We're Only In It For The Money

In another thread discussing the most prolific musician of all time, Mr. Zappa’s name was mentioned several times.


This thread is ALL about Frank Zappa.

So, anything and everything you have to offer relating to Mr. Zappa, please feel free to contribute.

I will start with a list of Zappa albums. I believe this list is accurate and complete.

List of albums courtesy of: http://www.science.uva.nl/~robbert/zappa/albums/

Freak Out! (July 1966)
Absolutely Free (April 1967)
Lumpy Gravy (December 1967)
We’re Only In It For The Money (February 1968)
Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (November 1968)
Uncle Meat (March 1969)
Mothermania (April 1969)
Hot Rats (15 October 1969)
Burnt Weeny Sandwich (December 1969)
Weasels Ripped My Flesh (August 1970)
Chunga’s Revenge (23 October 1970)
Fillmore East - June 1971 (August 1971)
200 Motels (October 1971)
Just Another Band From L.A. (March 1972)
Waka/Jawaka (5 July 1972)
The Grand Wazoo (November 1972)
Over-Nite Sensation (7 September 1973)
Apostrophe(’) (22 March 1974)
Roxy & Elsewhere (10 September 1974)
One Size Fits All (25 June 1975)
Bongo Fury (2 October 1975)
Zoot Allures (29 October 1976)
Zappa In New York (13 March 1978)
Studio Tan (15 September 1978)
Sleep Dirt (12 January 1979)
Sheik Yerbouti (March 3, 1979)
Orchestral Favorites (4 May 1979)
Joe’s Garage (19 November 1979)
Tinseltown Rebellion (11 May 1981)
Shut Up ‘N’ Play Yer Guitar (11 May 1981)
You Are What You Is (September 1981)
Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (May 1982)
The Man From Utopia (March 1983)
Baby Snakes (March 1983)
London Symphony Orchestra vol 1 (9 June 1983)
The Perfect Stranger (23 August 1984)
Them Or Us (18 October 1984)
Thing-Fish (21 November 1984)
Francesco Zappa (21 November 1984)
FZ Meets The Mothers Of Prevention (21 November 1985)
Does Humor Belong In Music? (27 January 1986)
Jazz From Hell (15 November 1986)
London Symphony Orchestra vol 2 (17 September 1987)
Guitar (April 1988)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 1 (May 1988)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 2 (September 1988)
Broadway The Hard Way (November 1988)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 3 (October 1989)
The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life (April 1991)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 4 (June 1991)
Make A Jazz Noise Here (June 1991)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 5 (July 1992)
You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore vol 6 (July 1992)
Playground Psychotics (27 October 1992)
Ahead Of Their Time (April 1993)
The Yellow Shark (December 1993)
Civilization, Phaze III (December 1994)
Strictly Commercial (August 1995)
The Lost Episodes (February 1996)
Läther (September 1996)

… well there’s a big dilemma 'bout my big legged Emma,
uhhhh huh … ohhhh yeah …

… well there’s a big dilemma 'bout my big legged Emma,
uhhhh huh … ohhhh yeah …

I saw Zappa three times, I think, maybe more, I can’t remember. The last time I saw him was on his farewell tour, I think that was around 1984? I think it was the second to last time I saw him he was doing some really strange stuff, some theme album about stink-foot or something. I can’t clearly remember, I really wasn’t myself that night :slight_smile:

I heard a couple mumbled boo’s and grumbling going on. So Frank stopped the show. He started a rant with the audience and there was shouting and name calling going on back and forth between him and a group irate fans. He finally said fuck it, is this what you want to here? Then they went in to this kinda boogie-woogie rock jam that lasted about an hour. Then then finish and he said thank you, good night.

Just another Zappa concert.

It’s impossible to say definitevely how many albums Zappa released because a number of projects were released both as multiple volumes and as multi-disc box sets. For example, the release date shown above for Shut Up ‘n’ Play Yer Guitar (henceforth SUNPYG) actually applies to the release of three separate LPs: SUNPYG, SUNPYG Some More, and Return of the Son of SUNPYG–only later were these compiled into a 3-LP box, and later a 2-CD set. The date given for Joe’s Garage actually applies to the double LP Joe’s Garage Acts II & III; Act I had been released a couple of months earlier. Again, this project later appeared as a 3-LP box and a 2-CD set. This list omits the Beat The Boots series entirely (Volume One of which was simultaneously released as an LP box set and a series of eight separate CDs, so how do you count that?). Also omitted are the Mystery Discs (initially bonus LPs from two separate box sets; later compiled onto a single CD). Strictly Commercial is a compilation of otherwise available material and not really worthy of inclusion. (Numerous other compilations are omitted.)

