Day: November 21, 2012

Incredible Boss Mother has a pretty solid selection of Zappa articles. Here's an early one: Frank Zappa the Incredible Boss Mother, by Don Paulsen, Hit Parader, June 1967.

"Top 40 radio is unethical, unmusical and it stinks. Classical music stations aren't much better. They all have very rigid, limited programming.

"The Mothers were created to fill most of the gap that exists between so-called serious music and the mass public. Really good music with advanced tendencies has been kept from the public at large. This includes classical and popular music. A filtering system of little old ladies selects the music played by symphony orchestras and on radio stations.

"Once some people get to the position where they own a nightclub or control the goings-on in a concert hall, they become critics and tastemakers.

"Usually they hate music. They love business and just want to make money. Whenever I have to deal with this kind of people, I always tell them that I hate music and I'm only doing this for the money. They slap me on the back and we get along fine. I tell them I wish I could drive a cab instead, but I can't get a license.

"The public knows nothing of what's really going on in the outer limits of music. There 'are kids writing music who think they've just made up the most fantastic things. They don't know that the best they can write today was already written and performed in 1912.

"A piece like Ameriques by Edgar Varèse, written in 1912, would scare the average teenager to death. Really scare him. Varèse lived and died in New York. The average American doesn't even know he existed, yet what he wrote has virtually changed the shape of all the music of the other composers who have heard it."

In later years, Zappa would come to believe that the younger generation of execs, the ones who thought they knew music, were even more dangerous and closed-minded than their square, mercenary elders.

But never mind that. I could pontificate on how things are different today (Top 40 radio ain't what it was) and how they're the same (American Idol ain't exactly much of an improvement) -- but the best thing I can do is demonstrate the kind of instant access to non-Top 40 music that we have in this here futuristic utopia of ours.

Here's Ameriques, by Edgard Varèse, performed by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 1997.

Mostly Painless

Well, can't say that meeting was any more helpful than I anticipated, but at least it was short -- I was out within half an hour.

They want me to sign up for some website or another (currently down), upload my resume, and sign up for updates. I also got the paperwork to switch my unemployment over to deposit directly in my regular account instead of the Chase one they opened for me. I've been meaning to do that since day one but am much more keen on getting around to it since discovering Chase started charging me a fee for not using my unemployment account during the months I was employed.

Just so we're clear: I am the sort of guy who will close his bank account over six dollars in fees.

Because I fucking-well need that six dollars more than Chase does. As evidenced by the fact that it's the account where my unemployment checks go.

On the whole, though, it was a good reminder that, even unemployed, I'm not so badly off. I've got a family that supports me, emotionally and, when occasionally necessary, financially. I'm in better shape than a lot of the folks I saw who went in to DES just to use their computers to apply for jobs.

Anyhow, on the way home I found gas for $3.39 a gallon. I was pretty excited about filling up my tank for about $30. Up until a mile later when I saw it for $3.35. And then when I saw it for $3.38 a mile away from my house. Oh well; $3.39's still pretty good.