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Frank Zappa

Composer, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Frank Zappa was a singular musical figure during a performing and recording career that lasted from the 1960s to the '90s. His disparate influences included doo wop music and avant-garde classical music; although he led groups that could be called rock & roll bands for much of his career, he used them to create a hybrid style that bordered on jazz and complicated, modern serious music, sometimes inducing orchestras to play along. As if his music were not challenging enough, he overlay it with highly satirical and sometimes abstractly humorous lyrics and song titles that marked him as coming out of a provocative literary tradition that included Beat poets like Allen Ginsberg and edgy comedians like Lenny Bruce. Nominally, he was a popular musician, but his recordings rarely earned significant airplay or sales, yet he was able to gain control of his recorded work and issue it successfully through his own labels while also touring internationally, in part because of the respect he earned from a dedicated cult of fans and many serious musicians, and also because he was an articulate spokesman who promoted himself into a media star through extensive interviews he considered to be a part of his creative effort just like his music. The Mothers of Invention, the '60s group he led, often seemed to offer a parody of popular music and the counterculture (although he affected long hair and jeans, Zappa was openly scornful of hippies and drug use). By the '80s, he was testifying before Congress in opposition to censorship (and editing his testimony into one of his albums). But these comic and serious sides were complementary, not contradictory. In statement and in practice, Zappa was an iconoclastic defender of the freest possible expression of ideas. And most of all, he was a composer far more ambitious than any other rock musician of his time and most classical musicians, as well.

Zappa was born Frank Vincent Zappa in Baltimore, MD, on December 21, 1940. For most of his life, he was under the mistaken impression that he had been named exactly after his father, a Sicilian immigrant who was a high school teacher at the time of his son's birth, that he was "Francis Vincent Zappa, Jr." That was what he told interviewers, and it was extensively reported. It was only many years later that Zappa examined his birth certificate and discovered that, in fact, his first name was Frank, not Francis. The real Francis Zappa took a job with the Navy during World War II, and he spent the rest of his career working in one capacity or another for the government or in the defense industry, resulting in many family moves. Zappa's mother, Rose Marie (Colimore) Zappa, was a former librarian and typist. During his early childhood, the family lived in Baltimore, Opa-Locka, FL, and Edgewood, MD. In December 1951, they moved to California when Zappa's father took a job teaching metallurgy at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey. The same year, Zappa had first shown an interest in becoming a musician, joining the school band and playing the snare drum.

Although the Zappa family continued to live in California for the rest of Zappa's childhood, they still moved frequently; by the time Zappa graduated from Antelope Valley Joint Union High School in Lancaster in June 1958, it was the seventh high school he had attended. Meanwhile, his interest in music had grown. He had become particularly attracted to R&B, joining a band as a drummer in 1955. Simultaneously, he had become a fan of avant-garde classical music, particularly the work of Edgard Varèse. After his high school graduation, Zappa studied music at several local colleges off and on. He also switched to playing the guitar.

Zappa married Kathryn J. Sherman on December 28, 1960; the marriage ended in divorce in 1964. Meanwhile, he played in bands and worked on the scores of low-budget films. It was in seeking to record his score for one of these films, The World's Greatest Sinner, that he began working at the tiny Pal recording studio in Cucamonga, CA, run by Paul Buff, in November 1961. He and Buff began writing and recording pop music with studio groups and licensing the results to such labels as Del-Fi Records and Original Sound Records. On August 1, 1964, Zappa bought the studio from Buff and renamed it Studio Z. On March 26, 1965, he was arrested by a local undercover police officer who had entrapped him by asking him to record a pornographic audiotape. Convicted of a misdemeanor, he spent ten days in jail, an experience that embittered him. After completing his sentence, he closed the studio, moved into Los Angeles, and joined a band called the Soul Giants that featured his friend, singer Ray Collins, along with bass player Roy Estrada and drummer Jimmy Carl Black. In short order, he induced the group to play his original compositions instead of covers, and to change their name to the Mothers (reportedly on Mother's Day, May 10, 1965).

In Los Angeles, the Mothers were able to obtain a manager, Herb Cohen, and audition successfully to appear in popular nightclubs such as the Whiskey Go-Go by the fall of 1965. There they were seen by record executive Tom Wilson, who signed them to the Verve Records subsidiary of MGM Records on March 1, 1966. (Verve required that the suggestive name "The Mothers" be modified to "The Mothers of Invention.") The contract called for the group to submit five albums in two years, and they immediately went into the studio to record the first of those albums, Freak Out! By this time, Elliot Ingber had joined the group on guitar, making it a quintet. An excess of material and Zappa's agreement to accept a reduced publishing royalty led to the highly unusual decision to release it as a double-LP, an unprecedented indulgence for a debut act that was practically unheard, much less for an established one. (Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde appeared during the same period, but it was his seventh album.)

Freak Out! was released on June 27, 1966. It was not an immediate success commercially, but it entered the Billboard chart for the week ending February 11, 1967, and eventually spent 23 weeks in the charts. In July 1966, Zappa met Adelaide Gail Sloatman; they married in September 1967, prior to the birth, on September 28, 1967, of their first child, a daughter named Moon Unit Zappa who would record with her father. She was followed by a son, Dweezil, on September 5, 1969. He, too, would become a recording artist, as would Ahmet Zappa, born May 15, 1974. A fourth child, Diva, was born in August 1979. During the summer of 1966, Zappa hired drummer Denny Bruce and keyboardist Don Preston, making the Mothers of Invention a septet, but by November 1966, when the Mothers of Invention went back into the studio to record their second album, Absolutely Free, Bruce had been replaced by Billy Mundi; Ingber had been replaced by Jim Fielder; and Zappa had hired two horn players, Bunk Gardner on wind instruments and Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood on saxophone, bringing the band up to a nine-piece unit. The album was recorded in four days and released in June 1967. It entered the charts in July and reached the Top 50.

The Mothers of Invention moved to New York City in November 1966 for a booking at a Greenwich Village club called the Balloon Farm that began on Thanksgiving Day and ran through New Year's Day, 1967. After a two-week stint in Montreal, they returned to California, where Fielder left the group in February. In March, Zappa began recording his first solo album, Lumpy Gravy, having signed to Capitol Records under the impression that he was not signed as an individual to Verve, a position Verve would dispute. Later that month, the Mothers of Invention returned to New York City for another extended engagement at the Garrick Theater in Greenwich Village that ran during Easter week and was sufficiently successful that Herb Cohen booked the theater for the summer. That run began on May 24, 1967, and ran off and on through September 5. During this period, Ian Underwood joined the band, playing saxophone and piano. In August, the group began recording its third album, We're Only in It for the Money.

In September 1967, the Mothers of Invention toured Europe for the first time, playing in the U.K., Sweden, and Denmark. On October 1, Verve failed to exercise its option to extend the band's contract, although they still owed the label three more LPs. They finished recording We're Only in It for the Money in October, but its release was held up because of legal concerns about its proposed cover photograph, an elaborate parody of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was finally resolved by putting the picture on the inside of the fold-out LP sleeve. We're Only in It for the Money was released on March 4, 1968, and it reached the Top 30. Another legal dispute was resolved when Verve purchased the tapes of Lumpy Gravy from Capitol. Zappa then finished recording this orchestral work, and Verve released it under his name (and that of "the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra and Chorus") on May 13, 1968; it spent five weeks in the charts.