Also omitted:

Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa (1996)
Everything Is Healing Nicely (1999)
FZ: Oz (2002)
Halloween (DVD-A) (2003)

In short, old Uncle Frank sure was prolific.

I loved his opinionated, pro-free speech rants.

We have a Zappa cover band down here. I hope I get to see these guys. I missed the 8/14 show.


I wish I would have video taped his testimony before congress. I would have labeled it “Frankie and the Soccer Moms” in his honor.

Do you think that I creep in the night
And sleep in a phone booth?

I’m not very familiar with Mr. Zappa’s work at all, but I love the fact that he named one of his albums after a Droodle. (“Ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch”)

I’d like to add, the Dutch dude at U of Amsterdam that put together the Zappa album list is quite prolific too. For all the albums he lists the names of each cut, lyrics and who played what instrument. Then he has every song, musician and instrument cross-listed back to the albums. Impressive.

You could make the argument that Frank was the most prolific composer of all composers who got something played on mainstream radio. Valley Girl was in heavy rotation when 'Ship came out back in the early 80s, and Goblin Girl is a perennial Halloween favorite. I’ve heard Joe’s Garage a time or two, and even Montana, though I confess that may have only been the tribute night when he died.

You could easily make the argument that Frank was the most prolific of musicians who composed in multiple genres. (You could even point to “Stick Together” as reggae, though it’s a bit of a stretch.) All those classical guys stuck to one basic style.

As far as re-releasing material, some of his songs are so completely different in feel and style they almost become two different songs. Just listen to Wonderful Wino from Zoot Allures, then from Playground Psychotics, and you’ll hear what I mean. (I can’t get enough of the Playground Psychotics version.)

I still find myself in awe of his ability to shift gears and produce such completely different styles. I think they are best represented by:

Absolutely Free
Cruisin’ With Ruben and the Jets
Uncle Meat
Hot Rats
Fillmore East, June 1971
Joe’s Garage
Jazz From Hell

That’s 7 completely different styles. I daresay no other artist has more than that. (If you haven’t heard any Zappa, those styles are as distinct from each other as The Beastie Boys and Nirvana.)

To the other Zappa fanatics, would you agree those are the most representative albums?

I dunno, Ellis, I think that although the timbres of those albums are different, there are certain stylistic and lyrical themes that connect certain ones with others.

“The first word in this song is discorporate. It means to leave your body.”

“But you forgot what I was sayin’… 'cause you’re an asshole!

“Heaven would be a place where bullshit existed only on television.”

“Take a day / And walk around! / Watch the Nazis / Run your town! / Then go home / and check yourself! / You think we’re singin’ / 'Bout someone else!”

“Holidays and salad days, and days of moldy mayonnaise…”

"Yes they hit me and they beat me and they told me they don’t like me and I crash, in my Nash. We can crash in my Nash … "

Supposedly, the “special tape recordings” in that song were tape reel boxes stuffed with hashish that a band member was trying to sneak past customs in Copenhagen. But that’s neither here nor there.

It’s a great pity Zappa was so busy putting a hand up America’s skirts that he neglected to attain the proper heights his ability should have transported him to. I view him as one of the very finest modern classical composers.

Many cuts off of “Uncle Meat” (one of my favorites) are predominately classical in nature and his direct to disc rendition of Ravel’s “Bolero” was simply amazing. I really wish he had not been (so rightfully) antagonized by the moronic establishment surrounding him. He could have done so much more. His appearance with the Overnight Sensation band in the 1970s at Winterland in San Francisco was outstanding. However, I do wish I could have seen the original Mothers of Invention.

I’ll especially miss his incisive observation about the political loons that dot our landscape.

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.”

I have a plethora of Zappa quotes. I can’t remember where I found these things. All I know is I have a couple text files, in one of my old project folders, teeming with Zappa quotes. I’ll post a couple here and there.

I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone’s teeth get cleaner?

I think you should leave it up to the parent, because not all parents want to keep their children totally ignorant.

You wouldn’t know a revolution if it bit you on the dick.

The concept of the rock-guitar solo in the eightees has pretty much been reduced to: Weedly-weedly-wee, make a face,
hold your guitar like it’s your weenie, point it heavenward, and look like you’re really doing something. Then, you get
a big ovation while the the smoke bombs go off, and the motorized lights in your truss twirl around."

