Frank Zappa's musical language
Frank Zappa's musical language
A study of the music of Frank Zappa

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The section below is a brief description of the CD collection and lists scores and transcriptions per CD limited to the following  published scores, explaining the codes used below.
The numbering of the albums is such that it coincides with the official list of releases that Zappa himself - and today the Zappa Family Trust (ZFT) - is using. Some other issues are indicated with letters.


In 1961 the twenty year old Zappa wrote the score for Timothy Carey's "The world's greatest sinner". It's mostly an orchestral work, partly some rock band music. It's the oldest music of Zappa, that is publicly available, though the movie has somewhat sunk into oblivion. Wrongfully if you consider the soundtrack, showing Zappa's capacities for handling an orchestra at an early stage.

The world greatest sinner
- The world's greatest sinner, soundtrack sections KS
- The world's greatest sinner, single, opening See b)
- Two themes from the Overture to Holiday in Berlin See 9)

b) SINGLES 1962-1964

During the early sixties Zappa cooperated with Paul Buff in producing and writing singles for the local market. These singles, common blues and doo-wop, nowadays lead an obscure life. Zappa didn't have the copyrights, nor did he bother to re-record them later on or regain the copyrights (except for "Love of my life"). Currently most have been available as "Cucamonga years". Others can be found in Paul Buff's archive (see c)).

Singles 1962-1964
- Breaktime (Williams/Buff/Zappa), section KS
- Memories of El Monte (Zappa/Collins), opening KS
- How's your bird, solo KS
- The world's greatest sinner, opening KS
- Love of my life, theme See 30)
- Dear Jeepers, section KS
- Letter from Jeepers, section KS
- The big surfer, section KS
- Hey Nelda (Zappa/Collins), section KS
- Surf along (Zappa/Collins), section KS
- Grunion run, opening KS
- Everytime I see you (Zappa/Collins), section KS
- Mr. Clean, sections KS
- Jessie Lee, section KS


In 2009 Paul Buff started opening up his Cucamonga archives for the public. The recordings are downloadable via internet and contain, among many others, a series of singles and obscurities featuring Frank Zappa. The tracks carry no specific dates but must be from the period 1962-64.

The Pal and Original sound studio archives
- Why don't you do me right, section KS
- I'm losing status at the high school, section KS
- Walkin' out, section KS
- Waltz, section KS

d) RUN HOME, SLOW, 1965

The idea for writing the score for the movie "Run home, slow" goes back to 1959. It got effectuated in 1963 with the recording of various chamber music pieces. The movie itself got bad reviews, though Zappa's music is fine. Other than for The world greatest sinner, several pieces from this film are available on his own CDs. They are early examples of his interest in modern music and jazz.

Run home, slow
- Run home, slow, theme and variation See 64)
- Run home cues #3, opening See 64)
- The little march, opening See 58)
- Original duke of prunes See 68)
- Run home, slow, soundtrack excerpts KS
- Right there riff (1963) KS

1) FREAK OUT!, 1966

In 1965 Zappa reached a deal with MGM records for five albums with his group The mothers of Invention. The first album Freak out was meant to launch Zappa's career by looking for publicity. This was done by various means. It was the first rock double album, the sleeve was modern and it contained partly improvised absurd lyrics as "Help I'm a rock". For nowadays standards these features aren't much conspicuous no more but if you compare "Freak out" to "Aftermath" by The Rolling Stones or "Revolver" by The Beatles, you can see that in 1966 this was an unusual album.
Musically the material on the album is accessible. It sets off with a sharp guitar riff in "Hungry freaks daddy", and is mostly based upon familiar chord patterns. Apart from the experimental sections and the lyrics there's little on the album that you could call off mainstream. The Freak out! collection, that the Zappa family trust is (or used to be) selling, includes the songs coded with BS (Barfko Swill) in the list below. It's a good starting point if you'd like to perform some Zappa music yourself.

Freak Out!
- Hungry freaks daddy BS/KS
- I ain't got no heart BS/KS
- Who are the brain police BS/KS
- Go cry on somebody else's shoulder BS
- Motherly love BS/KS
- How could I be such a fool SB
- Wowie zowie BS
- You didn't try to call me, themes 1-3 WL253
- Any way the wind blows BS/See 64)
- I'm not satisfied BS/SB
- You're probably wondering why I'm here BS/KS
- Trouble every day, opening KS
- Help, I'm a rock, opening KS
- It can't happen here BS
- Monster magnet, opening bars KS


On "Absolutely free" Zappa could do what he couldn't afford to do on his debut album, namely demonstrate his compositional capacities. The album opens with a traditional progression "Louie Louie" (I-IV-V), but that's about all that's conventional on the album. "Duke of prunes" is an early example of the melodic Zappa, a larger fluent melody not based on A-B-A structures and so. "Call any vegetables" contains varying metres, tempi and rhythms. It's opening riff with a string of fast 16th and eight notes immediately strikes me as Zappa, not because he's using them all the time, but because I don't know them by other rock artists. In Neil Slaven's Zappa biography Zappa gets quoted about the time it took to learn "Call any vegetable", but there's a mix up of songs on that page. The changing meters Zappa is summing up are from "Son of Suzy Creamcheese" (see the Songbook). This versatility is something that Zappa would repeatedly turn to and it culminates on "Absolutely free" itself in "Brown shoes don't make it", exhibiting a wide stylistical variety, with among others an atonal section.
Seen its complexity "Absolutely free" was recorded in a ridiculously short time-span, due to the limited budget. It could only be done because the band by then had more than a year experience in rehearsing and playing these pieces.

Absolutely free
- Plastic people KS
- The duke of prunes (regains his chops), sections KS
- Amnesia vivace, opening KS
- Call any vegetable, opening See 14)
- Invocation & ritual dance ..., opening KS
- Soft-sell conclusion, opening KS
- Big leg Emma See 23)
- Why dont'cha do me right, opening KS
- America drinks, opening KS
- Status back baby, theme KS
- Uncle Bernie's farm, section SB
- Son of Suzy Creamcheese SB
- Brown shoes don't make it See 30)
- America drinks and goes home SB


At the end of 1967 and the beginning of 1968 Zappa was recording music that would appear on different records from 1968 to 1969. The songs might as well have been grouped in a different way. This is the idea behind the addendum "Is this Lumpy Gravy phase I" on the album sleeve of "We're only in it for the money". With this latter album Zappa responded to the 1967 summer of love, the beginning of the hippie era. Commenting and criticizing upon phenomena from society was Zappa's favorite subject for his lyrics, and he's doing it here with an almost malicious refinement. He preferred individual creativity far above group conformation.
The music on the album is friendly, but more complex than on Freak Out! because the themes and chords change more rapidly. At the beginning and in between the songs there are some whispering voices, uttering all kinds of innuendos. The album ends with some experimental music. Probably because of its historical context and relative accessibility the album has a good reputation among rock critics.

We're only in it for the money
- Are you hung up?, sections KS
- Who needs the peace corps?, opening KS
- Concentration moon, sections KS
- Mom & dad SB
- Harry, you're a beast (arr. Jon Nelson) BS
- Bow tie daddy, opening KS
- What's the ugliest part of your body?, sections KS
- Absolutely free SB
- Flower punk, theme KS
- Let's make the water turn black SB
- The idiot bastard son SB
- Take your clothes off while you dance See 64)
- Lonely little girl, section SB
- Mother people SB
- The chrome plated megaphone of destiny, fragment KS

4) LUMPY GRAVY, 1968

For "Lumpy Gravy" Zappa used his own name instead of The mothers of invention, among others because he worked here with a self-assembled chamber orchestra. The CD is a strange collage of various ideas, some get only touched upon, others are being worked out more extensively. The one that gets the most attention is the melodic Zappa in "Duodenum", "Oh no!" and "Take your clothes off when you dance". Most specific for the album are the modern atonal sections, that with their use of dissonants and percussion, are sometimes remindful of Edgar Varèse, the French composer that Zappa admired a lot. Because of the low sound quality the chamber orchestra doesn't really function orchestrally, but it doesn't matter much, the intentions are clear. The facet that only gets touched upon is jazz, like at the beginning of "Oh no!", but more outspoken in "King Kong", that preludes the brass arrangements of for instance "The grand wazoo" of 1972. In between the music are the weird monologues and dialogues of people speaking with their heads in a piano with the pedal open. When you subtract these spoken parts, only 20 minutes of music remain, but the freshness of Zappa's ideas make these 20 minutes of importance.

Lumpy Gravy
- Lumpy Gravy, Capitol version BS
- Part I: Duodenum See 85)
- Part I: Oh no! theme See 10)
- Part I: It's from Kansas KS
- Part I: Almost Chinese, lick KS
- Part I: I don't know if ..., sections KS
- Part II: Amen/Just one more time, transition KS
- Part II: A vicious circle, opening bars (Unit 9) See 85)
- Part II: King Kong (Lumpy gravy) KS
- Part II: Kangaroos, fragment KS
- Part II: Envelops the bath tub, fragments KS
- Part II: Take your clothes off while you dance See 64)


Ambiguity is something that occurs often in Zappa's public utterances. He has often argued against conventional chord progressions and especially the ever returning love songs in rock music. But this is what he's doing on "Cruising with Ruben and the Jets". In "The real Frank Zappa book" he tries to evade the issue by suggesting that the album is meant as a parody with submoron texts, but that's hardly credible, written twenty years afterwards. Therefore the album is too much coherent and sincere. More believable is what he says on the album cover, namely that he really liked simplistic love songs. The pieces on "Cruising with Ruben and the Jets" are all deliberately easy and deal with the love life of teenagers. It's contrary to the blunt sex in "Is that guy kidding or what" on "You can't do that on stage anymore" and offers a different aspect of Zappa's output.
The vocal harmony accompaniment of the songs was popular in the fifties, Zappa's teenage years, and is called doo-wop, after the use of non-textual syllables as "doo-wop" by the singers. In the Real Frank Zappa book, he tells about the modes that were mostly used in the fifties, namely I-VI-IV-V, I-II-I-II or I-IV-V, "you'd seldom hear a III chord or a diminished 7th". "Cruising with Ruben and the Jets" isn't typical in this respect, he explains, indeed "Anything" is for instance doing I-II-III-II, another progression.

Cruising with Ruben and the Jets
- Cheap thrills KS
- Love of my life, theme See 30)
- How could I be such a fool (1968), section KS
- I'm not satisfied (1968), opening KS
- Jelly roll gum drop, section KS
- Later that night, section KS
- You didn't try to call me, sections KS/WL253
- Fountain of love, theme See 64)
- "No. No. No.", opening KS
- Anyway the wind blows See 64)
- Stuff up the cracks, section KS
Compositions by others:
- Anything (Collins), section: WL170
- Deseri (Buff/Collins), fragment: KS


A compilation of his first three albums, set up by Zappa himself in 1969. There are some slight re-edits on this release. When Zappa took over the rights of his MGM albums this compilation passed out in silence. He showed almost no interest in compilation albums and only after his death some new ones got released. In 2009 the ZFT made this collection downloadable via and in 2012 it became part of the regular CD catalogue. On the sleeve the Mothers from 1967-1968. From left to right: Ian Underwood, Jimmy Carl Black, Motherhead Sherwood, Art Tripp, FZ, Roy Estrada, Bunk Gardner, Don Preston.

7) UNCLE MEAT, 1969

"Uncle meat" is the big project from the sixties and was intended to be accompanied by a movie. The arrival of multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood as a band member gave Zappa more possibilities to have his modern compositions performed. On the album a lot of overdubbing is used to facilitate the recording of difficult music. It can roughly be divided in three blocks. The first one runs from "Uncle meat, main title" to the "Uncle meat variations". This part is apart from one guitar solo strictly composed and contains most of the modern music sections. It ends with the only pause on the album. All other songs segue. The second block includes "King Kong" and allows the band members more space to improvise; here included are also a few easier vocal songs.
The film project remained unfinished, but in the eighties video had become a new medium and Zappa could return to working on the material. "Uncle meat" was now completed as a video, while the included concert music appeared on "Ahead of their time" (1992). Dialogues from the movie were added as a third block on the CD. The latter served more for Zappa's personal satisfaction.

Uncle Meat
- Uncle Meat main title/variations SB/See 62)
- Nine types of industrial pollution, fragment KS
- Zolar Czakl, opening KS
- Dog breath, section KS
- Legend of the golden arches, theme 1)/KS
- The dog breath variations See 62)/KS
- Sleeping in a jar, section KS
- Electric Aunt Jemima, opening KS
- Prelude to King Kong, opening KS
- Pound for a brown 2)
- Ian Underwood whips it out, section KS
- Mr. Green Genes See 8)
- We can shoot you, end KS
- The air See 8)
- Project X, opening KS
- Cruising for burgers, sections KS
- Tengo na minchia tanta, theme KS
- King Kong 3)/KS
1) An example from the orchestra arrangement by Robert Peate is included in this study
2) Variant upon Legend of the golden arches, see also 62)
3) See the album liner notes for the main theme

8) HOT RATS, 1969

Zappa continued his cooperation with Ian Underwood on his second solo album "Hot rats", where he worked with various musicians other than the Mothers of invention. The CD is almost entirely instrumental and balanced to a degree of perfection. It combines electric and acoustic instruments typical of jazz (contrabass and saxophone) and contains various solos, because of which it became referred to as jazzrock. Miles Davis did it the other way round, adding electric instruments to a jazz combo.
Melodically the compositions are elaborate, often using various layers. All music is constant in its metres and tonal, except "It must be a camel", that belongs to the territory in between tonal and atonal. The album is therefore also fit for music lovers who have problems with the rudeness of Zappa's lyrics or his modernistic aspects.
On "Hot rats" Zappa made serious business of his establishment as a guitar solo player. Three lengthy solos are included, the longest one during 8 minutes in "Willie the pimp". The contributions by Ian Underwood on saxophone and Sugarcane Harris on violin are worthwhile as well.

