Frank Zappa: a career of unmitigated audacity no cliques, no categories, no bullshit

By Chris Quinlan & Bronius Zumeri

Mixdown, December 1997

Frank Zappa's recorded output, from his first "official" album FREAK OUT released in 1966, through to the latest 60+ release of the digitally remastered 200 Motels film and . CD ... can be broken down loosely into the following subgroups with suggested relevant/ favorite tracks following:

1) The original classic Mothers of Invention (1966-69):

Freak out - who are the brain police
Absolutely Free - brown shoes don't make it
We're only in it for the money - who needs the peace corps
Lumpy Gravy (released as solo Zappa) - main theme
Crusin' with Ruben and the Jets - you didn't try to call me
AB ycdtosa I Mothermania (best of compilation)
Uncle Meat - main theme/king kong
Burnt Weeny Sandwich - little house I used to live in
AB fíllmore east '71
Weazels rip my flesh - toads of the short forest
Ahead of their time (released '93) - excerpts from progress

2) The Mothers (1970-71) featuring Flo and Eddie and Aynsley Dunbar:

Chunga's Revenge - title track or AB Sharleena with Them or Us version
The Mothers Fillmore East-June '71
Bwana Dik 200 Motels (featuring the London Symphony Orchestra)
Centreville, a real nice place to bring your kids uupp
Just another band from LA
Magdalena Playground Psychotics (released '92)

3) "Solo" Albums and Grand Wazoo (69-72) Hot Rats and music written whilst recuperating in a wheelchair after being pushed off stage:

Hot Rats - Peaches en Regalia AB'd with version from Tinsel Town rebellion
The Grand Wazoo - Cleetus Awreetus-Awrightus
Waka Jawaka - first minute of Big Swifty

4) Zappa and the Mothers (73-75) Arguably Zappa's musically best/most popular combo:

Overnite Sensation - take your pick ... all classics
Apostrophe' - yellow snow
Roxy and Elsewhere - Echidna's arf!!!!!
One Size Fits All - another masterwork, take your pick
YCDTOSA vol. 2 (The Helsinki Concert; released '88)

5) Frank Zappa/Mothers becomes just Frank Zappa ('75-78) Terry Bozzio drums the Black Page. Norman Gunston guests, and Warner Brothers Sux!

Bongo Fury - Debra Kadabra
Zoot Allures - Zoot Allures AB'd with Does Humor belong in Music version
Zappa in New York - BLACK PAGE #1. tooooo many great one's here
Sheik Yerbouti - I'm so cute
Baby Snakes Soundtrack - Punky's whips

6) The Warner Brothers Trio ('78- 79) Zappa takes Warner Brothers to court and Greggary Peccary finds a new trend.

Studio Tan - Gregarry Peccarry (excerpts only. track is 20+ minutes)
Sleep Dirt - filthy habits
Orchestral Favorites - Duke of Prunes

7) Frank Zappa ('79-82) Zappafan heaven, a new album every four months! Joe's Garage, Vinnie Colaiuta and Steve Vai.

Joe's Garage acts I II & III - title track. why does it hurt when I pee
Tinsel Town Rebellion - blue light
Shut up 'n play yer guitar - 5.5.5!
Shut up 'n play yer guitar some more
Return of the son of Shut up 'n play yer guitar
You are what you is - Teenage wind
Ship arriving to late to save a drowning witch - Teenage Prostitute or Valley Girl

8) '83-'87..... The '84 tour featuring Allan Zavod plus Frank Zappa discovers that the Synclavier doesn't need a muso's union like The London Symphony Orchestra does.

