Black Sabbath of Zappadan

 

On this first Black Sabbath after Bummernacht, it is important to remember that Frank loved Black Sabbath. While the rich hippies who controlled “rock and roll’ media were dismissive of Sabbath, they came around sometime in the mid 1970s (when it was pretty much too late….) in large part because of Zappa. Because, Zappa was the arbiter of good music. Dangerous Minds has an awesome summary from both sides that everyone should read.

“Frank Zappa gave “Supernaut,” the ur-metal monster that ends the first side of Black Sabbath Vol. 4, the number one spot in his list of “faves, raves, and composers in their graves,” published in the June 1975 issue of Let It Rock:

‘Supernaut’: Black Sabbath. I think it’s from Paranoid. I like it because I think it’s prototypical of a certain musical style, and I think it’s well done. Also, I happen to like the guitar lick that’s being played in the background.”

Maybe Tony Iommi wasn’t quite Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page, but he didn’t spend his career ripping off music from African Americans or his opening act like Zeppelin or Clapton. This was new It was original.

Of course, Black Sabbath loved Zappa:

“Sabbath bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler, a Zappa fanatic who says his “musical life completely changed” when he first heard the Mothers of Invention at the age of fifteen, credits Zappa’s endorsement of “Supernaut” with changing critics’ attitudes toward the band:

I think some of them got an inkling when Frank Zappa did this interview in one of the big English music papers. They were asking him what music he was listening to at the time, and he said, “Black Sabbath.” And at the time, Frank Zappa was really well thought of critically. And I thought he was joking! (Laughs.) But he thought “Supernaut” [from 1972’s Black Sabbath, Vol. 4] was the best riff he’d ever heard. And a lot of critics went, “Well, if Zappa likes Black Sabbath, maybe we should give them another listen.”

 

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