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May 07 , 2008

Being Frank


Since his untimely death from prostate cancer in 1993, the legend of iconoclastic musician Frank Zappa has continued to grow. The years following his passing have seen the publication of numerous books, both sacred and profane, which examine his life and work, but the best, and only, up-close-and-personal account of the man and his music remains the original: Nigey Lennons Being Frank: My Time with Frank Zappa. Musician/author Lennon maintained a personal and professional relationship with Zappa during the period which is generally agreed to have been the composers most creative, and she invests her recollections with considerable musical and emotional insight. The fact that Lennon is an accomplished musician and composer in her own right enables her to perceptively analyze Zappa's complex music, and her previous experience as a biographer of Mark Twain and Alfred Jarry is evident as she examines the complex conditions of Zappa's turbulent life. But above all, Being Frank is simply a great read: filled with wry humor, poignancy, and, of course, a plethora of the juicy road stories that Zappa himself didn't dare to include in his own autobiography.The e-book edition of Being Frank is certain to find a new audience for this classic title, which has been in great demand since its third print run sold out several years ago. Irreplaceable…is the word to describe Being Frank…[Lennon's] memoir is both spiky and musically literate…Lennons previous books were on Mark Twain and Alfred Jarry, which indicates the kind of cultural perspective required to get a grip on Zappa: something brighter than rock-journo pedantry. Ben Watson, author of Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play
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