1993, aged 16, Zappa zapped onto my TV screen. I didn’t touch the zapper once through the BBC documentary.
The hour that followed, followed Zappa zipping through his life, zipping through solos, zipping through zealous views, zipping through almost every single musical genre in existence. I couldn’t zap Zappa, Zappa’s zealous zipping zapped me.
I could have channel-hopped but I stopped to watch him genre-hop. That hour was the most important hour of my musical life.
Prior I was an angst-ridden teenager who dreamt about being dreamt about by Heavy Metal fans. An angst-ridden teenage heavy metal dreamer was I.
Zappa changed my dream.
Zappa’s music didn’t grab me, it doesn’t grab me still but his genre-hopping grabbed me and it grabs me still.
From ‘Cocktail Lounge Combos’ to The Mothers of Invention, wild guitar solos to complex jazz fusion, satirical disco to Ensemble Modern and Tuvan throat singing with The Chieftains. Extreme eclecticism defined in one extremely eclectic definer.
Zappa’s definitive creativity, as restless as his solos and his sardonic, no bullshit humour, resonated with me hugely, dug deep into my sixteen year old subconscious mind. It resonates with me still.
As time moved on I couldn’t relate to those who couldn’t move on, those who specialised in one ‘main thing’. The blues guitarist who just plays the blues; that idea gives me the blues. The composer who just composes; the thought makes me decompose. The fiddler who fiddles the same tune, the same way, each and every day; the very notion makes me nauseous.
Why stick purely to apples when you can have pineapples too?
That is why I do what I do.
Zappa inspired me not to follow one dream but to follow them all.
Dave Flynn May 7th 2014