Although the Mothers of Invention still owed one more LP to Verve, Zappa already was thinking ahead. In the fall of 1967, he began recording Uncle Meat, the soundtrack for a proposed film, with work continuing through February 1968. During this period, Billy Mundi left the band and was replaced on drums by Arthur Dyer Tripp III. In March, Zappa and Herb Cohen announced that they were setting up their own record label, Bizarre Records, to be distributed by the Reprise Records subsidiary of Warner Bros. Records. The label was intended to record not only the Mothers of Invention, but also acts Zappa discovered. Early in the summer, Ray Collins quit the Mothers of Invention, who continued to tour. Their performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London on October 25, 1968, was released in 1991 as the album Ahead of Their Time. That month, Bizarre was formally launched with the release of the single "The Circle," by Los Angeles street singer Wild Man Fischer. In November, guitarist Lowell George joined the Mothers of Invention. In December, Verve released the band's final album on its contract, Cruisin' with Ruben & the Jets, on which Zappa for once played it straight, leading the group through a set of apparently sincere doo wop and R&B material. The LP spent 12 weeks in the charts. (Zappa was then free of Verve, although his disputes with the company were not over. Verve put out a compilation, Mothermania: The Best of the Mothers, in March 1969, and it spent nine weeks in the charts.)

The ambitious double-LP Uncle Meat, the fifth Mothers of Invention album, was released by Bizarre on April 21, 1969. It reached the Top 50. (The movie it was supposed to accompany did not appear until a home video release in 1989.) In May, Bizarre released Pretties for You, the debut album by Alice Cooper, the only act discovered by the label that would go on to substantial success (after switching to Warner Bros. Records proper, that is).The same month, Lowell George left the band; later, he and Roy Estrada would form Little Feat. Zappa began working on a second solo album, Hot Rats, in July 1969. On August 19, the Mothers of Invention gave their final performance in their original form, playing on Canadian TV at the end of a tour. One week later, Zappa announced that he was breaking up the band, although, as it turned out, this did not mean that he would not use the name "the Mothers of Invention" for groups he led in the future. Hot Rats, the second album to be credited to Frank Zappa, was released on October 10, 1969. It spent only six weeks in the charts at the time, but it would become one of Zappa's best-loved collections, with the instrumental "Peaches en Regalia" a particular favorite. Although the Mothers of Invention no longer existed as a performing unit, Zappa possessed extensive tapes of them, live and in the studio, and using that material, he assembled a new album, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, released in February 1970; it made the Top 100.

At the invitation of Zubin Mehta, conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Zappa assembled a new group of rock musicians dubbed the Mothers for the performance, with the orchestra, of a work called 200 Motels at UCLA on May 15, 1970. Adding singers Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, formerly of the Turtles, Zappa launched a tour with this version of the Mothers in June 1970. (Also included were a returning Ian Underwood, keyboardist George Duke, drummer Aynsley Dunbar, and guitarist Jeff Simmons.) In August, Bizarre released another archival Mothers of Invention album, Weasels Ripped My Flesh, which charted. Chunga's Revenge, released in October, was billed as a Zappa solo album, even though it featured the current lineup of the Mothers; it spent 14 weeks in the charts. After touring the U.S. that fall, the group went to Europe on December 1. From January 28 to February 5, 1971, they were in Pinewood Studios in the U.K. making a movie version of 200 Motels with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and co-stars Theodore Bikel, Ringo Starr, and Keith Moon of the Who. Zappa had planned a concert with the Royal Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall on February 8 as a money-saving tactic, since according to union rules, he could then pay them for the filming/recording session as if it were rehearsals for the concert. But this strategy backfired when the Royal Albert Hall canceled the concert, alleging that Zappa's lyrics were too vulgar. He added to his expenses by suing the Royal Albert Hall, eventually losing in court.

On June 5 and 6, 1971, the Mothers appeared during the closing week of the Fillmore East theater in New York City, recording their shows for a live album, Fillmore East, June 1971, quickly released on August 2. It became Zappa's first album to reach the Top 40 since We're Only in It for the Money three years earlier. John Lennon and Yoko Ono had appeared as guests during the June 6 show, and they used their performance on their 1972 album Some Time in New York City. The Mothers gave a concert at the Pauley Pavilion at UCLA on August 7, 1971, and the show was recorded for the album Just Another Band from L.A., released in May 1972, which made the Top 100. They continued to tour into the fall. 200 Motels premiered in movie theaters on October 29, 1971, with a double-LP soundtrack album released by United Artists that made the Top 100. Meanwhile, the Mothers' European tour was eventful, to say the least. On December 4, 1971, the group appeared at the Montreux Casino in Geneva, Switzerland, but their show stopped when a fan fired off a flare gun that set the venue on fire. The incident was the inspiration for Deep Purple's song "Smoke on the Water." Six days later, as the Mothers were performing at the Rainbow Theatre in London on December 10, a deranged fan jumped on-stage and pushed Zappa into the orchestra pit. He suffered a broken ankle, among other injuries, and was forced to recuperate for months. This was the end both of the tour and of this edition of the Mothers.

While convalescing at home in Los Angeles, Zappa organized a new big band to play jazz-fusion music; he dubbed it the Grand Wazoo Orchestra and recorded two albums with it. Waka/Jawaka, billed as a Zappa solo album, came out in July 1972 and spent seven weeks in the charts. The Grand Wazoo, credited to the Mothers, appeared in December and missed the charts. By September 10, Zappa felt well enough to play two weeks of dates with the group, now billed as the Mothers, starting at the Hollywood Bowl. He then cut the personnel down to ten pieces (the "Petit Wazoo" band) and toured from late October to mid-December.

The start of 1973 marked a new and surprisingly popular phase in Zappa's career. He assembled a new lineup of Mothers, made a batch of new recordings on which he himself sang lead vocals (his voice having dropped half an octave as a result of injuring his neck when he was thrown from the stage), and hit the road for the most extensive touring of his career. Inaugurating the new band in Fayetteville, NC, on February 23, he spent 183 days of 1973 on the road, including tours of the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Meanwhile, the Bizarre Records deal with Reprise/Warner had run out, and he launched a new label, also distributed by Warner, DiscReet Records, its first release being Over-Nite Sensation in September 1973. The album reached the Top 40, stayed in the charts nearly a year, and went gold. It was followed in April 1974 by a Zappa solo album, Apostrophe (‘). Much to Zappa's surprise, radio stations began playing a track called "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow." A single edit of the song actually spent several weeks in the lower reaches of the Hot 100, and Apostrophe (‘) peaked at number ten for the week ending June 29, 1974, the highest chart position ever achieved by a Zappa album. The LP also went gold.

Zappa continued to tour extensively in 1974. His next album, the double-LP live collection Roxy & Elsewhere, credited to "Zappa/Mothers," appeared in September 1974 and made the Top 30. Adding his old friend Captain Beefheart to the band, he played shows at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, TX, on May 20 and 21, 1975, that he recorded for the album Bongo Fury, credited to Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart/The Mothers, released in October; it made the Top 100. Prior to that had come One Size Fits All, credited to Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention, released in June; it made the Top 30. On September 17 and 18, 1975, two concerts of Zappa's orchestral music were performed by a group dubbed the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra (in memory of Lumpy Gravy) and conducted by Michael Zearott at Royce Hall, UCLA. The shows were recorded, but the material was not released until May 1979 as Orchestral Favorites, which spent several weeks in the charts. Starting on September 27, 1975, Zappa launched another extended period of touring, staying in the U.S. through a New Years concert at the Forum in Los Angeles, then playing in Australia, Japan, and Europe, finishing on March 17, 1976. This ended another phase in his career. He split with his longtime manager Herb Cohen and disbanded his group, which, because of legal disputes with Cohen, would turn out to have been the last one called the Mothers or the Mothers of Invention. Hereafter, he would perform and record simply as Frank Zappa. There were also other legal issues. In October 1976, he reached an out-of-court settlement in a suit he had waged against MGM/Verve that resulted in his winning the rights to the masters of his early albums.

