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Sippin’ Zappa

7 Oct

On Saturday 4 October 2008, the founders of two world-class blogs – Pig State Recon and Impy Malting – met up to exchange thoughts, question assumptions, and simply bask in the formidable glow of Frank Zappa, his well-respected We’re Only In It For the Money LP from 1968, and a limited-edition, Belgian style triple ale (8.2% ABV) brewed by the Laginutas Brewing Co. to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the album’s release. And bask we did – after dropping the needle on the, er, illegally downloaded MP3s and capping the bottle which had been graciously smuggled from the wilds of Nerdi Gras (aka Dragon Con) by our dearest friend and kick-ass mezzo soprano, Liza. Here’s how it played out:
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Impy: So basically this record is about getting crabs? He’s mentioned them three times already. Is this Sgt. Pepper’s derivative?

Mrowster: Yeah, same year or thereabouts. It’s a satire. A lampoon. A political cartoon of a record. I never read those cartoons. I’d rather read Andy Capp. Have you ever met a funny Zappa fan?

I: They’re always overly-intellectual eggheads. Was that a Beatles’ reference? I think that one was referencing “When I’m 64”.

M: There’s like 15 people playing on this record, but it’s all about Frank. You can see him, smell him everywhere. I don’t believe people into heavy drugs were into this. Sure, maybe people smoked pot and giggled to it, but dropping acid to this? No way.

I: So all I know about Triples is the water goes through the mash tun three times, and that it’s strong. And Belgian. I have no idea if this is authentic to the style. I mean, it’s orange. Kinda sour.

photo by Dr000 on flickr, creative commons license.

photo by Dr000 on flickr, creative commons license.

M: My stomach itches. That song “Hot Poop” was more like a lifeless turd.

I: There’s a lively carbonation. Kind of a dog-food nose, but I’m not making up my mind yet. Cumquats, or apricots. Suddenly, I wish it was colder so it would taste less.

M: Ooh – wow – It’s kind of like that taste in your mouth when you wake up in the morning. Zappa was always going on about how he was “influenced by Stockhausen”.

I: Who’s Stockhausen?

M: Just like this modern composition guy. This record is not beautiful or even emotionally complex.

I: It’s munchkin rock. Do you think we should have aged it?

M: The record is already 40 years old, I don’t think it’s gonna ever sound any better.

I: I can’t get past the smell.

M: It’s really tough going. Is there anything about this beer that speaks of Zappa?

I: The colour – I mean, it’s bright orange. It looks like Fanta or something.

M: I don’t know if we can even get through it: 1 pt., 6 oz. and a double album.

I: Wait – it’s a double album?

M: [checks the stream] Sorry, false alarm. It’s only one album.

I: I wish we were listening DIGITAL UNDERGROUND instead. Their “No Nose Job” beats this “What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?” song in every way. Was that a Jesus Christ Superstar reference I just heard?

M: This predates Jesus Christ Superstar. If this is Zappa’s crowning achievement . . . my god. This is completely not what I was expecting from the beer or the man. Man.

I: Did you get the fish note just then?

M: The fish-juice note! Clearly Zappa put a lot of time into this.

I: I guess, but it seems pretty arbitrary to me.

M: I’m just saying there’s a lot going on on this record. It’s just not pleasurable to go into, nor is this beer. Oh man.

I: Did you just get the fish note again?

M: I got the fish note again. Is there anything good we can say about this? I’ve tried to say it’s complex.

I: All I can think about is how he got from this to “Valley Girl”. Should we write the post now?

M: We’ve got to finish the beer first. At least it’s getting easier because of the alcohol content.

I: The beer leaves a kind of nice flavor on my lips. Like Sweet Tarts.

M: You always hope there’s some hidden beauty in Zappa, because everyone says it’s great.

I: Dweezil is kind of cute. Zappa made him. I saw him on Letterman once. Ok, I don’t know if I can finish this.

M: We can change to another Zappa record. But wait, I don’t have another Zappa record. I have some Beefheart though . . .

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