Deep Music Criticism #14 – Frank Zappa’s My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama

Sorry folks – I’m just on a Zappa jag lately. I’m eating my own dogfood – fans are constantly comparing me to Zappa so I feel like I need to study his music in earnest to get the connection myself. I’m still convinced that my aesthetic and point of view is different than Frank’s, and I never was especially inspired by his musical ideas. Sure I have common threads in my music – jazz and fusion etc – but I admired and listened to the same artists Frank listened to. I didn’t absorb the influence second hand through him. View all photos

Drugs? No Victim, No Crime

Victimless CrimesI like to think that life is simple. Moral rules, right and wrong, justice and injustice – are all based on timeless, simple principles that worked the same for prehistoric and early civilized man as they do for us today.

We, unfortunately live in an advanced age, with massive control apparatus (also known as “government”). This massive apparatus – run by millions of bureaucrats – has a massive program that it implements with the help of its affiliates (media, industry, academia, etc.) to convince us that the new age requires something new. New laws, new standards, new definitions of justice and above all new morality. View all photos

Frank Zappa Quotes on Politics & Music

I’m a massive Frank Zappa fan – as most of you know. His intellect and sense of humor are as admirable as his musical vision and output.

A few months ago, when I was searching for interesting content to post for my followers on twitter, I remembered that quotes are always a popular thing to tweet. I went straight to my Frank Zappa quote-book, and promptly started sending out a regular helping of wit and wisdom from the great composer. Here are my top 10 favorites: View all photos

Deep Music Criticism #13 – Dream Theater’s Scenes from a Memory

In my quest to comprehend and appreciate the prog-metal warhorse of a band Dream Theater, I’ve been listening to their classic concept album Scenes from a Memory – also known by its more verbose title: Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory.

So far…meh. But read on.

There was a time in my life when I was a bit enthralled with concept albums. Rush’s 2112 was and still is endearing and brings back memories to when I first awakened to adventurous rock music. Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime was a smaller obsession a bit later. In a sense, every well-programmed and sequenced album of music should carry a concept and theme from start to finish, whether that be mood, musical element (like tempo, tonality), or whatever. But for an album to truly qualify as “concept”, there has to be a programmatic story – usually sung as lyrics, ala opera. View all photos

Hearing Frank Zappa’s Peaches en Regalia Almost Made Me Shit Myself

In the summer of 2000 I had just finished graduate school. I was anointed a Master of Music, a fully trained composer. However I found out in the pleasant but over-saturated job market of Amherst, MA that this plus $4.50 would buy me a Starbucks Latte.

A friend and fellow ex-composer-turned-day-jobber Peter Richards got me a job at the small tech startup he was programming for in downtown Amherst. Poor Peter had graduated college in 92 or 93 and had until then experienced bad luck shooting for startup riches at several promising IT companies. This was his final shot at it, so he said. View all photos

Anarchist Songs – My Contribution

Political labels are troublesome things. They carry so much baggage, and are not always perfectly descriptive of our ideas of how human society should be.

You know the moment when you’re asked: “What are you?”

Unless you’re a mindless slave to a major political party, you often fumfer and fuss searching for the right political elevator pitch:

  • I’m socially liberal but economically conservative…
  • I vote for whoever pays for my government cheese…
  • I’m kind of an anarchist… View all photos