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July 18, 1978 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-18

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Page 6-Tuesday, July 18, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Zappa In New York
Frank Zappa
Warer Bros.2D 2200
Zappa In New York, an indescribably
bland record of several concert per-
formances in late 1976, contains a ren-
dition of "Sofa*l," the marvelous,
richly-textured instrumental off of One
Size Fits All. The new version is strip-
ped of its orchestral density, relies on a
thin, wailing wax to carry the melody,
and is so enervated that it sounds like a
funeral march. Unfortunately this song
is quite appropriate for the occasion,
because Zappa In New York is one long,
drawn-out burial rite, and the deceased
party is Frank Zappa's music.
Considering Zappa's position in the
supposed avant-garde of rock and roll,
it is ironic that his demise hasn't
arrived concurrently with any in-
creased intellectualization. On the con-
trary, his last album, the disastrous
Zoot Allures, was highly un-
sophisticated, with crudely satirical
lyrics and pounding rhythms that
couldn't compensate for its essential
slightness. Despite a few inventive
moments, the new album's loftier
pretensions make it an even bigger
ZAPPA'S newfound self-indulgence
doesn't even have the notable eccen-
tricity of one who's always been out of
the mainstream. Hacking out com-
positions with the same lyrical and in-
strumental gimmicks he drove into the
ground several albums ago, he has
become a robot, entrenched in the
worn-out forms he created. Five years
after "Dinah Moe Hum," he is still
trying to squeeze out the last drops of
outrageousness with a song called "Tit-

ties & Beer."
But what is genuinely tiring are those
damn instrumental breaks. Zappa's
idea of complexity is to clutter songs
with cumbersome arrays of synthetic
polyrhythms and 13-tuplets. This is
nothing but sophisticated hackwork,
superficially impressive because most
of it is so devilishly difficult to play. I
never felt Zappa sold out when he for-
sook taking potshots at Flower Power
for slicker, "commercial" productions,
but now, in addition to putting his
socially conscious days behind him,
he's trashed his musical imagination as
well. Without even going back to
straight rock and roll or rock with a
jazz tinge,Zappa is content wallowing
in musical superficiality to engage in
tired theatrics onstage.
A FEW YEARS ago listening to Zap-
pa could be liberating, whether he was
spinning absurd yarns like "Montana"
and side one of Apostrophe, or touching
on subjects ("Dirty Love") deliciously
out-of-kilter with the sugar-coated
lyrics rampant in popular music. In
some ways, his intent was similar to
that of much of the New Wave - to cut
through (or ridicule) contemporary
phoniness and delve, Lenny Bruce-like,
beneath sacred taboos.
Perhaps now, when a show like
Saturday Night Live can spread bad
taste among the Pepsi generation
coast-to-coast, Zappa's only outlet is to
turn around and adopt a blue-collar
persona ("Titties & Beer"), trumping
everyone with second-convolution
outrageousness. Regardless, the two
showcase humorous numbers,
"Honey, Don't You Want a Man Like
Me?" and "The Illinois Enema Ban-
dit," are so unfunny that they're
downright infantile next to the
hysterical survey of American
boredom ina song like "San Ber'dino."
The only enjoyable moments are a
short instrumental, the name of which
I'd rather not print, and "The Purple
Lagoon," which seems positively
stellar next to the crude design of most
of the others.
Zappa In New York is disheartening
because Zappa, in squandering his
talent, hasn't gained a thing. He hasn't
gone commercial or sold out - he's
simply run out. Before he records his
next album, this former innovator
might do well to ask himself, "Is this
real music, or is this Sears music?"
--Owen Gleiberman

Ar roto
NEARLY 1,000 NATIVE Americans marched on Washington, demanding an end to
what they called the U.S. "policy of genocide against Native Americans." The
march, which began on the other side of the country, was dubbed "The Longest
Native Americans tell
U.S. to end 'genocide'

Americans marched to Capitol Hill
yesterday to demand the government
end what they called a policy of
genocide against them.
"You hear about six million Jews
killed by the Nazis. What about the
more than 14 million Indians killed in
the last 500 years?" asked Larry Red
Shirt of the Sioux Nation. "This country
has an all-out policy of genocide."

Prof remej
days in nwi
(continued from Page 1)
dinary Soviet citizens. They listen
regularly to the Western radio broad-
casts and this publicity could make
them become more resistant to the
Lifshitz, a former journalist, remem-
bers his own struggle and the great dif-
ficulty he faced when he tried to get
some of his work published.
"OF COURSE everything I wrote
was censored first to see if it was accep-
table. I remember writing about Greek
mythology for children when the word
God appeared several times in my
work. The Soviets, however, omitted
the w-, ; h")e tecaileck : .
Sh n 4$;W .ggever

ub e rshis

RED SHIRT addressed nearly 1,000
ive U Native Americans and several hundred
supporters and tourists who gathered
part of the official dissident movement on the steps of the Capitol as the Native
and said he only acted naturally in an Americans began a series of protests to
effort to show freedom of expression. culminate "The Longest Walk," the
"You don't think of whether you're protest march that spanned a con-
joining an official dissident movement tinent.
but whether you're expression your A position paper issued in the names
own true feelings. I tried to get things of the Navajo, Iroquois and Sioux
published which expressed views con- nations declared that the "clearcut
trary to the Soviets. It is just what I policy of genocide of the last century
though I should do," he said. continues in more sophisticated forms
Lifshitz said he faced little difficulty in this century."
when he applied for his emigration The position paper claimed that
visa. nearly one-fourth of all Native
"I applied in a time when it was very American women were forcibly
simple to get an emigration visa. It was sterilized from 1971 through 1975 and
around the time that Kissinger was that, "Nearly one out of three of our
preparing to visit Russia and the children are being placed in non-Indian
Sovi~tt1,,,r"0ont0 ed about cleaning foster homes daily, by various county,
house~lajigQstate and fedvral'ugencies-

THE PAPER also said that tribal
governments are being destroyed, and
tribes pitted against each other.
In addition, it said, "our religions
have been attacked and degraded, and
our children continue to be processed
through various forms of Western
educational programs."
Oren Lyons, chief of the Six Nation
Iroquois Confederacy, said, "This walk
is for our survival, for the survival of all
the colors of mankind."
Many of the Native Americans
greeted statements with shrill war
whoops and applause. They approached
the Capitol voicing the rallying chant f
the American Indian Movement, a
militant organization. "We travel
thousands of miles only to learn the
President is in Germany talking about
human rights," noted Red Shirt. "It
shows he doesn't care about Indians. It
shows the people don't care."
The Native Americans also criticized
- legislation that would terminate treaty
rights. But Cranston said, "I assure you
those bills are going nowhere in the
The Native Americans plan to
demonstrate before the Supreme Court
today to protest decisions they believe
deprive them of their sovereignty, their
lands and their water and fishing

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