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New Zappa book coming soon...
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Joined: 2005-04-12
Posts: 476
Post 2007-02-02 16:20   [Quote] 
Hey all,

I'm not sure if this is the place to post this but I figured I'd let you all know here anyway.

Soon you will be seeing (on eBay maybe, not sure how I'll do this) an ad for a new FZ books called "Hungry Freaks, Daddy: The Recorded Work of FRANK ZAPPA Vol. 1 1959-1969". This is a book I've recently finished on FZ's recordings beginning with the earliest circulating stuff (Ronnie Sings? etc) and ending with the 1969 Amougies tapes. The book is in two parts: a full discography of the period (think IINK and the Zappa Patio meets the Zappalog in a dark room somewhere) followed by an analysis of the non-commercial (i.e. bootleg) circulating recordings from the period. It's does contain some illustrations (not a huge amount) and in it's present form is 335 pages. if it works well I'm planning at least 3 more books in the series.

Right now I'm just finalizing printing for the book (I'm publishing it myself). I hope you all will enjoy it--it's basically for collectors but I know if I saw it I would like it, sooo....

Anyway I'll be checking here so please feel free to ask any questions you may have about the book here or (even better) email me at Thanks guys!!

Scott Parker
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Joined: 2004-06-29
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Post 2007-02-02 17:34   [Quote] 
I'm not sure if this is the place to post this but I figured I'd let you all know here anyway.

The right place, and I'm very interested, if the price is right Wink
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Joined: 2004-12-09
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Location: Way down in France
Post 2007-02-02 17:45   [Quote] 
I'm interested as well. Please shoot us a message when the book is available Smile
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Posts: 510
Location: Rome, Italy
Post 2007-02-02 19:08   [Quote] 
I would be very interested, too!
What do you mean by "analysis of the non-commercial (i.e. bootleg) circulating recordings from the period"? Is it only a technical analysis or something more? And how broad is the range of "circulating recordings"? - Maybe a pair of short excerpts would help, too.

Thanks and good luck with your work Smile
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Post 2007-02-02 19:25   [Quote] 
Hey Guys,

Thanks for the kind words....I was very nervous about posting about the book here because I felt like I was showing off my somewhat gangly child to the world. But now I'm glad I did!!

As to the question about "analysis" basically I mean a track listing with timings and a description of the tape and the major events contained therein. Not a cirtical analysis (because who cares what I think right?), just a description of the tapes. This is then followed by a transcription (to the best of my ability) of the spoken segments of the tape.

To illustrate this, here is a short excerpt from the book dealing with the Lund 1967 tape. See if this works for you guys--any suggestions would be most appreciated!!

Thanks, Scott

2-October 1967, Olympen, Lund, Sweden
26 min, Aud, B+
FZ Introduction (2:36)
No Matter What You Do (3:08)
Blue Suede Shoes (0:51)
Hound Dog (0:15)
Gee (incl. Duke Of Earl) (2:04)
Orange County Lumber Truck Medley (17:30)

Another night on, and we're back in Sweden again, this time for the first of what would be many appearances for FZ at Lund's Olympen. The band is reunited with their equipment and turn in another great, dynamic performance, captured very well on a very good, clear audience tape. The only real flaw is a tiny bit of high-end distortion, but the atmosphere is very well preserved.

After another FZ intro (complimenting the Scandinavian audiences) the show begins with "No Matter What You Do", beginning the rock/R&B medley we last heard in Stockholm. "Gee" here includes a brief foray into "Duke Of Earl" at the end.

The meat of this short tape is the earliest version we have on tape of the "Orange County Lumber Truck" suite, consisting of an instrumental medley of We're Only In It For The Money's "Let's Make The Water Turn Black" and "Harry You're A Beast", followed by "The Orange County Lumber Truck" itself and the great "Oh No", both of which would later be issued on the Weasels Ripped My Flesh album. This then heads into a reprise of "Orange County Lumber Truck" before climaxing with a lengthy solo section featuring a great extended FZ solo with heavy use of wah-wah (which would become a trademark of his playing from here on out). The band plays the vamp underneath him with terrific intensity. FZ then abruptly halts the piece and the tape ends without applause, leaving us unsure as to what may be missing from the tape.