Hot Rats
- Peaches en regalia BS/AA/WL253
- Willy the pimp AA
- Son of Mr. Green Genes AA/WL75/166
- Little umbrellas, themes AA/WL255
    ,, , sections KS
- The gumbo variations AA
- It must be a camel AA/WL255
    ,, , section KS
Note: The AA transcriptions are far more extensive than the WL transcriptions, but since WL was published first he deserves being mentioned.


After the disbanding of the Mother of invention in 1969, Zappa considered for a while the release of a multi-record set with live performances and remaining studio recordings. But eventually he chose for two albums with a mix of studio and live music, this one and "Weasels ripped my flesh".
"Burnt weeny sandwich" begins and ends with a vocal cover song. In between it's all instrumental, combining complex studio recordings with much live soloing. "Igor's boogie" is a short and difficult atonal piece with changing metres and counterpoint. "Holiday in Berlin" refers to a riot by leftist students during a concert who wanted Zappa to stand behind their ideas. Zappa refused. The "Tengo na minchia tanta" bootleg has a version with lyrics about this happening. The theme returns in the "200 Motels overture" of 1971. The piano introduction to "Little house I used to live in" is the only original composition for piano solo on CD, also atonal and among others working with alternating intervals. The solos include Sugar Cane Harris on violin, Don Preston on keyboard and Zappa on guitar and keyboard.

Burnt weeny sandwich
- Igor's boogie, phase I SB
- Overture to a Holiday in Berlin, section KS
- Theme from Burnt weeny sandwich, section KS
- Igor's boogie, phase II, first half KS
- Holiday in Berlin (full blown), section KS
- Aybe sea, opening KS
- Little house ..., piano introduction (rev.)SB
      ,, , theme WL256


The album cover suits well with the content of this album. It shows a commercial like picture of a happy shaving man, but getting cut by a weasel. The happy face can be associated with two accessible songs on the album, the blues cover "Directly from my heart to you" and the rock song "My guitar wants to kill your mama". The ripping is done by the experimental live songs, that have a calculated touch of insanity, especially the closing one, a rushing dissonant lasting two minutes. The contribution of these latter songs can lead to some disappointment when you buy this album expecting a regular music album, but judged upon their own merits, they are pretty interesting.
In between these contrary sides various other aspects are passing by. Like a little counterpoint showpiece, "Dwarf nebula", the atonal "Eric Dolphy memorial" and the melodic Zappa in "Oh no!" and "The orange country lumber truck". "Toads of the short forest" has a friendly opening but abruptly moves into a live improvisation with polyrhythmics (explained to the audience) and a distorted saxophone playing the notes as if "blowing his nose".

Weasels ripped my flesh
- Didya get any onya?, fragments KS
- Prelude to the afternoon of a sexually aroused gas mask, fragment KS
- Toad of the short forest, opening KS/WL258
- Get a little, section KS
- Eric Dolphy memorial barbecue, opening WL258
- Dwarf nebula, first four themes KS
- My guitar wants to kill your mama *)
- Oh no! SB
- The Orange county lumber truck (arr. J. Nelson)BS/KS
- Lumber truck solo-Weasels ..., transition KS
*) Sections by KS and Paul Strawser are included in this study.


In 1970 Zappa thought of a follow up album for "Hot rats", but things went on differently by coincidence. Zubin Mehta, conductor of the LA Philharmonic, expressed his interest in playing Zappa's music, if he would want to write orchestral music. When Zappa in return explained that such scores already existed things were swiftly arranged. In the Pauley Pavilion, the scores for what would become "200 Motels" were premiered. In the audience were Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, former lead singers of The Turtles, who afterwards visited Zappa backstage.
Zappa decided to incorporate these two men, by now calling themselves Flo and Eddie, in his new line up of The mothers of invention and recommence his usual touring schedule. They were introduced on "Chunga's revenge" with the five vocal songs of this CD. Two of them have something of almost hits, the sharp rocksong "Tell me you love me" and the ballad like "Sharleena". Of the instrumental parts one is all composed, namely "Twenty small cigars", the others are mostly improvised and partially recorded live.

Chunga's revenge
- Transylvania boogie, opening KS
- Road ladies, solo KS
- Twenty small cigars, opening KS
- The Nancy and Mary music, section KS
- Tell me you love me, opening KS
- Would you go all the way?, end KS
- Chunga's revenge, theme KS
- The clap, section KS
- Rudy wants to buy yez a drink, sections KS
- Sharleena, main themes KS


On stage Flo and Eddie proved to have good textual improvising talents and vocal capacities fit for comic effects. Zappa's own experience with groupies and what had happened to them after The Turtles had scored their big hit "Happy together" provided the material for a whole series of songs for "Fillmore east" and "200 Motels". The live performances became comedy shows with sometimes the music central, sometimes the lyrics.
After three partially live albums, "Fillmore East" is 100% live. It begins with the accent on music with a good performance of "Little house I used to live in". It has a new intro, that might as well have been indicated as a separate instrumental. Then we get to a story telling piece "Mud shark". For the musical accompaniment Zappa is using a vamp, as he would do more often for such songs. After the bluesy "What kind of girl" the music is gradually becoming more important again and culminates in the "Willie the Pimp" solo. Then we're back at the bizarre groupie events in "Do you like my new car", again using a vamp. "Happy together" closes the sequence. Three songs unrelated to the groupie business round off the album.

Fillmore East, June 1971
- Little house I used to live in (1971) KS/See 9)
- The mud shark, section KS
- What kind of girl do you think we are?, end KS
- Bwana dik, section KS
- Latex solar beef, opening KS
- Willy the pimp, themes (1971) KS
- Do you like my new car?, fragment KS
- Lonesome electric turkey, fragment KS
- Peaches en regalia (1971) KS/See 8)
- Tears began to fall, end KS

13) 200 MOTELS, 1971

Zappa's desire to come up with a combined film and album project became reality in 1971. It brought together rock music, orchestral pieces and chamber music in a flabbergasting variety. The chamber music and orchestral pieces are all complicated, sometimes more tonal ("Strictly genteel") sometimes more atonal ("Penis dimension"). The rock band pieces are friendly and serve as necessary resting points on the double CD.
Chaotic as it first may appear, the album contains some classical construction methods. The "Tuna sandwich" theme gets varied upon a lot, later combined in a regular orchestra composition "Bogus Pomp". The "Overture" returns in "Touring can drive you crazy". "She painted up her face" is used as the central theme for a rondo. A pure classical variation piece is the finale "Strictly Genteel".
There are also some little stories included, like the "Dental hygiene problem". The bass player decided to leave the group during the shooting of the film and Zappa had to respond quickly to the altered circumstances. A new bass player was found and "Dental hygiene problem" as a cartoon section was his answer to the little crisis. Zappa could adapt to circumstances well, also necessary for his high productivity rate. After all he wanted his ideas realized, rather than hope for ideal circumstances some day. In order to enjoy 200 Motels you have to accept that it's low budget. The sound on the CD is a bit dim and the movie is using visible cardboard constructions.
A stage performance of 200 Motels was also planned in the form of "200 Motels, the suites". But the directors of London's The Royal Albert Hall drew back two days before the concert, because they found Zappa's lyrics obscene, and Zappa started a lawsuit for breach of contract. It ended with a stalemate, the breach of contract was acknowledged but without further consequences. Only in 2015 The suites got released on CD (CD nr. 101 in this list). The table below lists the scores of both the album and the suites version. They overlap, but far from completely.

200 Motels
- Overture, Tuna sandwich sequence, Centerville 1)
- 200 Motels soundtrack orchestra scores 2)
- 200 Motels, The suites BS
- Mystery roach, opening KS
- What's the name of your group?, section 3)
- Can I help you with this dummy? SB
- This town is a sealed ... (prologue) KS
- Dance of the just plain folks, opening bars 3)
- Tuna fish promenade, opening bars KS
- The tuna sandwich bolero, opening bars KS
- Lonesome cowboy Burt, opening KS
- Touring can make you crazy, fragment KS
- Would you like a snack? (1971), theme KS
- Centerville, opening KS
- She painted up her face, main theme KS
- Janet's big dance number, section KS
- Half a dozen provocative squats, section KS
- Shove it right in (album song), section KS
- Lucy's seduction of a bored violinist, section KS
- I'm stealing the room BS
- Dental hygiene dilemma 4)
- Does this kind of life ... 4)
- Daddy, daddy, daddy, opening KS
- Penis dimension BS/SB
- What will this evening ..., theme KS
- The pleated gazelle, opening 3)
- Nun suit SB
- Magic fingers, theme KS/WL259
- Motorheads midnight ranch, fragment KS
- Dew on the newts we got, fragment KS
- The lad searches the night for his newts, fragment KS
- The girl wants to fix him some broth, fragment KS
- The girl's dream, end ("The girl, in a statement ...") SB
- Little green scratchy sweaters SB
- Strictly genteel See 48)
- Jeff and Don 5)
1) Several sections have been reworked upon for inclusion in "Bogus pomp", see 48).
2) The soundtrack orchestra scores were used for performances by The LA Philharmonic and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1970/1. They largely overlap with The suites.
3) Included in this study.
4) Samples of the orchestra sheet music can be found in the CD booklet.
5) The earliest version of Naval aviation in art? See the Perfect stranger section from this study.


At the end of 1971 Zappa got thrown off stage and needed recuperating for some months. After this forced interruption of the touring program, Zappa compiled a second live album from the 1971 tapes. The main piece became "Billy the mountain", a 25-minute mix of music and dialogues. The modern opening and the "Studebaker Hawk" block are the musically interesting parts. In between the comic story of a mountain being drafted is told. On the CD a subdivision for selection purposes would have been welcome.
The remainder of the album is all musical. Two musically humoristic new pieces are played between two earlier songs that get revisited in a rock environment. The lyrics of "Magdalena" about incestuous desires go beyond humor and are more intended to shock the audience. When accused of rudeness, Zappa would defend himself by saying that such things exist, so he's entitled to write about it.

Just another band from L.A.
- Billy the mountain *)
- Call any vegetable, opening KS
- Eddie are you kidding?, opening KS
- Magdalena, opening KS
- Dog breath (1971), opening WL260
*) Sections by KS and M. Ferrandino are included in this study.

15) WAKA/JAWAKA, 1972

Sitting in a wheelchair and walking with crutches Zappa returned to the idea of making a sequel to "Hot Rats". A large amount of mostly instrumental music was written and recorded in April.
"Waka/Jawaka" is using a small brass section, like "Hot rats". "Big swifty" is a fast changing metres changing tempi piece, followed by Sal Marquez soloing on trumpet and Zappa on guitar. The themes get varied upon in the outchorus. It's dealt with at length in the Ludwig study (see also the literature). On page 93 he's giving an overview of the meters and tempos of the opening theme. Then he continues indicating how Zappa is varying his themes and motifs. In the outchorus a 2:3 tempo relation is used. The study here includes two bars as an example.
The other three pieces belong to the comfortable Zappa, a bit complicated but not that much, and pleasant to listen too. The score of "Waka/Jawaka" existed as working sketch and was developed during recordings using overdubs. Steve Vai was asked to transcribe the end result, "which was really tough [...], with the real close horn section in that song, it's almost impossible - if not impossible - to hear the individual voices. The human ear won't hear more than four individual voices in a closed-voice motion individually" (Guitar Player, Feb. 1983).

- Big swifty (arr. Jon Nelson) BS
    ,, , sections WL237/KS
- Your mouth, section KS
- It just might be a one shot deal, opening KS
- Waka/Jawaka, sections KS/WL260


"The grand wazoo" soon followed using a big band. The album cover presents an army of brass players attacking the strings, where the grand wazoo stands for a fantasy big horn. The music gradually moves from the complexity of "For Calvin" and the title song to a gentle relaxed piece as the closing number, called "Blessed relief", unusual for the energetic Zappa.
The players were assembled via advertising and, after the recording sessions, were invited to make a little tour. Zappa did this tour for the experience; it was calculated in advance that it wouldn't be profitable. Still unable to walk properly, he conducted the jazz band sitting on a high chair and playing guitar. No recordings of this tour have been included in the later series of live CDs, but the Zappa Family Trust released 70 minutes of this tour as "Imaginary diseases" in 2005. The title track is included in this site. The little attention Zappa has obtained in jazz literature is strange, apparently a bit of a closed circuit. His acceptance in the modern music world went a lot easier.

The grand wazoo
- For Calvin, opening KS
- The grand wazoo, section KS/WL261
- Cleetus awreetus-awrightus, main themes KS/WL261
- Eat that question, sections KS/WL262
- Blessed relief, opening WL262/*)
*) An anonymously posted lead sheet is included in this study.


With "Overnite sensation" Zappa changed course. He returned to the mainstream idea of a rock album, a series of songs of about equal length, limited in size and with lyrics. The first three songs of the CD are uncomplicated, following familiar chord patterns. "Camarillo brillo" is using I-V-IV-II-VI (Ludwig, page 81), "Dirty love" begins with a riff alternating the D and C chords. Those who look for the complex Zappa get served as well with "Zombie woof". Solos on this album are short, of the interlude between the refrains type, common in pop music.
On the album Zappa is developing the literary side of his lyrics, using a lot of rhyme and verbal inventivity, most notably in "Dina-Moe humm". In content they are intentionally provocative, but with enough humor not to become repulsive. He cultivated this audacity aspect as part of his image. There's no anger behind the lyrics and they seldom relate to his personal life. If you ask me, you could even call them superficial in a positive sense.

Overnite sensation
- Camarillo brillo PP/WL216
- I'm the slime PP/KS
- Dirty love PP/*)
- Fifty-fifty PP/KS
- Zomby woof PP/WL263
- Dinah-moe Humm PP
- Montana PP/KS
*) The transcription by Paul Pappas originally got published in Guitar, February 1994.
Note: the PP transcriptions are the full songs; WL and KS refer to sections published earlier or additionally.

