Event Title

Absolutely Free? Frank Zappa’s Musical Assault on American Conformity, 1966-1968

Faculty Advisor

Michael Weis

Graduation Year

2019

Location

Room E106, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Start Date

13-4-2019 10:00 AM

End Date

13-4-2019 11:00 AM

Description

Throughout his career, American composer Frank Zappa (1940-1993) expounded the potency of music in regard to the medium’s inherent ability to enact critical assessments of society. Zappa’s music exemplified many new possibilities in popular music that have influenced generations of musicians to push the boundaries of the media format. In the context of the Counterculture of the 1960s, Zappa utilized his initial, experimental rock albums, Freak Out! (1966), Absolutely Free (1967), and We’re Only in It for the Money (1968), with his band, The Mothers of Invention, to demonstrate his vision for the United States during the 1960s and beyond. Although Zappa critiqued the country throughout his life, he never deviated far from what he expressed so explicitly within these three albums. Zappa employed his early musical output to lambaste conformist aspects of the United States in the 1950s and the resultant society, culture, politics, and music of the following decade, as well as to propound and to exemplify his individualist ideals in order to combat elements of conformity in the nation. This work focuses on the arguably most important period of Zappa, and expands upon the existing concepts and insufficient analyses of his early music.

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Apr 13th, 10:00 AM Apr 13th, 11:00 AM

Absolutely Free? Frank Zappa’s Musical Assault on American Conformity, 1966-1968

Room E106, Center for Natural Sciences, Illinois Wesleyan University

Throughout his career, American composer Frank Zappa (1940-1993) expounded the potency of music in regard to the medium’s inherent ability to enact critical assessments of society. Zappa’s music exemplified many new possibilities in popular music that have influenced generations of musicians to push the boundaries of the media format. In the context of the Counterculture of the 1960s, Zappa utilized his initial, experimental rock albums, Freak Out! (1966), Absolutely Free (1967), and We’re Only in It for the Money (1968), with his band, The Mothers of Invention, to demonstrate his vision for the United States during the 1960s and beyond. Although Zappa critiqued the country throughout his life, he never deviated far from what he expressed so explicitly within these three albums. Zappa employed his early musical output to lambaste conformist aspects of the United States in the 1950s and the resultant society, culture, politics, and music of the following decade, as well as to propound and to exemplify his individualist ideals in order to combat elements of conformity in the nation. This work focuses on the arguably most important period of Zappa, and expands upon the existing concepts and insufficient analyses of his early music.