Frank Zappa was an American musician and songwriter. His career, which spanned over 30 years, included film direction and record production/engineering in addition to composing experimental music that fell into the genres of rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrete. As a solo artist and with his group, The Mothers of Invention, he recorded over 60 albums, all of which he produced himself.
Asides from his music, Zappa was known for his outspoken unconventional and iconoclastic views. He was strongly critical of establishment culture and society in the mid twentieth century. This manifested as criticism of mainstream education, values and politics, as well as organised religion. In addition, however, he was also critical of the 1960s counter culture and left-wing thought, which he viewed as naive and “silly”. He opposed communism, and described himself as a “practical conservative”.
Zappa was a strong advocate of self-education, political participation and individualism. His defence of freedom of speech, and his strong opposition to any kind of censorship, was particular passionate. His often humorous and satirical lyrics would often reflect his views.
1) The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with somebody else’s life.
2) We live in a very special time right now. At no other time in history has there been such mass disillusionment in terms of reliance on governing functions. Most people don’t want to come to terms with that. It’s been proven over and over again that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, but most people don’t like to look at naked emperors. In the process of turning around to avert their eyes, they saw the discotheques and a few other things and latched onto them.
3) There’s no reason to assume that my idea of what‘s better would really be better. I resent it when other people try to inflict their ideas of betterness on me. I don’t think they know. And I can’t see any authority on the horizon that’s got any answers that seem worthwhile. Most of the things that are suggested are probably detrimental to your mental health.
4) The biggest threat to America today is not communism. It’s moving America toward a fascist theocracy, and everything that’s happened during the Reagan administration is steering us right down that pipe … When you have a government that prefers a certain moral code derived from a certain religion and that moral code turns into legislation to suit one certain religious point of view, and if that code happens to be very, very right wing, almost toward Attila the Hun…
5) The ’60s was really stupid … It was a type of merchandising, Americans had this hideous weakness, they had this desire to be OK, fun guys and gals, and they haven’t come to terms with the reality of the situation: we were not created equal. Some people can do carpentry, some people can do mathematics, some people are brain surgeons and some people are winos and that’s the way it is, and we’re not all the same. This concept of one world-ism, everything blended and smoothed out to this mediocre norm that everybody downgrades themselves to be, is stupid.
6) The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.
7) Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.
8) Drugs do not become a problem until the person who uses the drugs does something to you, or does something that would affect your life that you don’t want to have happen to you, like an airline pilot who crashes because he was full of drugs. That’s a drug problem. I believe that people have the right to commit suicide. You can stick a gun in your mouth. You can stick a needle in your arm. You can do whatever you want, but you own your own body. I think you do. Drugs become a problem when the person who uses them turns into an asshole, and they also become a problem when the person who manufactures and distributes them turns into a politician. That’s the drug problem. Now, you want to fight the drug problem. You have to be realistic about what the problem is. The substance itself is not immoral. Without cocaine you’re going to have a hell of a time at the dentist’s office. You can’t say, “We have to burn every coca plant”. Otherwise, no more Novocaine, buddy.
9) The establishment of a rating system, voluntary or otherwise, opens the door to an endless parade of moral quality control programs based on things certain Christians do not like. What if the next bunch of Washington wives demands a large yellow “J” on all material written or performed by Jews, in order to save helpless children from exposure to concealed Zionist doctrine?
10) Government is the Entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.