Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review of Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words

Yesterday I went to see the documentary Eat This Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words at the TIFF Lightbox in downtown Toronto. Most music fans should be familiar with Zappa from his 60s band Mothers Of Invention and more recently his 1984 hit single Valley Girl. I'm a big fan of his fusion music from the 70s. And as most should know, Zappa died of cancer in 1993. This film was produced by Gail and Ahmet Zappa who run his estate. Gail has said the reason for the film is there are plenty of misconceptions about her dad. And he did plenty of interviews so she decided to use his own words to clear them up. I was talking to my friend who went to the movie with me. And he knows people who, based on his "weird" music, believe that Zappa must have been a drug addict. But he wasn't. And the whole point of the film is the only "weird" thing about Zappa was his music. Other than that, he was married with four kids like a lot of people. A couple of the more interesting interview segments was Zappa's very first TV appearance on a 1963 episode of The New Steve Allen Show. And an appearance on I've Got A Secret where Soupy Sales correctly guesses who he is. Zappa was a very articulate guy capable of expressing his position on most topics with a great sense of humour and plenty of sarcasm. We also see clips of his various bands featuring musicians like Jimmy Carl Black, Ian Underwood and his wife Ruth Underwood (that's her playing vibes), Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman AKA Flo & Eddie, Aynsley Dunbar, Roy Estrada, George Duke, Jean-Luc Ponty, Don Preston, Chester Thompson and Ike Willis. As the 80s progressed, Zappa didn't really want to be a rock musician anymore. He wanted to be like the classical composers he admired as a youth. Sadly this was cut short by his illness and 1993 death. This period is shown through a Today Show interview. The only thing missing for me is his various battles with record companies to get his music released as Zappa wanted as opposed to what record companies wanted. Maybe he just didn't talk about that much. Eat That Question is recommended to Frank Zappa fans and also to those who think they know about him but they probably don't. This film will give you a clear picture. Check out the trailer.

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