Zappa Image


By Hunter Lanier | November 23, 2020

Consequently, Studio Z wasn’t only a starting point for Zappa’s music career, but it also kicked off his political awareness, particularly regarding the freedom of expression. Many years later, he would testify in front of Congress for the rights of artists to create whatever they pleased without interference from the government. People need to be occasionally reminded that freedom of speech includes the most horrible, nasty, offensive things you can think of, along with “good morning” and “I think there should be a ramp in front of the post office.”

“In letting the mess be, as opposed to molding it into something more coherent, is where the film succeeds most.”

Along the way, you get glimpses of Zappa’s domestic shortcomings and, of course, make frequent stops at his many musical concoctions. From the legendary debut album of the Mothers of Invention (one of his first bands) to his final concert, where he was not a rock guitarist, but the conductor of an orchestra, just about every era of Zappa’s musical career is covered. Though the movie never has a sense of direction, and it never finds a character arch in Zappa’s life, but that’s probably because there wasn’t one. It was a mess, but an organized, well-calculated, mostly enjoyable mess. In letting the mess be, as opposed to molding it into something more coherent, is where the film succeeds most. It’s also just a loud rock doc with great music. What more do you need to know?

As a rockstar businessman, with long-hair who couldn’t stand drugs, and an anti-Reagan small-government advocate, Frank Zappa couldn’t be filed into any of the world’s depressing manilla folders. And his music was an extension of that decision — the decision to do whatever he wanted to do, the way he wanted to do it. If you liked what he was offering and wanted to hand over some money for it, great. If you didn’t like it and wouldn’t hand over a sticky penny for it, less great, but it’s your sticky penny.

Zappa was scheduled to screen at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival.

Zappa (2020)

Directed and Written: Alex Winter

Starring: Frank Zappa, Gail Zappa, Bruce Bickford, Pamela Des Barres, Henry Dutt, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Joe Travers, Ian Underwood, Ruth Underwood, Steve Vai, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Zappa Image

"…few public figures rejected both the establishment and anti-establishment with the vehemence of Frank Zappa."

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  1. Ozzie DeWitt says:

    I’m really looking forward to this movie. Frank was a musical genius with a taste for the bizarre and odd. Saw the guy many times and was always thoroughly entertained. His satire and observations between and in songs were often barbed but hysterically funny. Politically as sharp as a razor blade very usually making very valid points cloaked in humour.
    This movie will, I hope, be a fitting tribute to a unique talent. One that’s sorely missed. “They were jamming in Joe’s Garage………………”

  2. G-man says:

    Does anyone know when this movie is being released? I know it was supposed to be screened at SXSW, pre-Covid shuttering.

  3. greggary peccary says:

    I am a movie backer. Why don’t radio stations give him air play? Have been looking for the release. Government conspiracy the covid-19 scare coincides? WWFD???

  4. Tim K says:

    Myself and some friends of mine drove down from Palmdale to see Zappa at the Roxy in Hollywood. That was the night he recorded ” LIVE AT THE ROXY”.
    When Frank asked on the album….”does anyone know where Palmdale Is?”….that was us…yeah, we were a little tipsy.
    I almost didn’t go that night, but am I glad I did. I had no idea how talented he was till that evening.

  5. Joe says:

    The remnants of a modern day composer. His works will stand the test of time. The media that rejected his theorems, was in fact a reflection of themselves.

  6. Steve Lasky says:

    How can I view this film in Eufene OR?

  7. Nelson Pinheiro says:

    I’m wating to see it. Zappa was the Mozart of the 20 century.

  8. Kid rock says:

    Im 58, at 15yrs of age, i was turned on to FRANK ZAPPA!! At first, it was because we thought he was funny!! And, he WAS!! But, i’ve learned he’s one of the BEST GUITARIST!! And his was of leading a band!! I CAN CHOKE, SO MANY IGGNORENT PEOPLE, WHO SAYS, OH FRANK ZAPPA, THAT GOOFY GUY, WHO MAKES UP HIS OWN LYRICS?!! I SAY, WHOEVER IT IS, DON’T SHOW YOUR IGGNORENCE!! RIP FRANK ZAPPA!! 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

  9. Jon Kaplan says:

    I just can not see how you can stuff intricate details of Frank’s life in a few hours of video. FZ was ahead of his time then, now and tomorrow. A once in a blue moon individual whose true fans are appreciating different aspects of his work every passing day.

  10. Albert Schwartz says:

    Netflix etc possibilities?

  11. Albert Schwartz says:


  12. Raymond T. Whitson III says:

    What about release date and venues?
    Bought my 1st FZ album (WRMF) in ’69, never looked back. I was 15 years old.
    I was told from the age of 6 that I was weird. I thought something was wrong with me. Frank taught me that I should not only be comfortable with being weird, but to find joy in it, and to rub it in the faces of conformists. A fellow Kentuckian, Hunter Thompson, stated,” When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Frank was the ultimate pro.

  13. Allen Harrison says:

    Looking forward to it !!

  14. Jamesybaby says:

    Nice. It’s about time. #Freakfase jp

  15. Vinnie spahr says:

    From a man who left no stone on his grave . I believe frank would not approve of this .

  16. Cyclenman says:

    No way to delay…

  17. Rudi says:

    Waar kan ik dit bekijken?

  18. Charles Lehner says:

    Capturing Zappa in a movie indicates to me that it be phased and lengthy… with seven parts…

  19. Ryan Panco says:

    Looks like an interesting film to see. Will this be aired on tv?

  20. Carolyn Zaremba says:

    Although I am a Marxist, I have loved Frank Zappa’s music since the late 1960s. I know some people who refuse to listen to his music because he wasn’t a socialist, but I think that’s stupid. Musical genius is musical genius. I mean, even the Israeli Philharmonic plays Wagner, right? I’d like to see this film.

    • Nobody should let their admiration for dead bearded guy get in the way of their admiration for a different dead bearded guy. When you open one door in your mind, another one doesn’t open or close. Open everything and get some circulation going.

  21. ML Quattrochi says:

    Frank was the absolute composer. I don’t believe that during his short life any other person could create musical scores anywhere equal. His music did all the things it was supposed to do when I listened, and still does so today.

  22. Mary Jo La France says:

    Oh I’ve been looking forward to seeing this sounds wonderful thank you thank you thank you

  23. Paul Montemarano says:

    The maestro of my generation and those to come.

  24. Paul says:

    I’m in the United States, California , where can I see, or how can I get this movie?

  25. lala s says:

    I just heard Dweezil say on tour that he is making his own FZ doc. Now THAT, I’d watch

  26. Ian Stark says:

    Freak Out was one of the first albums I ever bought. I’ve been a fan of Zappa’s ever since. His music has been an inspiration to my playing. Zappa is awesome!

  27. Mir says:

    Pidamos lo imposile

  28. Christina says:

    Andrew Berian,

    Ridgewood NJ, my brother, Andrew Berian, could blow you away like FZ on guitar. I was in 2nd grade running through the house singing Titties and Beer…

  29. Steve Baker says:

    Thanks Hunter, can’t wait to hand over my sticky pennies to see this. Born and raised FZ fanatic.

  30. Stuart Rose says:

    Love me some Zappa! Pure Genius!!

  31. Scott Ward says:

    Hates drugs but smoked nicotine

  32. Bob Partain says:

    Can’t wait to see it!

  33. Little Jack says:

    Looking forward to it.

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