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Thread started 05/17/16 11:54am

nonesuch

Frank Zappa on Prince

From Todd Yvega, one of FZs technicians (via Kickstarter):

"One day in the studio, during the course of regular studio banter, the subject of Prince somehow came up. Most of the guys up on their high horses disparaged Prince for his "sex and purple fantasy" image. Frank made his point that he admires Prince simply for being dedicated and a hard worker. I asked Frank if he had met Prince, whereupon he said, "Well I tried, but he ran away!" Naturally that struck me as one hell of a teaser so I asked for elaboration. Frank said he was at an industry event where Prince was in attendance. Frank spotted Prince and decided he'd walk over and introduce himself. But when Prince saw Frank walking toward him, he looked like got scared and just ran away. The way Frank told it gave the impression that he just shrugged it off and thought, "Oh well."

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Reply #1 posted 05/17/16 12:12pm

suomynona

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nonesuch said:

From Todd Yvega, one of FZs technicians (via Kickstarter):

.

"One day in the studio, during the course of regular studio banter, the subject of Prince somehow came up. Most of the guys up on their high horses disparaged Prince for his "sex and purple fantasy" image. Frank made his point that he admires Prince simply for being dedicated and a hard worker. I asked Frank if he had met Prince, whereupon he said, "Well I tried, but he ran away!" Naturally that struck me as one hell of a teaser so I asked for elaboration. Frank said he was at an industry event where Prince was in attendance. Frank spotted Prince and decided he'd walk over and introduce himself. But when Prince saw Frank walking toward him, he looked like got scared and just ran away. The way Frank told it gave the impression that he just shrugged it off and thought, "Oh well."

.

It's possible that Prince didn't see Frank, as Ke$ha was behind him on her way over.

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Reply #2 posted 05/17/16 12:39pm

thedance

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Frank Zappa on "Crossfire" 1986, discussion about what's "offensive" on TV & radio:

talking about Prince's "Dirty Mind" (Sister), it's mentioned at 5:30 & 8:00:

No question that the "Dirty Mind" album was very controversial when it was released in 1980.

Prince 4Ever. heart
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Reply #3 posted 05/17/16 1:11pm

sharkbaiter

Prince was probably intimidated by Zappa as a guitar player. I'd rate only Zappa as a better guitar player than Prince. They are definitely number 1 and 2 in my lifetime.
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Reply #4 posted 05/17/16 1:13pm

mtlfan

Not surprised. Prince and FZ have a lot in common as guitarists, solo producers, prolific composers, provocateurs, and on-again off-again control freaks. BUT Zappa being ever the iconoclast meanie (I love FZ), I'm not surprised super-shy Prince was a little weary about the possibility of being bullied.

Frank spoke out against the PMRC's warning labels, and frequently cited "Darling Nikki" while discussing the subject, as well as "Sugar Walls."

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Reply #5 posted 05/21/16 6:29pm

MandalayWay

sharkbaiter said:

Prince was probably intimidated by Zappa as a guitar player. I'd rate only Zappa as a better guitar player than Prince. They are definitely number 1 and 2 in my lifetime.

Haha! FZ was good at improvising but a very rough player - inaccurate and would often hit bum notes. Solo in 'Watermelon In Easter Hay' (studio version from Joe's Garage) is good but generally he played around a note all night long without ever hitting it.

Prince was far more accurate , better vibrato, could improvise better, and played with more intensity.

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Reply #6 posted 05/21/16 6:44pm

mtlfan

MandalayWay said:

sharkbaiter said:

Prince was probably intimidated by Zappa as a guitar player. I'd rate only Zappa as a better guitar player than Prince. They are definitely number 1 and 2 in my lifetime.

Haha! FZ was good at improvising but a very rough player - inaccurate and would often hit bum notes. Solo in 'Watermelon In Easter Hay' (studio version from Joe's Garage) is good but generally he played around a note all night long without ever hitting it.

Prince was far more accurate , better vibrato, could improvise better, and played with more intensity.

Not a guitar player but I tend to agree. However, I do dig Zappa's rough style and his whole philosophy behind guitar solos: no rehearsing in advance and playing the same solo night after night, and as he put it, "you have a piece of time and you get to decorate it." A nice metaphor for life. He has some bloody wicked guitar solos (check out the live "Stevie Gets a Spanking"). Still prefer Prince, and tend to think they're both underrated (though FZ is rated higher than Prince on Rolling Stone's list of guitar players, I can think of no reason why both should be beneath Clapton, who ranked at #2).

