Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Frank Zappa

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There’s a fine line between insanity and pure genius …The name Frank Zappa often conjures up the image of a deranged satirist. But for close to thirty years, between 1966 until his untimely death from prostate cancer in 1993, Frank Zappa was one of the most influential, innovative, and controversial musicians in contemporary and popular music (despite little radio airplay). Beginning with his band, the Mothers of Invention, Frank Zappa built a formidable career in rock and roll by combining a wide range of ...
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Overview


There’s a fine line between insanity and pure genius …The name Frank Zappa often conjures up the image of a deranged satirist. But for close to thirty years, between 1966 until his untimely death from prostate cancer in 1993, Frank Zappa was one of the most influential, innovative, and controversial musicians in contemporary and popular music (despite little radio airplay). Beginning with his band, the Mothers of Invention, Frank Zappa built a formidable career in rock and roll by combining a wide range of styles, including serious contemporary music, jazz, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, and social and political parody. Yet Zappa was often portrayed as a drug addict (even though he denounced drug use) and a fetishist (despite a normal married life). In Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Zappa, Kevin Courrier explodes those myths by illuminating the facts about this outrageously gifted composer. Courrier examines how Frank Zappa's emergence in American popular culture during the eclectic and experimental sixties was no accident. Courrier argues  that Zappa's musical career — which poked fun at middle-class conformity, the hippie sub-culture, disco, the rock industry, and the Reagan era — had its roots in the artistic rebellion against Romanticism in the nineteenth century. The book draws links to the musical and cultural antecedents of Frank Zappa's career, including Erik Satie, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, and Zappa's true hero, Edgard Varese, who was as much a scientific inventor of electronic sounds as he was a dynamic avant-garde composer. This book examines Frank Zappa as a composer, performer, political artist, and American original. 
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550224474
  • Publisher: ECW Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Pages: 553
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author


Kevin Courrier is an entertainment journalist and the author of Law and Order: The Unofficial Companion. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2005

    Good Review of the Literature

    I would really like to give this book 3.5 stars. This book is very similar to a high school English paper. The bibliography is very extensive, but it basically looks like he got a bunch of articles and wrote a book based on them. There is one interview referenced where he talked to another Zappa biographer. But I do not think he actually went and interviewed Vai, Keneally, the Underwoods, Willis, etc. If he did, he did not reference it in any obvious manner. There are moments where you think that he got some insight into the recording or performance of a song, but once you get the CD you realize that it was written in the liner notes and he just paraphrased it. Another problem I have is his song analysis. Like any other music critic, the analyses are sometimes overblown and outright wrong. The Drowning Witch does not explicitly grow 15 ft tall or is saved by the Navy (it's only stated that that MIGHT happen), nor does the 'person' in Uncle Remus shed his or her fro, only the doo rag. A good thing about the book, however, is the social context that is given. For instance, I had no idea what LA was like in the 60s, but knowing it helps to understand why Zappa was doing what he was doing. The biographies about Zappa's heros are also very useful. Although any new interviews seem to be lacking, and the song analyses are sometimes flat out wrong, if you do not have enough time or patience to read all the stuff out there relating to Zappa, then read this book. It is a very good review of his albums, heros, and life.

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