Zappadan 2020

Today is the last day of Zappadan, and it marks kind of a special number for its observers, as if Frank Zappa had continued refusing to die, he would have been 80 years old today. I didn’t do a lot of work here this year; the pandemic has kept me busy as I am one of the fortunate Americans who has continued to procure an income throughout. But there has been tweeting, there has been tumblring, and there has been Spotify playlist-making.

If there’s one tune I kept coming back to and often keep coming back to with Zappa, it’s “King Kong.” The best performance of this I have not found available on CD nor mp3 yet, it’s from this BBC show, 1968.

Among the fascinating stuff about this performance is that Bunk Gardner Ian Underwood seems to be plugged in, Eddie Harris style, something I’m not sure they ever did again. And of course, who gets the first big solo? Motorhead, who honks on a bari sax for several bars, though Underwood will use the amp to some effect later.

Then, boy oh boy does Don Preston freak out.

The tune, I feel, does what it says on the tin, as in, if King Kong were approaching you, say, walking across some river to shore, this is the theme song you’d hear.

Anyway, Merry Zappadan. And stay out of the ICU.

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