Frank Zappa, RIP, 4 December 1993

     Twenty-two years already? So much has happened in this world, and there are times I wish Frank were here to cut through some of the nonsense and speak his mind, whether on music, politics, society, or anything. Of course he was not always correct; none of us is. but he had substance that is sorely lacking.

     I am going to post a link to his parody of "Sgt. Pepper", entitled "We're Only In It For the Money". the double irony is that there was not much money pouring in from the album, and that the Beatles admitted that the Mother of Invention's "Freak Out influenced their concept album.

    According to the liner notes, Zappa suggested that one read Franz Kafka's"In the Penal Colony" before listening to the album. My brother had a copy in an anthology of German short stories that he had for a college class, so I read it and got ready to learn about Camp Reagan. Oh, what Frank could have done about Trump et alia!

   A reposting of my poem about meeting Frank and the band:

When the Music of the Spheres Came to Town

Gliding past the ionosphere,
Equally at home in worlds
Little-known or undiscovered,
Transmitting music of the spheres
To anyone who dared dream
That such a thing existed,
His path was not less taken
But unimaginable, connecting
To others at crossroads
Only he could mark.

Music far beyond my ability,
But lyrics articulated what
I attempted to say. All of it
Commercially unacceptable
But available on the FM dial
And hipper record stores.

Those three days flowed
At different rates as Parnassus
Came to me one spring.
Hair brushed back, clad in
Turtleneck and blazer, I
Almost sat in on a panel on
An Educational TV show.
Afterwards we talked by
A baby grand about Varese
And I received an autograph
Finally framed decades later
Now hanging in my den.

Backstage at the concert
Mesmerized by jazz-rock-blues
Fusion, laced with
Classical overtones and drama
I watched among managers,
Groupies, and the rest.
At times the guitar
Stayed silent as he
Conducted the band
Never missing a beat.

The following day after classes
Hanging at the Sheraton
Illegally sipping screwdrivers
On the managerial tab,
Speaking and kidding with him
Being mistaken for
A member of the band,
Eventually I led some to
An impromptu basketball game
In the shadows of six-story
Pollock Residence Halls.

Years later living near
A city he called “a sealed tuna sandwich”
I relive those hours, thinking
On a life that heartened many
Behind the Iron Curtain and
Those of us here not content
To accept the status quo.
For progress demands deviation
(Those words posted outside
My classroom door along with
When I do what I do).

And some of us dare to differ
And seek our own unimagined paths
Leading to crossroads as
The beckoning ionosphere
Urges us to soar higher and higher
And where we converge
Into that music of the spheres.

Arthur Turfa © 2015