FZ Introduction:
FZ: We do not know what it will sound like when we all start playing in here. It'll be a, a big surprise to us, and it might be a suprise to you. We hope it sounds good when we begin. If it doesn't sound good when we begin, we hope it sounds good about the middle of the show. If it doesn't sound good by the middle of the show, you probably won't like any of what we do, and then, well, don't feel bad about it. But we won't die, and you won't either. We may play some things that will sound strange. We may play some things that will sound pleasant. We may play some things you won't understand at all, but I doubt it. Because so far audiences in Scandinavia have been very far in advance of any other audiences we have played for. The reason for this is that you seem to have a better understanding about what music really is here, you grew up with music in a way that, that the people in America never did. They know nothing of real music. Music to for Americans begins somewhere between Herman And The Hermits and The Monkees, progressing forward to The Procol Harum. And then on to bigger and better things--Bill Haley. Do you know Lawrence Welk? We will tune up and get ready to work out for ya.

During "No Matter What You Do":
Ray Collins: (various unintelligible vocal sounds)
FZ: What a command of languages!
Ray Collins: (more various unintelligible vocal sounds)
FZ: They could understand him in Italy!

Before "Orange County Lumber Truck Medley":
FZ: This is the story of the song. Orange County is a place in California. California is a place in the United States where all the real estate people went to make a lot of money. California was probably a very nice place before the real estate agents moved in. They came to California and saw that it looked very nice. They cut it into a bunch of little pieces and built cheap ugly houses on them, and rented the houses to a lot of cheap, ugly people. These people stayed in California and made a lot of money. And they themselves became real estate operators. They went on to other parts of California, bought the property, cut it up into little pieces, built cheap ugly houses, and on and on and on. 'Till they finally reached Orange County. In Orange County not only did they build cheap ugly houses, but they built the headquarters for a thing that they call the John Birch Society. The John Birch Society is a Nazi-(friend?) organization in the United States that burns books with a smile. And that's the story of the song. Now you can go to sleep.
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Joined: 2005-03-03
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Location: northwest southcoast northsea
Post 2007-02-02 19:42   [Quote] 
hey scott, i'm very interested!!

... and don't forget, there is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over!
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Location: Rome, Italy
Post 2007-02-02 19:47   [Quote] 
Great, Scott! Thanks a lot for your prompt and accurate reply. very good work indeed. Please, give notice when the book(s) will be available!
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Joined: 2005-01-27
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Location: I said look to th' @$^%! damn Night Sky, motherfucker.....
Post 2007-02-03 05:06   [Quote] 
Don't charge too much, you sick twisted maniac -- rulez

. . . because I will buy one.

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Posts: 348
Location: pennsylvania
Post 2007-02-03 17:32   [Quote] 
I am also interested in buying, if the price is right. How much ? Does it come with cold drinks ? prost

"The closest I ever came to eating shit anywhere was at a Holiday Inn buffet in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1973".
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Post 2007-02-04 18:15   [Quote] 
Hey guys!!

WOW. Thanks for the encouragement...I really appreciate it!! I wasn't sure if anything good would come out of the book, but at 335 pages I'm hoping you'll find SOMETHING to like about it Smile

Where we're at right now: this week I should have a cheezy website up with some samples of the book for ya. Attached to this is another short review excerpt, this time of the Ark gig. See what ya think!

I am exploring my publication options at the moment. Right now the photos I have are all in color and I want to keep them that way (album sleeves, labels etc. Not a lot of them, but some particularly in the discography section). However in the interests of keeping the price down I'll probably have to go B&W...let me know what you think!! It will be a paperback, 8.5x11...I want it easy to read for us older folks whose eyes are going Smile

This is kind of a homemade affair, and my first attempt, so I'm hoping you will find it satisfactory. Meanwhile, I hope you'll like this next little review!!

