Frank Zappa, the yellow snow, and prostate cancer….**language advisory

Frank Zappa was diagnosed with prostate cancer in his fifties and succumbed to the disease in three years.

Frank Zappa

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Frank Vincent Zappa (194012-21199312-04) was an American musician, composer and satirist.

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  • Take the Kama Sutra. How many people died from the Kama Sutra, as opposed to the Bible? Who wins?
    • A&E Biography
  • It’s fairly obvious, since Richard Nixon, that there is no such thing as a fair deal for any voter in the United States — You’re just not gonna get it. It’s a joke — the people that you vote for, they’re the next best thing to criminals. But of course they have money for advertising campaigns that make them look a little bit better than they actually are.
  • I have four children, and I want them to grow up in a country that has a working First Amendment.
  • A wise man once said, “never discuss philosophy or politics in a disco environment.”
  • Being interviewed is one of the most abnormal things that you can do to somebody else. It’s two steps removed from the Inquisition.
  • “After all, he [God] wrote this book here, and in the book it says he made us all to be just like him! So if we’re dumb, then God is dumb – and maybe even a little ugly on the side.”
  • I like to watch the news, because I don’t like people very much and when you watch the news … if you ever had an idea that people were really terrible, you could watch the news and know that you’re right.
  • For the record, folks; I never took a shit on stage and the closest I ever came to eating shit anywhere was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973.
  • The rock and roll business is pretty absurd, but the world of serious music is much worse.
  • It isn’t necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice — there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.
  • I don’t give a fuck if they remember me at all.
  • I’m probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else that I do.
  • I’ll tell you what classical music is, for those of you who don’t know. Classical music is this music that was written by a bunch of dead people a long time ago. And it’s formula music, the same as top forty music is formula music. In order to have a piece be classical, it has to conform to academic standards that were the current norms of that day and age … I think that people are entitled to be amused, and entertained. If they see deviations from this classical norm, it’s probably good for their mental health.
  • The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with somebody else’s life.
  • The first thing you have to do if you want to raise nice kids, is you have to talk to them like they are people instead of talking to them like they’re property.
  • Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best…
  • Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute.
    • June 27, 1966: Zappa’s liner notes for the album Freak Out!
  • On a personal level, Freaking Out is a process whereby an individual casts off outmoded and restricting standards of thinking, dress, and social etiquette in order to express creatively his relationship to his immediate environment and the social structure as a whole.
    • June 27, 1966: Zappa’s liner notes for the album Freak Out!
  • Beauty is a pair of shoes that makes you wanna die.
    • September 23, 1981: Lyrics to the song Beauty Knows No Pain on the album You Are What You Is.
  • Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny.
    • September 10, 1974: Lyrics to the song Be-Bop Tango (Of the Old Jazzmen’s Church) on the album Roxy & Elsewhere.
  • Remember there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over.
    • September 23, 1981: Lyrics to the song Heavenly Bank Account on the album You Are What You Is.
  • The biggest threat to America today is not communism. It’s moving America toward a fascist theocracy, and everything that’s happened during the Reagan administration is steering us right down that pipe … When you have a government that prefers a certain moral code derived from a certain religion and that moral code turns into legislation to suit one certain religious point of view, and if that code happens to be very, very right wing, almost toward Attila the Hun…
  • A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians.
  • Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.
  • Gail has said in interviews that one of the things that makes our relationship work is the fact that we hardly ever get to talk to each other.
    • The Real Frank Zappa Book
  • The creation and destruction of harmonic and ‘statistical’ tensions is essential to the maintenance of compositional drama. Any composition (or improvisation) which remains consistent and ‘regular’ throughout is, for me, equivalent to watching a movie with only ‘good guys’ in it, or eating cottage cheese.
    • The Real Frank Zappa Book
  • The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents — because they have a tame child-creature in their house.