18) APOSTROPHE ('), 1974

Apostophe (') is even more accessible than its predecessor. It's one of the few Zappa albums, that have some direct appeal first listening. It actually reached the album top ten for a moment.
It opens with a song based upon a riff, than followed by little story over a vamp about an Eskimo defending his baby seal against a fur trapper. The lyrics of the album are unusual for Zappa, not much biting cynicism, no sex at all. Then Zappa the composer comes by in a concentrated form in "St. Alfonzo's pancake breakfast" and "Father O'blivion", fastly changing themes, rhythms, metres and tempi.
After this dazzling intermezzo the album becomes relaxed again with "Cosmic debris" through "Stinkfoot". The title song presents a steady 4/4 joint improvisation with Jack Bruce on fuzz bass, Jim Gordon on drums and Zappa on guitar. It's a strange solo. Jack Bruce is playing the bass almost as a solo instrument and is as much present as Zappa's guitar. George Duke contributes in "Uncle Remus".

Apostrophe (')
- Don't eat that yellow snow AA
- Nanook rubs it AA
- St. Alfonzo's pancake breakfast AA
- Father O'Blivion AA
- Cosmic Debris AA
- Excentrifugal forz AA
- Apostrophe (') AA
- Uncle Remus AA
- Stinkfoot AA


In 1973 Zappa performed three gigs in a row at the Roxy theatre in L.A., from which most of the material for "Roxy and elsewhere" was extracted. The album has an intimate character with Zappa talking a lot to the audience in the small concert hall.
Apart from Napoleon Murphy Brock, whom Zappa loved for his voice, the band consisted of trained score reading musicians, like George Duke, Ruth Underwood and the Fowler brothers. They were able to execute pieces live, that thus far only had been possible in the studio via overdubbing. The three most complex ones, "Echidna's arf (of you)", "Don't you ever wash that thing" and "Be-bop tango", remained specific for this line up of the band. Of these three "Don't you ever wash that thing" is an extremity regarding complexity and unpredictability, executed with a very high tempo and containing wild chromatic and counterpoint passages.
The "Be-bop tango" event is an example of what Zappa called audience participation; people are invited to dance on stage not to the beat but to Duke's be-bop singing. Eventually everybody can dance to the blues ending of the song ("everything is gonna be alright").

Roxy and elsewhere
- Penguin in bondage, sections 1)
- Pygmy twylyte, sections See 52)
- Dummy up, opening KS
- Village of the sun, theme 2)
- Echidna's arf (of you), opening 3)
- Don't you ever wash that thing, sections KS
- Cheepnis, opening KS
- Son of orange county, theme WL266
      ,, , KS
- More trouble every day, solo excerpt KS
- Be-bop tango See 62)
1) Part of the solo has been printed in Guitar Player, October 1995, transcribed by Mike Keneally. Another section is transcribed by me.
2) Joint effort by Paul Strawser, Wolfgang Ludwig and me.
3) Two sections are included in this study (various sources).


One size fits all contains several examples of through composed melodies. They turn up in "Inca roads", "Sofa", "Florentine pogen" and "Evelyn". Other songs are one based upon rock, "Can't afford no shoes", one upon country, "San Berdino", a rhythmically pronounced piece called "Andy" and the mainstream "Pojamas people". See the Ludwig study, pages 97-100, for all the rhythmic complexities of "Andy". "Pojamas people" has understandable funny lyrics about an unreal problem. Most of the other lyrics are difficult, picturing undaily images of a space vehicle landing in the Andes and a dog pondering in a piano saloon. The original intention of "Sofa", the songtext as well as its depiction on the album cover, for instance only became clear via the Fire! bootleg.
Though Zappa is saying in the "Zappa in New York" liner notes that "One size fits all" didn't receive much attention, it has become an album generally appreciated by fans and critics alike. It's complicated music, but not that unpredictable that it becomes problematic.

One size fits all.
- Inca roads AB
- Sofa 1/2 AB/See 23)
- Can't afford no shoes AB/WL170
- Po-jama people AB
- Florentine pogen AB/KS
- Evelyn AB/KS/WL250
- San Ber'dino AB/KS
- Andy AB/WL240
Note: the AB transcriptions are the full songs; WL and KS refer to sections published earlier.

21) BONGO FURY, 1975

In 1975 Captain Beefheart was without a record contract and came complaining about his condition to Zappa, with whom he had quarreled after their "Trout mask replica" cooperation. Zappa invited Beefheart to go on the road with him. From this short tour "Bongo fury" was compiled, along with some studio material. The appearance of Beefheart's name on the album was an act of a friend, for his contribution in writing was restricted to the reciting of two poems.
The album opens with the rhythmically irregular and complicated "Debra Kadabra". Its lyrics are of the nonsense type Beefheart used to apply on his albums, here referring to cheap Mexican made monster movies. Hereafter the album becomes more normal with for instance an archetype blues song called "200 years old". The album closes with the hilarious "Muffin man", with Zappa soloing over a merry vamp.
"Touring with Captain Beefheart wasn't exactly easy", Zappa commented in the Real Frank Zappa book, "he carried around with him a shopping bag with all his possessions - art, poetry and his soprano sax. He kept forgetting his bag, driving the tour manager insane. However loud the monitor system was, he kept complaining that he couldn't hear his voice (I think he sang that loud that his neck muscles contracted so that his ears sort of imploded)"

Bongo fury
- Debra kadabra, sections KS
- Carolina hard-core ecstasy, opening KS
- Poofter's froth Wyoming plans ahead, end KS
- 200 years old, opening motif KS
- Cucamonga, section KS
- Advance romance, opening WL268
- Muffin man, section KS

22) ZOOT ALLURES, 1976

In 1976 most members of the Roxy and Elsewhere band had left and Zappa performed with a smaller band, playing a lot of guitar himself and with less virtuoso pieces for the band. This found its reflection upon the "Zoot allures" album, where his guitar is the main instrument and where he chose to play bass and keyboard as well.
It's a greasy rock 'n roll album, containing three individual guitar solos that were developed on the road. They are of different types, "Black napkins" is played over two alternating chords, "Friendly little finger" uses a pedal note and "Zoot allures" is non-typical. The latter one is a chord progression itself.
"The torture never stops" became a concert favorite. The album version has a lot of musical embellishments for the text part, on the road it was more used to introduce a guitar solo. The solo here is small but fine. The additional suffering voices aren't credited on the album itself, but are a contribution by Zappa's wife and a friend of hers. The closing number "Disco boy" is musically not disco, not even a hint at it, but a summit of traditional rock 'n roll with Zappa pumping the chords over thick synthesizer bass lines.

Zoot allures
- Wind up working in a gas station, section KS
- Black napkins GB
- The torture never stops, opening and coda KS
- Ms. Pinky (Artificial Rhonda), sections See 41)
- Find her finer, intro KS
- Friendly little finger, sections KS
- Solo from Wonderful wino, section KS
- Zoot allures, sections KS
- Disco boy, theme/section WL224 *)/KS
*) The A sharp in the key is a writing error for A.


At the end of 1976 Zappa was performing with a larger line up again and the virtuoso band pieces returned with for instance "The black page" and "Man X needs women". "The black page" has become one of Zappa's best known instrumental compositions and difficult to play, because of the wide variety of irregular groupings in it. The opening song "Titties 'n beer" is using a rhythmic riff and a vamp, with Zappa portraying a motorcycle man encountering the devil. It's a comic conversation between this man, uttering his stereotype sexism and love of beer, and the devil, who gets confused by how easy his opponent is willing to sell his soul to him.
Zappa's clash with Warner Bros. left scars upon the original double album, because "Punky's whips" was censored, causing a short side 1. The current double CD includes the censored parts and even additional material with a strong lengthy version of "Cruising for burgers".
Apparently there was cooperation with Warner Bros. for the album cover. Zappa's son Dweezil delivered a photo of New York wasteland and his wife took the shots for the inner sleeve.

Zappa in New York
- Titties and beer KS
- Cruising for burgers solo, opening KS/See 7)
- I promise not to come in your mouth, sections KS
- Punky's whips See 37)
- Honey, don't you want a man like me?, opening KS
- The Illinois enema bandit, theme WL269
- I'm the slime, opening See 17)
- Pound for a brown, theme See 7)
- Manx needs women 1)
- The black page #1 BS
- Big leg Emma 3)
- Sofa, melody/interlude WL267/KS
- The black page #2 BS
- The torture never stops, opening and coda See 22)
- The purple lagoon/Approximate, theme 2)
1) Part of this piece has been printed as an exercise in Guitar Player, January 1977, and included in this study.
2) The main theme is included in this study as a combination of the original Approximate scores and transcribed notes by KS.
3) Two transcribed/arranged sections are included in this study.

24) STUDIO TAN, 1978

The last three contractual Warner Bros. albums were issued by this company without consulting Zappa. The material was meant for album releases as well as inclusion in the "Läther" box (see 58), so apart from the careless album covers, they are certainly not second choice. Zappa felt pissed off at the time, but in the eighties emotions had calmed down and they reappeared on CD as part of the regular Zappa CD collection.
The opening piece "Greggery peccary" tells the story of a little pig inventing the calendar. Because of the fragmented music and a talking piglet, to me it gets the character of a cartoon without the images. But there are larger composed parts as well, modern at the beginning and pop like at the end. Much of the piece was scored out and Steve Vai was later asked to complete it with the improvised parts. It was played live in 2000 by the Ensemble Modern (see also the What's next section).
The others three pieces are a modern chamber music piece dating from 1970, the mainstream "Lemme take you to the beach" and the melodic instrumental "RDNZL".

Studio tan
- Greggery Peccary *)
- Revised music for low budget symph. orch. BS
- Lemme take you to the beach, sections KS/WL269
- RDNZL, opening WL270
      ,, , section KS
*) The "Greggery peccary" score was used for performance by the Ensemble Modern during the Holland Festival 2000. Several transcribed fragments and examples from the score are included in this study.

25) SLEEP DIRT, 1978

Sleep dirt opens with the melody of "Filthy habits", that has some melismatic Arab effects in it, followed by two feedback guitars soloing. Then follows a sequence of songs from the 1972 musical "Hunchentoot" with Thana Harris singing the lyrics. The original album was instrumental and still is as included in the 1996 "Läther" CD. The use of a contrabass and a piano once again are giving an album a jazzrock character (the album at first appears to have been called "Hot rats III"). "Time is money" gets special attention in the Ludwig study. It's presented as a piece dealing with ongoing metre changes, using many odd numbered ones, "apparently at random the most varied rhythmic-metric sections are combined, making it sound as a collage" (Ludwig, page 104). The title track is a for Zappa unusual solo with Zappa playing over a chord progression. The notes of chords are played in broken patterns till the player after three minutes of doing so finally gets his fingers stuck. Guitar solos are also the main ingredient of the lengthy closing number "The ocean is the ultimate solution".

Sleep dirt
- Filthy habits, opening See 57)
- Flambay, section KS/WL271
- Spider of destiny, section KS
- Regyptian strut, sections KS/WL271
- Time is money KS/WL247
- Sleep dirt, opening KS
- The ocean is the ultimate solution, fragments KS


The basic tracks of "Sheik Yerbouti" were recorded life when Zappa had no access to studios due to his litigational problems with Warner Bros. In 1979 things were back to normal, and "Sheik Yerbouti" could be finished in a studio, adding a lot of overdubs. Much of the album is accessible, even leading to a European hitsingle "Bobby brown" (the couplet progression is I-VI-II-V, Ludwig, page 82). There a two little but fine disco references included, presented in this study.
Complex pieces are passing by as well, especially the "Sheik Yerbouti tango" and "Wild love". On pages 100-102 of his study Ludwig is demonstrating how Zappa is using changing metres and tempos as a construction method in this song. The majestic "Yo' mama" solo opens pure solo without accompaniment and hereafter it continues combining playing over a pedal note and two alternating chords. In the press, as usual, the album cover, circumstances and the lyrics received most of the attention.

Sheik Yerbouti
- I have been in you, opening KS
- Flakes, sections KS
- Broken hearts are for assholes See 65)
- I'm so cute, section KS
- Jones crusher, opening See 37)
- What ever happened ..., section KS
- Rat tomago GB
- Wait a minute, fragment KS
- Bobby brown, themes WL225/See 45)
- Rubber shirt, section KS
- Sheik Yerbouti tango GB
- Baby snakes, end KS
- Tryin' to grow a chin, sections See 65)
- City of tiny lights, section KS
- Dancin' fool, theme KS
- Jewish princess, end KS
- Wild love, melody WL244
      ,, , disco section KS
- Yo' mama, sections KS


With "Orchestral favorites" Zappa returned to the 200 Motels scores. "Bogus pomp" is a suite of the orchestral parts of the "Tuna sandwich" block from 200 Motels, with additional material added. "Duke of prunes" is a more elaborate version of this melody from "Absolutely free", now also including a guitar solo. Of the two new pieces "Pedro's dowry" is a difficult atonal piece, that gives a hint at the later "LSO Vol. I" CD.
The album sleeve gives no information about the recording circumstances. The orchestra performing was a 40-piece group of musicians, specifically assembled for this recording in 1975 (the liner notes of 83) finally give an answer to who took part in it). They did a few concerts in L.A. as the Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Orchestra, the name Zappa also had used for the Lumpy Gravy orchestra. The electric part in this case was Zappa on guitar and some amplified acoustic instruments. The concerts also included the "Revised music for a low budget orchestra", but this piece would make the album overflow and landed on "Studio tan". The material got rerecorded again in the eighties by more renowned orchestras, so "Orchestral favorites" hasn't obtained the status that by itself it deserved.