Thanks, Scott

8-July 1969, The Ark, Boston, MA
62 min, SBD, A-
Introduction (1:58)
Big Leg Emma (2:18)
Introduction (2:07)
Some Ballet Music (5:39)
Introduction (2:01)
Status Back Baby (2:50)
Introduction (3:32)
Valarie (3:10)
Introduction (0:49)
My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama (13:03)
Introduction (2:00)
Uncle Meat/Drum Duet/King Kong (23:27)

This show must be considered, along with the Stockholm 1967 tape, the most famous of all Mothers Of Invention-era recordings. This is partly due to the show being professionally recorded by FZ, and parts of it being used on various official releases (notably the Burnt Weeny Sandwich and You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5 albums). It’s chief notoriety, however, comes from it’s release in 1984 on a bootleg LP entitled The Ark-July 1968.

This bootleg LP, complete with gorgeous deluxe color cover and superb sound, was a revelation to Zappa fans everywhere. It eventually became so famous in the collecting community that it was one of the bootleg albums selected for official release on Rhino Records’ 1991 Beat The Boots box set.

However, precisely dating this recording has always been something of a problem. The venue is correct enough--FZ mentions it at one point in his stage commentary. The bootleg album’s 1968 dating was wrong, however--off by a year. Some of the first things that give the correct year away are the audience’s request for “King Kong” (a song from an album that would not be released until 1969) and the presence of Buzz Gardner’s trumpet, an instrument not featured in the band until late 1968. Eventually a newspaper listing for the gig cleared up the confusion.

Interestingly, there are notable differences between the bootleg LP and the Beat The Boots versions of The Ark. These are covered in greater detail in the album’s listing in the Bootleg Section of this book, but here’s a quick rundown. The differences are all on side one of the album:

1. The bootleg runs at the correct spped, while the BTB version runs about 4% too slow.
2. The BTB version features longer FZ introductions than the bootleg.
3. Conversely, the bootleg features a longer version of “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama” than the BTB version. Neither version is complete however.

Why these differences? Check out the Bootleg Section for more details. Another interesting fact: raw tapes of the soundboard which circulate among collectors are even longer that the BTB version, though the quality is not quite as perfect as either of the other versions, being a touch more hissy.

And now to the music. This is a GREAT gig--FZ is in a good mood and the band are playing well. Interestingly enough, the segments we have of the show feature very little of the conducted improvisation that are trademarks of most Mothers shows from this era.

The gig starts off with some “warm-up trash”, a version of “Big Leg Emma” with Jimmy Carl Black hamming it up on lead vocals. This leads into “Some Ballet Music” which may be the definitive performance of this piece from this era.

Inundated with requests from the audience for previous MOI ‘hits’, FZ chooses one: “Status Back Baby”! This is the first version we have of this since 1968, and this is quite a fun version, with great FZ vocals and terrific band backing.

Next up, the band play what FZ describes as being both sides of their soon-to be released hit single. This starts with the B-side, “Valarie”. Of course this would not wind up as the “My Guitar” single’s flip side (a remixed version of “Dog Breath” would get that honor) but this is still a terrific, straight version with none of the FZ pronouncements that usually come with a performance of this tune. Roy Estrada can be heard weeping on the middle section as well.

This is followed by “My Guitar” itself. This one features a terrific, urgent blues solo by FZ over the up tempo vamp at the end. This is perhaps the definitive performance of this tune from this era. The raw tape of the soundboard features a nasty cut in the middle of this--the reason for the editing of the tune on both the bootleg and commercial releases of this show.

For the final section of the tape, FZ starts by fielding an audience member’s request for “King Kong”. He announces that the band will play the piece, but will start with another piece before heading into it: ”Uncle Meat”. “Meat” is, again, perhaps this era’s definitive version of this classic piece with exquisite playing all around. This moves into a solid, rhythmic drum duet with excellent polyrhythmic playing atop the basic pulse.

