For a short period of time in the early seventies, Frank Zappa and the counterculture experienced something akin to acceptance by the media. Perhaps this was due to the huge success of FM radio, or maybe it was the zeitgeist that enveloped the globe after the late-sixties meltdown of hippie culture. Either way, Zappa's music was at a creative peak, and the world was willing to pay attention. "Apostrophe" and "Over-Nite Sensation" followed one another within a year's time, and each of them featured pretty much the same line-up of musicians. They represent his most accessible work, and this `album documentary' tells the story of how they got made.
If you are familiar with Frank Zappa's work, then I highly recommend this DVD. If you are not familiar with Zappa's work, buy each of these albums and then buy this DVD. The information contained herein is invaluable to any fan. I've seen many, many of these `album documentaries', but none come close to the authoritative entertainment of this package. The fun facts alone are outstanding. Did you know that Zappa rehearsed his band six hours a day, five days a week? Show me another band with that type of work ethic. Did you know that the backup vocals were by the Ikettes (with Tina Turner)? Did you know that Zappa has a library of recordings that could rival the Grateful Dead in its breadth?
The editing between live performance (including a killer version of "Montana") and studio analysis is brilliant. Son Dweezil takes us deep into recording analysis, sitting at a mixing board and moving the faders while making insightful observations. The documentary is relatively short - only one hour - but there's another hour of extras that convey just as much information, while focusing on all aspects of Zappa's music, including its topicality, its technique, and its humor. Frank Zappa was a thoroughly unique character, incapable of being categorized or lumped into a box. If you know these albums, you may think you already understand how his mind worked. See this documentary and you'll understand why. In a word, it's astounding.