Orchestral favorites
- Strictly genteel See 48)
- Pedro's dowry See 38)
- Naval aviation in art See 39)
- Duke of prunes, themes/section WL271/KS
- Bogus pomp See 48)

28-29) JOE'S GARAGE, 1979

The musical drama "Joe's garage" was originally released as a single and a double album. The single album with act I contained the accessible songs, with which Zappa continued the commercial success of "Sheik Yerbouti". On it are for instance the merry "Fembot in a wet t-shirt" and the relaxed ballad "Lucille". The lyrics are mostly dealing with sexual abuse. On Act I Zappa once more returns to the groupie life, Acts II and III are undaily, dealing with fetishism and homo sex in prisons.
Acts II and III are musically more complicated, now and then sentimental, like the wailing "Watermelon in eastern hay". Zappa often chose to play his new compositions on tour first, so that they could evolve and ripen. This applies to more than half of the material on acts II and III, dating from 1971 onwards. The album versions indeed surpass the earlier concert tracks on bootlegs and posthumous CDs. The guitar solos were directly taken from concerts, with the rhythm section added in the studio. Zappa didn't enjoy soloing in a studio much without the extra energy of an audience present.

Joe's garage, acts I-III
- Central scrutinizer, vamp KS
- Joe's garage, sections KS
- Catholic girls, section KS
- Crew slut, sections KS
- Fembot in a wet t-shirt, sections KS
      ,, , interlude BS
- On the bus, opening KS
- Why does it hurt when i pee KS/WL227
- Lucille has messed my mind up, themes KS/WL273
- A token of my extreme, themes KS
- Stick it out, opening KS
- Sy Borg, theme KS/WL273
- Dong work for Yuda, end See 89)
- Keep it greasy, sections KS
- Outside now, solo GB
      ,, , theme See 53)
- He used to cut the grass, solo/opening GB/KS
- Packard goose, solo/sections GB/KS
- Watermelon in Easter hay GB
- A little green rosetta, sections KS


During the eighties Zappa's business were financially running better and better and he could afford to move his own way, not obstructed by record companies and fashions. It led to some confusion among fans and especially among critics, who are inclined to present the earliest albums as the best. With the title song of "Tinsel town rebellion" Zappa takes a stand against the current rock trends.
Apart from the opening reggae tune "Fine girl" all material is from the last 1979 tour, two thirds new songs, one third earlier pieces in a new jacket. The later Zappa bands were well rehearsed and he mostly chose to refrain from the studio overdubbing he applied in the seventies. The instrumental line up of the band from 1979 to 1984 was rather constant, making the material from this period sound as a unity. Much appeared on the later live double CDs, with hindsight "Tinsel town rebellion" was a first step into this direction.

Tinsel town rebellion
- Fine girl, opening KS
- Easy meat, sections KS
- For the young sophisticate See 65)
- Love of my life, theme KS/WL274
- I ain't got no heart See 1)
- Panty rap, opening bars KS
- Tell me you love me (1980), opening KS
- Now you see it-now you don't, opening KS
- Dance contest, vamp KS
- The blue light, opening KS
- Tinsel town rebellion, main theme KS
- Pick me, I'm clean, opening KS
- Bamboozled by love, section KS
- Brown shoes don't make it SB
- Peaches III KS/See 8)


In 1981 Zappa grouped a series of guitar solos from the period 1977-1980 on three records available via mail order. When they proved successful, they also reached the stores as a boxed set. The atmosphere of the albums is partially set by the three title solos in the C Lydian mode, playing over I and II alternating. They are from the three concerts that Zappa played in a row at the Odeon Hammersmith in London, February 1979. The sound of the guitar is also specific for this set, making explicit use of the stereo double channeling possibilities.
Steve Vai was later asked to transcribe several of these solos, making visible on paper the high degree of rhythmical variation in them. He had sent Zappa a homemade transcription of "The black page" and subsequently Zappa called him to transcribe on salary. Steve comments: "[in the beginning] it was really hard. I used to sit and listen to one bar of music maybe a hundred times - hours and hours and hours of music. But it was fun; I enjoyed it. I felt useful [...]. I think that transcribing is one of the biggest learning experiences for a musician." (Guitar Player, Feb. 1983).

Shut up 'n play yer guitar
- Five-five-FIVE GB
- Hog heaven GB
- Shut up 'n play yer guitar GB
- While you were out GB
- Treacherous cretins GB
- Heavy duty Judy GB
- Soup 'n old clothes GB
- Variations on the Carlos Santana ... GB
- Gee, I like your pants GB
- Canarsie, fragment KS
- Ship ahoy, section See 65)
- The deathless horsie GB
- Shut up 'n play yer guitar some more GB
- Pink napkins GB
- Beat it with your fist, fragment KS
- Return of the son of Shut up 'n play yer guitar, section KS
- Pinocchio's furniture, bars 1-4 KS
- Why Johnny can't read, opening KS
- Stucco homes GB
- Canard du jour, section KS


"You are what you is" is Zappa's last effort at a commercial album. It became an enjoyable collection with a large list of singers contributing. All material is of a friendly nature, except for the "Sinister footwear" solo. Coming by are rock in "Doreen", country in "Harder in our husband", blues in "Suicide chump", but much is traditional vocal popmusic. There are some rhythmical difficulties though, as in "Beauty knows no pain". All is executed with Zappa's musical craftsmanship and eye for details. Several songs from the album were included in the concert with the same name, that MTV broadcasted in 1982.
Two topics get dealt with at greater length in the lyrics, the lifestyle of the local society and religious fanaticism. The latter is a returning and consistent item in Zappa's output. It's coming back on "Broadway the hard way" and receives a chapter of its own in The real Frank Zappa book. He keeps stressing upon the separation of church and state, intellectual freedom and democracy (don't forget to register and vote).

You are what you is
- Teenage wind, theme WL274
- Harder than your husband, sections KS
- Doreen, opening See 58)
- Goblin girl, section KS
- Theme from Sinister footwear III GB
- Society pages, opening KS
- I'm a beautiful guy, opening KS
- Beauty knows no pain, opening KS
- Charlie's enormous mouth, section KS
- Any downers, sections KS
- Conehead, section KS
- You are what you is, opening/theme KS/WL275
- Mudd club, theme See 41)
- The meek shall inherit nothing, section KS
- Dumb all over, opening KS
- Heavenly bank account, opening KS
- Jumbo go away, interlude (keyboard/bass) BS
      ,, , section KS
- If only she woulda, opening KS
- Drafted again, outro KS


Here Zappa delivered a pretty extreme album. For the first two songs this applies more to the text than to the music. In "No not now" he's cynical as ever about the sexual desires of truck drivers and waitresses. Unexpectedly "Valley girl", a cooperation with his daughter Moon, became a hit in the US. The remainder of the album is the versatile Zappa at his technical best, mixing rock and atonal passages, using counterpoint and ultrafast tempi. In the album liner notes of "You can't do that on stage anymore, vol. III" he talks about the performing difficulties of the title song: "the 1984 band never played it correctly during its 6-month tour, and the 1982 band only managed to get close on one occasion". The album version is made up of combining the parts that succeeded from the various 1982 gigs. On top of this complexity come the strong guitar solos.
"Drowning witch" is not appreciated by some of the fans and critics. Maybe they have difficulties with the abstraction level of the album. It's not exactly music to please. The melodic lines can be unconventional, especially the chromatic vocal part in "I come from nowhere", that deliberately avoids melodic lines that are generally considered as fluent.

Ship arriving too late
to save a drowning witch
- No not now, section KS/WL166
- Valley girl, opening KS
- I come from nowhere, opening KS
- Drowning witch, interlude BS
      ,, , sections KS
      ,, , opening theme WL275
- Envelopes See 38)
- Teen-age prostitute, section *)
*) Example by Jos Zwaanenburg/KS included in this study.


On "The man from Utopia" Zappa experimented with speechwise singing. Two live-recorded pieces were included along with one from the studio. Three of them is maybe a bit too much of the same at once, but with the selection possibilities of a CD this release became better enjoyable. The other vocal songs are mainstream, less exciting than the album cover might suggest. There's rock 'n roll in "Sex", a simple reggae tune "Stick together", a rhythm and blues cover medley, an all vocal doo-wop piece and the more melodic "Cocaine decisions". Interesting are the three instrumentals. "Tink walks amok" deals with varying bass guitar motifs, "We are not alone" is traditionally melodic. The closing "Moggio" is the versatile Zappa with fast melodies played over a jazz styled counterpoint bass line.
The circumstances for the album cover are based on reality, but far from clear by itself. The explanation follows partly later on with the "Cocaine decisions" version on "You can't do that on stage anymore, vol. III". A swamp with mosquitos nearby the concert location contributed some more to the emotional state of the enraged man from Utopia.

The man from Utopia
- Cocaine decisions, section KS
- SEX, opening KS
- Tink walks amok 1)
- The radio is broken, section KS
- We are not alone, section KS
- Stick together, opening bars KS
- The dangerous kitchen BS
- Jazz discharge party hats BS
- Luigi & and the wise guys, section BS
- Moggio 2)

1) Opening included in this study, source: internet file/KS.
2) Score handed over to the Ensemble Modern for performance on "Greggery Peccary & other persuasions". A transcribed section is included in this study.

37) BABY SNAKES, 1983

"Baby snakes" was released as a gadget in 1983, containing the soundtrack of Zappa's second film carrying the same name, premiered four years earlier. It was originally printed on expensive picture vinyl, available only via mail order. Nor the movie, nor the record received much attention. The album only became widerly known since the CD re-release. The same might happen to the movie, nowadays available on DVD.
The film consisted of concert footage, clay animations and backstage stuff. The recorded concert was a 1977 Halloween gig in New York, here without the overdubbing used in "Sheik Yerbouti". As a concert movie it's excellent, the interaction with the public went fantastic. At the time of the CD release it contained the censured "Punky's whips" as a novelty, the other songs were live versions of known material. In "Titties and beer" the sentence with the devil being accused of jerking off at a Punky Meadows picture could now pass, as well as saying the hell it was being assigned to Warner Bros. Since "Zappa in New York" nowadays also includes "Punky's whips", the CD has lost some of its meaning. It's good by itself, but adds little to the previous albums.

Baby snakes
- Baby snakes See 26)
- Titties 'n beer See 23)
- The black page #2 See 23)
- Jones crusher (1977), opening KS
- Disco boy See 22)
- Punky's whips (1977), section KS
- Conehead vamp (DVD) KS

38) THE LSO, VOL. I, 1983

In 1982 Zappa hired The London Symphony Orchestra for two weeks to record several of his modern orchestra pieces with Kent Nagano conducting. Kent had contacted Zappa for performing music with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra and "one thing led to another, and Frank decided to have a huge project that would include a public performance of his works and a recording of these very large orchestra pieces. The London Symphony Orchestra was chosen, and the conductor selected was me" (Kent Nagano in Zappa!).
Volume I appeared in 1993, a balanced coherent album, containing among others a large atonal piece called "Mo 'n Herbs vacation". Notable are the many solo lines for the clarinet player, as well as chord textures, making full use of the different orchestral instruments. To listen to such music is demanding, personally I can only consume two of the three parts of "Mo 'n Herbs vacation" at once.
The recording conditions weren't ideal; Zappa is giving the technical details in the Real Frank Zappa book. The orchestral sound differs from the regular sound, more voluptuous, but occasionally too thick to hear all the details clearly.
In Guitar Player, Feb. 1983, Zappa comments upon how such orchestral music originated. "Some of the pieces to be performed by the LSO were written in airports or hotel rooms with no appliance whatsoever. What I usually do is come back from a tour with a briefcase full of sketches and I'll test the parts of the harmony and the lines on the piano, refine it, and then generate a handwritten score in fairly messy condition, which I then give to the copyist I have on the payroll." It's the same idea as in composing 200 Motels. In the 1971 VPRO tv documentary you can see Zappa doing some of the copying himself.

The London Symphony Orchestra, vol. I
- Sad Jane BS
- Pedro's dowry BS
- Envelopes BS
- Mo 'n Herb's vacation BS
Note: transcribed fragments from every title are included in this study.


In the early eighties Zappa had contacted the French conductor-composer Pierre Boulez to perform his orchestral scores. Boulez didn't think French orchestras were fit to do this, but he did commission a piece for his Ensemble Intercomporain. So Zappa sent in "The perfect stranger" to be premiered by the ensemble. Eventually three pieces received a one time live performance in 1983 and were subsequently recorded. Zappa could use his newly acquired Synclavier to turn this project into an instrumental album.
The event resulted in an interesting varied album, difficult to come to terms with and opening new directions. The relation with the Ensemble Intercomporain became under strain however. Apparently some members had expected another rock star wanting his popsongs performed by an orchestra. It was expected to be diversion, but during the recording session Zappa insisted on a perfect execution of his modern atonal music, retaking some bars over and over till they were satisfying. Up till today Boulez only wishes to comment that Zappa's technical knowledge of music was unprecedented for a rock artist.

The perfect stranger
- The perfect stranger BS
- Naval aviation in art BS
- The girl in the magnesium dress See 62)
- Outside now, again *)
- Love story, fragment KS
- Dupree's paradise BS
- Jonestown, fragment KS
*) The score can be printed out from the synclavier. It has been used by the Asko Ensemble in an arrangement by Corrie van Binsbergen. A transcribed fragment is included in this study.

