Zappa: "Scientists care about science, but it goes back to Egyptian religion, alright. In ancient Egypt, in order for you to go to heaven, you couldn't get there unless you knew the name of everything on the way to heaven. (...)Well, here's what you had to know: you had to know the name of the doorstep or you couldn't walk over the doorstep. You had to know the name of each of the stones that you walked on, the name of everything because you had to ask permission to pass. Can you imagine living your life learning the names of everything you had to know in order to be dead and get to heaven. Now that's a religion! But the importance of naming things correctly is something that shouldn't be underestimated. Semantics should be more important to contemporary society. You have to give things+ the right name. If you're going to communicate verbally, you have to have the right word to tell what it's about. Now, I don't think that it benefits anyone to call a shoe a "banana". It could be poetic, but this is a shoe. Alright, I'm working in a musical, technical medium because the music I make involves machines of a scientific nature. And I have to create for myself a vocabulary, good, bad or indifferent, that allows me to deal with the topics of the data that I have to manipulate to do what I do. If I were working in a purely acoustic medium and on a simpler level, I wouldn't have this problem, but I'm straddling two worlds here. I'm straddling the world of electronics, in some cases advanced electronics, and the old-fashioned world of putting notes together to make a composition, and there's no off-the-shelf vocabulary that you can use to do that. And at the point where you see that there are physical similarities in the behaviour of the way the composition will work and the behaviour of the way the electrons will be working in the electronic gear, or whatever, if you see that, why not state it. You should say it, and once you've said it, you should use it in your everyday work. You should make it part of your reality. Now, I don't think that most of what I do is useful to other people in terms of this vocabulary, or in terms of the concepts, because they'll never use them. It's useless, but you asked the question and that's where it is."
Interviewer: "Adam got control, according to the Bible, over the animals by naming them."
Zappa: "Really? They got that from the Egyptians." (From: Interview by Bob Marshall)
References to Egypt or Egyptian topics
- The Crab-Grass Baby "(either that or go to Tijuana or go to BROWN MOSES way down in Egypt-Land)."
- Find Her Finer: "Wrapped like a mummy till you finally unwind her."
- Planet Of The Baritone Women: the line "Like an E-gyp-tian" references "Walk Like An Egyptian" (1985) by The Bangles.
- The Blue Light: "The giant underwater pyramid"
- Some of the cover art on Civilization Phaze III resembles Ancient Egyptian imagery, like the scarabees.