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Albums Of The Week: Various Artists | Zappa: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The thee-disc companion to Alex Winter's doc includes plenty of rare goodies.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The official soundtrack album for the new documentary Zappa features songs from the movie by the film’s subject, Frank Zappa, his band The Mothers of Invention and others. Also included is the film’s original score composed by John Frizzell (Alien: Resurrection, Dante’s Peak, Office Space, Dante’s Peak, The Following, Beavis and Butthead Do America), who also serves as a producer on the movie.

Zappa is directed by Alex Winter and explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. With the full-collaboration of the Zappa estate, Winter and his team were offered unfettered access to a trove of unreleased material from the artist’s vault, including never-before-seen interviews and movies, unheard recordings from concerts and studio sessions, and incomplete projects.

Frank Zappa with The Mothers of Invention in Zappa. Photo by Cal Schenkel, courtesy Magnolia Pictures.

The acclaimed director, who called Zappa his most ambitious project to date, also spoke with Zappa’s friends, family members, and collaborators, including the artist’s late widow Gail Zappa. Other new and archival interviews include those with guitar virtuoso Steve Vai; author, musician, actress and Zappa family nanny Pamela Des Barres; Kronos Quartet founder David Harrington; and Mothers of Invention multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood.

In a recent interview, Winter spoke about the four-year-long process of making Zappa, which included two years of archival preservation. “I’m gratified that I’ve gone through this insane [endeavor] but feel like I haven’t cracked Zappa,” Winter explained. When asked why Gail Zappa gave him such liberal access to her late husband’s archives, Winter mused, “the thing I said that I think she liked is that I’d never perceived Zappa, even when I was young, as this rock ’n’ roll guy. He didn’t really fit into that lexicon to me. And he seemed like he had more in common with the original Spike Jones than Jimmy Page. I found that the people who worked with him almost unanimously loved him to death … He was a complicated person. He is the human condition writ-large, which is why he’s a great doc subject.”

Frank Zappa in Zappa. Photo by Roelof Kiers, courtesy Magnolia Pictures.