21
Jul
09

38. Frank Zappa – Valley Girl

Like, oh my god! Valley girl.

I was fourteen years old sitting at home in Sydney listening to Triple J and out of radio came the sound of fourteen year old Moon Zappa saying “Hurt me, hurt me, I’m sure, no way!” and I fell in love with her voice. It was confident, it was musical, it was rich and it had disdain. It had all the power of America.

Zappa intended the song as a parody of the rich and spoiled children of the music industry, but the song had the opposite effect. People loved the accent and the attitude. Girls wanted to come from the Valley. I had a girlfriend who would sprinkle “like, totally” into her speech, which sounded odd given she was 100% Aussie.

Valley Girl’s bass line transforms a novelty song into something memorable. The bass player was Scott Thunes and he plays fast and he plays furious. Zappa’s songs are complex, even this one, and the bass line follows that complexity, changing with each part the song. His bass sounds rough like he’s wrestling it to get it to play, and it dominates the rest of the music. I have this image of Scott showing up and recording this immense bass line with one take as a ‘fuck you’ to whatever was pissing him off at the time.

I was just learning to play bass so I taped this song off the radio. It was a pain to figure out, but I did it note by note using my Dad’s old guitar. I still play the line from Valley Girl but I’ll never be able to fake Moon’s accent, it’s like tubular you know.

 

Next: The Pretenders – Brass in Pocket

Previous: Visage – Fade to Grey

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