(And perhaps my all-time favorite …)

Of course you realize you won’t be able to hear the organ once we turn the guitars on.

Well it looks like the old Frankie thread was short lived. That’s OK. I guess there isn’t a whole lot to say, except the guy was a major talent of our time. If he doesn’t make it to the Rock and Roll hall of fame, then whoever is doing the choosing certainly doesn’t know Rock and Roll, and doesn’t recognize an extraordinary musical talent when they see one.

I will end with a couple choice Zappa quotes:

Remember there’s a big difference between kneeling down and bending over.

I have a message to deliver to the cute people of the world…if you’re cute, or maybe you’re beautiful…there’s MORE OF US UGLY MOTHERFUCKERS OUT THERE THAN YOU ARE!! So watch out.

I’ll do the stupid thing first and then you shy people follow…

I’m not black, but there’s a whole lot of times I wish I could say I’m not white.

The person who stands up and says, This is stupid,'' either is asked to `behave' or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful Yes, we know! Isn’t it terrific!’’

The more BORING a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being GOOD PARENTS – because they have a TAME CHILD-CREATURE in their house.

My best advice to anyone who wants to raise a happy, mentally healthy child is: Keep him or her as far away from a church as you can.

Stupidity has a certain charm – ignorance does not.

The computer can’t tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what’s missing is the eyebrows.

In the fight between you and the world, back the world.

If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they’re gonna murder you in your sleep…

Some people crave baseball – I find this unfathomable – but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing a bassoon.

Politics is the showbiz of industry.

Without deviation from the norm, ‘progress’ is not possible.

A world of sexual incompetents, encountering eachother, under disco circumstances… Now can’t you do songs about that?

Why do you necessarily have to be wrong just because a few million people think you are?

A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound. The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them like a licence to behave like an asshole.

Speed: It will turn you into your parents. – 1970 public service announcement regarding drug (namely, speed) use.

This is a personal thing, I think that if you wanted to make top ten hits and sell millions of records, you could.
Frank Zappa:
Yeah, but who wants to go through life with a tiny nose and one glove on?

I knew Jimi (Hendrix) and I think that the best thing you could say about Jimi was: there was a person who shouldn’t use drugs.

It’s better to have something to remember than nothing to reget…

If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest or some guy on TV telling you how to do your shit, then YOU DESERVE IT.

Nobody looks good bent over. Especially to pick up a cheque.

When we talk about artistic freedom in this country, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that, freedom is often dependent on adequate financing.

If you want to get laid, go to college, but if you want an education, go to the library.

I can gross out anybody in this room.

My music is like a movie for your ear.

Here I stand hoping against hope that it’s a chick with a low voice – At a concert in Beloit, Wisconsin 1968 a guy in the
audience yelled out, “Eat me Zappa”.

It’s not pretty, also you can’t dance to it.

I don’t want to spend my whole life explaining myself. Either you get it, or you don’t.

Why doncha come on over to the house and I’ll show 'em to ya? – Senate hearing on pornography in music, when Tipper said … “I’d like to see what kind of toys your children play with.”

The crux of the biscuit is: If it entertains you, fine. Enjoy it. If it doesn’t, then blow it out your ass. I do it to amuse myself. If I like it, I release it. If somebody else likes it, that’s a bonus.

To me, cigarettes are food.

May your shit come to life and kiss you on the face. – to Mrs. Gore about parental advisory labels on album covers.

Yeah, I tell them to change the channel if they see some guy in a brown suit with a telephone number at the bottom of the screen asking for money. – on being asked by Tipper Gore if there was anything on the TV he didn’t allow his kids to watch.

I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone’s teeth get cleaner? – In response to Tipper Gore’s allegations that music incites people towards deviant behavior, or influences their behavior in general.

Anything played wrong twice in a row is the beginning of an arrangement.

And Frank, you never did answer the question, “Who Are the Brain Police?”.

RIP Mr. Zappa.

Frank Zappa was certainly a major influence on my perspective of the world. I have had all his albums until I outgrew his adolescent fixations, around Roxy and Elsewhere. A part of me still cannot believe that he has passed away.

My favorites are Absolutely Free, Only Money, Uncle Meat, Hot Rats, Grand Wazoo, and Waka Jawaka.

My tenth grade term paper in 1972 was an analysis of his music. My poor teacher later handed me the paper with a weary, “This, I don’t understand.”
But she gave me an A.