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Reply #7 posted 05/22/16 1:03pm

hardwork

thedance said:

Frank Zappa on "Crossfire" 1986, discussion about what's "offensive" on TV & radio:

talking about Prince's "Dirty Mind" (Sister), it's mentioned at 5:30 & 8:00:

No question that the "Dirty Mind" album was very controversial when it was released in 1980.

The fight for music censorship in America began well AFTER "Dirty Mind." The above Zappa video is from 1986 and they are discussing "Sister" which was released in 1980 - 6 years before.

Here's what happened.

First you had Band Aid in 1984. Then you had We are the World, and Live Aid and Farm Aid in 1985 and beyond.

You had all these famous musicians putting their egos aide (mostly) and getting together for progressive causes during a period of time where the Soviet Union was still around and it's anti-capitalist class pro-working class ideology was still a dominant and pervasisve motive force in the world.

You must understand something - during the fight against Hitler and fascism in the 1930s and 1940s - the CPUSA - that is the Communist Party of the United States of America, which in 1948 had 100,000 members - was very, very active organizing aritsts and musicians around progressive causes and ideas such as unions, African-American rights, smashing facism, etc. They were active in music, in film, in literature, the stage, you name it. Harry Belafonte - who was intrumental in getting "We Are the World" off the ground, was, at a minimum, close to the CPUSA in the 40s and 50s. None of this kind of stuff is missed by the people who actually run America.

They do not forget their history.

So when "Band Aid" and "We Are the World" and "Live Aid" became such MASSIVE MASSIVE big deals in popular consciousness in the 1980s, the ruling class in America got scared. When they saw the power that these musicans had to alter and influence popular consciousness and opinion at a time when they were attempting to put away the Soviet Union for good, the ruling class in America made a decision to attack the music.

Now just like when the U.S. went into Iraq, they didn't say to the public "We're going to punk them and take their fucking oil wells, we don't care how many little Iraqi girls we have to blow up to get it, fuck them, we're going in!"

No.

They said "Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. He must be stopped and, whether we like it or not, the task falls to us, the leaders of the free world!"

Of course, there were no weapons of mass destruction, and never were.

It was the same thing with music censorship in the 1980s.

They HAD to BREAK and DISRUPT the unity of musicans and progressive causes.

So they played the "we must protect the innocentt children from these immoral sexual lyrics" card.

Point is, only AFTER the unity of these musicians and these progressive causes such as We Are the World, Live Aid etc had been established did the music censorship attacks of Tipper Gore and the PMRC begin.

You didn't hear a goddman PEEP out of ANY of these types of folks in the wake of Dirty Mind, with Sister and Head etc. in 1980.

No, no.

Only AFTER "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which morphed into "We Are the World" and then "Live Aid" in a VERY short period of time did the attack on popular music in the guise of "saving the children" begin by Tipper Gore and Susan Baker and their friends in Washington.

Incidentally, this is somewhat similar to the kind of shit that they did to Janet Jackson. If it cannot be said that Janet was bigger than Michael in the late 80s, it can be argued that her music in the late 80s was hotter than his music in the late 80s. The ruling class in America never forgave her for making Rhythm Nation - That entire album revolves around an explicitly colorblind and even classless ideology and was enormously popular and influential at the time. She went around pushing this ideology on talk show and at her concerts. You see how this ruling class never forgets this kind of shit? They waited fifteen years to attempt to destory Janet. They used sex as a cover to do it. "OMG there were CHILDREN watching...now they are going to need THERAPY, OMG!!!" They made - and continue to make - through the media an enormous big deal over her showing her breast, but that was NEVER what the attack was about it. It was about the ideology of Rhythm Nation, and using the media to taint the person who created and promoted it FOR THAT SPECIFC REASON.

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Reply #8 posted 05/22/16 1:13pm

GirlBrother

avatar

hardwork said:


You must understand something - during the fight against Hitler and fascism in the 1930s and 1940s - the CPUSA - that is the Communist Party of the United States of America, which in 1948 had 100,000 members - was very, very active organizing aritsts and musicians around progressive causes and ideas such as unions, African-American rights, smashing facism, etc. They were active in music, in film, in literature, the stage, you name it. Harry Belafonte - who was intrumental in getting "We Are the World" off the ground, was, at a minimum, close to the CPUSA in the 40s and 50s. None of this kind of stuff is missed by the people who actually run America.


They do not forget their history.



You should totally listen to the You Must Remember This podcast about Lena Horne. She was seen as a subversive in 1950s America.

http://pca.st/hpGu

I listened to it and felt so bad for her. She had pressure from all sides - but she was still the first real black superstar.

