Turning Point Ensemble - Frank Zappa & Les Wiseman MusesMonday, January 23, 2017
On May 1980 I was an ignoramus of music. I had a contract job to accompany Les Wiseman Vancouver Magazine writer and columnist (In One Ear, a music column about esoteric pop bands) in his travels around our city looking for worthy bands that would be worthy of his snobbish tastes. You see all good music critics, by definition are snobs.
We were to go to a press conference and interview with one Frank Zappa at a joint called Bud’s Good Eats on Pacific avenue tucked next to the Granville Street Bridge.
All I knew about Zappa is that in my reading of Downbeat in the 60s he had always gotten terrible reviews. Wiseman told me that Zappa had been inspired by one Edgard Varèse. I had never heard of the composer. I bought a record and found it unplayable. I would think that Varèse was my first entry into what then was almost new music. Now I will have an opportunity to get a fresh look at Zappa, Varese and a Canadian composer John Oswald in next week's Turning Point Ensemble concert.
Les Wiseman’s piece on Zappa I will post here (with kind permission from Wiseman) scanned in its entirety. Click on it to make it bigger. It is wonderful and revealing of both men. My contact with Zappa besides listening to Wiseman’s interview was to find out from Zappa’s guitarist that the man did not know how to read music. I laughed when Zappa asked the buxom waitress (they were waitresses in 1980) for the list of local beers and imported ones. He then ordered a ginger ale.