Zappa surprised fans when his name turned up as the producer of a new album by Grand Funk Railroad, Good Singin', Good Playin', in August 1976. In September, he launched his first world tour under his own name, playing in the U.S., the Far East, and Europe through February 1977. Zoot Allures, the last album to be credited to the Mothers, was released on Warner Bros. Records on October 29, 1976, the DiscReet label apparently being claimed by Cohen; it reached the Top 100. Zappa was also seeking to end his deal with Warner. In March 1977, he delivered four albums to the label simultaneously (the initial titles were Studio Tan, Hot Rats III [Waka/Jawaka having counted as Hot Rats II], Zappa's Orchestral Favorites, and the double album Live in New York, recorded in December 1976); he demanded the four $60,000 advances the albums called for, and sued Warner for breach of contract when it did not pay. In the summer of 1977, he announced that he had concluded his contract with Warner. He declared that the four albums really constituted a single work called Leather (later spelled Läther), which he sold to Mercury/Phonogram Records. Warner then sued to block its release.

On September 8, 1977, Zappa launched another North American tour, staying on the road until New Year's Eve. His shows from October 28-31 at the Palladium in New York City were filmed and recorded, the material later emerging in the movie Baby Snakes. The European leg of the tour opened in London on January 24, 1978. The resolutions of Zappa's legal disputes led to an unusually large number of releases over the next year. Zappa in New York (originally called Live in New York) was released on DiscReet in March 1978 and made the Top 100. Studio Tan appeared in September 1978 and charted. Sleep Dirt (originally called Hot Rats III) was released in January 1979 and charted. Orchestral Favorites completed the releases of the material Zappa had delivered to Warner in March 1977. With these matters settled, Zappa launched Zappa Records, with distribution through Mercury/Phonogram in the U.S. and CBS Records in the rest of the world, releasing the double-LP Sheik Yerbouti on March 3, 1979. The album managed to distinguish itself from all the other Zappa albums in the record bins and peaked at number 21, Zappa's best showing in five years, promoted by the single "Dancin' Fool," which made the Top 50. That track was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance (Male), and "Rat Tomago," another track on the album, got a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Zappa toured Europe and Japan in the spring of 1979, then returned to the U.S., where he completed work on his home studio, called the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, on September 1. The home studio and his continuing practice of recording his shows, along with greater control over his record releases, seemed to free Zappa to issue more records. Joe's Garage Act I was released in September 1979 and made the Top 30; it was followed in November by the double-LP Joe's Garage Acts II & III, which made the Top 100. Baby Snakes, the film of the 1977 Halloween shows in New York, opened on December 21, 1979. A soundtrack album did not appear until 1983. Zappa spent much of 1980 on the road, beginning a tour of North America and Europe on March 25, with dates continuing through July 3, and then touring again from October 10 through Christmas.

Amazingly, Zappa did not release an album during 1980. (A single, "I Don't Wanna Get Drafter," just missed making the Hot 100 in May.) But he made up for that in 1981. In May, yet another new label, Barking Pumpkin Records, was launched with the release of a double-LP, Tinseltown Rebellion, which made the Top 100. By now, Zappa had perfected a method of melding studio and live performances on his records, such that the finished versions were a combination of the two. Also in May 1981, he simultaneously released three instrumental albums via mail order: Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar, Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar Some More, and Return of the Son of Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar. In September came another double album, You Are What You Is, that made the Top 100.

Zappa's spring/summer tour of Europe in 1982 was plagued with problems including canceled dates and even a riot at one show; after finishing the stint on July 14, he did not tour again for two years. Meanwhile, on May 3, 1982, he released a new album, Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, and it featured another of his surprise hit singles, as radio picked up on "Valley Girl," a track featuring a vocal by his daughter Moon Unit Zappa, imitating the character and employing the slang of a typical Southern California valley girl. The song peaked at number 32 on September 11, 1982, making it the most successful single of Zappa's career. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The album made the Top 30. After coming off the road, Zappa concentrated on recording and on his orchestral music. On January 11, 1983, conductor Kent Nagano led the London Symphony Orchestra in a concert of Zappa's works at the Barbican Arts Centre in London, preparatory to three days of recordings that resulted, initially, in the album London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. 1, released in June 1983. (A second volume followed in September 1987.) Prior to that, Zappa had released a new rock album, The Man from Utopia, on March 28, 1983, which charted for several weeks.

As he had the year before, Zappa saw some of his orchestral music recorded in January 1984, this time by the Ensemble InterContemporain of conductor Pierre Boulez. With other material, these recordings would be released by Angel Records on August 23, 1984, as Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger. The other material was Zappa's own recording on an advanced synthesizer instrument he had purchased called the Synclavier, capable of replicating orchestral arrangements. The Synclavier freed Zappa from the technical limitations (and, in some cases, the objections) of live musicians, especially classical musicians, and he turned to it increasingly from this point on. Having discovered manuscripts of music composed in the 18th century by an ancestor of his, Francesco Zappa, he recorded an album of it on the Synclavier in March 1984, releasing the results on an LP called Francesco Zappa on November 21, 1984.

On July 18, 1984, two years after the end of his last tour, Zappa went back on the road for an extensive, worldwide trek that ran through December 23. On October 18, he released a two-LP set, Them or Us. A month later came the triple-LP box set, Thing-Fish, on the same day as the Francesco Zappa album. By this time, Zappa's records were no longer reaching the charts, as he focused on his existing fan base, heavily marketing to them through mail order. Having re-acquired the masters to his Verve/MGM albums, he had found the tapes in dire condition and had re-recorded the bass and drum parts for the albums We're Only in It for the Money and Cruisin' with Ruben and the Jets, which were part of a box set he offered to his mailing list, The Old Masters Box 1, in April 1985. (The Old Masters Box 2 followed in 1986, and the series was completed with The Old Masters Box 3 in 1987.)

During the year 1985, a group of wives of prominent politicians in Washington, D.C., formed the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) and lobbed Congress for restrictions on what they saw as obscenity in popular music. Zappa, long an opponent of censorship, became a leader of the opposition to the PMRC, and on September 19, 1985, he testified before the Senate Commerce Technology and Transportation Committee to voice his opinions. Of course, his testimony was a matter of public record, and he quickly used the recordings in an album he assembled called Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention, released in November 1985. In January 1986, it became his 33rd and last album to reach the Billboard chart.

In January 1986, a Zappa live album drawn from the 1984 tour, Does Humor Belong in Music?, was released in Europe, but quickly withdrawn. It was an accompaniment to a home video of the same name that was taken from a single date on the tour. The album was later reissued with a new mix. Meanwhile, Zappa signed a contract with the independent CD label Rykodisc to reissue his albums on CD. The reissue program was launched in the fall of the year. At the same time, Zappa released a new instrumental album largely consisting of material recorded on the Synclavier, Jazz from Hell. The album won him his first Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance (Orchestra, Group or Soloist), and the track "Jazz from Hell" itself earned a nomination for Best Instrumental Composition.