40) THEM OR US, 1984

With "Them or us" Zappa delivered a CD, that by now you could call a traditional Zappa album. It ranges from doo-wop and traditional blues in "In France" to modern atonal music in "Sinister footwear II". "Truck driver's divorce" is based upon conventional country and western, but with so many extras that it surpasses all limitations of this style. Then of course there are the usual guitar solos, this time also presenting Steve Vai and Zappa's son Dweezil. The title song has in its sound something of the metallic guitar flavour that hard rock bands worship.
The cover of "Whipping post" indicates why pieces can sound as Zappa. Not the style, but how the music is performed: bright, sung with clear voices, not looking for effects. Any style can get incorporated in Zappa's music without any problem. Zappa doesn't rank all his different compositions. "Baby take your teeth out" was composed on the road in twenty minutes, "N-lite" on "Civilization, phaze III" took ten years. He comments in Zappa!: "And there are people who will never be able to sit through "N-lite" - it's 23 minutes long. They would rather have a minute and ten seconds of ["Baby take your teeth out"] that'll make them laugh. The point is that each piece, for what it is supposed to do, achieves a certain level of entertainment success".

Them or us
- In France, riff KS
- Ya Hozna, section KS
- Sharleena, sections See 11)
- Sinister footwear II, sections KS
- Truck driver divorce, sections KS
- Stevie's spanking, opening bars See 81)
- Baby take your teeth out, opening KS
- Marque-Son's chicken, sections KS
- Planet of my dreams, section KS
- Be in my video, end KS
- Them or us, section KS
- Frogs with dirty little lips, section KS
Compositions by others:
- The closer you are (Lewis/Robinson), section: WL277

41) THING-FISH, 1984

"Thing-Fish" belongs to the literary output of Zappa. In the same year he released his first book entitled "Them or us", treating with the topics he dealt with in the last twenty years. "Thing-Fish" is an opera, complete with libretto and stage directions. An earlier attempt at musical, "Hunchentoot", was never released in its original form. It's questionable whether an opera was the proper medium to ventilate the themes from "Thing-Fish", because it contains relatively little original music and the accent lies on the text. Attempts to raise a budget to have it performed failed.
Thing-Fish is a strange piece of fiction, sometimes amusing, but also far-fetched and inconsistent. Some recent events from reality served to trigger it off, like the spreading of aids. The music is about one third synthesizer vamps and accompaniment for the spoken text, one-third earlier material and one-third new songs. Only the last ones are sometimes specific for an opera.

- Prologue, opening bars KS
- Mammy nuns, fragment KS
- Harry and Rhonda, sections KS
- Galoot up-date (The blue light) KS/See 30)
- The 'torchum'/torture ..., opening and coda See 22)
      ,,           , evil prince aria, section KS
- That evil prince 1)
- You are what you is, opening See 34)
- Mudd club, theme KS
- The meek shall inherit nothing, section See 34)
- Clowns on velvet 2)
- Harry-as-a-boy, section KS
- He's so gay, sections KS/See 45)
- The massive improve'lence 2)
- Artificial Rhonda, sections KS
- The crab-grass baby, section KS
- The white boy troubles, section KS
- No not now, section See 35)
- Briefcase boogie, end KS
- Brown Moses, section KS
- Wistful wit a fistful, section KS
- Drop dead, section KS
- Won ton on, themes KS/WL166
1) The accompanying melody returns in Amnerika, see 63).
2) One or two sample bars are included in this study.


The Italian composer and cellist Francesco Zappa lived in the second half of the 18th century, during the transition period from the baroque to the romantic era. As a contemporary of Haydn and Mozart he wrote traditional easy going baroque music. His scores have been kept in some musical libraries and he's included in the New Grove Dictionary of music and musicians. See the bottom of Thing-Fish section for more about Francesco. After a friend had informed Zappa about Francesco's existence, Zappa recorded some of his music in 1984, performed on the synclavier. It was the first recording of Francesco's music. The CD contains no music by Frank Zappa himself.

Here's some quotations from the New Grove Dictionary:
-"He had reputation among his contempories as a [cello] virtuoso and he toured in Germany in 1771, playing in Danzig and Frankfurt."
-"[Francesco] Zappa's writing is lyrical but tends towards a seriousness of manner in which the gallant elements are tempered by a classical dignity. His works with obligato cello demonstrate an easy familiarity with thumb positioning fingerings, slurred staccato bowings and idiomatic string crossing patterns."
One of Francesco's trio sonatas got published the year before by Fullerton, California, Grancino editions, as part of their early cello series.
To the left the head of a review of a Francesco Zappa CD from 2009 (De Volkskrant, November 11th 2009). It deals with what is probably the second CD with his music on it. It's in Dutch and says: "Francesco Zappa really lived. When someone called Simon Murphy releases a CD with symphonies by 18th century people called Zappa and Schwindl, then he's asking for mistrust. This Dutch-Australian baroque musician might have started composing himself in his attic. But Murphy can hardly be accused of a Zappa fraud. Even better: by his research we get a better view upon the music, that entertained the court of William V at The Hague during the years 1760-1785." The article implies that Francesco Zappa was employed at this Dutch court for a certain period, though I haven't checked out the CD itself.


Boxed reissue of albums 1)-5) together with a mystery disc. The content of the mystery disc got released separately in 1998. See that issue for transcriptions. This is the release with the newly recorded bass and drum part for albums 3) and 5), that was also used for the first CD release. The general acclaim for this change was such negative, that Zappa gave in. The second CD reissue had the original tapes of 3) restored. Personally I find that he overdid the effect for 3), a modern sound bass dominates over the other tracks, but when you turn the bass down, I don't mind that much.


This CD was compiled for the occasion. Zappa had spoken in a senate hearing about possible legislation against "outrageous filth" in some rock lyrics, that possibly could include his own lyrics. It resulted in parental advisory stickers. Zappa recorded the event with a portable tape recorder and transformed it into the "Porn wars" collage. The subject gets dealt with at length in chapter 15 of The real Frank Zappa book, including the complete text of Zappa's testimony.
The CD lacks cohesion, but not quality. On it are three synclavier compositions. "One man - one vote" could be called perfect, ongoing melodic variation along with interesting counterpoint and harmony. Of a different nature is the jam with Johnny Guitar Watson, "I don't even care", meant for entertainment. Zappa apparently enjoyed the uptight manner of speaking that Watson could improvise.

Frank Zappa meets The mothers of prevention
- I don't even care, opening KS
- One man - one vote and others *)
- Little beige sambo, opening KS
- Aerobics in bondage BS
- We're turning again, opening KS
- Alien orifice BS
- Yo cats, opening BS
- What's new in Baltimore, opening KS/WL278
- Porn wars, fragments KS
- H.R. 2911, fragment KS
*) The scores from the synclavier pieces from this album can be printed out from the machine. You could contact the Zappa Family Trust. Transcribed fragments are included in the study.


When in 1985 CDs were introduced as a new medium, expected to replace the vinyl records, Zappa decided to release one with material from the last 1984 tour. The CD capacity made it possible to play a half concert before or after the intermission as a whole. The larger part is known material in other versions, three new songs were included as well. Since the 1984 versions contain many alternative bars, especially "Tinsel town rebellion", as well as their own guitar solos, this CD can be considered as equivalent to a new vinyl album.
After the 1984 tour Zappa took a four years break from touring and turned to composing on synclavier and running through the huge tape collections of the tours of the past twenty years. He also completed and newly made several videotapes, going back for instance to the material of the "Uncle meat" and "200 Motels" projects. A video of a 1984 concert was also released with the title "Does humor belong in music", though its content is different from the CD. The CD is from various places, the video was shot at the The Pier concert in New York. The video/DVD collection is available via the official Zappa site.

Does humor belong in music
- Zoot allures (1984), section KS
- Tinsel town rebellion See 30)
- Trouble every day (1984), sections KS
- Penguin in bondage solo (1984), opening KS
- Hot plate heaven at the Green hotel, opening KS
- What's new in Baltimore KS/See 44)
- Let's move to Cleveland, opening KS
- He's so gay (DVD), sections KS/See 41)
- Bobby brown (DVD), sections KS


Boxed reissue of albums 7)-12) and 14) together with a second mystery disc. The content of both mystery discs got released separately in 1998, except for some parts of the second disc, that were already included in "Ahead of their time". See these issues for transcriptions. "200 Motels" was a United Artists production and not included in this box. Zappa was still negotiating a transfer to Rykodisc. It would be the last vinyl album to be re-released on CD.

47) JAZZ FROM HELL, 1986

On this CD the synclavier has taken over. It opens with "Night school", a sort of typed in improvisation over a short vamp. The synclavier offered possibilities to execute pieces that would be too demanding for human players, as "While you were art II". It's reusing the melody of an earlier guitar solo and evolves into a complex mixture of so called hocketing, harmony and counterpoint. Hocketing is a term sometimes used for leading a melody over varying instruments, each hitting only one or two notes.
Further included are for instance the harmonically unpredictable "Damp ankles", a live guitar solo and the energetic "G-spot tornado". The album got a good deal of attention. It was new in all respects, sound, composition and above all how it was done using a computer instrument. Zappa's fashionable appearance on the cover, short cut hair, suit and tie, were surprising as well.

Jazz from hell
- Night school BS
- The Beltway bandits BS
- While you were art II *)
- Jazz from hell *)
- G-spot tornado See 62)
- Damp ankles, opening bars KS
- St. Etienne, opening KS
- Massagio Galore, opening bars KS
*) The scores of pieces like this can be printed out from the synclavier and have been handed over to for instance the Ensemble Modern and the Asko Ensemble. Transcribed snippets from While you were art II and Jazz from hell are included in this study.

48) THE LSO, VOL. II, 1987

The release of the second volume with The London Symphony Orchestra was postponed till 1987 because Zappa was dissatisfied with the accuracy of these performances that were recorded at the end of the sessions. As usual Zappa complains, but you've got to take into account that vol. I had been demanding and that the time schedule was tight. To give some counterweight to the negativism on the sleeve and the Real Frank Zappa book, conductor Kent Nagano said that "[Zappa] demonstrated that he had impeccable ears and absolute command of the scores. That was one of the reasons the LSO respected him so much" (quoted from Zappa!)
"Bob in Dacron" relates to vol. I, the other two pieces are the 200 Motels rewritings that appeared earlier on "Orchestral favorites". "Bogus pomp" got extensions, now including the "Overture", "Centerville" and an additional coda of its own. The job of re-orchestrating this piece from a small to a large orchestra was handed over to David Ocker.

The London Symphony Orchestra, vol. II
- Bogus pomp BS
- Bob in Dacron BS
- Strictly genteel BS
Note: transcribed fragments from all three titles are included in this study.


Boxed reissue of albums 15)-22). By this time Zappa's albums got one by one released on CD and a contract for releasing individual albums from the boxes had got into effect. This third box got more released because it was planned for than because of necessity. The three volumes were nicely designed silver boxes with paintings by Donald Wilson as on "The perfect stranger". Today they continue to exist as collectors' items. The reason it took some time for the boxes to be completed after Zappa obtained the mastertapes is that he remixed several tracks on these albums. The CDs contain the same remixes, so original vinyl Zappa albums can become collectors' items as well.


In 1987 Zappa released some material on a cassette and as flexi singles, made available through magazines. The titles from "The guitar world according to Frank Zappa" are today available on 50) and 83), though in different edits. The two flexi singles contain a 1984 live version of "Sharleena" (later on released on 54)) and a synclavier execution of "The black page #1". The latter title is unique as a flexi single release and of importance for handling the harmonies of this composition in quite a different manner.

Flexi singles
- The black page #1 (1987), sections KS

50) GUITAR, 1988

After the success of "Shut up 'n play yer guitar", Zappa compiled a second set of guitar solos from the touring period 1979-1984. These solos belong to the rhythmically most versatile ones and are using more than before guitar effects as glissandos and distorted notes. Transcribing the late Zappa solos is plain terrible if you want to do it properly. I've done several bars of the ones mentioned below, as well as various sections like for instance fragments from "Yo' mama" and "Filthy habits" to complete the study. But other than Steve Vai I can only enjoy the result and not the work itself. All the more respect for the 300 pages by Vai.
Zappa kept being loyal to his style, mostly using one key, and playing over pedal notes, alternating chords and vamps. The guitar solo output, combined with the solos on regular albums, has with this issue become immense. Redundant for the critics not used to spending much time on listening to one album, still not enough for the fans. After this release Zappa found that he had said all he wanted to on the guitar, but couldn't refrain from playing again during the 1988 tour, because he knew the fans expected him to do so.

- Sexual harassment in the workplace, intro KS
- Which one is it?, opening KS
- Republicans, opening KS
- Do not pass go, section KS
- Chalk pie, section KS
- In-a-gadda-Stravinsky, sections KS
- That's not really reggae, bars 1-3 KS
- When no one was no one, bars 1-4 KS
- Once again, without the net, bars 1-5 KS
- Outside now (original solo), section KS
- Jim and Tammy's upper room, opening KS
- Were we ever really save in San Antonio?, opening KS
- That ol' G-minor thing again, opening KS
- Hotel Atlanta incidentals, opening KS
- That's not really a shuffle, opening KS
- Move it or park it, bars 1-6 KS
- Sunrise redeemer, opening KS
- Variations on Sinister #3, opening bars KS
- Orrin Hatch on skis, opening KS
- But who was Fulcanelli?, section KS
- For Duane, opening bars KS
- GOA, section KS
- Winos do not march, opening KS
- Swans? What swans?, section KS
- Too ugly for show business, section KS
- Systems of edges, opening KS
- Do not try this at home, end KS
- Things that look like meat, end KS
- Watermelon in Easter hay (1984), theme KS/GB
- Canadian customs, opening KS
- Is that all there is?, section KS


After having toyed with the idea earlier, Zappa decided to issue a large amount of live material from the past concerts. It's more than playing in a different environment, because Zappa made changes upon his compositions from tour to tour and there was always room to improvise. Also several unreleased compositions were included. The series of six double CDs is meant as a unity, apart from vol. II, they are not restricted to one specific period or tour.
Vol. I sets off with material from 1971 (the "Groupie routine") to 1984, with the accent on the more recent tours, as in the whole series. Conditions were simply better in the eighties than in the sixties, financially and technically. Besides much original material from 1970 onwards was recorded live. Disc I ends with the poem reciting event during "Nanook rubs it". A new coda is added to this sequence from "Apostrophe (')". Disc II contains two examples from the MTV concert, some more to come on vol. III.