I'm bewildered by the USA at times. It's more like another planet than another country.
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Reply #9 posted 05/22/16 1:41pm

SanDiegoFunkDa
ddy

can't really compare Zappa to Prince on guitar. apples and oranges

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Reply #10 posted 05/22/16 2:06pm

RaspBerryGirlF
riend

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As a small aside I was pretty weirded out to discover that the distorted female voice that says "bizarre" which appears on several Prince tracks (most notably All My Dreams) is a sample from a Frank Zappa track Our Bizarre Relationship from his Uncle Meat album. It's been discussed before on the org so this ain't exactly news but I thought it was pretty cool since I'd never been aware of that before.

Heavenly wine and roses seems to whisper to me when you smile...
Always cry for love, never cry for pain...
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Reply #11 posted 05/22/16 4:50pm

3rdeyedude

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mtlfan said:

Not surprised. Prince and FZ have a lot in common as guitarists, solo producers, prolific composers, provocateurs, and on-again off-again control freaks. BUT Zappa being ever the iconoclast meanie (I love FZ), I'm not surprised super-shy Prince was a little weary about the possibility of being bullied.

Frank spoke out against the PMRC's warning labels, and frequently cited "Darling Nikki" while discussing the subject, as well as "Sugar Walls."

Yep! and here he is mentioning Prince and Sheena.....in a Senate hearing

https://www.facebook.com/...095398236/

[Edited 5/22/16 16:50pm]

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Reply #12 posted 05/22/16 4:54pm

HarleyQ

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Frank was a huge inspiring artist himself back in the day. Maybe Prince felt intimidated seeing him walking toward him.

~ formerly ZsaZsaZsu and Technagirl, living in LaLaLand Ba-bey!!
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Reply #13 posted 05/22/16 5:58pm

mtlfan

RaspBerryGirlFriend said:

As a small aside I was pretty weirded out to discover that the distorted female voice that says "bizarre" which appears on several Prince tracks (most notably All My Dreams) is a sample from a Frank Zappa track Our Bizarre Relationship from his Uncle Meat album. It's been discussed before on the org so this ain't exactly news but I thought it was pretty cool since I'd never been aware of that before.

Holy fuck it's true!! Color me amazed.

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Reply #14 posted 05/22/16 6:02pm

docinwestchest
er

RaspBerryGirlFriend said:

As a small aside I was pretty weirded out to discover that the distorted female voice that says "bizarre" which appears on several Prince tracks (most notably All My Dreams) is a sample from a Frank Zappa track Our Bizarre Relationship from his Uncle Meat album. It's been discussed before on the org so this ain't exactly news but I thought it was pretty cool since I'd never been aware of that before.

.

That's really cool. Thanks for sharing!

.

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Reply #15 posted 05/22/16 6:12pm

mtlfan

hardwork said:

thedance said:

Frank Zappa on "Crossfire" 1986, discussion about what's "offensive" on TV & radio:

talking about Prince's "Dirty Mind" (Sister), it's mentioned at 5:30 & 8:00:

No question that the "Dirty Mind" album was very controversial when it was released in 1980.

The fight for music censorship in America began well AFTER "Dirty Mind." The above Zappa video is from 1986 and they are discussing "Sister" which was released in 1980 - 6 years before.

Here's what happened.

First you had Band Aid in 1984. Then you had We are the World, and Live Aid and Farm Aid in 1985 and beyond.

You had all these famous musicians putting their egos aide (mostly) and getting together for progressive causes during a period of time where the Soviet Union was still around and it's anti-capitalist class pro-working class ideology was still a dominant and pervasisve motive force in the world.

You must understand something - during the fight against Hitler and fascism in the 1930s and 1940s - the CPUSA - that is the Communist Party of the United States of America, which in 1948 had 100,000 members - was very, very active organizing aritsts and musicians around progressive causes and ideas such as unions, African-American rights, smashing facism, etc. They were active in music, in film, in literature, the stage, you name it. Harry Belafonte - who was intrumental in getting "We Are the World" off the ground, was, at a minimum, close to the CPUSA in the 40s and 50s. None of this kind of stuff is missed by the people who actually run America.

They do not forget their history.

So when "Band Aid" and "We Are the World" and "Live Aid" became such MASSIVE MASSIVE big deals in popular consciousness in the 1980s, the ruling class in America got scared. When they saw the power that these musicans had to alter and influence popular consciousness and opinion at a time when they were attempting to put away the Soviet Union for good, the ruling class in America made a decision to attack the music.

Now just like when the U.S. went into Iraq, they didn't say to the public "We're going to punk them and take their fucking oil wells, we don't care how many little Iraqi girls we have to blow up to get it, fuck them, we're going in!"