On February 2, 1988, Zappa launched what would prove to be his final tour, playing 81 dates in North America and Europe through June 9. Meanwhile, he continued to issue new recordings. In April came a double album of guitar solos in the manner of the Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar series, simply called Guitar, and the first in a series of double-CD archival live recordings, You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1. In typically unusual Zappa style, the series found him editing together live performances by different configurations of the Mothers and his backup bands at different times. By 1992, the series extended to six volumes. The second volume, which actually replicated a single concert performed in Helsinki in 1974, appeared in October 1988 at the same time as an album of recordings from the 1988 tour, Broadway the Hard Way. Launching a home video line, Honker, in 1989, Zappa finally issued Uncle Meat on VHS tape, along with the documentary The True Story of 200 Motels and Video from Hell. (The following year, Honker issued The Amazing Mr. Bickford, a documentary about the animator responsible for the clay animation work seen in Baby Snakes.) In May 1989, Zappa published his autobiography, The Real Frank Zappa Book, co-authored with Peter Occhiogrosso. And in another surprising non-musical career development in 1989, Zappa began traveling to Russia as a business liaison. These efforts were extended in January 1990, when he went to Czechoslovakia, where he met the recently installed president, playwright and Zappa fan Václav Havel, and agreed to become a trade representative for the country. Understandably, this ran afoul of the Administration of American President George Bush, however, and Zappa's role became unofficial.

It's hard to say what might have come of Zappa's trade efforts with the former Soviet Union and the former Iron Curtain countries, where he was something of a cultural hero. In May 1990, he suddenly canceled scheduled appearances in Europe and returned to the U.S. due to illness. He managed to go to Czechoslovakia and Hungary in June 1991, however. In the meantime, he continued to issue volumes of the You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore series and albums drawn from the 1988 tour, The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life in April 1991, and Make a Jazz Noise Here in June 1991. In July 1991, in yet another unusual marketing move, he assembled a collection of eight bootleg albums that had appeared over the years and offered his own version of them (mastered directly from the bootleg LPs themselves) as a box set called Beat the Boots; the albums were also released individually, and a second Beat the Boots box was released in June 1992.

Zappa was scheduled to appear in New York for a performance by a group of alumni from his bands called "Zappa's Universe" on November 7, 1991. When he was unable to attend due to illness, his children explained publicly for the first time that he was suffering from prostate cancer. He managed to fly to Germany on July 13, 1992, to work with the Ensemble Modern on a piece it had commissioned from him, The Yellow Shark, and he was present for concerts it performed in September. In October, Zappa released Playground Psychotics, an archival album of previously unreleased material from the 1970-1971 edition of the Mothers. The Yellow Shark was released in November 1993. Zappa died at age 52 on December 4, 1993.

After Zappa's death, his widow sold his existing catalog outright to Rykodisc. But, like such well-established rock artists as the Grateful Dead, he had produced a tremendous archive of studio and live recordings that Gail Zappa was able to assemble into posthumous albums for his legions of fans. The first of these was the ambitious Civilization Phaze III, which Zappa was working on in the period up to his death, released in December 1994, and other albums, either containing concerts or other material, have also appeared, along with expanded versions of previously released albums such as Freak Out! Decades after Zappa's death, this stream of releases showed no evidence of stopping, as long as Zappa fans were interested in buying. ~ William Ruhlmann
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Little Dots

1. Cosmik Debris

2. Little Dots (Pt. 1)

3. Little Dots (Pt. 2)

4. Rollo

5. Kansas City Shuffle

6. Columbia, S.C. (Pt. 1)

7. Columbia, S.C. (Pt. 2)


Track List: ZAPPAtite - Frank Zappa's Tastiest Tracks

1. I'm The Slime

2. Dirty Love

3. Dancing Fool (Live)

4. Trouble Every Day

5. Peaches En Regalia

6. Tell Me You Love Me

7. Bobby Brown Goes Down (Live)

8. You Are What You Is

9. Valley Girl

10. Joe's Garage

11. Cosmik Debris

12. Sofa No. 1

13. Don't Eat The Yellow Snow (Single Version)

14. Titties & Beer (Live)

15. G-Spot Tornado

16. Cocaine Decisions

17. Zoot Allures

18. Strictly Genteel


Track List: Road Tapes, Venue #2 (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

Disc 1

1. Introcious (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

2. The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

3. Kung Fu (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

4. Penguin In Bondage (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

5. Exercise #4 (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

6. Dog Breath (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

7. The Dog Breath Variations (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

8. Uncle Meat (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

9. RDNZL (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

10. Montana (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

11. Your Teeth And Your Shoulders And Sometimes Your Foot Goes Like This...../Pojama Prelude (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

12. Dupree's Paradise (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

13. All Skate/Dun-Dun-Dun (The Finnish Hit Single) (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

Disc 2

1. Village Of The Sun (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

2. Echidna's Arf (Of You) (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

3. Don't You Ever Wash That Thing? (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

4. Big Swifty (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

5. Farther O'Blivion (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)

6. Brown Shoes Don't Make It (Live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973)


Track List: Road Tapes, Venue #1 (Live Kerrisdale Arena, Vancouver B.C. - 25 August 1968)

1. The Importance Of An Earnest Attempt (By Hand) [Live]

2. Help, I’m A Rock / Transylvania Boogie (Live)

3. Flopsmash Musics (Live)

4. Hungry Freaks, Daddy (Live)

5. The Orange County Lumber Truck (Live)

6. The Rewards Of A Career In Music (Live)

7. Trouble Every Day (Live)

8. Shortly: Suite Exists Of Holiday In Berlin Full Blown (Live)

9. Pound For A Brown (Live)

10. Sleeping In A Jar (Live)

11. Oh, In The Sky (Live)

12. Octandre (Live)

13. King Kong (Live)


Track List: The Crux Of The Biscuit

1. Cosmik Debris

2. Uncle Remus (Mix Outtake)

3. Down In De Dew (Alternate Mix)

4. Apostrophe' (Mix Outtake)

5. The Story Of Don't Eat Yellow Snow/St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast

6. Don't Eat Yellow The Snow/St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast (Live)

7. Excentrifugal Forz (Mix Outtake)

8. Energy Frontier (Take 4)

9. Energy Frontier (Take 6 With Overdubs)

10. Energy Frontier (Bridge)

11. Cosmik Debris (Basic Tracks / Take 3)

12. Don't Eat The Yellow Snow (Basic Tracks / Alternate Take)

13. Nanook Rubs It (Basic Tracks / Outtake)

14. Nanook Rubs It (Session Outtake)

15. Frank's Last Words...


Track List: Road Tapes, Venue #3 (Live Tyrone Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, MN 5 July 1970)

Disc 1

1. Tyrone Start The Tape… (Live)

2. King Kong (Live)

3. Wonderful Wino (Live)

4. Concentration Moon (Live)

5. Mom & Dad (Live)

6. The Air (Live)

7. Dog Breath (Live)

8. Mother People (Live)

9. You Didn't Try To Call Me (Live)

10. Agon: Interlude (Live)

11. Call Any Vegetable (Live)

12. King Kong / Igor's Boogie (Live)

13. It Can't Happen Here (Live)

14. Sharleena (Live)

Disc 2

1. The 23rd "Mondellos" (Live)

2. Justine (Live)

3. Pound For A Brown (Live)

4. Sleeping In A Jar (Live)

5. Sharleena (Live / 2nd Show)

6. A Piece Of Contemporary Music (Live)

7. The Return Of Hunchback Duke (Live)

8. Cruising For Burgers (Live)

9. Let's Make The Water Turn Black (Live)

10. Harry, You're A Beast (Live)

11. Oh No/Orange County Lumber Truck (Live)

12. Call Any Vegetable (Live / 2nd Show)

13. Mondello's Revenge (Live)

14. The Clap (Chunga's Revenge) (Live)


Track List: Frank Zappa For President

1. Overture To "Uncle Sam"

2. Brown Shoes Don't Make It (Remix)

3. Amnerika Goes Home (Vocal Version)

4. "If I Was President..."

