Looking for the best collection of Frank Zappa quotes? Then look no further.
Frank Zappa was an American musician, composer, songwriter, and bandleader.
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa composed rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral and musique concrète works, and produced almost all of the 60-plus albums that he released with his band the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.
Zappa also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. He is considered one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse musicians of his era.
Frank Zappa was a strident critic of mainstream education, government and organized religion and a passionate advocate for freedom of speech, self-education, and the abolition of censorship. Unlike many other rock musicians of his generation, he disapproved of drugs but supported their decriminalization and regulation.
Ultimately, Zappa was a highly productive and prolific artist who remains a major influence on musicians and composers. His honors include his 1995 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the 1997 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Frank Zappa was never shy of speaking his mind and expressing his thoughts. He had a lot wise things to say and below you’ll find the most famous Frank Zappa quotes on life, education, government, politics and music.
Famous Frank Zappa Quotes
1. “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” – Frank Zappa
2. “Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.” – Frank Zappa
3. “One size does not fit all.” – Frank Zappa
4. “One of my favorite philosophical tenets is that people will agree with you only if they already agree with you. You do not change people’s minds.” – Frank Zappa
5. “It’s better to have something to remember than anything to regret.” – Frank Zappa
6. “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” – Frank Zappa
7. “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.” – Frank Zappa
8. “Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.” – Frank Zappa
9. “Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, uses that something to support their own existence.” – Frank Zappa
10. “There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” – Frank Zappa
11. “If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mother, your Dad, your priest, to some guy on television, to any of the people telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.” – Frank Zappa
12. “Stupidity has a certain charm – ignorance does not.” – Frank Zappa
13. “I don’t think that anybody has ever seen the real Frank Zappa because being interviewed is one of the most abnormal things that you can do to somebody else. It’s two steps removed from the Inquisition.” – Frank Zappa
14. “The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with somebody else’s life.” – Frank Zappa
15. “If you wanna grow up, which most people don’t, the thing to do is take responsibility for your own reality and deal with it on your own terms.” – Frank Zappa
16. “I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird.” – Frank Zappa
17. “If you’re going to deal with reality, you’re going to have to make one big discovery: Reality is something that belongs to you as an individual.” – Frank Zappa
18. “The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents — because they have a tame child-creature in their house.” – Frank Zappa
19. “A true Zen saying: ‘Nothing is what I want.’” – Frank Zappa
20. “I like to watch the news, because I don’t like people very much and when you watch the news… If you ever had an idea that people were really terrible, you could watch the news and know that you’re right.” – Frank Zappa
21. “The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it’s going to bother you… And then, the worse things get.” – Frank Zappa
22. “A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound. The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them like a license to behave like an asshole.” – Frank Zappa
23. “The first thing you have to do if you want to raise nice kids, is you have to talk to them like they are people instead of talking to them like they’re property.” – Frank Zappa
24. “It has never mattered to me that thirty million people might think I’m wrong. The number of people who thought Hitler was right did not make him right… Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?” – Frank Zappa
25 “Reality is what it is, not what you want it to be.” – Frank Zappa
26. “What something is depends more on when it is than anything else.” – Frank Zappa
27. “There’s no reason to assume that my idea of what’s better would really be better. I resent it when other people try to inflict their ideas of betterness on me. I don’t think they know. And I can’t see any authority on the horizon that’s got any answers that seem worthwhile. Most of the things that are suggested are probably detrimental to your mental health.” – Frank Zappa
28. “There are only two things to remember. Number one… Don’t Stop, and number two… Keep Going!” – Frank Zappa
