Contemporary Music Has Message

By Associated Press

The Sunday Press, June 8, 1969

New York – Today's youth can identify with the "sceaminess'' of contemporary music because it expresses the way they feel, says Frank Zappa, leader of the Mothers of Invention, whose 10-member group does its part in contributing to the big sound.

"Instead of the smooth-sounding instruments the older listeners are used to, we now have harsh, fuzzy-toned guitars, loud amplifiers, shouting vocalists," he explains. "The noise releases some of the frustration the kids have inside them.

"We're entering the renaissance of the big band era," continues Zappa, who plays lead guitar, piano, vibes and drums. "What people want now is more and different sound. The way most concerts are conducted they are sit-down affairs – no space to dance – and thus the trend is toward larger groups playing longer songs, better music, improvising."

The drug revolution and television, he believes, have combined to make Americans as a whole a society of "passive voyeurs who sit and groove on the entertainment presented to them."

"What we do is art and has a great deal of intellectualism, where most of pop is on a glandular basis," he declares.

"A lot of our music is based on classical principles."

The thin and intense-looking young musician, who writes both music and lyrics for the group, admits that his songs have a message: "the absurdity of contemporary society – the hypocrisy, the injustice, the hopelessness."

"We are," he adds, "trying to encourage listeners to do something about it, to take the initiative where their parents are inadequate.

"When I talk to kids," says Zappa, "I tell them not to burn and destroy, but to become lawyers, teachers, doctors – do everything their parents did but do it better. They don't like to hear it because it's the hard way."

In their records, five singles and seven albums, including "Mothermania," "Freak Out" and "Lumpy Gravy," they stress social criticism rather than protest material. "There is no dialog between adults and kids and there ought to be," Zappa insists. "It had better start at home."

This syndicated article was published in several newspapers under different titles and authors. Example – "Youth Finds Release In Noise" by The Youth Service, Janesville Daily Gazette, June 16, 1969.

Place, date and the interviewer of this interview are not known.

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