5. When The Lie's So Big (Live At Nassau Colliseum, Uniondale, NY/1988)

6. Medieval Ensemble

7. America The Beautiful (Live At Nassau Colliseum, Uniondale, NY/1988)


Track List: The Lumpy Money Project/Object

Disc 1

1. Pt.I Sink Trap (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

2. Pt.II Gum Joy (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

3. Pt.III Up & Down (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

4. Pt.IV Local Butcher (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

5. Pt.V Gypsy Airs (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

6. Pt.VI Hunchy Punchy (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

7. Pt.VII Foamy Soaky (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

8. Pt.VIII Let’s Eat Out (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

9. Pt.IX Teen-Age Grand Finale (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (Mono)

10. Are You Hung Up? (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

11. Who Needs The Peace Corps? (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

12. Concentration Moon (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

13. Mom & Dad (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

14. Telephone Conversation (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

15. Bow Tie Daddy (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

16. Harry, You're A Beast (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

17. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

18. Absolutely Free (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

19. Flower Punk (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

20. Hot Poop (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

21. Nasal Retentive Calliope Music (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

22. Let's Make The Water Turn Black (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

23. The Idiot B**tard Son (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

24. Lonely Little Girl (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

25. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

26. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Reprise) (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

27. Mother People (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

28. The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (Mono)

Disc 2

1. Lumpy Gravy, Pt. 1 (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (1984 UMRK Remix)

2. Lumpy Gravy, Pt. 2 (Feat. Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra And Chorus) (1984 UMRK Remix)

3. Are You Hung Up? (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 UMRK Remix)

4. Who Needs The Peace Corps? (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 UMRK Remix)

5. Concentration Moon (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

6. Mom & Dad (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

7. Telephone Conversation (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

8. Bow Tie Daddy (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 UMRK Remix)

9. Harry, You're A Beast (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

10. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 UMRK Remix)

11. Absolutely Free (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

12. Flower Punk (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

13. Hot Poop (1984 HMRK Remix)

14. Nasal Retentive Calliope Music (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

15. Let's Make The Water Turn Black (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

16. The Idiot B**tard Son (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

17. Lonely Little Girl (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

18. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

19. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Reprise) (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

20. Mother People (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

21. The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny (Feat. The Mothers Of Invention) (1984 HMRK Remix)

Disc 3

1. How Did That Get In Here?

2. Lumpy Gravy “Shuffle" (Interview)

3. Dense Slight

4. Unit 3A, Take 3

5. Unit 2, Take 9

6. Section 8, Take 22

7. “My Favorite Album” (Interview)

8. Unit 9

9. N. Double A, AA

10. Theme From Lumpy Gravy

11. “What The F**k’s Wrong With Her?” (Interview)

12. Intelligent Design

13. Lonely Little Girl (Original Composition / Take 24)

14. “That Problem With Absolutely Free” (Interview)

15. Absolutely Free (Instrumental)

16. Harry, You’re A Beast (Instrumental)

17. What’s The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Reprise) (Instrumental)

18. Creationism

19. Idiot B**tard Snoop

20. The Idiot B**tard Son (Instrumental)

21. “What’s Happening Of The Universe” (Interview)

22. “The World Will Be A Far Happier Place” (Interview)

23. Lonely Little Girl (Instrumental)

24. Mom & Dad (Instrumental)

25. Who Needs The Peace Corps? (Instrumental)

26. “Really Little Voice” (Interview)

27. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Instrumental)

28. Lonely Little Girl (Single Version)

29. “In Conclusion” (Interview)


Track List: Dance Me This

1. Dance Me This

2. Pachuco Gavotte

3. Wolf Harbor

4. Wolf Harbor II

5. Wolf Harbor III

6. Wolf Harbor IV

7. Wolf Harbor V

8. Goat Polo

9. Rykoniki

10. Piano

11. Calculus


Track List: Joe's Camouflage

1. Phyniox (Take 1)

2. T'Mershi Duween

3. Reeny Ra

4. Who Do You Think You Are

5. Slack 'Em All Down

6. Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me

7. The Illinois Enema Bandit

8. Sleep Dirt - In Rehearsal

9. Black Napkins

10. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance

11. Denny & Foggy Relate

12. Choose Your Foot

13. Any Downers?

14. Phyniox (Take 2)

15. I Heard A Note


Track List: Finer Moments

Disc 1

1. Intro

2. Sleazette

3. Mozart Piano Sonata In Bb

4. The Walking Zombie Music

5. The Old Curiosity Shoppe

6. You Never Know Who Your Friends Are

7. Uncle Rhebus

Disc 2

1. Music From The Big Squeeze

2. Enigmas 1 Thru 5

3. Pumped And Waxed

4. There Is No Heaven From Where Slogans Go To Die

5. Squeeze It, Squeeze It, Squeeze It

6. The Subcutaneous Peril


Track List: Playground Psychotics

Disc 1

1. Here Comes The Gear, Lads

2. The Living Garbage Truck

3. A Typical Sound Check

4. This Is Neat

5. The Motel Lobby

6. Getting Stewed

7. The Motel Room

8. Don't Take Me Down

9. The Dressing Room

10. Learning 'Penis Dimension'

11. You There, With The Hard On

12. Zanti Serenade

13. Divan

14. Sleeping In A Jar

15. Don't Eat There

16. Brixton Still Live

17. Super Grease

18. Wonderful Wino

19. Sharleena

20. Cruisin' For Burgers

21. Diptheria Blues

22. Well

23. Say Please

24. Aaawk

25. Scum Bag

26. A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono

Disc 2

11. Status Back Baby

14. The Sanzini Brothers

17. Mom & Dad


Track List: Understanding America

Disc 1

1. Hungry Freaks, Daddy

2. Plastic People

3. Mom & Dad

4. It Can't Happen Here

5. Who Are The Brain Police?

6. Who Needs The Peace Corps?

7. Brown Shoes Don't Make It

8. Concentration Moon

9. Trouble Every Day

10. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here

11. We're Turning Again

12. Road Ladies

13. What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?

14. Camarillo Brillo

15. Find Her Finer

16. Dinah-Moe Humm

17. Disco Boy

18. 200 Years Old

Disc 2

1. I'm The Slime

2. Be In My Video

3. I Don't Even Care

4. Can't Afford No Shoes

5. Heavenly Bank Account

6. Cocaine Decisions

7. Dumb All Over

8. Promiscuous

9. Thing-Fish Intro

10. The Central Scrutinizer

11. Porn Wars Deluxe

12. Tinsel Town Rebellion

13. Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk


Track List: Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison

1. Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison

2. Buffalo Voice

3. Secular Humanism


Track List: Greasy Love Songs

1. Cheap Thrills (1968 Stereo Mix)

2. Love Of My Life (1968 Stereo Mix)

3. How Could I Be Such A Fool? (1968 Stereo Mix)

4. Deseri (1968 Stereo Mix)

5. I'm Not Satisfied (1968 Stereo Mix)

6. Jelly Roll Gum Drop (1968 Stereo Mix)

7. Anything (1968 Stereo Mix)

8. Later That Night (1968 Stereo Mix)

9. You Didn't Try To Call Me (1968 Stereo Mix)

10. Fountain Of Love (Edit) (1968 Stereo Mix)

11. "No. No. No." (1968 Stereo Mix)

