“Smoke on the Water – and Fire in the Sky”. Everyone has probably heard of these lyrics and the accompanying guitar riff by Deep Purple. In this song from 1971, about a fire at a concert in Montreux, Switzerland, one person plays a central role: Frank Zappa.
Who was this man who managed to be immortalised in this rock classic and became such a cult figure that a beard was named after him? What goes into styling a Zappa beard?
Frank Zappa cannot be pigeonholed – except perhaps as a cult musician. With his various bands and ensembles, he covered pretty much every musical genre there is. From classical symphonies to doo-wop to rock. But what stands out in each of his songs and albums are the satirical, almost Dadaist lyrics. He always tried to break the established rules of the music business and to overcome the limits of what was socially acceptable with his lyrics.
Frank Zappa – “Enfant Terrible” of Music
As a result, he was not really suitable for the masses, but with his attitude, he laid the foundations for what we know today as the “underground”. He didn’t have any big hits. The only exception was the 1979 “Bobby Brown Goes Down”, from his album Sheik Yerbouti, with its extremely raunchy lyrics, which got past the rule makers in Europe and was played on the radio in Norway, Germany and Sweden, contributing to Frank Zappa’s cult status.
It was only after his death in 1993 that Frank Zappa was properly honoured. He is considered one of the 100 greatest musicians of all time and has influenced numerous artists. His reputation has been enhanced for posterity not only by his mention in “Smoke on the Water” but also by several newly discovered fish and spiders which have been named after him – and with the Zappa beard, he is remembered for his most distinctive feature.
The Zappa beard – a style for rebels and eccentrics
The Zappa beard is particularly suitable for those who want to present themselves as rebels or eccentrics. If you have a very conservative employer who values a suit and tie, the Zappa beard is not for you!
The Zappa beard is suitable for every face shape. The thick upper lip moustache visually divides long faces into two halves and makes them look a little fuller. Round faces get more expression with the Zappa beard and look a little more masculine.
How to style the Zappa beard correctly
Many people achieve the Zappa beard by going for a full beard and then shaving off everything except the upper lip moustache and the soul patch. But you can also grow just the moustache and the chin beard from the start. The hair must be very dense both above and below the lip. Over time, your Zappa beard will become more and more beautiful.
Let the moustache grow down a few centimetres to the left and right of the lips. The chin beard needs to be in the middle, starting directly at the lower lip and becoming rather wide – however, it must never touch the moustache! There should be at least a 2cm gap between the beard and the sides of the moustache that grow down.
To get your beard into this shape, it is best to use a precision trimmer. Shave off the remaining hair with a wet razor. If you want to make it look even more “rock n roll”, you can also leave short stubble.