It took only ten minutes for me to go through the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune this morning. It was all B.H.O. all the time from cover to cover. I could not bring myself to read the hype. This paper will be used to start a few fireplace infernos, for sure. That was bad enough. Then I saw this:
Jimmy Carl Black was an original member of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention. Black looked a lot like Zappa and I often confused the two on album jackets. In the obituary it mentions Black’s memorable line between two songs on one album “Hi boys and girls I’m Jimmy Carl Black and I’m the Indian of the group”. Black was Cheyenne. My close friend and Zappa fan Chris (living the good life in Colorado) and I still keep in touch and we have shared Black info recently. Turns out that J.C.B. was still active musically and had a website too.
This news brought back instant memories of my youth. I was a huge fan of everything Frank Zappa did. His music was unusual and innovative. He could give any pro guitarist a run. He did rock and roll. He was very improvisational and borrowed from classical and jazz. He was far from the mainstream and his acidic satire took a bite out of everything from doo-wop to disco, L.A. hippies to politicians and everything in between. Most often he made fun of top 20 music and pop culture of the 60’s and 70’s. He took pride in composing music that would not get airtime on commercial radio.
In a closet near the stereo I still have old Zappa vinyl. Can’t count how many 8-tracks and cassettes that I lost on the way but I have been buying digital Zappa online to replenish what I lost.
A graphic designer named Cal Schenkel was responsible for most Zappa album covers. They were as classic as any album designs by Roger Dean, Frank Frazetta or Stanley Mouse. All these guys were my inspiration and motivation to become a professional graphic designer. Yep, we're all in it for the money.
There are so many great Zappa classics. His music is not appreciated by the masses. Here is my favorite Zappa tune of all time. Peaches en Regalia from the album Hot Rats. It may need time to load but it's worth it.