"Top 40 radio is unethical, unmusical and it stinks. Classical music stations aren't much better. They all have very rigid, limited programming.
"The Mothers were created to fill most of the gap that exists between so-called serious music and the mass public. Really good music with advanced tendencies has been kept from the public at large. This includes classical and popular music. A filtering system of little old ladies selects the music played by symphony orchestras and on radio stations.
"Once some people get to the position where they own a nightclub or control the goings-on in a concert hall, they become critics and tastemakers.
"Usually they hate music. They love business and just want to make money. Whenever I have to deal with this kind of people, I always tell them that I hate music and I'm only doing this for the money. They slap me on the back and we get along fine. I tell them I wish I could drive a cab instead, but I can't get a license.
"The public knows nothing of what's really going on in the outer limits of music. There 'are kids writing music who think they've just made up the most fantastic things. They don't know that the best they can write today was already written and performed in 1912.
"A piece like Ameriques by Edgar Varèse, written in 1912, would scare the average teenager to death. Really scare him. Varèse lived and died in New York. The average American doesn't even know he existed, yet what he wrote has virtually changed the shape of all the music of the other composers who have heard it."
In later years, Zappa would come to believe that the younger generation of execs, the ones who thought they knew music, were even more dangerous and closed-minded than their square, mercenary elders.
But never mind that. I could pontificate on how things are different today (Top 40 radio ain't what it was) and how they're the same (American Idol ain't exactly much of an improvement) -- but the best thing I can do is demonstrate the kind of instant access to non-Top 40 music that we have in this here futuristic utopia of ours.
Here's Ameriques, by Edgard Varèse, performed by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in 1997.