Saturday, September 22, 2007

Classic Album Corner

Frank Zappa- Shiek Yerbouti (1979)
I'm not sure if Frank Zappa has ever been truly appreciated since his death in 1993. The man was, first and foremost, an amazing technical musician. He was also funny as hell.
Never a commercial success throughout his long career, he did experience brief bouts of mainstream appeal, particularly in 1982 with the song "Valley Girl". A few years prior to that, in 1978, at the height of the abomination that was Disco, he released another single, "Dancin' Fool", which found a modicum of popular appeal, particularly among the Rock crowd which had become so fed up with the entire Disco trend.
The album on which "Dancin' Fool" appeared, Shiek Yerbouti (Get it - Shake Your Booty?), a double album, was one of the most amazing records Zappa released during a very fertile creative period. Instant classic Zappa tracks such as "Flakes", "Bobby Brown", "I Have Been In You", "Baby Snakes", and my personal favorite, "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes", all stand out. Obviously, these never had a chance of being played on the radio, even on the progressive album-oriented rock stations of the day. The album also contains several of Zappa's trademark instrumental jams, displaying some amazing work by both Zappa and the crack group of musicians he surrounded himself with.
Zappa would go on to release the critically acclaimed Rock opera of sorts, Joe's Garage, the following year. He continued to make music on his terms, on his own label, right up until his death. His joining of the anti-censorship movement in the mid eighties (see video below) was a high point, as surprised many by appearing so "normal" as he discussed first amendment issues before Congress, often sounding far more intelligent than the government representatives.
As Kevin Murphy (famous for his work on Mystery Science Theater 3000) said, most people would be shocked at how normal the guy was, and how he simply abhorred stupidity. He is undoubtedly missed today.

Here's Frank on CNN's Crossfire in 1986, holding his own against some anti-music idiots:

Shiek Yerbouti (Allmusic guide page)

Official Zappa website

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Bob Saget Is A Filty Motherf*cker!

By now, we’ve all heard how Bob Saget, who played nice guy dad Danny Tanner on the sickeningly sweet 80’s sitcom Full House as well as hosting the inoffensive America’s Funniest Home Videos, is a comedian who “works blue”. That is to say his stand-up act is not intended for the same audiences who watched him on television.

One can see they dilemma Saget has to work through –it must be a pain to be typecast as Mr. Nice Guy while still trying to do stand-up the way you want. Kudos to him for trying to expand and shatter the pre-conceived notions most people have about him. Anyone who saw The Aristocrats saw a small dose of the “real” Bob, as his version of the infamous joke was one of the filthiest contained in the film.

Taking it to the next level, Saget filmed a recent HBO special which attempted to bury the white bread persona once and for all. Mission accomplished:

Warning – this isn’t safe for work

I watched the show, and didn’t find myself laughing once the initial shock of seeing and hearing Saget use profanity virtually every other word wore off. The whole thing seemed to be shout “Look at me, I’m NOT DANNY EFFING TANNER ANYMORE!!!!” While I understand the rationale behind the effort, it would’ve helped if the material was funnier. Using profanity for its own sake doesn’t work, even when trying to shatter the audience’s idea of what the performer “should be”.

It’s too bad, because Saget is a genuinely funny guy, with a good sense of comedic timing. Hopefully, now that this is out of this system, he can move on and just become known as a comedian, as opposed to The Guy Who No Longer Is Squeaky Clean.