John McLaughlin Thought That Frank Zappa’s Solos Were ‘A Little Bit Boring’ and Too Long

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The 1960s and 1970s marked a glorious era for modern guitar enthusiasts. While the 1980s had its share of impressive shredders, it was during the previous decades that visionaries like Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin unleashed their most revolutionary musical creations.

Nevertheless, even the most iconic guitar virtuosos held distinct preferences and judgments about each other. Take, for example, the relationship between John McLaughlin and Frank Zappa.

McLaughlin once commented that Zappa’s solos tended to meander and could be somewhat “tedious.” Their history dated back to the early 1970s when John’s band, Mahavishnu Orchestra, toured alongside Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Reflecting on those times, John shared:

“Frank was undoubtedly eccentric, but his musical prowess was undeniable. It’s worth noting that I’ve been a fan of The Mothers of Invention since their debut album in 1966.”

However, amidst his admiration for Zappa’s music, John raised two particular observations. Firstly:

“He was unquestionably a skilled musician, but he exhibited a rather autocratic leadership style within his band, I must admit. [Chuckles]”

“Furthermore, he had a penchant for indulging in extended guitar solos, often stretching them to 10-15 minutes when, truthfully, a more concise 2-3 minutes might have been more engaging.”

Yet, on a more optimistic note:

“He was a captivating individual and a composer of remarkable intrigue.”

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