Ahead of the November 27th release of Zappa — a documentary about the unclassifiable rocker, composer and guitar god Frank Zappa — Rolling Stone is premiering the latest trailer for director Alex Winter’s long-in-the-works film.
The documentary — the first made with the approval and cooperation of the Zappa estate — features tons of never-before-seen home movies, interviews and live footage excavated from Zappa’s enormous vault.
“We were loud, we were coarse, and we were strange,” Zappa says in voiceover of the initial reaction to his music.
Zappa charts the late icon’s career as a self-taught teenaged musician with a taste for the avant-garde to his pioneering Mothers of Invention and his many musical left turns, as well as his censorship battle with the Parents Music Resource Center and the productive years prior to his death.
“Frank embodied everything,” Mothers of Invention percussionist Ruth Underwood says in the trailer. “You couldn’t say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s rock n’ roll.’ It wasn’t. ‘It’s jazz.’ No. ‘It’s pop music.’ No. ‘What the hell is it?’ It’s Zappa.”
Magnolia Pictures added of the documentary, “With unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and all archival footage, Zappa explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of the time.”
Prior to the documentary’s planned premiere at the Covid-canceled SXSW Film Festival, Frank’s son and estate trustee Ahmet Zappa told Rolling Stone, “This film is by far the most intimate and expansive look into the innovative life of Frank Zappa, narrated by Frank in his own words. It’s quite unbelievable what Alex has achieved. This is the definitive Frank Zappa documentary.”
Winter added, “It’s not your standard album-to-album music doc. It’s really an in-depth examination of an artist’s life, using mostly Zappa’s own words and media from his personal archives. The film is filled with surprises for fans, but I think they will be most struck by the intimacy and a real sense of who Zappa actually was.”