Frank Zappa – It can’t happen here!

Good old Frank he always summed things up succinctly!

Freak out was one of those great albums that came out in 1966. A blast of weirdness. There is nobody quite like Frank.  How do you categorise music like this? This blew minds!

The song was a warning. It was highlighting the fact that a new culture was being born. The young were out of control and doing something else – they were not part of the establishment any more. They did not buy into the American Dream.

Unfortunately the ‘new culture’ became a fashion.

It did happen. Then it didn’t.

I thought the song was appropriate right now because a different ‘It can’t Happen Here’ is happening – a lot more scary.

It Can’t Happen Here

Frank Zappa

It can’t happen here
It can’t happen here
I’m telling you, my dear
That it can’t happen here
Because I been checkin’ it out, baby
I checked it out a couple a times, hmmmmmmmm

And I’m telling you
It can’t happen here
Oh darling, it’s important that you believe me
(bop bop bop bop)
That it can’t happen here

Who could imagine that they would freak out somewhere in kansas…
Kansas kansas tototototodo
Kansas kansas tototototodo
Kansas kansas
Who could imagine that they would freak out in minnesota…
Mimimimimimimi minnesota, minnesota, minnesota
Who could imagine…

Who could imagine
That they would freak out in washington, d.c.
D.c. d.c. d.c. d.c. d.c.
It can’t happen here
Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba
It can’t happen here
It can’t happen here
Everybody’s safe and it can’t happen here
No freaks for us
It can’t happen here
Everybody’s clean and it can’t happen here
No, no, it won’t happen here
I’m telling you it can’t
It won’t happen here
(bop bop didi bop didi bop bop bop)
Plastic folks, you know
It won’t happen here
You’re safe, mama
You’re safe, baby
You just cook a tv dinner
And you make it
(bop bop bop)
No no no no
Oh, we’re gonna get a tv dinner and cook it up
Go get a tv dinner and cook it up
Cook it up
Oh, and it won’t happen here
(no no no no no no no no no no no
Man you guys are really safe
Everything’s cool).
Who could imagine
Who could imagine
That they would freak out in the suburbs
I remember (tu-tu)
I remember (tu-tu)
I remember (tu-tu)
They had a swimming pool
I remember (tu-tu)
I remember (tu-tu)
They had a swimming pool
I remember (tu-tu)
I remember (tu-tu)
They had a swimming pool.

And they thought it couldn’t happen here
(duh duh duh duh duh)
They knew it couldn’t happen here
They were so sure it couldn’t happen here

Yes yes yes–i’ve always felt that
Yes I agree man, it really makes it…yeah…
It’s a real thing, man
And it really makes it
(makes it)

Suzie, you just got to town,
And we’ve been, we’ve been very interested
In your development,
Since you first took the shots.
Forget it!
(it can’t happen here)
(can’t happen here)
(can’t happen here)

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24 thoughts on “Frank Zappa – It can’t happen here!

  1. Actually Frank stood on ground central. He despised the hippy/yippy scene as much as he did that of the establishment. A lot of people looked at his hair and thought “he’s one of us”. Wrong!

    1. That was very true. As soon as it started drawing in the kids he wanted out. He saw it as phoney, plastic and sent it up. However, in the early days he loved the anti-establishment weirdness. The first couple of albums were coming out of that small community of very Avant Gard communities. He, like Beefheart associated with that. It was experimental and different. The parody came with We’re only in it for the money – when he considered that it was no longer credible.

      1. Depends who you think he’s talking about with Plastic People doesn’t it? I didn’t interpret that as being the counter-culture. That was a diatribe about the plastic nature of current American culture.
        I think that at this point Frank was quite happy being associated with the new alternative scene – Hungry Freaks Daddy. Then it went more mainstream and became a fashion/kids thing. He disliked it.

      2. I think he was very much having a dig at the counter culture. – which was the then current culture.
        He didn’t think they possessed an original thought, they all copied each other, desperate attention seekers with half-wit talent.

      3. 1966 was very early days in the counter-culture – it hadn’t gone mega. I think Plastic People was aimed very much at the plastic straight culture of the USA with its staid morals, religion, conformity, mindlessness and hypocrisy – not the hippie thing. That hadn’t taken off in 66.

      4. There already was a fully fledged counter-culture in California in 1966. The Merry Prankster people and all their cohorts that he regarded as a major pain in the ass. He despised their vacuous lifestyle and inherent stupidity.
        So they were a target.
        Those that did copy band stuff – which was spewing out the music industry in ghastly proportions.
        Those glued to idiot level TV.
        Those that numbed themselves into oblivion with drink.
        And those that wore brown shoes!
        Though I’m not too sure just how serious he was with that one.

      5. There was a very small counter-culture movement with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters + Warlocks, Acid Tests and the Fisherman’s wharf scene and Greenwich Village (and not a huge lot of contact between them.
        Frank did his own thing but was much more opposed to the vacuous American mainstream culture.

  2. I watched a documentary about him recently, absolutely fascinating man, so ahead of his time, so intelligent in his response to criticism, and a remarkable musician and composer. His views on the plastic nature of counter-culture reminds me of a sociology project two of my students conducted about 15 years ago on ‘goth’ subculture. Their report reflected a great deal of what Frank Zappa had to say about hippies. In the documentary, he described himself as conservative in one of his interviews.

    1. Frank was his own man. He certainly wasn’t any conservative though – in any respect. His views were neither mainstream nor in with the counter-culture. He was disparaging about the Hippie thing. But he was still part of it by virtue of his attitudes and individuality. He liked to wind people up with what he said. I thought he had a lot to say.

    2. He was actually – withing terms of his personal lifestyle, in particular that of completely anti-drugs, home life, work ethic, work organisation, business contracts etc.
      He had the shirt and tie to go with all that.

      1. Though in the early days he did use drugs and he started off with a studio that was basically doing porn stuff. He came to see drugs as a big problem and created a secure home life and ran the band as a business. He was serious about his music and wanted it right. He didn’t want stoned idiots messing it up.
        But he was very liberal on sex, dress codes and totally opposed the plastic culture with its values and war-mongering.
        He picked his own individual way through life with creativity as the focus. That was precisely what the counter-culture was really about.

      2. Smoking a joint is not ‘doing drugs’.
        It would be classed as such if you follow McArthyism policies of Un-American activities.
        Ref the music for porn – he only did that for 2 movies anyway, he spent most of his time on soundtracks for b-movie westerns, doing his own versions of Edgard Varese etc.

        Opher, relax, I already KNOW ALL about Frank. I own 105 albums on hard copy. I know every detail of his work off by heart like the back of my hand.

      3. Fine.
        He might have done more of the porno stuff if he hadn’t got bust, though. Probably a good thing that he was. He might not have focussed on the music.

      4. Which is what I’ll be doing in a minute as I collected 3 new releases today (shop guy gave me them a day early)
        Meat Light: The Uncle Meat Project
        Little Dots – Petit Wazoo tour `72
        Chicago `78 – Uptown Theater

      5. Just this year up to tomorrow, there’s been 17 releases.
        Last year 11 releases, including his 100th officially released album ‘Dance Me This’.

      6. I can’t keep up. I’ve already got more than I can possibly listen to!
        I’ve just had my Dylan 1966 Live – that’ll keep me going for a while.

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