“Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.” — Frank Zappa
While I have never been a huge fan of Frank Zappa’s music, I’ve always found him to be a fascinating figure and have come to understand him from a slightly different perspective, thanks to Dave Mc Gowan’s excellent research on The Laurel Canyon scene. Before I reflect on McGowan’s findings, I think it behooves us to have a look at Zappa’s chart.
He was born on 12/21/1940. His Sun was at 29 degrees Sag, with Mercury and Venus also in Sag. His Mercury was conjunct his ascendant, which is emblematic of his outspoken nature. Zappa did not identify with the hippie movement at all. He hated drugs and forbade his band members to have drugs when they recorded and toured. But Zappa was not a man without vices. He LOVED sex (three planets in Taurus, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, with Jupiter and Saturn conjunct) and the freedom of the road allowed him to soak up all of the devotion in a very intimate fashion–even though Zappa was married and had kids. His natal Mars in Scorpio (more sex) opposed his natal Uranus in Taurus (rebellious and very fixed). The self-described, “practical conservative” was deeply influenced by the likes of Edgar Varese (12/22), the founder of musique concrete when it came to music and composition.
Zappa’s creativity and nearly obsessive output can be seen at a number of places in his chart, but his natal Pluto was conjunct his natal Chiron in Leo. He was demanding of himself and others, driven to constantly refine his music, a complex amalgam of rock, funk, jazz, and expressionism. The time signatures in his music could ran the gamut from 2/4 to breakneck triple times, with starts and stops in between.
Zappa was married to Gail Sloatman, a member of The GTO’s, the groupie outfit that Zappa produced and tried to turn into a girl group on acid. Sloatman was originally from Washington, DC and went to kindergarten with Jim Morrison. It’s rumored that Sloatman conked the future lizard king on the head with a brick as a child.
Through McGowan’s research, he found that Zappa’s father was a chemical engineer for a munitions plant, just one of many compelling synchronicities that link many of the Laurel Canyon scenesters with families of the military industrial complex.
Zappa eventually wound up running the show for a while in Laurel Canyon, stepping into the breach left by the sudden exodus of Vito Paulekas, the alpha of the LA freak scene. In fact Paulekas even sings on Freak Out the first Mothers of Invention record.
Once Paulekas skipped town under mysterious circumstances, Zappa began to run the show, until a freak of a wholly different variety, one Charles Manson took the canyon by storm.
.To find out more about Frank Zappa and the strange Laurel Canyon connections go to Dave’s Web.
“May your shit come to life and kiss you in the face.”