I knew I couldn’t last much longer. HAD to get my two favorite folks of ALL TIME: Frank Zappa and Lenny Bruce into the blog somehow.
So here’s a nice sampling (altho a very odd venue) of the guitar work of the master FZ on none other than daytime variety fare: The Mike Douglas Show in ’76. How bout it? I like this clip for its unique setup and the relaxed atmosphere, and you hear the band getting into the sort of piece they wouldn’t normally play for a TV variety show gig. Despite the cheezy sound you actually get to hear Franks totally idiosyncratic style and sense of melody. He was by no means a modern day shredder, but blasting away triplets and lightning speed runs ain’t what its about. For Frank it was composition.
Besides being a rather unique and very improvisational and melodic guitar player, Frank was first and foremost a composer and considered himself one and he was a rather prolific one at that. You Tube is chock full of videos of Frank’s solos, some classic early TV and concert work with his “Mothers of Invention” and of course lots of more representative later concert footage like this one: “City of Tiny Lights”
And the Connection is:
FZ loved Lenny. And produced and released a full concert of Lenny’s Berkeley Concert of Dec 1965 less than a year before he died. Lenny’s last performance was with the Mothers at the Fillmore in ’66.
Unfortunately there is not a lot of YT videos but this bit on the Steve Allen show late 50’s, gives you a real sample of Lenny’s hip lingo which wasn’t affected, it was all him, and his delight in humor, twisted view of comic fantasy and his stream of consciousness spritz. He couldn’t say all the words he was regularly arrested for of course, but he really did push the envelope even with these bits, after all this was TV over 50 years ago. He paved the way for George Carlin and all the HBO comics who use all the words he got arrested for.
And he always exposed the absurdities and repressions of society like racism, and religion, as did Zappa. But more on all that later.
So two masters. My top two heroes. FZ and Lenny Bruce.
Bronowski and Hitch were to come along much later.