12. Anyway The Wind Blows (1968 Stereo Mix)

13. Stuff Up The Cracks (1968 Stereo Mix)

14. Jelly Roll Gum Drop (Alternate Mix/ Mono)

15. "No. No. No." (Long Version)

16. Stuff Up The Cracks (Alternate Mix)

17. "Serious Fan Mail"

18. Valerie (1967 Version/ Mono)

19. Jelly Roll Gum Drop (Single Version)

20. "Secret Greasing"

21. Love Of My Life (Cuca Impossible Recordings Version)


Track List: "Congress Shall Make No Law . . ."

1. Congress Shall Make No Law

2. Perhaps In Maryland

3. Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me

4. Thou Shalt Not Make Unto Thee Any Graven Image - Any Likeness Of Anything In Heaven Above, Nor In The Earth Beneath, Nor In The Water Under The Earth

5. Thou Shalt Not Take The Name Of The Lord Thy God In Vain

6. Thou Shalt Keep Holy The Sabbath Day

7. Thou Shalt Honor Thy Father And Thy Mother

8. Thou Shalt Not Kill

9. Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

10. Thou Shalt Not Steal

11. Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbor

12. Thou Shalt Not Covet The House Of Thy Neighbor, The Wife Of Thy Neighbor, Nor His Male Servant, Nor His Female Servant, Nor His A**, Nor Anything That Belongs To Thy Neighbor

13. Reagan At Bitburg Some More


Track List: Philly '76


Track List: One Shot Deal

1. Bathtub Man (Live)

2. Space Boogers (Live)

3. Hermitage (Live)

4. Trudgin' Across The Tundra (Live)

5. Occam's Razor (Live)

6. Heidelberg (Live)

7. The Illinois Enema Bandit (Live 1981)

8. Australian Yellow Snow (Live)

9. Rollo (Live)


Track List: A Token Of His Extreme

1. The Dog Breath Variation/Uncle Meat (Medley/Live)

2. Montana (Live)

3. Earl Of Duke (Live)

4. Florentine Pogen (Live)

5. Stink-Foot (Live August 27, 1974 At KCET In Hollywood)

6. Pygmy Twylyte (Live August 27, 1974 At KCET In Hollywood)

7. Room Service (Live)

8. Inca Roads (Live)

9. Oh No/Son Of Orange County (Medley/Live)

10. More Trouble Every Day (Live August 27, 1974 At KCET In Hollywood)

11. A Token Of My Extreme (Live August 27, 1974 At KCET In Hollywood)


Track List: Buffalo

1. Chunga's Revenge (Live)

2. You Are What You Is (Live)

3. Mudd Club (Live)

4. The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing (Live)

5. Cosmik Debris (Live 1980)

6. Keep It Greasy (Live 1980)

7. Tinsel Town Rebellion (Live)

8. Buffalo Drowning Witch (Live)

9. Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me? (Live 1980)

10. Pick Me, I'm Clean (Live)

11. Dead Girls Of London (Live 1980)

12. Shall We Take Ourselves Seriously? (Live 1980)

13. City Of Tiny Lites (Live 1980)

14. Easy Meat (Live)

15. Ain't Got No Heart (Live)

16. The Torture Never Stops (Live 1980)

17. Broken Hearts Are For A**holes (Live 1980)

18. I'm So Cute (Live)

19. Andy (Live)

20. Joe's Garage (Live 1980)

21. Dancing Fool (Live 1980)

22. The "Real World" Thematic (Live)

23. Stick It Out (Live)

24. I Don't Wanna Get Drafted (Live)

25. Bobby Brown (Live)

26. Ms. Pinky (Live)


Track List: Imaginary Diseases

1. Oddients

2. Rollo

3. Been To Kansas City In A Minor

4. Farther Oblivion

5. D.C. Boogie

6. Imaginary Diseases

7. Montreal


Track List: The Mofo Project/Object

Disc 1

1. Hungry Freaks, Daddy

2. I Ain't Got No Heart

3. Who Are The Brain Police?

4. Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder

5. Motherly Love

6. How Could I Be Such A Fool?

7. Wowie Zowie

8. You Didn't Try To Call Me

9. Anyway The Wind Blows

10. I'm Not Satisfied

11. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here

12. Trouble Every Day

13. Help, I'm A Rock

14. It Can't Happen Here

15. The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet

Disc 2

1. Trouble Every Day (Basic Tracks)

2. Who Are The Brain Police?

3. I Ain't Got No Heart (Basic Tracks)

4. You Didn't Try To Call Me (Basic Tracks)

5. How Could I Be Such A Fool?

6. Anyway The Wind Blows (1987 FZ Remix)

7. Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder (Vocal Overdub Take 2)

8. Motherly Love (Vocal Overdub Master Takes)

9. Tom Wilson

10. My Pet Theory

11. Hungry Freaks, Daddy (Basic Tracks Intro)

12. Help, I'm A Rock (1970 FZ Remix)

13. It Can't Happen Here (1970 FZ Remix)

14. Freak Out Drum Track

15. Watts Riot Demo/Fillmore Sequence

16. Freak Out Zilofone

17. Low Budget Rock & Roll Band


Track List: Trance-Fusion (Live)

