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Zappa to IT in one vague ramble. You’re welcome.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Frank Zappa lately. I love Frank’s music, and have been re-discovering forgotten gems from my youth such as The Man From Utopia and Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention (amongst many, many others, such was Frank’s amazing work-rate). Anyway, I started listening to the notorious Broadway The Hard Way, a live album which sees his late-1980s-era band in fine form before it all just, well, disintegrated (some of the band, by all accounts, hated each other).

One of the more out-spoken (and frankly, interesting) characters in the ’80s Zappa band was Scott Thunes, the bass player. Listening to Broadway piqued my interest, and I ended up reading an abridged interview with Thunes, by Thomas Wictor (as an aside, I believe the interview excerpt came from Wictor’s book, In Cold Sweat: Interviews with Really Scary Musicians which looks to be well worth picking up). Here’s what Thunes had to say about his work as a bass player:

But I never thought of myself as a bass player; I was a musician. The actual role of the bassist does not interest me, and I don’t know how it could interest anybody else. It’s the ultimate non-glory position. Singers, guitar players, drummers, bass players-that’s how it goes, in order of importance. Though the function of the bass is very important in a rock band, I’ve never ever been able to perform that function without irony.
[…]
The joy of playing the bass is having my voice come out on an instrument; I don’t understand how that makes me a bass player. I also can’t understand how that makes me a chosen role model, because it’s the voice that’s important, not the instrument.

You can read more in the article, Scott Thunes: Requiem For a Heavyweight?

Now, what I wanted to highlight—hence the emphasis—is his outlook on music and his role in it: he came to the bass by default, and found his expression that way. Thunes’ words resonate when I read about the various language / platform / other wars that plague our wonderful world of IT: none of that crap matters, it’s the applications, stupid!

OK, so back to the Thunes website: one of his front-page posts links to an excellent article about life as a software developer, and it’s this link I want to finish with. In Thunes’ words, This article states my understanding of what I said way better than I could ever do. I guess I should have stayed in computers longer.—it is one hell of a read:

So you’ve just been hired by an IT department…

Comments

  1. An interesting post, with fun points of interest, well written and with a nice story to boot, ………. you will get bugger all hits and no useful comments
    Mark Myers#
  2. Hooray! That has to be the best IT article I've read in a long time.

    My favourite part:

    "Some will require spoon-feeding and use up all of the QA time, and others will look like they're doing nothing but surf Reddit all day yet commit more bug-free code in a week than you will produce in a year. To the former, expect them to be all over Unit Testing and Agile like white on rice. To the later, expect them to roll their eyes at the same."Brendon Upson#

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.

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