you had to be there or it isn't fair!
> To beMichael,
>honest, I've had Uncle Meat for many years but I can't share these
>sentiments even if it has incredible moments...
How old are you?
Uncle Meat was recorded in 1967/1968 and was released in late 1968 - iirc.
What record in 1968 even comes close? Or is even in the same galaxy.
You're certainly entitled to feel about it the way you do - or even to hate
it - but it's too easy to dismiss it in 2004 when there's been over 35 years of
"musical progress" (probably longer than you've been alive?) in between.
I suggest you make a list and try thinking about what you had the choice of
listening to in 1968 and *then* judging it. And maybe think about how --------
(fill in your favorite from 2003 or 2004) is going to sound in 2039 to a 28
year old to give the huge amount of time since the time this *landmark* was
released and now the proper perspective.
The old man
> > To beiirc.
> >honest, I've had Uncle Meat for many years but I can't share these
> >sentiments even if it has incredible moments...
> How old are you?
> Uncle Meat was recorded in 1967/1968 and was released in late 1968 -
LOL! I better understand the album now by the passions it rouses!
Well, I'm 27, so you have a great point! But maybe my choice of
words was not clear (hehe); what I meant is that it is totally mind-
blowing to me, but there are other Zappa albums I prefer and the key
musical segments are just so darn short!
That's what I meant, but between that email and this email I listened
to it again for the first time in a long while, and now my previous
feelings are crystal clear--in the past I was so blown-away by the
King Kong stuff that everything else just seemed like filler. So to
me it was like 22 minutes of "holy shit!" and I didn't pay much
attention to the rest. Hence the "skinny gourmet bird" feeling. I
still feel like there's a huge gap between those tracks and the rest,
but as of today I have totally fallen in love with Uncle Meat as a
whole, because now I realize how great the other stuff is! I didn't
actually listen to the 37 minute thing again, but I loved everything,
and I thought pretty much all the humor/lyric stuff is killer--
genuinely hilarious and enjoyable! It captures something really
magical about the context, and shows FZ to be a true maverick multi-
media genius. And I especially enjoyed "The Uncle Meat
Variations", "Dog Breath", and "The Legend of the Golden Arches".
Just in terms of "rock songs", there's incredibly creative, top-notch
stuff there! But the King Kong stuff is in a different category,
and I think "Prelude to King Kong" is my favorite, with that
unbelievably cool bass line!! That rhythmic thing is almost as good
as The Silver Apples!
The other thing about it, which is definitely a matter of historical
perspective, is that only three years later Soft Machine delivered
hours of stuff even better than the 22 minutes of King Kong stuff, so
I have been content to obsess over Soft Machine, and sort of neglect
FZ, although I think the neglect has been excessive.
> What record in 1968 even comes close? Or is even in the samegalaxy.
> You're certainly entitled to feel about it the way you do - or even
> it - but it's too easy to dismiss it in 2004 when there's been over35 years of
> "musical progress" (probably longer than you've been alive?) inbetween.
> I suggest you make a list and try thinking about what you had the
> listening to in 1968 and *then* judging it. And maybe think abouthow --------
> (fill in your favorite from 2003 or 2004) is going to sound in 2039to a 28
> year old to give the huge amount of time since the time this*landmark* was
> released and now the proper perspective.@@@@@@@@
> The old man
Well, you have a great point about the 1968 thing. Although I can
think of a fair number of things from 1968 and before that I prefer,
it's still in the top elite category of that moment in time. More
important is your point about which galaxy it was in. That's really
the crux of it--for me, until now I honestly never even thought about
FZ as "60s rock"!!! But obviously it is to a large extent. I have
FZ filed under "misc avant-garde" and I tend to think of him as truly
being in a separate galaxy than even the greatest 60s rock bands,
closer to people than Stravinsky, Stockhausen than a rock thing.
Obviously we just have to say he's in his own very special category
and can't be assimilated to any other socio-musicological
prototypes. There are many dozens of artists I prefer to FZ for
subjective personal history reasons, but I like most of his work and
objectively I can agree he is one of the greatest geniuses in the
history of music. And aside from his strict musical achievements,
he's almost like a precursor to Zorn in a way, as far as promoting
other music and maybe in some other ways...
As far as things in 1968 that not only come close, but I prefer,
first and foremost I can point to other Zappa! I like Lumpy and
We're Only at least as much as Uncle Meat, and if I put myself in the
shoes of listener at the time, since Hot Rats was officially released
only a few months later, Uncle Meat probably would've gathered some
dust while I was spinning Hot Rats over and over and over!
(Especially "It must be a camel".) But in terms of precise
historical credit, the booklet does say it was recorded between Oct
67 and Feb 68, just as you said. And as far as non-FZ stuff from
1968 or before that not only comes close, but is superior in my mind,
there's Mingus' Atlantic and Columbia stuff, Out to Lunch, the first
two Velvets, USA, Silver Apples, Mad River's EP and first album,
Ornette's "Art of the Improvisers" and "Shape of Jazz to Come" (both
almost ten years earlier!), other Ornette, The Monks, and some stuff
by Xenakis, Ligeti, Stockhausen, and maybe a bunch of more obscure
academic stuff I haven't heard. And there's a fair bit of jazz stuff
that isn't as radical as King Kong but it still about equally
great. Similarly, since I try to avoid getting caught up in
concepts of "avant-garde", etc, there were tons of great pop records
by 1968 that I would definitely enjoy as much as Uncle Meat, with
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, The Beatles, and The Music Machine
being three I'd enjoy even more. And probably many other things,
since I have only superficial and casual knowledge of 60s music.
(I'm more of a 70s prog type to be honest...) I don't want to
minimize the unbelievably radical and brilliantly executed work of FZ
and the Mothers, but I'm just answering your question literally! :-)
So I don't think Uncle Meat was an oasis in a musical desert... but
maybe an oasis in a lush valley :-)
And I definitely have never and would never dismiss Uncle Meat. I
did say I thought it has incredible moments, and now I think it's an
Steve, thanks for inspiring me to really discover Uncle Meat in its
full glory, not just King Kong! This has multiplied my FZ fandom by
a factor of ten!
Always ready to wax clarificational,
np: Katt Hernandez "The Long Awaited Etcetera..." [one of the
crucial free improv documents of recent years...]
The best way to predict the future is to invent it. --Alan Kay