It's hard to describe the impact Frank and his music have had on my life. He's really been an inspiration on so many levels, and at such deep levels that the influence and inspiration are just a part of my cell structure any more. I don't think many people would know it from talking to me these days, but in the past I think it was more apparent from the way I spoke. Regardless of things having changed in the direct influence, I keep going back to his music and enjoying so much of what he did, and I have endless admiration for his clear, rational thinking on many subjects perverted by emotional (religious or not) types. Few people are as good as he was at cutting through lots of rhetoric and stating simple, rational facts. Studying his music and the rhythmic devices he used is probably one of my favorite hobbies.

Anyway, I don't really want to do much by way of a biography. That's already been covered by Frank himself in The Real Frank Zappa Book, and by others in various biographies. Please steer clear of Barry Miles' "biography" which amounts to little more than a personal attack on Frank with not a lot of factual claims or contrary opinions. I've only read excerpts from it myself, and have read some annoyingly uncritical reviews of the book. I think it's really a poor way to get to know about Frank. I hope to find the time to read it and to analyze it more in depth, but I definitely don't want to support Barry Myles by buying a new copy.

I've been a fan of Frank Zappa's for over 20 years now. I was exposed to him when I was in my mid-teens by my sister's boyfriend at the time, a guy named Gary Williams who was from Perth Amboy. He was a real Zappa head, went to pretty much every Zappa show he could get to (when the partying didn't get in the way), and probably had every one of Frank's albums. I remember hearing things like "The Torture Never Stops" from Zoot Allures, or "Dumb All Over", "The Illinois Enema Bandit", "Muffin Man" from the times I'd go visit my sister and Gary at their place in Perth Amboy. I remember liking it in a novelty kind of way at the time. Coming from being a Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath fan, a lot of Frank's stuff just sounded weird as hell. It wasn't the kind of stuff I'd feel comfortable playing for all my conservative rocker/metal friends.

To be continued...