Frank Zappa: Thing-Fish

By Ken Kessler

Hi-Fi News & Record Review, July 1985

EMI 24 0294 3

Talk about prolific ... it wasn't all that long ago that FZ released a double LP hot on the heels of a triple LP box set preceded by a double. Here he is again with another three-LP box set, complete with libretto. Yep. Thing-Fish is the score to a full-blown production which runs 90 minutes or so.

Whether or not it's been staged yet I don't quite know, but I'm sure that any audience will know better than to attend it in a straight frame of mind. I know FZ is anti-drug and all that, but he's assuming much of his audiences if he expects them to penetrate his weirdness unassisted. I tried, but I don't know if I succeeded. I think this is some cross between Kafka and The Brady Bunch, but I wouldn't swear to it. As far as its music-only, story-be-damned appeal goes, well, it's pure Zappa and not for the faint of heart. Rock at the fringes, classical in scope, madness in the grooves. He's survived, but will we? [A:1] (= very good recording, very good performance)