New Frank Zappa DVD Freaks Out

“How could anyone who liked Varese and Stockhausen like doo-wop?!” former Frank Zappa cohort Ian Underwood asks early in The Freak-Out List, Sexy Intellectual’s interesting new film about Zappa’s famously disparate influences. Zappa catalogued 179 names in the original liner notes to The Mothers of Invention’s quirky 1966 debut Freak Out!, pointing listeners to the artists who had informed the then-25-year-old composer/guitarist/singer’s simultaneously super high and super low brow music. “He just loved music, period,” concludes 70’s Zappa keyboardist/singer George Duke later in The Freak-Out List, and it’s true: before his death due to cancer almost 30 years later, Zappa’s list kept growing, along with the scope of his iconoclastic songwriting. Despite only including a few Zappa tunes – due to the late rock legend’s notoriously ornery estate –The Freak-Out List does a great job of utilizing memorable interviews with noted musicologists and musicians and captivating rare Zappa footage to delineate the self-sufficient musical education of one of the most fascinating artists in American history.

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