Chapter 3 of Frank Zappa and And: Zappa and Religion

When I put the call out for contributors to the Zappa book, one of the areas I wanted authors to explore was described as ‘Zappa and God’. Although most Zappa fans probably find this relationship problematic, I have always found Zappa’s Catholic upbringing and his opposition to Christian Fundamentalism interesting. Pandora’s Kevin Seal took up the challenge of exploring this fascinating area – and here is the beginning of his essay.

In the mythology Frank Zappa built throughout his work, he depicted religion as pure folly. Followers of religion appear as judgmental and gullible dupes, with religious leaders displayed as malevolent hypocrites. Yet throughout compositions such as ‘Watermelon in Easter Hay’ and ‘Sofa #2’, Zappa presents hints of the infinite. Is his take on a divine creator as cynical as his approach to zealots and patchouli-scented mystics? This essay intends to illuminate Zappa’s opinions of Catholicism, evangelical Christianity, and Eastern religions, and to demonstrate his view that music serves as a more valid means of spiritual communication than that which any organised religion can provide. After outlining Zappa’s position on religion, the essay will place particular emphasis on the texts of One Size Fits All, Joe’s Garage, You Are What You Is, and Broadway the Hard Way, and will examine the ways in which Conceptual Continuity and his Big Note theory resonate in the intersection of science and faith.

About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
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