December 21 was Frank Zappa’s birthday. He would have been 70. Here is “Tears Begin To Fall” from the album “Fillmore East – June 1971” It’s one of the peppiest break up songs I’ve ever heard. But I always say if you’re going to write a song about being depressed, at least make it something people can dance to! Besides, I think the message of loss is appropriate since many of his fans probably feel his absence more keenly on his birthday.
Thankfully my life doesn’t have any tear inducing drama. The last thing that made me cry was the movie “Toy Story 3.” That’s probably a good thing since it’d be the height of bad taste for me to take up space at the end of someone else’s birthday tribute prattling on and on about myself… Happy Birthday Frank Zappa!
“Waka/Jawaka” was released in 1972. It was the sequel to 1969’s “Hot Rats” and the sister album to “The Grand Wazoo.” The music was heavily influenced by Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew.” When I listen to this song and yesterday’s Soft Machine, I must confess I have a very hard time hearing the dividing line between Zappa’s jazz fusion and jazz influenced progressive rock. Not that it really matters ’cause it’s all good from where I sit.
To me, the term Waka/Jawaka sounds like the sort of wah wah guitar licks you’d find in 1970s films of a “certain type.” There is absolutely nothing in this song to suggest that Frank Zappa had anything even remotely like that in his mind when he wrote the music or the title. In fact, Zappa said the title came from “something that showed up on a Ouija board one time.” So here’s what I’m figuring, The Ouija board was probably channeling a fan of 1970’s films of a “certain type” who wanted to tell the world about his “hobby”. When you’re a non-corporeal being and you want to express your interests, what else are you going to do?