The amazing “Kong” which follows is the final MOI-era performance of this tune we have--an ambitious, powerfully-played version. Motorhead starts out the head of the piece with one of his best ever “Kong” solos, while the band swirl up and down around him. Following the bridge, Ian gets in a few moments of build-up before the band explode into the solo vamp, and Ian along with it. His is a frenetic workout that varies in a dizzying fashion from avant to melodic and back again, touching on the “Kong” melody at times. The excellent mix makes the rhythm section sound very powerful as they pound out the beat behind him.

Next up is Don Preston. His piano workout begins with some variations on the melody of “Uncle Meat” before the band split apart, with Artie Tripp playing a 5 vamp, Jimmy Carl Black playing the straight ¾ solo beat, and Preston and other members of the band alternating between the melodies of “Uncle Meat” and “King Kong”. This builds to wild chaos, before slowly clear to an altered version of the ¾ vamp, essentially a fast version of the same vamp used in the Europe 1968 versions of “Kong”.

Just as it is starting to lull you into relaxation, it explodes again into a full-blown almost-boogying vamp over which Buzz gets in an excellent solo, soaring above the other musicians with his edgy trumpet runs. As the band moves into a throbbing climax, Buzz infuses his playing with strong urgency, pushing the band forward and being pushed at the same time. The vamp shifts to a 5 vamp allowing his playing to become more frenetic, then to a moment of silence decorated by Buzz and Bunk’s horn strangulation, before the vamp crashes back in for FZ’s solo.

Frank’s is another short-but-superior effort as he explores various melodic runs over the vamp. Finally Don Preston comes through, changing the mood of the vibe at will with his sweet organ runs. He pushes and builds, but just as you’re expecting the next climax the tape cuts dead.

FZ Introduction:
FZ: We have a marvelous treat for you. Jimmy Carl Black, The Indian Of The Group, is going to sing his all-time favorite, "There's A Big Dilemma About My Big Leg Emma". Testing.
Various Mothers: Shhh. Testing. (...)
FZ: And I might also add that uh, the whole grotesque event this evening is being recorded for posterity by Steven Waldman, who's lurking in the background there. And it's all being pumped through the PA system and through these three spectacularly placed microphones in the front so we get a realistic recording of exactly what we sound like in The Ark. Alright?
Various Mothers: Go ahead. Let 'er rip.

Before “Some Ballet Music”:
FZ: Alright. Let's get realistic now. You know and I know that the function of that number was just to provide some sort of warm-up trash before we do something HEAVY. Something a little bit harder to listen to, but which is probably better for you in the LONG RUN. The item in this instance, which will be better for you in the LONG RUN, and if we only had a little more space up here we could make it visual for you, is "Some Ballet Music," which we've played at most of our concert series in Europe. Generally in halls where we had a little bit more space and Motorhead and Kansas could actually fling themselves across the stage, and give you their teenage interpretation of the art of The Ballet. I don't think it's too safe to do it here, maybe they can just hug each other a little bit and do some calisthenics in the middle of the stage. but if you'll allow us to readjust our instruments for a moment we'll perform this for you.

Before ”Status Back Baby”:
FZ: Thank you. What a marvelous response from a rock and roll audience! Someone out there is leaking! Now, before the show somebody handed me this note, and it says, "Please do some of the following tunes from your records." Now, we've had a request for "Brown Shoes Don't Make It," "Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder," "Status Back Baby," "Prune In June," "Dog Breath," and the main tune from Lumpy Gravy. And we actually can play some of these things, surprisingly enough. But we hardly ever do, see. So if we go ahead and play it and it sounds crappy, well maybe the person who asked for this song will like it, just because we play it. There's no way to tell how they're gonna come out. But we're gonna go ahead and do it anyway because nobody likes us and they won't care if we sound crappy. We'll begin with that crappy old tune "Status Back Baby." When was the last time we played this one?
Unknown Mother: About forty-seven (...)
FZ: (...)The last time we played this was in Boston!
Roy Estrada: Maybe!
FZ: Trying to remember the words to this sucker!
Roy Estrada: (Amen, brother?)
Various Mothers: (...)
FZ: "Everyone in time knows"--"I was the king of every school activity". I don't know. OK, here we go.