    • “Ben Watson interviews Frank Zappa” October 1993 (Mojo Magazine)
  • Rock journalism is people who can’t write, interviewing people who can’t talk, in order to provide articles for people who can’t read.
    • “Ben Watson interviews Frank Zappa” October 1993 (Mojo Magazine)
  • I have an important message to deliver to all the cute people all over the world. If you’re out there and you’re cute, maybe you’re beautiful. I just want to tell you somethin’ — there’s more of us UGLY MOTHERFUCKERS than you are, hey-y, so watch out.
    • Dance Contest (on the album Tinsel Town Rebellion)
  • There are three things that smell of fish. One of them is fish. The other two are growing on you!
    • Jumbo Go Away (of the album, You Are What You Is)
  • Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.
    • On Communism
  • The essence of Christianity is told to us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the Tree of Knowledge. The subtext is, All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on. You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your fucking mouth shut and hadn’t asked any questions.
    • Interview, Playboy, May 2, 1993
  • Scientology, how about that? You hold on to the tin cans and then this guy asks you a bunch of questions, and if you pay enough money you get to join the master race. How’s that for a religion?
    • Frank Zappa, to a concert audience at the Rockpile, Toronto, May 1969
  • May your shit come to life and kiss you on the face.
    • Frank Zappa, to Tipper Gore about parental advisory labels on album covers
  • If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest or some guy on TV telling you how to do your shit, then YOU DESERVE IT.
    • The Real Frank Zappa Book
  • I think it’s really tragic when people get serious about stuff. It’s such an absurdity to take anything really seriously … I make an honest attempt not to take anything seriously: I worked that attitude out about the time I was eighteen, I mean, what does it all mean when you get right down to it, what’s the story here? Being alive is so weird.
    • No Commercial Potential: The Saga of Frank Zappa, by David Walley
  • Tobacco is my favorite vegetable.
    • Interview, NBC’s Today Show, 1993.
  • A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound. The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them like a license to behave like an asshole.
    • Real Frank Zappa Book (1990) by Zappa with Peter Occhiogrosso
  • The bassoon is one of my favorite instruments. It has the medieval aroma, like the days when everything used to sound like that. Some people crave baseball…I find this unfathomable, but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing the bassoon.
    • Real Frank Zappa Book (1990) by Zappa with Peter Occhiogrosso, p. 144
  • Let’s not be too rough on our own ignorance; it’s what makes America great!
  • Hey, you know something people? I’m not black, but there’s a whole lots a times I wish I could say I’m not white.
    • “Trouble Every Day” on album Freak Out
  • “Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that yellow snow.”
  • Why should I smile when I’m sitting here with you?
    • “Frank Zappa on Crossfire YouTube
  • The Ultimate Rule ought to be: ‘If it sounds GOOD to you, it’s bitchin’; if it sounds BAD to YOU, it’s shitty. The more your musical experience, the easier it is to define for yourself what you like and what you don’t like. American radio listeners, raised on a diet of _____ (fill in the blank), have experienced a musical universe so small they cannot begin to know what they like.
    • Source The Real Frank Zappa Book
  • To me, absurdity is the only reality.
  • The ’60s was really stupid … It was a type of merchandising, Americans had this hideous weakness, they had this desire to be OK, fun guys and gals, and they haven’t come to terms with the reality of the situation: we were not created equal. Some people can do carpentry, some people can do mathematics, some people are brain surgeons and some people are winos and that’s the way it is, and we’re not all the same. This concept of one world-ism, everything blended and smoothed out to this mediocre norm that everybody downgrades themselves to be is stupid. The ’60s was merchandised to the public at large… My pet theory about the ’60s is that there is a sinister plot behind it… The lessons learnt in the ’60s about merchandising stupidity to the American public on a large scale have been used over and over again since that time.
  • You’re an asshole! You’re an asshole! That’s right! You’re an asshole! You’re an asshole! Yes yes!
    • From “Broken Hearts are for Assholes” on the album “Sheik Yerbouti”
  • Look here brother, who you jivin’ with that cosmic debris?
    • From “Cosmic Debris” on the album Apostrophe (‘).
  • I think that if a person doesn’t feel cynical then they’re out of phase with the 20th century. Being cynical is the only way to deal with modern civilisation, you can’t just swallow it whole.
    • From the Valley Girl Documentary (The Dub Room Special)


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