29. “It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out the uglier everything seems.” – Frank Zappa
30. “The universe consists of 5% protons, 5% neutrons, 5% electrons and 85% morons.” – Frank Zappa
31. “Power will be maintained by the groovy guy or gal who gets the most media coverage for his sleaze. Naturally, his friends in various businesses will do okay, too.” – Frank Zappa
32. “I would say that today, dishonesty is the rule, and honesty the exception. It could be, statistically, that more people are honest than dishonest, but the few that really control things are not honest, and that tips the balance.” – Frank Zappa
33. “As far as rearing children goes, the basic idea I try to keep in mind is that a child is a person. Just because they happen to be a little shorter than you doesn’t mean they are dumber than you.” – Frank Zappa
34. “Their stupidity does not amaze me, its when they’re smart that amazes me. It’s baffling whenever you find someone who’s smart – incredible. Soon you’ll have zoos for such things.” – Frank Zappa
35. “I don’t want to spend my life explaining myself. You either get it, or you don’t.” – Frank Zappa
36. “I think that if a person doesn’t feel cynical then they’re out of phase with the 20th century. Being cynical is the only way to deal with modern civilization – you can’t just swallow it whole.” – Frank Zappa
37. “Two things are universal: Hydrogen and stupidity.” – Frank Zappa
38. “The richest people in the world aren’t particularly smart or happy. And the happiest people in the world aren’t particularly smart or rich… That leaves me making music. But we can’t talk about that.” – Frank Zappa
39. “It would be easier to pay off the national debt overnight than to neutralise the long-range effects of our national stupidity.” – Frank Zappa
40. “Just because somebody hears something you say, or reads something that you write, doesn’t mean you’ve reached them. With reading comprehension being what it is in the U. S., you can safely toss that one out the window. If you want to judge by the listening habits of people who buy records, the first thing they do is put it on and talk over it.” – Frank Zappa
41. “Bad facts make bad law, and people who write bad laws are in my opinion more dangerous than songwriters who celebrate sexuality.” – Frank Zappa
42. “The whole Universe is a large joke. Everything in the Universe are just subdivisions of this joke. So why take anything too serious.” – Frank Zappa
43. “I think it’s really tragic when people get serious about stuff. It’s such an absurdity to take anything really seriously… I make an honest attempt not to take anything seriously: I worked that attitude out about the time I was eighteen, I mean, what does it all mean when you get right down to it, what’s the story here? Being alive is so weird.” – Frank Zappa
44. “Fact of the matter is, there is no hip world, there is no straight world. There’s a world, you see which has people in it who believe a variety of different things.” – Frank Zappa
45. “Unbind your mind, there is no time.” – Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa Quotes On Government & Politics
46. “Communism doesn’t work because people like to own stuff.” – Frank Zappa
47. “The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced.” – Frank Zappa
48. “This country’s been around for a couple of hundred years, and we think we’re hot shit. We don’t even realize that other countries have thousands of years of history and culture, and they’re proud of it. And when we deal on an international level, you know, with foreign policy and stuff like that, and we try and go in as a big American, strong country and all that stuff, they must laugh up their sleeves at us because we are nothing. We are culturally nothing. We mean nothing. We’re only interested in the bottom line.” – Frank Zappa
51. “Government is the Entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.” – Frank Zappa
49. “Communism doesn’t work because it is out of phase with human nature. Are we going to wake up one day to find this statement equally true when applied to the concept of Western democracy?” – Frank Zappa
50. “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa
52. “Americans like to talk about (or be told about) Democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an ‘inconvenience.’ We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a Democracy. We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there.” – Frank Zappa
53. “I’m vile and perverted. I’m obsessed and deranged. I’ve existed for years but very little has changed. I’m the tool of the government and industry too. For I’m destined to rule and regulate you. You may think I’m pernicious, but you can’t look away. I’ll make you think I’m delicious with the stuff that I say. I’m the best you can get… Have you guessed me yet? I’m the slime oozing out of your TV set.” – Frank Zappa
54. “Censoring what you say is one of the ways in which people who are not nice can take away your personal freedom.” – Frank Zappa
55. “I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a temporary license to exist, in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government. It doesn’t own you.” – Frank Zappa
