December 21 ~  Deviation From the Norm Jam Band Tribute to Zappa

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." ~ Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

When musician Frank Vincent Zappa (1940-1993) was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1990, he said, "What can you do? People get sick. Sometimes they can fix it, and sometimes they can’t." He shelved his plans to enter the 1992 presidential race, but with his satirical irreverence, what a campaign it would have been!

"Politics is the entertainment branch of industry," Zappa once observed.

An outspoken advocate of creative freedom and First Amendment Rights, he once explained his political views: "There is nothing creative about a right-wing administration." Left-wingers, he believed, "are no better, using artists and creative people as propaganda to further their goals." His solution? "I think common sense is the way to go."

Zappa was born to Sicilian immigrants on this day in Baltimore, moved to California as a kid, and is best known as the leader of the underground 1960s rock band, The Mothers of Invention.

"Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something," said Zappa who experimented, wrote surrealist lyrics, and offered loud music and dizzy light shows.

"My work is art," he said, pressing the limits of creativity and greatly admired for his vigilante outrageousness. His music won commercial and critical success.

"Never stop until your good becomes better, and your better becomes the best," he advised.

Zappa, the deviant, never drank and abstained from drugs, but chain-smoked cigarettes and drank coffee incessantly. He recorded about 60 albums and in July 1994 the International Astronomical Union eulogized him by naming a Czech-discovered asteroid “Zappafrank.”

Delight in deviations for the progress they bring.