You can't do that on stage anymore, vol. I
- Once upon a time, section KS
- Sofa (1971), opening KS
- Mammy anthem (mammy nuns) See 41)
- You didn't try to call me See 1)
- Diseases of the band, opening KS
- Let's make.../Harry,.../Lumber truck See 3) and 10)
- The groupie routine, opening bars KS
- Babette, opening KS
- I'm the slime See 16)
- Big swifty See 14)
- Don't eat the yellow snow See 18)
- The torture never stops See 22)
- Fine girl See 30)
- Zomby Woof See 17)
- Oh no See 10)
- The deathless horsie, section KS
- Heavenly bank account, opening See 34)
- Tell me you love me See 11)
- Sofa #2 See 20)


This second volume is the only CD of the series with a single subject, namely the 1974 Helsinki concert. It's performed by the "Roxy and elsewhere" band, who by now had been playing much of the material for over a year. So they were well accustomed to it and "Echidna's arf (of you)" and "Don't you ever wash that thing" get sharper executions than the year before.
George Duke commented that he still feels amazed when he listens back to these recording and wonders how the band has been able to do that. He also explained that at first Zappa scored out everything, but after a year the band would say "you don't need to write that down, we know what you want. After a year we started thinking like Zappa". (Frank Scheffer documentary, see the What's next section).
The concert is here presented in its entirety, so you also get to hear the whole 20 minutes improvisation block for the band members, introduced by the theme from "Dupree's paradise". These blocks were mostly a standard part of the program, as the bootlegs indicate, but normally didn't make it to the record.

You can't do that on stage anymore, vol. II
- Tush-tush-tush, opening KS
- Stinkfoot See 18) and 71)
- Inca roads See 20)
- RDNZL See 23)
- Village of the sun See 19)
- Echidna's arf (of you) See 19)
- Don't you ever wash that thing See 19)
- Pygmy twylyte (1974) WL264/KS
- Room service, opening KS
- The idiot bastard son See 3)/KS
- Approximate *)
- Dupree's paradise (1974) KS
- T'mershi duween (arr. Jon Nelson) BS
- Dog breath variations (1974) See 81)
- Uncle meat See 7)
- Montana See 17)
- Big swifty See 15)
*) Sections of the score are shown in the "Dub room special". Two examples completed with transcribed notes are present in this study.


In 1988 Zappa went on the road again for what would become his last tour. The band received a huge program and rehearsed for four months. Most of the new songs appeared on "Broadway the hard way". Zappa, who considered himself a moderate Democrat, is pointing his arrows this time at the Republican Party, especially the conservative religious wing of it. Though in his songs he's not dealing with this subject, he neither felt sympathy for leftist movements. Other people who get hit are Jesse Jackson, in a funny cowboy song with vaudeville elements, and Michael Jackson.
Halfway the album we get to some covers, a guest appearance of Sting, and four earlier songs revisited. The albums rounds off with "Jesus thinks you're a jerk" with Zappa arguing for 9 minutes against the tv preachers. The material on this CD is relatively accessible, Zappa's musical modernities are left out.

Broadway the hard way
- Elvis has left the building, intro KS
- Planet of the baritone women, fragment KS
- Any kind of pain, theme KS
- Dickie's such an asshole See 54)
- When the lie's so big, opening KS
- Rhymin' man, section KS
- Promiscuous, opening KS
- Why don't you like me (Tell me you love me) See 11)
- Jezebel boy, opening KS
- Outside now, theme KS
- Hot plate heaven at the Green hotel, opening See 45)
- What kind of girl?, opening KS
- Jesus thinks you're a jerk, sections KS


Much attention is given to the 1984 tour, this CD being complementary to "Does humor belong in music". On disc I appears for instance a pretty different version of "Bamboozled by love", the "Owner of a lonely heart" addition only refers to the central theme of this song being used as a guitar solo vamp. The "Drowning witch" execution can compete with the 1982 album version.
Disc II opens with another Roxy theatre track from 1973, "Dickie's such an asshole", that premiered on CD just a few months ago in the political context of "Broadway the hard way". Terry Bozzio, also today doing drum solo concerts, performs an interesting drum solo effort in "Hands with a hammer". "Cocaine decisions" explains "The man from Utopia" cover. "King Kong" appears in a strange form, combining recent extravaganza with a charming 1971 guitar solo.

You can't do that on stage anymore, vol. III
- Sharleena See 11)
- Lucille has messed my mind up See 28)
- Advance romance See 21)
- Bobby Brown See 26)
- Keep it greasy See 70)
- Honey, don't you want a man like me?, opening (1984) KS
- Drowning witch See 35)
- Ride my face to Chicago, theme KS
- Carol, you fool, section KS
- Joe's garage See 28)
- Why does it hurt when I pee? See 28)
- Dickie's such an asshole, sections KS
- Zoot allures See 22)
- Beauty knows no pain See 34)
- Charlie's enormous mouth See 34)
- Cocaine decisions See 36)
- King Kong (1971/82), sections KS
- Cosmic debris See 18)


As good as all other material from the 1988 tour would appear on the following two CDs. This one has the accent on the songs with lyrics. It opens with a strong version of "Heavy duty Judy", followed by the Johnny Cash classic "Ring of fire". Disc I ends with a "One size fits all" sequence, a fine live alternative for this 1975 album. On disc II much attention is given to the tv evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, being caught with a prostitute. A right wing republican gets parodied upon in a funny guest appearance of Brother A. West. Covers of a Hendrix and Led Zeppelin song are included, but a The Beatles cover adapted for the Swaggart event didn't make it to the record. It had the opening line of "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" changed to "picture yourself on a whore in a motel room".
The title of the album refers to the fact that the band didn't finish the tour schedule. It played in the east coast of the US and Europe but failed to complete the last part playing in the west coast of the US. The position of Scott Thunes, who Zappa had appointed as ringleader for the rehearsals when he wasn't there, wasn't acceptable no more for the other band members. Replacement with such a big repertoire wasn't possible.

The best band you never heard in your life
- Heavy duty Judy (1988), opening KS
- Cosmic debris See 18)
- Who needs the peace corps? See 3)
- Zomby woof (1988) See 17)/KS
- Zoot allures See 22)
- Mr. green genes See 8)
- Florentine pogen See 20)
- Andy See 20)
- Inca roads See 20)
- Sofa See 23)
- Let's move to Cleveland See 45)
- The torture never stops (1988), section KS
- Eric Dolphy memorial party See 10)


Disc I is responsible for the title. Three lengthy pieces are included with bizarre combinations of solos, synthesizer music and funny sounds, like the "droppee" lizard. "When yuppies go to hell" has an intro of its own, the other two are using "Big swifty" and "King Kong" to launch off. Two guitar solos are presented separately, others are included in for instance "Dupree's paradise". Much of the CD is instrumental, showing the 1988 band playing at its best. Included is for instance the most difficult version of "The black page", here executed with tempo changes. Excerpts from the modern classics heroes Stravinsky and Bartok are followed by one of Zappa's own successful modern efforts "Sinister footwear II".
The album circulates with two different covers. The original one has a nightclub with Zappa's name in neon lights, the other one has a drawing by Calvin Schenkel. The neon lights are advertising for the last chance for live music. Zappa knew that the 1988 tour would be his last, but he couldn't foretell that he would be conducting the Ensemble Modern once more live in 1993. Calvin did a whole series of drawings for album covers since 1970.

Make a jazz noise here
- Stinkfoot See 18) and 71)
- When yuppies go to hell, theme KS
- Fire and chains, section KS
- Let's make the water turn black See 3)
- Harry you're a beast See 3)
- The Orange County lumber truck See 10)
- Oh no See 10)
- Eat that question See 16)
- Big swifty See 15)
- King Kong See 7)
- Star wars won't work, section KS
- The black page (new age version) *)
- T'Mershi Duween See 52)
- Dupree's paradise See 39)
- City of tiny lights See 26) and 86)
- Sinister footwear II See 40)
- Stevie's spanking See 40)
- Alien orifice See 44)
- Cruisin' for burgers See 7)
- Advance romance See 21)
- Strictly genteel See 48)
*) Transcribed sections are included in this study, see 23) for the main melody.


In 1991 it became officially known that Zappa had incurable cancer. He now worked on releasing the remaining material in a feverish tempo. Six double CDs were issued in two years. On disc I some extra attention is given to band member solos, "The black page" appears in a reggae version. The original version of "The torture never stops" is Captain Beefheart reciting the lyrics over an endless riff. So the text was written earlier than the music from "Zoot allures". Two songs from the 1988 tour were also included with a brass version of "Filthy habits".
Disc II begins with one of the many attacks on the church, followed by a ten minutes version of "Stevie's spanking". Zappa often talked to the audience in such a way; another example from 1969 is included as well. The bootlegs also contain such episodes. This release is rounded off with six covers of vocal songs from the fifties.

You can't do that on stage anymore, vol. IV
- Little rubber girl, vamp KS
- Stick together See 36)
- My guitar wants to kill your mama See 10)
- Willie the pimp See 12)
- Montana See 17)
- Brown Moses See 41)
- The evil prince (aria) See 41)
- Approximate See 52)
- Love of my life See 34)
- You call that music?, section KS
- The black page (1984) *)
- Filthy habits, opening KS
- The torture never stops (original version), section KS
- Church chat, opening KS
- Stevie's spanking, opening bars See 81)
- Outside now, theme See 53)
- Disco boy See 22)
- Teen-age wind See 34)
- Truck driver divorce See 40)
- Tiny sick tears, section KS
- The booger man, section KS
- Florentine pogen See 20)
- Are you upset?, section KS
- Carolina hard-core ecstasy (1984), opening KS
*) Transcribed opening bars included in this study, see 23) for the main melody.


The first set of officially released unaltered bootlegs in order to corrupt the bootleg market. The supply was limited and they are not available anymore. See the Beat the boots section of the left menu for more.

Beat the boots, vol. I
- Call any vegetable solo opening from the "Freaks..." bootleg KS
- Farther O'blivian, tango, section from the "Piquantique" bootleg KS
- Conehead fragments from the "Saarbrücken" bootleg KS
- No matter ... lick (Trad./(Arr.) Zappa) from the "'Tis the season ..." bootleg KS


The second volume of officially released bootlegs for counterattacking the bootleggers. This set was released as a box and is not available anymore. See the Beat the boots section of the left menu for more.

Beat the boots, vol. II
- Brain police (1970) from the "Disconnected synapsis" bootleg KS
- Holiday in Berlin solo (1971) from the "Tengo na minchia tanta" bootleg KS


This volume consists of two unrelated CDs, each by themselves coherent with material recorded during one period. The first CD is mostly made up of unreleased curiosities and leftovers from the sixties. It opens with an early 1965 Mothers of Invention track, it includes dancing to a Mozart sonata, improvisations with Zappa on percussion, on tour conversations, etc. Nice to listen through once in a while, but not fit for frequent listening. As it comes to what the Mothers were doing in the late sixties in combination with other releases, it completes the picture.
The second CD is made up of recordings from the 1982 tour. During this tour Zappa was more than usual conducting his band, with his back towards the audience, and playing lengthy solos. Part of the audience rather saw him singing and talking and started throwing things on stage. It takes guts to put something as the "Geneva farewell" on CD, admitting that not all concerts ended happily. With hindsight the audience behaviour becomes pretty embarrassing. The band played through a range of complicated compositions close to perfection.

You can't do that on stage anymore, vol. V
- The downtown talent scout, opening KS
- Charles Ives, section KS
- Piano/drum duet *)
- Chocolate Halvah, section KS
- Run home slow See 64)
- The little march, opening KS
- Right there, riff See d)
- Trouble every day See 1)
- Return of the Hunch-back duke (Little house ...) See 9)
- Proto-minimalism, fragment KS
- Baked-bean boogie, fragment KS
- Where's our equipment?, fragment KS
- No waiting for the peanuts to dissolve, section KS
- Underground freak-out music, opening KS
- My guitar wants to kill your mama See 10)
- Easy meat See 30)
- Shall we take ourselves seriously, first half KS
- What's new in Baltimore? KS/WL278
- Moggio See 36)
- Dancin' fool, theme See 26)
- RDNZL See 24)
- Advance romance See 21)
- City of tiny lites, sections See 26)/86)
- Pound for a brown See 7)
- Doreen, opening KS
- The black page #2 See 23)
*) Included in the 200 Motels scores, see 13).


With two volumes released close after each other, Zappa rounded off the "You can't do that on stage anymore" cycle. This volume includes little of the virtuoso pieces, it's a comfortable though not exciting CD for Zappa standards. The accent lies on the songs with lyrics, often the ones that dealt with sex. It passes by in the unromantic down to earth way Zappa preferred for his texts, as in the "Poodle lecture", "Honey, don't you want a man like me" and commented upon in "Is that guy kidding or what?". Disc two allows some instrumentals with others than Zappa soloing, Shankar in "Thirteen" and Ralph Brecker in "Black napkins". Zappa's introduction to "Thirteen" is amusing, he's inviting the audience to clap to an odd 13/8 metre and starts counting through it for them. It sounds so natural this way, but nobody started clapping of course, us regular folks only do that to 4/4.