No.

They said "Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. He must be stopped and, whether we like it or not, the task falls to us, the leaders of the free world!"

Of course, there were no weapons of mass destruction, and never were.

It was the same thing with music censorship in the 1980s.

They HAD to BREAK and DISRUPT the unity of musicans and progressive causes.

So they played the "we must protect the innocentt children from these immoral sexual lyrics" card.

Point is, only AFTER the unity of these musicians and these progressive causes such as We Are the World, Live Aid etc had been established did the music censorship attacks of Tipper Gore and the PMRC begin.

You didn't hear a goddman PEEP out of ANY of these types of folks in the wake of Dirty Mind, with Sister and Head etc. in 1980.

No, no.

Only AFTER "Do They Know It's Christmas?" which morphed into "We Are the World" and then "Live Aid" in a VERY short period of time did the attack on popular music in the guise of "saving the children" begin by Tipper Gore and Susan Baker and their friends in Washington.

Incidentally, this is somewhat similar to the kind of shit that they did to Janet Jackson. If it cannot be said that Janet was bigger than Michael in the late 80s, it can be argued that her music in the late 80s was hotter than his music in the late 80s. The ruling class in America never forgave her for making Rhythm Nation - That entire album revolves around an explicitly colorblind and even classless ideology and was enormously popular and influential at the time. She went around pushing this ideology on talk show and at her concerts. You see how this ruling class never forgets this kind of shit? They waited fifteen years to attempt to destory Janet. They used sex as a cover to do it. "OMG there were CHILDREN watching...now they are going to need THERAPY, OMG!!!" They made - and continue to make - through the media an enormous big deal over her showing her breast, but that was NEVER what the attack was about it. It was about the ideology of Rhythm Nation, and using the media to taint the person who created and promoted it FOR THAT SPECIFC REASON.

I agree with a lot of this, it is an interesting theory. There were moral panics about popular music well-before the 80s - Elvis The Pelvis, Beatle burnings, lots of "heavy metal is the devil's music," but I can't think of any that involved the government. Zappa thought it was all about a sales tax on records. Funny that the PMRC happened after Footloose has blockbuster success poking fun at this mentality.

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Reply #16 posted 05/22/16 7:56pm

XrayTed

I think both are underrated as guitarists, though neither one were what most people think of as virtuoso's [ala Hendrix, Halen, maybe even Slash]. Zappa could shred with the best of them but never did manage to nail down a distinctive style all his own - Maybe he never wanted to even try. I think both were consumed and stereotyped by the personas that they created [Zappa with his weird Alice Cooper style shows with dozens of characters and musicians] and Prince with his prancing naked antics in his earlier days.

This I think led to both not being taken very seriously by mainstream press and fans, but both had huge, devoted almost cultish followings and a lasting legacy of music.

[Edited 5/22/16 19:56pm]

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Reply #17 posted 05/22/16 7:57pm

Trickology

MandalayWay said:

sharkbaiter said:

Prince was probably intimidated by Zappa as a guitar player. I'd rate only Zappa as a better guitar player than Prince. They are definitely number 1 and 2 in my lifetime.

Haha! FZ was good at improvising but a very rough player - inaccurate and would often hit bum notes. Solo in 'Watermelon In Easter Hay' (studio version from Joe's Garage) is good but generally he played around a note all night long without ever hitting it.

Prince was far more accurate , better vibrato, could improvise better, and played with more intensity.

This is utter horse shit. I've heard from countless musicians who were in Frank's circle who spoke on his guitar abilities on stage & in the studio. He didn't play around a note all night long and never hit it, wtf? Where on earth did you get that from? There is no correct way of playing guitar, you understand that right? Discussions like this are so pointless when you try to compare guitarists from two different fields.

I'll take the word of Ike Willis,Ray White, Adrian Belew,Steve Vai, Keneally (You know, actual credible musicians/guitarists) people who were on stage with him and thousands of hours in the studio. Nope. sorry that's a bunch of hooey.

[Edited 5/22/16 20:08pm]

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Reply #18 posted 05/23/16 2:04am

MrSquiggle

RaspBerryGirlFriend said:

As a small aside I was pretty weirded out to discover that the distorted female voice that says "bizarre" which appears on several Prince tracks (most notably All My Dreams) is a sample from a Frank Zappa track Our Bizarre Relationship from his Uncle Meat album. It's been discussed before on the org so this ain't exactly news but I thought it was pretty cool since I'd never been aware of that before.

That is so strange. I've heard that sample a million times, I had no idea. I never even knew what she was saying. Thanks for that.

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