Chunga's Revenge

By Mr. Jelly

Door, January 21, 1971

Willie: Tell me Suzy, do you like the Mothers?

Suzy: Not really. Jeeze, when I’m redded out I like somethin’ that gets in yer blood cells and heavies out yer involuntary nerve endings like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. Hey man, who’s that heavy group yer playin?”

Willie: Oh, that’s Frank Zappa’s newest creation, Chunga’s Revenge.

Suzy: Chunga?

Willie: Yeah, Chunga’s this insane vacuum ... here, I’ll read the script: “A gypsey mutant industriaI vacuum cleaner dances about a mysterious night-time camp fire. Festoons. Dozens of imported castanets, clutched by the horrible suction of its heavy duty hose, waving with marginal erotic abandon in the midnight autumn air.”

* * *

Yes, Willie has been overcome by the frenzious electric fantasy music of Frank Zappa. Wah, Wah, Wah. Chunga’s Revenge is not however by the Mothers. According to a full page ad in Rolling Stone (November 26, I970) it is a successor to Hot Rats, Zappa’s first full fledged attempt at serious jazz away from the Mothers. Satirically and musically this album comes closer to the original Mothers’ sound than Burnt Weenie Sandwich or Weasels Ripped My Flesh, the Mothers’ last two albums. Sandwich and Weasels both come closer to the sound of Hot Rats. Most all the members of what is now called the Mothers are included (here and there) on Revenge.

A Special treat is in store for those who know, those who attended the UCLA Zubin Metha (with the LA Philharmonic)/Frank Zappa (with the Mothers) concert or any Mothers concert afterwords. Chunqa’s Revenge includes five movements from “200 Motels.” For those who don’t know, it’s the story of a group coming into a strange town for a concert. In their lonliness, they go on a malevolent nookie search. Hopefully, the entire tale will be on the next Mothers’ release.

Many of the vocals are by the Phlorescent Leech and Eddie (the two ex-Turtles who were recently snatched by the MOI?)

If anything, Frank Zappa is bound to go down in his story as the prince of the wah-wah pedal. A century or two from now, a sixth grade child will open his American History: From Beginning to End textbook and read: “Frank Zappa, well known as the best composer and musician of the 20th century is best remembered as master of the wah-wah pedal. Many competent music critics claim “Transylvania Boogie” from the musical epic Chunga’s Revenge is the mellowest jazz-rock progression ever pressed on two ounces of plastic.“ Even the title song, “Chunga’s Revenge,” utilizes an alto sax played through a wah-wah pedal. It sounds amazingly like a vacuum cleaner.

And yes, here is Frank’s first Led Zepplinishly heavy tune, “Tell Me You Love Me,” jam-packed with sexually arousing guitar riffs and double intender lyrics just like Zep.

“The Clap” is Frank’s first recorded percussion solo and it’s definitely a tight tongue tapping tune. Yes friends, that’s Frank on the Boo-Bams.

There’s one live cut in three parts, “The Nancy and Mary Music,” recorded at Minneapolis’ Tyrone Guthrie Theater. It’s not particularly well recorded, but it still makes very interesting listening.

Chunga’s Revenge is worth the price just to own Cal Schenkel’s fantastic drawing on the center fold. Plus the album is sprinkled with many fine musicians who can be traced back to groups the likes of John Mayall.

* * *

Willie, tightly fitted to Suzy’s side, tapped his finger on her thigh in time to the music as “Would You Go All the Way” emitted from the twin RCA speakers: “Who’s this dude with his hair straight back/His new white socks/And his pants all black/His T-shirt’s rolled/His watch is gold/A ’55 Chevy that his brother just sold/With his arm around your waist/And his fingers in your pants ...”

Suzy stood up and said, “I need a drink of water,” as she left the room.

Note. Richard Alden Peterson wrote a column called Mr. Jelly for the San Diego Door. (OB Rag)