You can't do that on stage anymore, vol. VI
- Dirty love See 17)
- Magic fingers See 13)
- The Madison panty-sniffing festival, fragment KS
- Honey, don't you want a man like me?, opening (1988) KS
- Father O'blivion (Sydney, 1973), section KS
- I'm so cute See 26)
- Lonely person devices, fragment KS
- Miss Pinky (Artificial Rhonda) See 41)
- Shove it right in See 13)
- Wind up working in a gas station See 22)
- Make a sex noise, vamp KS
- Tracy is a snob, section KS
- I have been in you See 26)
- Emperor of Ohio, section KS
- Dinah-moe Humm See 17)
- He's so gay See 45)
- Camarillo brillo See 17)
- Muffin man See 21)
- The Illinois enema bandit, theme See 23)
- Thirteen, riff (Zappa/Shankar) KS
- Black napkins See 22)
- Alien orifice See 44)
- Catholic girls See 28)
- Take your clothes off when you dance See 64)
- Lonesome cowboy Nando See 13)
- Strictly genteel See 48)


During 1970-1971 Zappa walked around with a portable recorder to put the off stage life on tape, including things as a conversation on the airfield and the learning of "Penis dimension". They remained idle in the closet till in 1992 he used them for a documentary-like double CD. On it are also some stage events you wouldn't normally put on a CD, like a tuning up and the jam session with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. It stresses the documentary without film character of this release.
Musically this last but one live compilation adds the least to Zappa's oeuvre. Of the unreleased songs two little solos are nice, the others are curiosities. The "Introduction to music for a low budget orchestra" is worthwhile, played here in the original version as in the Songbook. The other pieces are much alike their first release and function better in their original environment.
About the tapes Zappa commented "I didn't realize the volume of releasable material from those tapings [...] I've got reels of tape in the vault that still have the original silver gaffer's tape from the night that they were stuck in the box at the end of a gig and haven't even been opened." (Zappa!, page 62). In a radio interview Mark Volman expressed that he felt touched by the intimacy of the CD.

Playground psychotics
- A typical soundcheck, section KS
- Divan, section KS
- Sleeping in a jar, section See 7)
- Brixton still life, section KS
- Sharleena, main themes See 11)
- Cruising for burgers, theme See 7)
- Scumbag, section (Lennon/Ono/Kaylan/Zappa) KS
- Aaawk, section (Lennon/Ono/Zappa) KS
- Status back baby, theme See 2)
- Concentration moon, sections See 3)
- Mom & dad See 3)
- Clarinet intro from music for low ... SB
- Billy the mountain, sections See 14)


The release of this CD had to be postponed because of litigational problems with some of the former Mothers of invention players claiming royalties. The CD inside cover refers to this. It's a 1968 London concert, a special event featuring members from the BBC Symphony Orchestra playing some of Zappa's modern chamber music, later included in "200 Motels". These were incorporated in a little play about the desirability of including modern music in the gigs, presented in songs 1 to 10 on the CD. The other ten songs are part of the regular concert program. On it returns the "Orange county lumber truck" guitar solo from "Weasels ripped my flesh", now in full length. The show was filmed as well for the "Uncle meat" movie. The recording was also done because of the idea of a possible live album. The "The ark" bootleg indicates that there more concerts recorded for this purpose, but nothing came of it at the time.

Ahead of their time
- Prologue, fragment 1)/KS
- Like it or not 1)
- Holiday in Berlin See 9)
- The rejected Mexican pope leaves the stage, section 2)
- Undaunted, the band plays on, fragment 2)
- Agency man, section KS
- Epilogue, first half KS
- King Kong 3)
- Help, I'm a rock, opening See 1)
- Transylvania boogie, themes KS
- Pound for a brown See 7)
- Sleeping in a jar, section See 7)
- Let's make the water turn black See 3)
- Harry you're a beast See 3)
- The Orange County lumber truck See 10)
- Oh no See 10)
1) "Like it or not" and others: some scores had been copied for members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who played some pieces that would become part of the later 200 motels scores (see 12)).
2) Combination of the original piano/celeste part and transcribed elements by KS.
3) See 7) for the main theme. This live version includes a 2nd theme, included in this study.


In 1992 the German Ensemble Modern contacted Zappa to render them compositions at their own initiative. They were eager to play and Zappa could take the lead in compiling a program for three concerts. It was some deserved good look during the cancer struggle. The program was made up from many sources, much varied and unintentionally becoming a huge suite. There were new versions of earlier modern compositions, parts from the string quartet and wind quintet, composed in the second half of the eighties and first performed for instance by the Kronos Quartet. There were synclavier pieces, now orchestrated, and there were some compositions specifically composed for the event.
The concerts were a success. The efforts from the early eighties with the LSO and the Ensemble Intercontemporain had given their results in establishing Zappa's name as a modern composer. All the uneasiness of the Boulez project was now gone. Probably more would have come of the project, had Zappa lived longer. Pieces by Varèse were recorded, several other pieces that aren't on "The yellow shark" were rehearsed, there were ad hoc experiments ... In 2000 the Ensemble Modern made a short tour with a second program, "Greggery Pecarry & Other Persuasions". Some more information on this program in the What's next and Ensemble Modern sections.

The yellow shark
- Dog breath variations (chamber orchestra arrangement) BS
- Uncle meat (chamber orchestra arrangement) BS
- Outrage at Valdez BS
- Times Beach BS
- III Revised (string quartet/quintet) BS
- The girl in the magnesium dress BS
- Be-bop tango BS
- Ruth is sleeping BS
- None of the above BS
- Pentagon afternoon BS
- Questi cazzi di piccioni 1)
- Food gathering in postindustrial America 1)
- Welcome to the United States 2)
- Pound for a brown 3)
- Exercise #4 1)
- Get whitey BS
- G-spot tornado BS
1) Score handed over to the Ensemble Modern.
2) Idem, sample page reproduced in the "Yellow shark" CD booklet.
Part of the intro is transcribed in my study.
3) Idem, see also 7) for its theme.


Zappa started working on this sequel to "Jazz from hell" from 1987 onwards. He kept working on it for years, partially due to all the increasing possibilities of the synclavier, partially because this project interacted with "The yellow shark". These possibilities were for instance extended irregular groupings, combining scores with keyboard entrances and the sampling of regular acoustic instruments as well as a bizarre collection of industrial and sewer sounds. In Zappa!, page 49, he's mentioning "And there are a number of ways you can enter the data into the synclavier. One is to play it on the keyboard [...] or you can type it in in music notation, which allows you to see staves on a screen. [...] Since I only have minimal keyboard technique, anything that I play in on the keyboard, I have to do it with the speed knob turned way down. Then I do a lot of editing to it after it's been entered in. But all those piano parts on "N-lite", - you know, those cadenzas and stuff? I played them".
Disc I is the more normally composed part. "N-lite" is a large example of using all the samples of funny sounds. On disc II improvisations and through composed sequences have a bigger role. According to the album liner notes a part of it is played by the Ensemble modern. Speaking for myself, I can't hear who's doing what, the synclavier samples of the acoustic instruments are too good.

Civilization phaze III
- Put a motor in yourself BS/1)
- They made me eat it, fragment BS
- Reagan at Bitburg 2)
- Navanax BS
- Xmas values, fragment KS
- Amnerika BS
- Buffalo voice, opening bars KS
- N-lite, section KS
- I was in a drum 2)
- A pig with wings 3)
- Hot & putrid, opening KS
- Gross man, fragment KS
- Why not?, fragment KS
- Beat the reaper, fragments KS
1) Three transcribed sections of "Put a motor in yourself" are included in this study, for the official scores not being available to the general public.
2) Performance scores have been constructed for the Ensemble Ascolta in 2007. Transcribed sections from "Reagan at Bitburg" and "I was in a drum" are included in this study.
3) The score of "A pig with wings" was used for the "Greggery Peccary and other persuasions" CD by the Ensemble Modern. Two transcribed sections are included in this study.


This was the last finished project Zappa worked on before his death. It contains a whole range of curiosities filling in the Zappa history, 30 tracks in total. "Lost in a whirlpool" is the oldest recorded piece of music, that has appeared on CD. It dates from 1958 with Zappa, his brother Bobby and Don van Vliet (the later Captain Beefheart) playing the blues. "The blackouts" from 1957 is a bit of surviving conversation.
Short but interesting are the three tracks from the early sixties movie "Run home slow", for which Zappa wrote the score. They are early examples of his interest in modern music and jazz. There's an excerpt from the Mount St. Mary concert from 1962, that also got broadcasted on radio (the original radio tape is lost, but a fan sent Zappa a copy). This event included the performance of "Opus 5", some other written material, improvisations, taped music and films being projected. Other pieces are for instance a "Sharleena" version from the "Hot rats" sessions with a violin solo by Sugarcane Harris, earlier 1972 versions of "Inca roads" and "RDNZL" and a 1978 synthesizer piece called "The basement music #1". The CD is accompanied by a 52 page booklet with detailed comments about the songs compiled by Rip Rense, based upon interview material with Zappa and band members.

The lost episodes
- The Blackouts, fragment KS
- Lost in a whirlpool, fragment KS
- Ronnie sings, fragment KS
- Take your clothes off while you dance KS
- Tiger roach, end KS
- Run home slow, theme and variation KS
- Fountain of love (Zappa/Collins), theme KS
- Run home cues #2, opening KS
- Any way the wind blows KS
- Run home cues #3, opening KS
- Charva, section KS
- The big squeeze, fragment KS
- Alley cat (Van Vliet/Zappa), fragment KS
- Kung fu, opening KS
- RDNZL See 24)
- Basement music #1, opening KS
- Inca roads See 20)
- Lil' Clanton shuffle, section KS
- I don't want to get drafted (Drafted again) See 34)
- Sharleena See 11)

65) LÄTHER, 1996

This three CD set shows Zappa's intentions for the last four Warner Bros. records in the shape of a four album box. It was meant as a huge integration project, featuring pop, jazz and different forms of orchestral music. Part of it live, part of it studio recordings from different years. The corresponding Warner Bros. albums are "Zappa in New York", "Studio tan", "Sleep dirt" and "Orchestral favorites". These issues don't completely overlap. "Läther" has some additional unreleased tracks and the Warner Bros. records contain more of the original tapes.
The "Läther" edition doesn't include the 200 Motels pieces "Bogus pomp" and "Strictly genteel", that are on "Orchestral favorites". The additional tracks comprehend two new guitar solos ("Down in the dew" and "Leather goods") and a handful of songs in an early state that would appear in other versions on records released between 1979 and 1981 ("A little green rosetta", "For the young sophisticate", "Trying to grow a chin", "Broken hearts are for assholes"). Included as well is an older experimental track, "Revenge of the knick knack people", and a collage called "Duck duck goose".

- Green rosetta/Ship ahoy, section KS
- Duck duck goose, section KS
- Down in de dew, theme KS
- Broken hearts are for assholes, section KS
- For the young sophisticate, opening bars KS
- Tryin' to grow a chin, sections KS/WL226
- Leather goods, fragment KS
- Revenge of the knick knack people, fragment KS


This is the first of a series of CDs released by the Zappa Family Trust (ZFT), that are made up of material from the tape vault, but aren’t (finished) projects by Zappa himself. A large number of the included tracks are live or studio variants of the CDs mentioned above; the references to these earlier CDs for scores are left out. In 1993 Zappa stipulated that the three solos that he considered his signature solos should only be played by his son Dweezil. They were "Black napkins", "Zoot allures" and "Watermelon in Easter hay". Dweezil compiled this CD that has an early and the final version of each of these solos plus a blues improvisation from 1974. The earlier versions are "Black napkins" from 1975 (Ljubljana, Yugoslavia) , "Zoot allures" from 1976 (Tokyo, Japan) and "Watermelon in Easter hay" from 1978 (Eppelheim, Germany). The "Zoot allures" version includes "Ship ahoy", just like the version on FZ:OZ, recorded a month before in Australia. Together with the blues solo in A you get some 38 minutes of unreleased soloing next to the three known versions.

FZ plays the music of FZ
- Black napkins (1975), section KS


This is the second compilation CD that Zappa himself selected the songs for during his life. More by Rykodisc would follow. "Have I offended someone?" has half of the songs remixed or changed with different edits. It also includes unreleased live versions of "Tinsel town rebellion" and "Dumb all over". The first goes much like the one on "Does humor belong in music" from the same tour, but the "Dumb all over" version has its own characteristics.


This album stems from Zappa's idea to release the older albums as boxes when he had bought the mastertapes from MGM and Warner Bros., after years of proceedings. Three boxes have been available via mail order in the eighties, two of them containing a bonus mystery disc. These "The old masters" multirecord boxes soon got competition from the CD versions and a contract for vinyl releases of individual albums.
In 1998 the material from the two mystery discs was released on CD. It's sort of a collectors' item, complementary to "The lost episodes", that was presented as vol. I by Zappa himself. It opens with the "Run home slow theme" in a different edit followed by the "Duke of prunes" theme, also part of the "Run home slow" movie scores. The majority is early sixties material, featuring for instance Captain Beefheart at Studio Z. It remains vague what would be vol. II of "The lost episodes", this CD or maybe he simply didn't have the chance to initiate vol. II. The Zappa Family Trust is feeding rumours about an upcoming vol. II however.

The mystery disc
- Run home slow, theme See 64)
- Original duke of prunes, opening KS
- I was a teen-age maltshop, opening KS
- Metal man has won his wings, section KS
- Power trio, opening KS
- Original Mothers at the Broadside, opening KS
- Bossa Nova pervertamento, section KS
- Speed-freak boogie, sections KS
- Mondo Hollywood, opening KS
- Original Mothers at the Fillmore East, opening KS
- How could I be such a fool See 1)
- Harry, you're a beast See 3)
- Piece one *)
- Jim/Roy, Holiday in Berlin part See 9)
- Piece two *)
- Agency man See 61)
- Chucha, theme KS
*) Some scores had been copied for members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who played some pieces that would become part of the later 200 Motels scores (see 12 and 61)).


