Soundtrack 10-11-2006 – Sheik Yerbouti

I’ve been listening to Frank Zappa alot recently. I’m not really sure what pushed me zappaward, but I’m glad i dusted off the ol’ Sheik Yerbouti CD and locked it into the CD player. Sheik Yerbouti was my first Zappa album and hence has always had a special place in my mind. The band of Terry Bozzio on drums, Patrick O’Hearn on bass, Adrian Belew (!!!) and Frank on Guitars, Peter Wolfe…in my mind they were the best band Zappa ever had, musically speaking. The arrangements are classic zappa and of course the lyrics are so Jr. High they’re beyond brilliant:

“Well, my toilet went crazy
Yesterday afternoon
The plumber he says
“Never flush a tampoon!”
This great information
Cost me half a week’s pay
And the toilet blew up
Later on the next day ay-eee-ay” (Flakes)

Zappa had an incredible talent for singing things that are completely stupid and making them sound like cynical satire. He pushed all the boundaries of sexual morality and taste (heck, he didn’t push them, he tromped all over them) yet never really pissed off the establishment enough to get himself in real trouble (although he did have a couple of appearances at PMRC hearings and in front of the US senate defending sexual freedoms). If a rapper of today did a song like “broken hearts are for assholes” he’d be completely vilified by women’s groups, the hard right, religious groups and virtually everyone else.

But beyond all that, Frank Zappa was a great guitar player. Frank Zappa’s guitar playing was an big influence on me 10-15 years ago, and even today I use some of his tricks. Even tho Adrian Belew is generally regarded as a guitar hero with bigger props than Zappa, Zappa played the majority of the leads on this album. When you add to the mix that this album was recorded virtually ENTIRELY LIVE (there are overdubs on a couple of songs but that’s it), it’s almost impossible to fail to see the genius of Frank Zappa and this band.

“379 pounds of Samoan Dynamite…Volcanic Hell”


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