donderdag 6 maart 2014

The torture never stops. Frank Zappa

Recently I bought this DVD. It shows a concert Zappa and band gave at Halloween 1982 in New York. It is around this time that I saw him play in The Netherlands for the second time. Endless guitar solos bored the hell out of me. There was just no end to them. Yes, Zappa solos are special, but not forever on end. As The torture never stops was pleasantly priced I bought it anyway and was treated to a total renewal of Zappa's appreciation by me.

The first thing I realised was what a tremendous band he has around him. Chad Wackermann (what's in a name) is a fantastic drummer, Scott Thunes a drving, propelling bass player, Ed Mann runs around like crazy behind his whatevers you can percussionionate on, Bobby Martin sings his falsetto all over the place and Steve Vai is doing his Vai-things on guitar, while Ray White sings just really, really good. And Zappa is Zappa. Concert master, master guitarist, singer and cabaret man.

Listening to the lyrics I realised something else: how the world misses this man. This person who dared to speak out against anything and everybody, whether I agree with it or not. In incredible funny, but also harsh and politically incorrect ways, Zappa lashes out against religion, organised religion. His 1981 album 'You are what you is' was the main part of this show. Listening to him sing "The meek shall inherit nothing" is just so right, so to the point. Just look around us in 2014. In another passage he shows exactly the world we are living in now, a world of intolerant religions setting agendas and scaring people off, blowing people up. "It's about power. It's about money", is basically Zappa's message. This show is in 1982!

The third thing I realised is that the playing here is so good, other worldly good. The rhythm changes, the instrumental interludes, typically Zappa and in essence much the same, but at the same time so hard and difficult to play as one. Even the drole songs, the ones with seemingly just a funny lyric are so tight and well played. An army platoon drilled to all move at the same time given the instruction. That is what this band is and still everyone is clearly having fun in the execution of Zappa's brainchilds. The nonchalance of Zappa himself totally contrasts with what he is creating on stage. The seemingly nonchalance of Zappa I should say, because this guy sees and hears everything and even comments in between. In many ways the conductor of a rock orchestra. Most likely a dictator off stage, where every single mistake was probably commented, discussed and rehearsed till perfection was reached.

As I noticed the dvd made me appreciate his music again. I've been off Zappa for some time now, with one omission: 'One size fits all', as I wrote about last year. The torture never stops pleased me the whole dvd long. And reminded me again that I didn't get to see Zappa the last time he came to Holland. Forever sorry, but I have The torture never stops making up just a little. What helps is that the Zappa antics of other movies, the clay puppets e.g., are all lacking here. It's brilliant film stage footage only, showing many great details of all the players, who all get their moments to shine. Great movie The torture never stops is.


You can listen to 'The torture never stops' here.

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