Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Frank Zappa, born Frank Vincent Zappa

American Composer, Singer-Songwriter, Electric Guitarist, Record Producer and Film Director releasing more than 60 albums with the band The Mother of Invention and as a solo artist

"Without deviation, progress is not possible."

"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best."

"Do you think you are protecting somebody by taking away seven words?"

"A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians."

"A drug is neither moral nor immoral -- it's a chemical compound. The compound itself is not a menace to society until a human being treats it as if consumption bestowed a temporary license to act like an asshole."

"A composer is as useful to a person in a jogging suit as a dinsoaur turd in the middle of his runway."

"A wise man once said, "never discuss philosophy or politics in a disco environment.""

"After all, he wrote this book here, and in the book it says he made us all to be just like him! So if we're dumb, then God is dumb — and maybe even a little ugly on the side."

"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff."

"A true Zen saying: "Nothing is what I want.”"

"Alright. Let's get realistic now. You know and I know that the function of that number was just to provide some sort of warm-up trash before we do something HEAVY. Something a little bit harder to listen to, but which is probably better for you in the LONG RUN. The item in this instance, which will be better for you in the LONG RUN, and if we only had a little more space up here we could make it visual for you, is Some Ballet Music, which we've played at most of our concert series in Europe. Generally in halls where we had a little bit more space and Motorhead and Kansas could actually fling themselves across the stage, and give you their teenage interpretation of the art of The Ballet. I don't think it's too safe to do it here, maybe they can just hug each other a little bit and do some calisthenics in the middle of the stage."

"And it's the same across the nation black and white discrimination yellin' "You can't understand me!" 'N all that other jazz they hand me in the papers and TV and all that mass stupidity that seems to grow more every day each time you hear some nitwit say he wants to go and do you in because the color of your skin just don't appeal to him (No matter if it's black or white) because he's out for blood tonight."

"Anybody who wants religion is welcome to it, as far as I'm concerned--I support your right to enjoy it. However, I would appreciate it if you exhibited more respect for the rights of those people who do not wish to share your dogma, rapture, or necro-destination."

"Anything Anytime Anyplace For No Reason At All (or AAAFNRAA)"

"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it."

"Anybody hear the great news, today? Jimmy Swaggart under investigation! Oh Ja-eezus! One day every one of those cocksuckers will get caught! I understand in the case of Mr. Swaggart, that he claims that it was not multiple encounters with many prostitutes -- apparently, only one sweet young thing. And he did tell Cal Thomas of the Moral Majority that the sex act itself was not fully consumated. However he did admit to doing something por-no-graphic with the girl. Let's use our imaginations, ladies and gentlemen."

"Anyone who is disturbed by the idea of newts in a nightclub is potentially dangerous."

"Being interviewed is one of the most abnormal things that you can do to somebody else. It's two steps removed from the Inquisition."

"Bad facts make bad law, and people who write bad laws are in my opinion more dangerous than songwriters who celebrate sexuality."

"Beauty is a pair of shoes that makes you wanna die."

"Asked random questions about the First Amendment and how they would like to have it applied, if you believe in polls at all, the average American wants no part of it. But if you ask, 'What if we threw the Constitution away tomorrow?' the answer is 'No, that would be bad!' But living under the Constitution is another story altogether."

"Beware of the fish people, they are the true enemy."

"Call any vegetable, call it by name, and the chances are good that the vegetable will respond to you."

"Behind each breakaway movement is a breakaway demagogue who will set up his breakaway demagogue government."

"Certification from one source or another seems to be the most important thing to people all over the world. A piece of paper from a school that says you're smart, a pat on the head from your parents that says you're good or some reinforcement from your peers that makes you think what you're doing is worthwhile. People are just waiting around to get certified."

"Children are naïve -- they trust everyone. School is bad enough, but, if you put a child anywhere in the vicinity of a church, you're asking for trouble."

"Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff."

"Definition of rock journalism: People who can't write, doing interviews with people who can't think, in order to prepare articles for people who can't read."

"Do you love it - do you hate it? There it is the way you made it."

"Do we really want to know how Michael Jackson makes his music? No. We want to understand why he needs the bones of the Elephant Man - and, until he tells us, it doesn't make too much difference whether or not he really is ''bad."

"Don't eat the yellow snow."

"Consider for a moment any beauty in the name Ralph."

"Don't mind your make-up, you'd better make your mind up."

"Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you've got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read. Forget I mentioned it. This song has no message. Rise for the flag salute."

"Everything on this planet has something to do with music. Music functions in the realm of sculptured air. Polluted as our atmosphere might be, air is the thing that makes music work. Since all other things that occur in the sound domain are transmitted to the ear through that swirling mass, depending on how wide you want to make your definition, you could perceive quite a bit of human experience in terms of music."

"Fact of the matter is, there is no hip world, there is no straight world. There's a world, you see, which has people in it who believe in a variety of different things. Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence."

"Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, uses that something to support their own existence."

"Drugs will turn you into your parents."

"Gail has said in interviews that one of the things that makes our relationship work is the fact that we hardly ever get to talk to each other."

"From the time Mr. Developing Nation was forced to read The Little Red Book in exchange for a blob of rice, till the time he figured out that waiting in line for a loaf of pumpernickel was boring as fuck, took about three generations... Decades of indoctrination, manipulation, censorship and KGB excursions haven't altered this fact: People want a piece of their own little Something-or-Other, and, if they don't get it, have a tendency to initiate counterrevolution."

"For the record, folks; I never took a shit on stage and the closest I ever came to eating shit anywhere was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973."

"Government is the Entertainment Division of the military-industrial complex."

"I can think of worse things to be influenced by. (FZ to me, with a grin, in response to my statement that the musical composition of mine that he was about to hear was somewhat Zappa influenced.)"

"Get smart and I'll fuck you over -- sayeth The Lord."

"Hey, you know something people? I'm not black, but there's a whole lots a times I wish I could say I'm not white."

"I consider that the building materials are exactly the same as what anybody else makes the thing out of. It's just the way they look at those materials is perhaps a narrower perspective. Time and those waves are at the disposal of anyone who wants to use them."

"I can’t talk to you about music because you don’t know anything about music. I can talk to you about politics or sociology and all that peripheral stuff, but I can’t talk to you about music. There’s not enough information in common that I could say to you so you’d be able to understand. Besides, the people who read OUI don’t give a fuck about music anyway."

"I don't think there's a problem. First of all, I don't think music turns people into social liabilities. Because you hear a lyric -- there's no medical proof that a person hearing a lyric is going to act out the lyric. There's also no medical proof that if you hear any collection of vowels and consonants, that the hearing of that collection is going to send you to Hell."

"I don't give a fuck if they remember me at all."

"I don't want to see any religious people in public office because they're working for another boss."