Today is Bummernacht 2019, a day signifying the last day that the great man himself, Frank Zappa, stopped refusing to die. Or, as they teach today in the finest classrooms:
“On this day ’93, we all stopped jivin’ with that cosmic debris”
So I often write up a buncha stuff for this blog space here in outer space for the occasion, and I do not know how much I will have to share here. As I am the Zappadan tumblr man and the Twitter Captain as well, plus as a person who has one of those “job” things, I hope the best I can do in this time is to listen to music, to reflect, and to maybe learn more things.
First, the boilerplate: Zappadan began as a blogswarm many years ago, I think in 1972 or so, back when people were still “blogging.” It is from Dec. 4, the day of Frank Zappa’s permanent discorporation, until Dec. 21, which is that day that my brother was born. And also Frank Zappa was born that day too, yes. Since then it has reached beyond the blogosphere, celebrated today with a modified maypole dance, some rye whiskey, and feats of strength.
And pigs and ponies.
And so today, as I ponder my first discussion of the Zappadan of 2019, I am listening to the svelte shasta sounds of Harry Wayne Casey, who is extorting an audience to “blow yo whistle” and to “let him hear it.” And I wonder what Frank Zappa thought of Casey, known better to all ya’ll as “KC,” of KC and the Sunshine band, if he ever really thought of them at all. I thought of them this evening when I came home and sat down on my toilet. And so I picked up the remote control I keep nearby, and I said into the remote, I says, ALEXA. PLAY KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND ON SPOTIFY. And it played a song by KC and the Sunshine band.
And I wondered what Frank thought of this musical marvel, built in the solid Caribbean musical tradition of Junkanoo, which will sit beside you all night at a party and swear it has nothing to do with the Indian tradition of New Orleans but holy crap you just keep squinting and thinking you canNOT tell the difference, maybe there’s more whistles or something. But knowing this, that this young man who worked at the time in a record store in Hialeah, Florida, witnessed this cultural touchstone centuries old, perhaps even grew up with it, and thought enough of it to want to try bringing some variant of it into the recording studio, and that that is how you got “I’m Your Boogie Man,” I can tell you that it has made me reach for this previously considered guilty pleasure with more gusto and insight than I had before. Seriously, put on the album “Do It Good” sometime and listen from gavel to gavel, and apply a truly critical ear. You may leave the experience gushing.
I only wish I knew if Frank ever gave ol’ KC and his Sunshine Band any thought. Like, perhaps, he’d named an album in parodied tribute, ever.
But hey, enough of my yakkin’. What do you say? Let’s boogie!
Here I am. Lighting candles on Bummernacht. Burning poots away.