56. “We pretend to be a free society, and we pretend to be an adult society, but if you look at the facts, our news is just as contrived, and controlled as Pravda!” – Frank Zappa
57. “We live in a very special time right now. At no other time in history has there been such mass disillusionment in terms of reliance on governing functions. Most people don’t want to come to terms with that. It’s been proven over and over again that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes, but most people don’t like to look at naked emperors. In the process of turning around to avert their eyes, they saw the discotheques and a few other things and latched onto them.” – Frank Zappa
58. “In every language, the first word after “Mama!” that every kid learns to say is “Mine!” A system that doesn’t allow ownership, that doesn’t allow you to say “Mine!” when you grow up, has – to put in mildly – a fatal design flaw.” – Frank Zappa
59. “It seems that the problem with government as an institution is uniformly bad, worldwide. It may be the ONLY thing that binds all nations together – the incompetence of all of their governments… The unions are the mafia, which is the CIA, which is the Catholic Church, which is the government, which is what’s the difference? It’s corrupt! It’s the same guys pulling these strings, you know? One day he pulls the string and this lamp comes out, the next say he pulls the string and there’s a missile coming out.” – Frank Zappa
60. “Behind each breakaway movement is a breakaway demagogue who will set up his breakaway demagogue government.” – Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa Quotes About Education
61. “Kid’s heads are filled with so many nonfacts that when they get out of school they’re totally unprepared to do anything. They can’t read, they can’t write, they can’t think. Talk about child abuse. The U.S. school system as a whole qualifies.” – Frank Zappa
62. “As long as you’re just smart enough to do a job and just dumb enough to swallow what they feed you, you’re gonna be alright. But if you go beyond that then you’re gonna have these grave doubts that give you stomach problems, headaches make you want to go out and do something else. So, I believe that schools mechanically and very specifically try and breed out any hint of creative thought in the kids that are coming out.” – Frank Zappa
63. “Schools train people to be ignorant, with style. They give you the equipment that you need to be a functional ignoramus. American schools do not equip you to deal with things like logic; they don’t give you the criteria by which to judge between good and bad in any medium or format; and they prepare you to be a usable victim for military-industrial complex that needs manpower.” – Frank Zappa
64. “Certification from one source or another seems to be the most important thing to people all over the world. A piece of paper from a school that says you’re smart, a pat on the head from your parents that says you’re good or some reinforcement from your peers that makes you think what you’re doing is worthwhile. People are just waiting around to get certified.” – Frank Zappa
65. “Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.” – Frank Zappa
66. “If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.” – Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa Quotes On Music
67. “There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something we’d all love one another.” – Frank Zappa
68. “Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something.” – Frank Zappa
69. “No change in musical style will survive unless it is accompanied by a change in clothing style. Rock is to dress up to.” – Frank Zappa
70. “A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians.” – Frank Zappa
71. “Music is always a commentary on society.” – Frank Zappa
72.”In the United States especially, musicians are generally regarded as sort of useless adjuncts to society, unless they do something creative, like write a Coca-Cola jingle, and then they’ll be accepted. But musicians usually are regarded as sort of the scum of the earth, and so if you want to be a musician, you just have to realize before you start that nobody is really going to care.” – Frank Zappa
73. “So, if music is the best, what is music? Anything can be music, but it doesn’t become music until someone wills it to be music, and the audience listening to it decides to perceive it as music. – Frank Zappa
74. “Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is THE BEST.” – Frank Zappa
75. “Music is the only religion that delivers the goods.” – Frank Zappa
76. “I write the music I like. If other people like it, fine, they can go buy the albums. And if they don’t like it, there’s always Michael Jackson for them to listen to.” – Frank Zappa
77. “I write what I like to write. Those who like to listen to it, listen to it. And the ones who don’t, watch football and drink beer, jog, go to discos and so forth. I never claimed to be a man for all seasons.” – Frank Zappa
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