Friday, August 18, 2017

Frank Zappa owned a record store. Its particularity was that it sold only music that he liked. Avant-garde composers, doo-wop, R&B. Also classic rock—but only what he liked.

I wanted to ask him a question. I tried to get his attention but he turned to another customer, holding up a long, crooked finger to scold me. It was unnaturally long, like a cartoon wizard’s. His demeanor was perfectly aligned with what I'd always heard about him—arrogant, intolerant, demanding.

Finally he turned to me.

“Do you have any Rolling Stones?” I asked. I was apprehensive, afraid he'd scoff, but more so curious. Did Frank Zappa like the Rolling Stones?

“I have The Last Time,” he replied with a slight grimace. In the dream this was an early Stones album, though it's really just an early tune.

I detected his ambivalence. “Yeah, I don't like the early albums as much.” I said. “They didn't really get great until Between the Buttons. Or Aftermath.”

I thought he nodded slightly.

“Or Beggar’s Banquet!” I said excitedly, eager for him to agree. “The early albums are too, you know—jangly.” I grasped for the right words as I searched his face for affirmation. Surely this was a musical characteristic that Frank Zappa would scorn. “They're too strummy.

Again, he seemed to agree. But maybe not. He didn't reveal much.