Before “Valarie”:
Audience members: (...)
FZ: What? No over there, I can't hear you.
Audience members: (...) "Help I'm A Rock"! "The Twist"!
FZ: "Help I'm A Rock"? "The Twist"? What if we play "Help I'm A Rock" as a twist? Boogaloo? Alright, now we got desperate a few months ago and uh, because we thought nobody liked us. And uh, we're also pissed off at the fact that people won't play our records on the radio, and we didn't know whether or not it was 'cause our music was crappy or because somebody really knew what the words to the songs meant. And so they couldn't--So they wouldn't take a chance. So we came to the conclusion that actually all it was was a conspiracy against the Mothers Of Invention because we're supposedly so dirty, vile and crazy and also a threat to our great nation and all that it has stood for in the past and we hope that will not continue to stand for in the future. However boys and girls. The people who run the radio stations are on the watch, you know, for our records, when they come in as soon as somebody sends a single to the radio station with our name on it they either melt it, break it, stomp on it or send it in an envelope directly back to the record company from which it came with a threatening note. But we said, "What the heck? Why can't we be just like other teen-age rock & roll bands -- outside of the fact that we're all over thirty -- and go and cut a single record and try and get the sucker on the radio?" So what we did was we went into a professional recording studio in New York City in the middle of the night for two nights in a row and also a Saturday afternoon for mixing and cranked out two miserable teen-age type records with words that couldn't possibly offend anybody and uh they're reasonably singable -- by any group other than the Mothers Of Invention -- and uh, they're teen-age boy-girl type songs. And so they're being released this week. I would expect to be able to add these to our list of smash flops very shortly. We'll begin our medley of Mothers Of Invention hit singles, ahem, with the B-side of this one, which is a tune called "Valarie." By the way, did you know that "Big Leg Emma" was released as a single? I can't understand why that didn't get on the radio. That's just a! s, that's just as imbecilic as "Yummy Yummy Yummy." Well, I think the size of the woman's leg had something to do with it. A large stomach--that's one thing. Big legs--I don't know.

Before “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama”:
FZ: That should have a limited type of appeal in the pure grease market. And there may be some representatives of that market here today. The other side of this charming teen-age record is a tune called "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama." Ready? Here live in person is our deluxe teen-age rendition. Got it?

Before “Uncle Meat/King Kong”:
FZ: Thank you. "King Kong"? Well I'll tell you what. I think what we're gonna do is play "Uncle Meat" and then, uh, sort of sneak into "King Kong" from that. That would be your teen-age medley of two. One-two-three, one-two-three.

Before “King Kong”:
FZ: “Kong”.
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Post 2007-02-04 18:18   [Quote] 
Oh, and for Trooper Chuck...

Cold drinks? Name yo' beverage my friend!! Smile
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Joined: 2004-06-30
Posts: 1672
Location: Farmer's Heaven, Austria
Post 2007-02-04 18:57   [Quote] 
SM7609, b&w or coloured, i take one !!!

I don't even care if you shave your legs!
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Post 2007-02-04 20:59   [Quote] 
Oops!! I just noticed a mistake in the Ark review. See what proofreading does for ya? Wink

The line in the intro to "Status Back Baby":

FZ: "Everyone in time knows"--

Should of course be:

FZ: "Everyone in town knows"--

That's what you get for trying to do a fast transcription!! Smile
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Power Poster
Joined: 2004-07-09
Posts: 2784
Location: Planet Olanda
Post 2007-02-04 21:56   [Quote] 

I'm very interested in your book.
Let me know when it's finished, and how to obtain a copy.

I'm really looking forward to it.
Peace, love and understanding,


'You can go my back on' - youngpumpkin
'If it didn't matter, then it would not matter.' - Julian Barnes
'There's no bad poetry; there's only bad people.' - Willem Bierman

- for Walk(spoon) - gone, but never forgotten
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Post 2007-02-05 01:07   [Quote] 
335 pages :shock:
I am REALLY interested! How do I get your book if i live in Croatia?
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