Eat That Question

At numerous junctures in this exploration of the sometimes bizarre, sometimes uncanny Frank Zappa, we have to believe he framed his answers in his numerous interviews to both confound us and amuse himself. Example? “Dirty words don’t exist. This is a fantasy that is manufactured by religious fanatics and government organizations to keep people stupid” and “I make music because it’s the same thing as going to the toilet.” That is as off-the-wall as it sounds, but it certainly makes for spirited and sometimes outrageous footage. Zappa composed rock, jazz, classical, and musique concrete that comes from an amalgam of voice, instruments, synthesizers, and nature. He produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released as a solo artist and with his band, the Mothers of Invention. He says no one has ever seen the real Frank Zappa because “being interviewed is one of the most abnormal things you can do to someone else, it’s two steps removed from the Inquisition.” Described in the film as bearded and gross and filthy, Zappa asks, “Isn’t it strange the fantasies people have?” It is, at the least, surprising to learn he married, had four kids, a mortgage, insists he’s never taken acid and only smoked “10 joints over a period of nine years.” On the other hand, who else would name his kids Moon Unit, Diva, Ahmet and Dweezil? Is that the real Frank Zappa? We may never know for sure, but we were entertained trying to find out.

– Mal Karman

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