I’ll admit that my appreciation of Frank Zappa hasn’t matured much beyond my school boy days. Listening to the wacky lyrics and crazy arrangements, the whole thing seemed kind of comic and fun. Zany but safe I guess. Tune in to the Dr. Demento show. And I appreciated some of the music too and over time I’ve listened a little more and understood a little more. But the man himself, – departed way too soon at the age of 52 – he was an interesting cat. And funny. I always loved his delivery.
Given his eclectic nature, both in music and outlook, there’s no wonder there’s so little recognition today. A true conservative, very liberal, atheistic, pro-business, anti-drug, anti-Drug War, anti-communist, Republican critic. You get the picture. Whatever, for some reason I’ve always had an affection for the guy.
So, anyway, I was listening to Henry Rollins’ show on KCRW the other night and he plays this excerpt of a Frank Zappa interview. I found it online, but only in written form – audio seems to have been removed, probably due to copyright. That’s too bad, because his delivery is so great. (Maybe when the archive of Henry’s show is up for Dec. 1, 2013 you can listen by finding it here.) The text below is copied from here. It is worth reading more of the interview if you’re interested in Zappa or for no reason at all.
… it’s okay to be smart and it’s okay to do things intellectually and it’s also okay to do things with a gut reaction, and it’s also okay to combine the two, and usually the way the media plays on the fears of the public, especially during the 50’s and 60’s that anybody who had an I.Q. over 28, let’s say, was probably a threat to the community because a person who can think for himself is just liable to realize that commercials don’t mean anything and what they write in the newspapers is wrong and you know it’s fashionable to disparage people who are smart and the bad part is that people who are born smart pretend to be dumb so they can have friends and that’s a tragedy. I try to encourage people that if they are intelligent to not be ashamed of it, to go out and do it and forget about having friends and acting dumb in order to have friends because those friends aren’t gonna do you any good anyway and if you know deep down in your heart that you’re a dumb kind of a person, don’t be ashamed of it. That’s what you are. Have a good time. You can sit in front of the T.V. and drink beer and watch hockey and love it. Because the more you know, the less you like it so everybody should be happy with what they got.
He’s talking in the 1980s and referring to the 1950s and I’m reading in the 2010s and I know what he’s talking about.