my earlist memories of watching the little black and white TV we had in the living room in Canarsie. That was the early sixties, maybe '63, when even the George Burns and Gracie Allen Show were still on, as well as Marx Brothers movies, and Giget. I can't believe we witnessed such a time which really seems historic by now.

As for Canada...I hope to hear more from this new Prime Minister. Though noone will top Pierre Trudeau, who had the cute wife who ran off with Mick Jagger! I think Frank Zappa summed up Canada pretty well in "Magdelena".

"The once was a man, a little old man, who lived in Montreal. He had a wife and car and a house and a kid who loved to drink and ball...and her name was Magdelena". "My daugter dear, don't you be concerned when your Canadian daddy comes near. I work so hard, don't you understand, making maple syrup for the pancakes of a land. Do you have any idea, what's that you do to a man, what's that you do to a man?"

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