I was 11 (almost 12) years old on Christmas in 1982 and I didn’t know it then but something would happen that would be a touchstone in my musical life. During the Summer of 1982 the radio waves were filled with the sounds of one Moon Zappa saying things like, “Barf Out,” “Omigod,” “Toootallyyyy” and “Gag Me With A Spoon.” The single was of course Frank Zappa’s ode to the new trend among young women from the San Fernando Valley in California known as Valley Girls.
Why is this so significant to me you ask? Well my Mother hated this song, bad. So what did my Dad to but buy her a copy of the record for Christmas. She was appropriately appalled and cast the record aside immediately while Dad had a good chuckle. I was in the process of listening to every record I could get my hands on so I snatched it up quick and headed to the basement to listen to the whole thing.
Also on the record was a song called “Teenage Prostitute” and you gotta wonder if Dad knew that. I didn’t know any different I was just amazed at the sounds I was hearing. I didn’t know who Frank Zappa was either, and as much as I’d like to say that the record converted me to the ways of Zappa it just wasn’t to be. I was too young to even understand most of what was happening on that record.
Lyrically and musically it was way beyond anything I could comprehend. That didn’t stop me from playing it over and over though. I was fascinated with Frank’s vocals on the title track and all of the funny sounds. “Envelopes” confused the Hell out of me musically and I thought the high-pitched vocals on “No Not Now” were hilarious…’epsom salts?’.
It wasn’t until I got a little older that I fell under the spell of Frank’s work. I STILL don’t understand everything I’m hearing, but I listen to it every day and every day I miss him more. Thanks for the music Frank.
And a Happy Zappadan to you all!