23 December 2017

Day 11 of The 13 Days of Zappaness, 2017 Edition

Probably, the horse is long out of the barn on this one.  The phrase “freak out” is (practically without exception, by now) used as a colorfully intensive synonym for panic.

But it wasn’t like that in the beginning.  In L.A. in the early ’60s, the freaks were (what will not be a surprise) the youths (and “non-square” adults) who expressed resistance to Social Conformity—think Leave It to Beaver (and if you do not remember Leave It to Beaver, God bless you)—in their dress and grooming.  So that when Zappa coined the term Freak Out! and used it as the title of the first Mothers album, its meaning was more on the lines of “exult in your otherness.”

As not infrequently happens, the phrase (or other Object) goes out into the world, has a life of its own, and wanders (sometimes far, far away) from its original meaning and context.

What are you gonna do?

To speak of the album itself . . . I had a, I do not say troubled, but rather rocky history with it.  My Zappa-head friend from of old certainly had the original double-LP, and I think it quite likely that she played “Help, I’m a Rock” for me.  Fast forward to the Compact Disc Era, and the Rykodisc issue of Freak Out! on a single CD was among my earliest digital music purchases.

And the album failed to thrill me.  I freely confess it.

The remastered MOFO Project/Object release was another matter entirely, however.  The thrills abound.

So there (and here) it is.

Day 11, “You’re Probably Wondering Why I’m Here” (from Freak Out!)

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