The Man from Utopia - We are not alone (used for SBS rock around the world intro during 80's)
Zappa/London Symphony Orchestra Volume I Boulez conducts Zappa/The Perfect Stranger
Them or Us - He's so gay
Thing-Fish (the closest thing to a Zappa best, or Zappa favorites with re-worked lyrics to make a Broadway play)
Francesco Zappa
Frank Zappa meets the Mothers of Prevention - Alien Orifice
Frank Zappa meets the Mothers of Prevention (European version with Porn Wars deleted and unreleased Synclavier tracks added)
Does Humor belong in Music ('84 band live album; differs from video)
Jazz from Hell (Synclavier extravaganza! Grammy award winner) - G-spot tornado
London Symphony Orchestra Volume 2 (dumps on the LSO)
Guitar (sequel to Shut Up 'n play yer guitar) - REPUBLICANS a must

9) '88-'93..... The '88 Tour..... Zappa's best band and Sonic Solutions create YCDTOSA's, live masterworks of all incarnations segueing together)

Please note: Frank found out about his Prostate Cancer around '90-91. Every project thereafter became urgent deadline material.

YCDTOSA vol. I - Zomby Woof
Broadway the Hard way - Planet of the Baritone women
YCDTOSA vol. 2
YCDTOSA vol. 3
The best band you never heard in your life ('88 tour vocal highlights) - Purple haze or Stairway to Heaven
Make a jazz noise here ('88 tour instrumental highlights) - Stravinsky
YCDTOSA vol. 4 - Doo wop medley
YCDTOSA vol. 5
YCDTOSA vol. 6
Playground Psychotics (70-71 band detailing secret tape hotel highlights)
Ahead of their time ('68 at the Albert Hall ... we're doing a play!)

10) The final months '92- present If you believed in him. God would bless you Frank. 4/1 2/93.

The Yellow Shark (The Ensemble Modern do Frank proud) - AB G-spot tornado with Jazz from hell)
The lost Episodes (pre-mothers-Studio Z material. Warner brothers induced basement music and modern technology meets Captain Beefheart "The Grane! Wazoo")
LATHER (The great lost Frank Zappa Album) - Leather Goods
Frank Zappa plays the music of Frank Zappa (mail order only)
Strictly Genteel (best of zappa's classical pieces)
Have I offended anyone? (best of zappa's rude songs)

and the new release ...

200 Motels (digitally re-mastered film and CD of Zappa's cinematic masterwork)


If you would like to celebrate the life and times of Zappa and his music, don't miss out on ... ZAPPACLAUSE 3 featuring Chris Quinlan and THE ZAPPA INSTRUMENT AALE playing all the favorites (especially the hard ones) Guests, Giveaways and Mayhem!!! Saturday 20th December 11 pm The CLUB 132 Smith st Collingwood Vic Don't miss it !!!


Frank Zappa
'200 Motels'

'200 Motels' is the double CD soundtrack to the Frank Zappa conceived motion picture of the same name. Originally released during 1971 the film combines the talents of the royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Mothers of Invention. A mixture of orchestral and rock music is generally a tragic flight of fancy, giving rise to that shamanistic of all musical practice, the rock opera. Not that '200 Motels' is intended as a rock opera but incorporates both musical forms. Here Zappa has the liberty to present himself in an absurdo off-beat guise. The 39 tracks contain four bonus tracks which are radio promotional advertisements and 35 tunes of various length and brevity. Easy listening it is not, not in its entirety, the CD contains the signature Zappa weirdness. Of particular interest are the outlandish titles, a sample being 'This Town is a Sealed Tuna Fish Sandwich', 'Half a Dozen Provocative Squats', 'Penis Dimension' and 'A Nun Suit Painted on Some Old Boxes'. Apart from this there are several surprisingly contemporary moments which would not seem out of place in 1997. 'Dental Hygiene Dilemma' is the obligatory drug song, 'Magic Fingers' contains a chorus that you swear is sung by Axl Rose and some other tracks display a vocal use that Nina Hagen made her own. The package also contains a poster and a 50 page booklet which contains an exhaustive written account of the making of the film and numerous photo's from the film and musicians.

This release can easily be dismissed as gratuitous, indulgent or whatever. Of course it is. Zappa made a career out of it. And isn't that what the early 1970's were all about indulgence and drugs of dependence? As a historical document it has its place not only for hardened Zappa devotees but also as an insight to the type of music created immediately after the Sixties hippy period.


Bronius Zumeri