1. Chunga's Revenge (Feat. Dweezil Zappa) (Live At Wembley Arena, London,UK/1988)

2. Bowling On Charen (Live At The Palladium, NYC/1977)

3. Good Lobna (Live At The Orpheum Theater, Memphis, Tennessee/1984)

4. A Cold Dark Matter (Live At Memorial Hall, Allentown, Pennsylvania/1988)

5. Butter Or Cannons (Live At The Pier, NYC/1984)

6. Ask Dr. Stupid (Live At Rhein-Neckarhalle, Eppelheim, Germany/1979)

7. Scratch & Sniff (Live At Brighton Centre, Brighton, UK/1988)

8. Trance-Fusion (Live At Liederhalle, Stuttgart, Germany/1988)

9. Gorgo (Live At Johanneshovs Isstadiom, Stockholm/1988)

10. Displodocus (Live At The Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island,/1984)

11. Soul Polka (Live At The Memorial Hall, Allentown, Pennsylvania/1988)

12. For Guiseppe Franco (Live At Paramount Theatre, Seattle, Washington/1984)

13. After Dinner Smoker (Live At Palasport, Genoa, Italy/1988)

14. Light Is All That Matters (Live At Paramount Theatre, Seattle, Washington/1984)

15. Finding Higg's Boson (Live At Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria/1988)

16. Bavarian Sunset (Live At Rudi-Sedlmeyer Sporthalle, Minuch, Germany/1988)


Track List: Joe's Xmasage

1. Mormon Xmas Dance Report

2. Prelude To "The Purse"

3. Mr. Clean (Alternate Mix)

4. Why Dont'cha Do Me Right?

5. The Muthers/Power Trio

6. The Purse

7. The Moon Will Never Be The Same

8. GTR Trio

9. Suckit Rockit

10. Mousie's First Xmas

11. The Uncle Frankie Show


Track List: Joe's Domage

1. When It's Perfect

2. The New Brown Clouds

3. Frog Song

4. It Just Might Be A One Shot Deal

5. The Ending Line

6. Blessed Relief/The New Brown Clouds

7. It Ain't Real So What's The Deal

8. Think It Over (Some) Think It Over (Some More)

9. Another Whole Melodic Section

10. When It Feels Natural


Track List: FZ:OZ (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

1. Hordern Intro (Incan Art Vamp) (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

2. Stink-Foot (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

3. The Poodle Lecture (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

4. Dirty Love (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

5. Filthy Habits (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

6. How Could I Be Such A Fool? (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

7. I Ain't Got No Heart (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

8. I'm Not Satisfied (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

9. Black Napkins (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

10. Advance Romance (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

11. The Illinois Enema Bandit (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

12. Wind Up Workin' In A Gas Station (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

13. The Torture Never Stops (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

14. Canard Tujours (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

15. Kraiser Rolls (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

16. Find Her Finer (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

17. Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

18. Lonely Little Girl (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

19. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

20. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

21. Chunga's Revenge (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

22. Zoot Allures (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

23. Keep It Greasey (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

24. Dinah-Moe Humm (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

25. Camarillo Brillo (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

26. Muffin Man (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)

27. Kaiser Rolls (Du Jour) (Live At Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 1976)


Track List: Son Of Cheep Thrills


2. Twenty Small Cigars

3. The Legend Of The Golden Arches

4. Ya Hozna

5. It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal

8. Night School

11. What's New In Baltimore?


Track List: Everything Is Healing Nicely

1. Library Card

2. This Is A Test

3. Jolly Good Fellow

4. Roland's Big Event/Start Vindaloo (Medley)

5. Master Ringo

6. T'Mershi Duween (Album Version)

7. Nap Time

8. 9/8 Objects

9. Naked City

10. Whitey (Prototype)

11. Amnerika Goes Home

12. None Of The Above (Revised Previsited)

13. Wonderful Tattoo!


Track List: Mystery Disc

1. Theme From "Run Home Slow"

2. Original Duke Of Prunes

3. Opening Night At "Studio Z"

4. The Village Inn

5. Steal Away

6. I Was A Teen-Age Malt Shop

7. The Birth Of Captain Beefheart

8. Metal Man Has Won His Wings

9. Power Trio From The Saints 'N Sinners

10. Bossa Nova Pervertamento

11. Excerpt From The Uncle Frankie Show

12. Charva

13. Speed-Freak Boogie

14. Original Mothers At The Broadside

15. Party Scene From "Mondo Hollywood"

16. Original Mothers Rehearsal

17. How Could I Be Such A Fool?

18. Band Introductions At The Fillmore West

19. Plastic People

20. Original Mothers At Fillmore East

21. Harry, You're A Beast

22. Don Interrupts

23. Piece One

24. Jim/Roy

25. Piece Two

26. Agency Man

27. Agency Man (Studio Version)

28. Lecture From Festival Hall Show

29. Wedding Dress Song/The Handsome Cabin Boy

30. Skweezit Skweezit Skweezit

31. The Story Of Willie The Pimp

32. Black Beauty

33. Chucha

34. Mothers At KPFK

35. Harmonica Fun


Track List: Have I Offended Someone?

1. Bobby Brown Goes Down

2. Disco Boy

3. Goblin Girl

4. In France

5. He's So Gay

6. Sex

7. Titties 'N Beer

8. We're Turning Again

9. Dumb All Over

10. Catholic Girls

11. Dinah-Moe Humm

12. Tinsel Town Rebellion

13. Valley Girl

14. Jewish Princess

15. Yo Cats


Track List: Lather

Disc 1

2. Naval Aviation In Art?

3. A Little Green Rosetta

4. Duck Duck Goose

5. Down In De Dew

6. For The Young Sophisticate

7. Tryin' To Grow A Chin

9. The Legend Of The Illinois Enema Bandit

10. Lemme Take You To The Beach

11. Revised Music For Guitar & Low Budget Orchestra


Disc 2

1. Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me?

2. The Black Page #1

3. Big Leg Emma

4. Punky's Whips

5. Flambe

6. The Purple Lagoon

7. Pedro's Dowry

9. Spider Of Destiny

10. Duke Of Orchestral Prunes

Disc 3

1. Filthy Habits

2. Titties 'N Beer

3. The Ocean Is The Ultimate Solution

4. The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary

5. Regyptian Strut

8. Time Is Money


Track List: The Lost Episodes

1. The Blackouts

2. Lost In A Whirlpool

3. Ronnie Sings?

4. Kenny's Booger Story

5. Ronnie's Booger Story

6. Mount St. Mary's Concert Excerpt

7. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance

8. Tiger Roach

9. Run Home Slow Theme

10. Fountain Of Love

11. Run Home Cues, #2

12. Any Way The Wind Blows

13. Run Home Cues, #3

14. Charva

15. The Dick Kunc Story

16. Wedding Dress Song

17. Handsome Cabin Boy

18. Cops & Buns

19. The Big Squeeze

20. I'm A Band Leader

21. Alley Cat

22. The Grand Wazoo

23. Wonderful Wino

24. Kung Fu


26. Basement Music #1

27. Inca Roads

28. Lil' Clanton Shuffle

29. I Don't Wanna Get Drafted

30. Sharleena


Track List: You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 6 (Live)

Disc 1

1. The M.O.I. Anti-Smut Loyalty Oath (Live)

2. The Poodle Lecture (Live)

3. Dirty Love (Live)

4. Magic Fingers (Live)

5. The Madison Panty-Sniffing Festival (Live)

6. Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me? (Live)

7. Father O'Blivion (Live)

8. Is That Guy Kidding Or What (Live)

9. I'm So Cute (Live)

10. White Person (Live)

11. Lonely Person Devices (Live)

12. Ms. Pinky (Live)

13. Shove It Right In (Live)

14. Wind Up Working In A Gas Station (Live)

15. Make A Sex Noise (Live)

16. Tracy Is A Snob (Live)

17. I Have Been In You (Live)

18. Emperor Of Ohio (Live)

19. Dinah-Moe Humm (Live)

20. He's So Gay (Live)

21. Camarillo Brillo (Live)

22. Muffin Man (Live)

Disc 2

1. NYC Halloween Audience (Live)

2. The Illinois Enema Bandit (Live)

3. Thirteen (Live)

4. Lobster Girl (Live)

5. Black Napkins (Live)

6. We're Turning Again (Live)

7. Alien Orifice (Live)

8. Catholic Girls (Live)

9. Crew Slut (Live)

10. Tryin' To Grow A Chin (Live)

11. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Live)

12. Lisa's Life Story (Live)

13. Lonesome Cowboy Nando (Live)

14. 200 Motels Finale (Live)

