Frank Zappa is definitely one of the most underappreciated musicians of the 20th century. This is definitely because radio stations refused to play his music; mostly because his songs had some pretty… crude material and people would most definitely complain about his music (god, imagine if "Jewish Princess" hit the airwaves...).
Frank Zappa did a lot to contribute to music, and is probably one of the most genuinely passionate musicians I've ever listened to; his concept album Joe's Garage pretty much solidified this. When listening to the guitar solos and the lyrics of the song, it finally hit me; "Damn…. he loves music."
Zappa's music, especially his guitar work, are so complicated and intricate. It's a real pleasure to the musical ears, and is quite a contrast to the overly simplified pap on the airwaves now.
Zappa also pioneered filling his songs with humor; and unlike most humor musicians I've listened to, I'd argue that his songs are actually funny. His songs also tend to be satirization of politics, race, and, well, everything, instead of singing about cabbages or something.
Frank didn't simply limit himself to rock music; he was also a big jazz guitarist. I heavily recommend his album, The Grand Wazoo, to anyone who like jazz, particularly fusion jazz. He's also done a few other jazz albums but I haven't listened to them. There's also some jazz instrumentals here and there, such as "Peaches en Regalia." Later in his life, Frank began working as a composer until his death in '93.
Another thing Zappa is famous for is the odd names he gave to his children; his sons Dweezil and Ahmet Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and his daughters Moon Unit and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Frank's legal name is also a bit strange; for the longest time he thought his real name was Francis, and Frank was just a nickname, but it turned out that his birth certificate says "Frank Vincent Zappa."
Frank Zappa is definitely my favorite musician. I posted this thread mainly to see if there's any Zappa fans lurking about (aside from Cosmic, whose screenname comes from a Zappa song, "Cosmik Debris"), and to try to make people more aware of him.
Here's some obligatory yotube links:- A live performance of Suicide Chump. Frank's live material is absolutely amazing, as there is a lot of improvization and complication in his guitar work. - Zappa appearing on Crossfire in 1986 to talk about music censorship, particularly the (then) proposal to place advisory labels on albums with "inappropriate" content. Personally I think Zappa kicked ass up and down that stage. It was hilarious how that squirrely little twerp from the Washington Times tried to take personal jabs at Zappa, even though it was obvious he knew nothing about him.
So yeah, enjoy the links, my stupid little rant, and feel free to discuss.