Zappa: Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch

By Dan Forte

Musician, August 1982

Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
(Barking Pumpkin)

So one time like Frank Zappa was gonna go on tour, y'know, like back before he got real big. And his wife Gail was like eight months pregnant, so she goes, "What do you want to name the baby?" 'Cause he was gonna be gone on tour when it was gonna be born. So he's like walking out the door and goes, "If it's a boy name it Motorhead, if it's a girl name it Moon Unit."

So guess what – it was a girl. And that's what they named it. Guy! I mean, if my parents named me Moon Unit I'd be so embarrassed. No way!

So now Moon is like fourteen and she sings on Zappa's new album, only she doesn't really sing, she like, talks. And it's like totally improvised. Totally. This song called "Valley Girl," all about girls from the valley and how they talk and what they're into. Like getting their toenails done and junk.

Moon was on the last album, too, 'cause she sang on "Drafted Again" in this one part. But it like wasn't good, 'cause Dale Bozzio sang like the same part on the single way, way better, y'know. But Moon does this rap on "Valley Girl" which is totally amazing. It is like awesome to the max.

And one side of the album is live and one side isn't. Sounds so bitchin'. I was listening to it on the Walkman and I was like freaking out. And the whole band has been with Zappa for like a year and a half or something. Steve Vai plays these impossible guitar parts. And his hair is like blue. Gnarly. I'm sure. Then Tommy Mars, who plays like synthesizers and stuff, is just god-like. Totally. And besides Ray White and Bobby Martin, who like sing in the band, they got Ike Willis and Roy Estrada, who used to be in the band, and Bob Harris, who can sing higher than anyone in the world, for sure. They do these harmonies that are so awesome. Like tubular.

And like FZ is just a genius to the max. I mean totally. He writes all this weird stuff, like this instrumental called "Envelopes" on the live side. Sounds like Conlon Nancarrow. He's so heavy. And Lisa Popeil sings this one, "Teenage Prostitute," which is like an opera or something, with high singing and junk. But the best cut, except for "Valley Girl," is "I Come From Nowhere," 'cause it's really a scream, plus it's got a really good beat. I heard "Valley Girl" like fifteen times on the radio today. I wish they'd play, y'know, the rest of the album too, but at least it's better than hearing Styx and REO over and over all day. I'm sure. I mean, barf out. Really. Gag me with a spoon.