On the sleeve of his immortal debut album, Freak Out!, Frank Zappa listed 179 well-known and obscure artists and bands that acted as a roadmap to his signature style. The Freak-Out List chronicles some of the more obscure Jazz, Classical, and Doo Wop artists, through a series of interviews and found footage.
“I don’t give a fuck if they remember me at all.”
The interviews the filmmakers compiled are fantastic: the Mothers of Invention’s Ian Underwood, Don Preston, and George Duke, Zappa biographers, music historians, and Doo Wop legends, The Cadillacs. The volume of research is, likewise, impeccable. The Freak-Out List shows how Zappa pays homage to some of his favourite classical composers by sampling some of their work in his own material, why Doo Wop was so important to much of his work, and lets us see some of his favourite albums. This documentary’s makers also took the effort and expense to licence music and footage from the Zappa Family Trust.
Unfortunately, The Freak-Out List has a couple of downsides. The DVD does not really reveal anything about Zappa’s music that can’t be found on the Internet (i.e. Youtube, Wikipedia). Additionally, and disappointingly, the documentary brings little depth to why these influences meant so much to Zappa as an artist and as an individual.
Although well-compiled, the DVD has little-to-no repeat value. Essentially, The Freak-Out List would make a good rental for those new to Frank Zappa’s music.
Shawn Alexander Roy[Rating: 3/5]