15. Strictly Genteel (Live)


Track List: You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 5

Disc 1

2. Charles Ives

3. Here Lies Love

4. Piano/Drum Duet

5. Mozart Ballet

6. Chocolate Halvah

7. JCB & Kansas On The Bus #1

8. Run Home Slow: Main Title Theme

9. The Little March

10. Right There

11. Where Is Johnny Velvet?

12. Return Of The Hunch-Back Duke

13. Trouble Every Day

14. Proto-Minimalism

15. JCB & Kansas On The Bus #2

16. My Head?

17. Meow

18. Baked Bean Boogie

19. Where's Our Equipment?

20. FZ/JCB Drum Duet

21. No Waiting For The Peanuts To Dissolve

22. A Game Of Cards

23. Underground Freak-Out Music

24. German Lunch

25. My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama

Disc 2

1. Easy Meat (Live)

9. City Of Tiny Lites (Live)

10. A Pound For A Brown (On The Bus) (Live)

12. The Black Page #2 (Live)


Track List: You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 4

Disc 1

1. Little Rubber Girl (live)

2. Stick Together (live)

3. My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama

4. Willie The Pimp

5. Montana

6. Brown Moses

7. The Evil Prince

8. Approximate (live)

9. Love Of My Life Mudd Club Version

10. Let's Move To Cleveland

11. You Call That Music?

12. Pound For A Brown

13. The Black Page

14. Take Me Out To The Ball Game

15. Filthy Habits

16. The Torture Never Stops Original Version

Disc 2

1. Church Chat (live)

2. Stevie's Spanking

3. Outside Now

4. Disco Boy

5. Teen-Age Wind (live)

6. Truck Driver Divorce

7. Florentine Pogen

8. Tiny Sick Tears

9. Smell My Beard

10. The Booger Man (live)

11. Carolina Hard Core Ecstacy

12. Are You Upset?

13. Little Girl Of Mine

14. The Closer You Are

15. Johnny Darling

16. No, No Cherry (live)

17. The Man From Utopia

18. Mary Lou


Track List: The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life (Live)

Disc 1

1. Heavy Duty Judy (Live)

2. Ring Of Fire (Live)

3. Cosmik Debris (Live)

4. Find Her Finer (Live)

5. Who Needs The Peace Corps? (Best Band) (Live)

6. I Left My Heart In San Francisco (Live)

7. Zomby Woof (Live)

8. Bolero (Live)

9. Zoot Allures (Live)

10. Mr. Green Genes (Live)

11. Florentine Pogen (Live)

12. Andy (Live)

13. Inca Roads (Live)

14. Sofa #1 (Live)

Disc 2

1. Purple Haze (Live)

2. Sunshine Of Your Love (Live)

3. Let's Move To Cleveland (Live)

4. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (Live)

5. Godfather Part II Theme (Live)

6. A Few Moments With Brother A. West (Live)

7. The Torture Never Stops Part One (Live)

8. Theme From Bonanza (Live)

9. Lonesome Cowboy Burt (Swaggart Version)

10. The Torture Never Stops Part Two (Live)

11. More Trouble Every Day (Swaggart Version) (Live)

12. Penguin In Bondage (Swaggart Version) (Live)

13. The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue (Live)

14. Stairway To Heaven (Live)


Track List: You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 (Live)

Disc 1

1. Sharleena (Live)

2. Bamboozled By Love (Live)

3. Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up (Live)

4. Advance Romance (Live)

5. Bobby Brown Goes Down (Live)

6. Keep It Greasey (Live)

7. Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me? (Live)

8. In France (Live)

9. Drowning Witch (Live)

10. Ride My Face To Chicago (Live)

11. Carol, You Fool (Live)

12. Chana In De Bushwop (Live)

13. Joe's Garage (Live)

14. Why Does It Hurt When I Pee? (Live)

Disc 2

1. Dickie's Such An A**hole (Live)

2. Hands With A Hammer (Live)

3. Zoot Allures (Live)

4. Society Pages (Live)

5. I'm A Beautiful Guy (Live)

6. Beauty Knows No Pain (Live)

7. Charlie's Enormous Mouth (Live)

8. Cocaine Decisions (Live)

9. Nig Biz (Live)

10. King Kong (Live-You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore)

11. Cosmik Debris (Live)


Track List: You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 1

Disc 1

1. The Florida Airport Tape

2. Once Upon A Time

3. Sofa #1

4. The Mammy Anthem (Live)

5. You Didn't Try To Call Me (Live)

6. Diseases Of The Band

7. Tryin' To Grow A Chin (Live)

8. Let's Make The Water Turn Black / Harry You're A Beast / The Orange County Lumber Truck

9. The Groupie Routine

10. Ruthie-Ruthie

11. Babbette

12. I'm The Slime

13. Big Swifty

14. Don't Eat The Yellow Snow

Disc 2

1. Plastic People

2. The Torture Never Stops (Live)

3. Fine Girl (Live)

4. Zomby Woof (Live)

5. Sweet Leilani

6. Oh No (Live)

7. Be In My Video

8. The Deathless Horsie

9. The Dangerous Kitchen

10. Dumb All Over (Live)

11. Heavenly Bank Account (Live)

12. Suicide Chump (Live)

13. Tell Me You Love Me

14. Sofa #2


Track List: Guitar

Disc 1

1. Sexual Harrassment In The Workplace (Live Guitar Solo)

2. Which One Is It? (Live Guitar Solo)

3. Republicans (Live Guitar Solo)

4. Do Not Pass Go (Live Guitar Solo)

5. Challk Pie (Live Guitar Solo)

6. In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky (Live Guitar Solo)

7. That's Not Really Reggae (Live Guitar Solo)

8. When No One Was No One (Live Guitar Solo)

9. Once Again, Without The Net (Live Guitar Solo)

10. Outside Now (Original Solo) (Live Guitar Solo)

11. Jim & Tammy's Upper Room (Live Guitar Solo)

12. Were We Ever Really Safe In San Antonio? (Live Guitar Solo)

13. That Ol' G Minor Thing Again (Live Guitar Solo)

14. Hotel Atlanta Incidentals (Live Guitar Solo)

15. That's Not Really A Shuffle (Live Guitar Solo)

16. Move It Or Park It (Live Guitar Solo)

17. Sunrise Redeemer (Live Guitar Solo)

Disc 2

1. Variations On Sinister #3 (Live Guitar Solo)

2. Orrin Hatch On Skis (Live Guitar Solo)

3. But Who Was Fulcanelli? (Live Guitar Solo)

4. For Duane (Live Guitar Solo)

5. Goa (Live Guitar Solo)

6. Winos Do Not March (Live Guitar Solo)

7. Swans? What Swans? (Live Guitar Solo)

8. Too Ugly For Show Business (Live Guitar Solo)

9. Systems Of Edges (Live Guitar Solo)

10. Do Not Try This At Home (Live Guitar Solo)

11. Things That Look Like Meat (Live Guitar Solo)

12. Watermelon In Easter Hay (Live Guitar Solo)

13. Canadian Customs (Live Guitar Solo)

14. Is That All There Is? (Live Guitar Solo)

15. It Ain't Necessarily The Saint James Infirmary (Live Guitar Solo)


Track List: You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. 2

Disc 1

3. Inca Roads


5. Village Of The Sun

6. Echidna's Arf (Of You) (live)

8. Pygmy Twylyte

9. Room Service

10. The Idiot B**tard Son

11. Cheepnis

Disc 2

1. Approximate

2. Dupree's Paradise

4. T'Mershi Duween

5. The Dog Breath Variations