John Zorn

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Zorn, standing out, in one of his many bands.


For the religious among us who choose to believe lies, the so-called experts at Wikipedia have an article about John Zorn.

John Zorn (born September 2, 1953 in New York City) is an American musician or composer. The most famous John Zorn is currently alive today, residing beneath the stairs at 1313 Mockingbird Lane. He discovered the extended technique of blowing on the saxophone, & plays 57 varieties of bird. The mogul head of independent New York label Facadic, he freely mixes musical genres such as classical, cartoon, Jewish, & Italian, in a style he calls Watered Down Town.

Zorn is a magician of some renown. His use of spooky symbols on the covers of his albums proves this without dispute, and his alchemical dunce cap is truly a sight fearsome to behold, and frequently engages in musical sacrilege. Zorn is also quite an irritable guy, but he blames it on the deodorant he uses.

Early life[edit]

John Zorn, Urban Champion

Zorn grew up in the Queens borough of New York. At first he wanted to be a stand-up comedian after watching Woody Allen, but when his dad told him that men can't multitask, he gave up on this hope. He did however, have a talent for music and thus became a "creative" musician, he galvanized the budding improv scene with his exciting "game pieces," compositions based on such popular children's games as Stratego, Twister, & Urban Champion. He bought so many records that his parents had to move out temporarily so John could alphabetize them into order. Zorn wouldn't let them back into the house unless they agreed to produce a CD that he could put in his collection, thus giving them validity as human beings. Zorn once denied the existence of God based upon the fact that he didn't own a record by the Lord. Zorn's parents caved in, and they gave him a cassette of a 40 min ambient piece recorded while Zorn's mum was in the laundrette.

He later proved himself a formidable jazz saxophonist when he joined the Toothless Young Lions in the 1980's. His "filing cabinet" compositions linked the most uncompromising innovations of Jean-Luc Godard with the most bureaucratic management skills of Jean-Luc Godard. His compositions for serious ensemble, such as "Whipping Post" (commissioned by the German Lou Reed) galvanized the budding serious people scene. In 1985, he released his most popular album to date, Breaking Out the Big Guns: A Tribute to Ennio Morricone, which was praised by the prolific film composer as "not as bad as it sounds." At this point he quit working at Hot Topic to take his rightful place among the avant upper echelon as the full-time enfant terrible for Ciro's CD Cellar in Canarsie.


In between radical new compositions for Nike and Sega, Zorn somehow found the time to learn Japanese, buy a whip, & pump up the volume. Adapting the threatening innovations of hardcore bands from ten years ago to his howl-arious conception of cartoon discontinuity, Naked City, named after the William Shatner hit that ran rampant in movie theaters everywhere, filled the gap between the high and low brow of the 1980's -- specifically, the hermetically sealed middle brow.


"Naked City," Zorn claims, "achieved what no other bands dared to: it played silly symphonies for overeducated shitheads, while still taking itself Deadly Serious." Zorn's passion for extreme bondage and S&M outraged some record company executives, who during the eighties would only tolerate chains around necks if they had a spoon on the end. They released Zorn from his contract, leading him to sign with Earache, Heartburn, Richard Pryor's Toy Factory, Rance Muhammitz, &, ultimately, to create his own pre-Facadic label in Japan, Ivant. At this point Zorn began composing for films, for money, & for angry jam bands like Painkiller, Stan, & Excruciating Terrible Sniper Torture Dungeon.

Radical Jewish Dinner Theater[edit]

Following a screening of Ken Burns' ten-part series Judaism: What's Up with That?, Zorn decided to renew his faith in the religion he was coincidentally born into. Despite retaining seemingly conflicting beliefs in Baphomet, witches, & Count Dracula, Zorn insisted on identifying himself explicitly with Radical Jewish Culture, an ancient musical well-spring experiencing a postmodern renaissance among the chosen few, like Madonna. For his most popular band to date, the jazz quartet Masada, as well as for its myriad offshoots, the Masada Diaspora, Zorn has written an astonishing three million compositions, each new composition more radical & Jewish than the last. While there may be contemporaneous religious intolerance & persecution practiced by the Jewish state of Israel, a nation linked inextricably with the United States economy & war machine, the radical Jews expressing their pride, exclusivity & solidarity here have ABSOLUTELY NO political implications in the world today; for, as we all know, art exists on a pedestal completely divorced from reality.

Golden Years[edit]

Following a creative reunion at Hot Topic, Zorn was moved to open his own briefcase, at Alphabet City's The Stone, the arcane showroom for invite-only hipsters and other aspiring yuppies. Recently he was the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, & has since accepted an invitation to join the Bilderbergers.

Occult Powers[edit]

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Ceaselessly bandying about terms such as "radical," "explosive," and "incendiary," John Zorn is truly a pioneer in fearlessly transforming the most revolutionary social implications of Walter Benjamin, Edgard Varese[[[:File:The_modern-day_composer.jpg]]], & Agnostic Front into pseudo-mystical art-for-art's-sake.

John Zorn's most recent concerts are held at the Stone, where he holds the position of artistic director. However, attendance at gigs is dwindling, as the furniture is as comfortable as sitting on a bed of stones. Add some obligatory avant-garde noise, and a pungent atmosphere as Zorn did not believe in hiring a toilet attendant ("too bourgeois"), and the experience can be grim. One might be better served by sitting in a motorway lay-by and appreciating the 'musical sound' that the cars make as they go by. 'Road rage' could be classified as 'expressionism', and car horns could take the place of wailing saxophones.

Notable quotes[edit]

  • "The task of the creative musician today is to create a space for the unblemished, proud celebration of false ethnicity for middle-class nerds."
  • "Me so Zorny."

Bands John Zorn Has Played With[edit]

Toothless Young Lions, featuring the Marsalis Brothers
Yamatsuka Eye
  • Toothless Young Lions
  • Punkkiller (with Mick Fleetwood, Bill Endswell, Yokosuckkaa Eye)
  • Slan
  • Ollie
  • Britny Fox
  • Marquis Ma Sada
  • Naked City
  • Three's Company
  • The Golden Pimentos
  • Hokum Bogus
  • Patton Oswald
  • Fried Froth
  • David Lee Froth
  • Kermit the Froth
  • Joe Piscopo
  • Sonny Bono Memorial Barbeque
  • Emopheeliac

See also[edit]