Monday, August 18, 2014

Offensive: Camarillo Brillo

Frank Zappa: Camarillo Brillo
[purchase: Camarillo Brillo]

The Wiki informs us that Camarillo is the location of a mental institution and that there were housed therein patients whose hairstyle was "frizzed out" as a result of electro-shocks. I had come to my own conclusion that his use of "Brillo" certainly referenced certain other human "curlies". Quite likely that both are possible: Zappa had a way of pushing societal limits, almost to the point of being offensive.

SMM has numerous other Zappa posts [], and most of them verge towards the offensive either in title or in content: Don't Eat the Yellow Snow, Stinkfoot, Dinah Moe Humm, I Am the Slime ...

Overnite Sensation is likely Zappa's most offensive oevre: the picture frame that surrounds the cover artwork is one step short of nasty. Kind of a modern Heironymus Bosch.

Camarillo Brillo is only one of several songs on the album that push the limits of the acceptable  - that is assuming that you are not among those who find rock 'n roll to be the devil's music to start with, of course. But this goes well beyond what the 1950's critics had in mind when they condemned rock. Just check it out:

She stripped away
Her rancid poncho
An' laid out naked by the door
We did it till we were un-concho
An' it was useless any more

For my part, back when this came out and I was in my impressionable 20s, I memorized every line of the lyrics. I can still more or less sing along the entirety of the album from memory - 40+ years later. It was/is Zappa's irreverence for societal norms that brought meaning to his music. Aside from his guitar chops: the YouTube live versions don't even approach the guitar skills of this, the studio version.

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