A CD with rehearsal tracks and try outs with the Ensemble Modern from 1991. The recordings weren't meant for release, but various tracks are of interest nevertheless. Four examples are included in this study. Apart from rehearsing printed scores the ensemble would do various experiments. Sometimes Zappa would make up a composition on the spot by presenting a melody and then instruct everybody what to do with it. Various people get the chance to play a solo. Some texts are recited, that Zappa found amusing, like a letter in a magazine about the piercing of genitals.

Everything is healing nicely
- This is a test 1)
- Roland's big event/Strat Vindaloo, section KS
- T'Mershi Duween (1991) 2)
- 9/8 Objects 1)
1) Score has been handed over to the Ensemble Modern during rehearsals. Transcribed sections are included in this study.
2) See 52) and transcribed bars from the 1991 version in this study.

70) ZFT: FZ:OZ, 2002

At the beginning of 1976 Zappa was touring with a five member band, the smallest number he would tour with. Relatively little had been released before with this band, being two songs on YCDTOSA and "Black napkins" on "Zoot allures". The band played in Australia for the second time and visited Japan just this one tour. "Black napkins" and the "Zoot allures" version from 69) are from Japan concerts. This CD is an entire two hours show from Sydney, Australia, and a welcome one. Because of the smaller band the sound changes and Zappa is doing a lot more of guitar playing than usual.

- How could I be such a fool (1976), fragment KS
- Kaiser rolls, theme KS
- Keep it greasy (1976), section KS

71) ZFT: HALLOWEEN, 2003

In 1978 Zappa was without a record contract and couldn't release any material himself. This ZFT audio DVD fills in this year with a selection from the four concerts around Halloween, held at the New York Palladium. It's the third year in a row with a Halloween concert well documented, "Zappa in New York" and "Baby snakes" are its predecessors. This DVD contains for instance the solo "Ancient armaments", that was used as the B-side for the "I don't wanna get drafted" single, and a 17 minutes medley of "Black napkins" and "The deathless horsie". All composed music is known and not much different from previous releases, so it's mostly the solos that make this DVD worthwhile.

- Ancient armaments, opening KS
- Stinkfoot (1978), opening bars KS


This is the third CD with the Ensemble Modern playing Zappa's music. Most pieces are known compositions, arranged by Ali Askin and Todd Yvega for the Ensemble. "What will Rumi do?" is a nice unreleased piece from the 1991 sessions. The CD contains nine instrumentals followed by "Greggery Peccary". Two synclavier pieces from "Jazz from hell" are included, that are fit for "normal" human performance. The Ensemble however also had the audacity to bite into synclavier pieces, that Zappa never intended for human playing. So "Put a motor in yourself" and "A pig with wings" are on their repertoire as well.

Greggery Peccary & other persuasions
- What will Rumi do? BS
A transcription of the closing bars is included in this study.


Various pieces from the seventies in surround audio on audio DVD (4 channel recordings by FZ). It's half known tracks mixed in surround sound, half unreleased music. The latter makes the DVD of interest also when you don't have four channel equipment. The oldest is a "Chunga's revenge" jam from 1970. The "basement music #2" is included, complementary to "#1" on "The lost episodes". Zappa used a section of it as background music in the "Baby snakes" film. The sound of these two synthesizer pieces is an oddity in Zappa's oeuvre. Quite interesting to hear Zappa taking such a side step.

- Rollo (1975), sections KS
- Chunga basement, opening KS
- Basement music #2, frame of the opening KS

73) ZFT: JOE'S CORSAGE, 2004

With the Joe-series the ZFT began a number of archive releases, that fill in the Zappa history rather than that they offer new musical angles. Their appearance as normal music CDs is somewhat misleading and has caused irritations among fans. But one can always look up what's on them and if you don't like it, then don't buy it. In this case "Joe's corsage" fills in the year 1965. Recordings with the Mothers prior to the "Freak out!" sessions are rare. 1965 was described by Zappa himself as a year of poverty. The band played his music on stage, but had to keep doing covers as well in order to survive. This 35 minutes CD contains seven demo songs from 1965, that were used for obtaining a record contract. They are played straight ahead without overdubs, and otherwise don't differ much from their first releases on "Freak out" and later albums. A few live recordings have remained (three cover songs are included), but they are of a very poor sound quality.

Joe's Corsage
- Motherly love (1965), opening KS

74) ZFT: JOE'S DOMAGE, 2004

A rehearsal session from 1972, taken over from an ordinary cassette tape. The sound is dim, but listenable. The band is here rehearsing the material that would land on "Waka/Jawaka" and "The grand wazoo" with Zappa instructing things with his guitar on his lap. At the time he wasn't specifically thinking about two individual albums and the songs would get extended along the way. "Big swifty" for instance wasn't big at all from the start, but a second theme for "New brown clouds". The solos and the outchorus would all be added later on. There is one unreleased theme on this CD, played as a demo on guitar, and "The grand wazoo" theme with lyrics is a novelty ("Think it over").

Joe's Domage
- Frog song (One shot deal), fragment KS
- Think it over, sections KS
- Another whole melodic section, section KS

75) ZFT: JOE'S XMASAGE, 2005

After the raid into Studio Z, 1965, much of Zappa's tapes got confiscated. If he would have had the chance to release the takes he got busted for, he undoubtedly would have done that. The better parts from the Pal records-Studio Z period have appeared on "Cucamonga years", "The lost episodes" and "The mystery disc". The ZFT is here releasing some more from these tapes, depicting life at Studio Z. The music included in this CD is little: two studio jams, one of the singles and two short collages of the Mount St. Mary type. The remainder is mostly conversations.

Joe's XMasage
- Why dont'cha do me right (Cucamonga), section KS
- GTR Trio, opening KS


Concert recordings by the 1972 "Petit Wazoo" band, that for some reason never got released during Zappa's lifetime. They are much enjoyable anyway. In 1972 all on this CD was unreleased music. Various material got released in different forms later on, but the jazz band versions here sound different. There is much soloing on this CD, specifically Zappa himself on guitar. He worked on the material himself in the mid-seventies. A second one with material from the preceding "Grand wazoo" band got released in 2007.

Imaginary diseases
- Rollo (1972), sections KS
- Been to Kansas City in A minor, opening KS
- Farther O'blivion, Cucamonga and Greggery sections KS
- D.C. boogie, section KS
- Imaginary diseases, sections KS

77-78) ZFT: MOFO, 2006

An audio documentary about the making of "Freak out!", available as a two and a four CD set (not entirely overlapping). It's made up of alternative mixes and outtakes from the "Freak out!" sessions. This one includes the 1966 original album mix as CD 1 as opposed to the 1987 remix Zappa did for the CD release. The difference is notable, but not dramatic. It's mostly the degree the rhythm guitar is present. It has an old fashioned echo for today's standards, though it makes the sound sharper. More something for original Mothers worshippers. The outtakes on CD 2 are some leftover material and tracks split into basic tracks and overdub tracks. In the case of "I ain't got no heart" and "You didn't try to call me", these two stand as instrumentals as well. The four CD version is only available at and offers more of the same plus interview excerpts. For have it all collectors the extras are: one unreleased song, some 1966 concert recordings (which are rare) and one edit from the Mothermania compilation (at that point unavailable in CD format).


A third guitar solo CD, finished by Zappa himself in 1993 at the time he knew the end was near. Nine of the sixteen solos are from the last 1988 tour, the other seven were recorded between 1977 and 1984. The existence of this collection was known among fans from the beginning. Why its release got postponed for so long is unclear. Zappa still had his selective powers full at work. The CD offers another quality selection of his guitar playing on stage. Dweezil contributes again as he had done before on "Them or us".

- Chunga's revenge, theme See 11)
- Bowling at Charen, sections KS
- Good Lobna, opening KS
- A cold dark matter, fragment KS
- Butter or cannons, section KS
- Ask dr. Stupid, opening KS
- Scratch and sniff, vamp KS
- Trance-fusion, opening KS
- Gorgo, opening bars KS
- Diplodocus, intro KS
- Soul polka, section KS
- For Giuseppe Franco, section KS
- After dinner smoker, section KS
- Light is all that matters, opening KS
- Finding Higgs' Boson, section KS
- Bavarian sunrise, fragment KS

i) ZFT: AAAFNRAA, 2006

A collection of 11 songs by Zappa and his four children, downloadable via iTunes. Of the five tracks by Frank Zappa himself, four are live versions from various dates, one is a remix.

80) ZFT: BUFFALO, 2007

Double CD featuring the 1980 Buffalo concert. In 1980 Zappa was in doubt about how the release the material in stock and considered a triple album ("Warts and all") as well as a single album ("Crush all boxes"). It became albums 30) through 34) and with this release added you can sort of say that a multirecord quantity is available. The Buffalo concert is excellent in presenting the various live variants the band played in 1980, as for instance the "Honey, don't you want a man like me?" version presented in this study. The only disadvantage is the sound quality, that for some reason is behind Zappa's own production standard as on 30).

- Honey, don't you want a man like me?, opening (1980) KS
- Pick me, I'm clean, section KS
- The torture never stops (1980), sections KS


Zappa compiled The dub room special as a video in 1982 from two TV specials. One was the 1974 KCET studios concert, that eventually went unbroadcasted. The other was the MTV "You are what you is" special featuring the 1981 Halloween concert in New York. He considered for a moment a soundtrack album as he had done for "Baby snakes" in 1983. The dub room special saw the light in 1987 on the video market, re-released in 2006 on DVD by the ZFT. A CD was announced, and now available. Since it's all officially released material from 1987 in another format, it can be seen as a CD by Zappa himself. On it are good alternative versions of 11 known songs, not entirely overlapping with the DVD, that presents more from the MTV concert.

The dub room special
- Stevie's spanking, opening bars KS
- Dog breath variations (1974) See 62)/KS

82) ZFT: WAZOO, 2007

In September 1972 Zappa went on the road with a 20-piece jazz band for eight concerts. The double CD "Wazoo" presents the last concert held in Boston. A circular with Zappa presenting and describing the setlist is included. On the CDs are seven of the 10 pieces of the tour. The differences with earlier releases lie in the big band arrangements, changing the sound and harmonies for the written out sections and allowing all members to play solos in turns.
The circular has an image of the title page of the scores-set all players obtained. At his house the closets must be full of such mostly handwritten scores, that only rarely got published in that form. In the case of the Wazoo program, several scores are now available for orchestras, of the others sections can be found in Ludwig's and my study (see the albums of first release).

- Greggery Peccary mvt. I, interlude, fragment KS
- Greggery Peccary mvt. III, guitar solo, section KS
- Greggery Peccary mvt. IV/The new brown clouds, opening KS
- Variant I processional march, opening KS

83) ZFT: ONE SHOT DEAL, 2008

A smaller 50 minutes cross section from the live archive, over 10 minutes already known in DVD format. The accent lies on soloing and an early Yellow snow suite. The better new tracks are the original full length live guitar solo, that was superimposed on a new background on Joe's garage, and a variant upon "Yo' mama" called "Heidelberg". The latter was first released by Zappa himself on a promotional cassette called "The guitar world according to Frank Zappa", of which all titles are now available on CD. Regarding its dramatic expression this "Heidelberg" solo is a true competitor for "Yo' mama".

One shot deal
- Occam's razor, section KS
- Heidelberg, section KS

84) ZFT: JOE'S MENAGE, 2008

The fourth release in a series of oddities. This one is a cassette tape recording of a 1975 concert, when Norma Jean Bell played sax with the Mothers for a while. The sound quality is less, though acceptable. Otherwise it's a fair concert recording, including the first versions of "Honey, don't you want a man like me" and "The Illinois enema bandit". Norma sings a little and plays a sax solo during "Chunga's revenge" with Zappa on rhythm guitar and taking up this kind of playing into his own solo.

Joe's menage
- Chunga's revenge, rhythm guitar solo, section KS


The same idea as for i).


Around 2008 Gail Zappa talked about her idea of releasing a third volume of the Beat the boot series. From January 2009 onwards six new volumes can be downloaded as mp3 files at and i-tunes. Though the ZFT spent not a single word on promoting its release, it is generally assumed that this is a collaboration between the ZFT and these internet distributors. Seen the status of these companies and the fact that they are reusing the same logo, it has to be. Regarding its content this set is of importance. It gives the earlier bootleg releases of the "I was a teenage maltshop" demo, "Twinkle tits" and the orchestral version of "Sinister footwear" a legal status. Though far from ideal, it's better than nothing.

Beat the boots, vol. III
- Twinkle tits, section KS
- Sinister footwear I-III, orchestra score BS

85) LUMPY MONEY, 2009

An archive release with two different versions/mixes of both "Lumpy gravy" and "We're only in it for the money". Included is the earlier Capitol version of "Lumpy gravy" and some unused tracks from the corresponding sessions. Among them a 25 minutes collage of some written out material and various jazz improvisations. The 1984 version of "We're only in it for the money" gets a rebirth. Though most fans hate this one, it is official FZ material. Since Zappa himself intended the Capitol version to be released, about two thirds of this triple CD can be seen as original material, the other third contains bonus tracks from the vault.

Lumpy money
- Foamy soaky, section KS
- How did that get in here?, section KS
- Unit 3a, sections KS
- Unit 9, opening bars KS
- Theme from Lumpy gravy/Duodenum, sections KS

86) ZFT: PHILLY '76, 2009

A complete concert from the fall tour of 1976, preceding the "Zappa in New York" gigs with an augmented band. In this specific line-up the band was mainly known via the "Conceptual continuity" bootleg. Distinctive for this release is the presence of Bianca Odin as a vocalist. The ZFT invited her to write the liner notes. She would stay in the band for some weeks. Her rendition of "You didn't try to call me" stresses that Zappa could write sentimental love songs if he wanted to.

Philly '76
- City of tiny lights, opening KS
- You didn't try to call me (1976), section KS
- Manx needs women (Philly '76), opening bars KS
- Rudy wants to buy yez a drink, section KS


This is the original vinyl version of 5), re-released by the ZFT. 5) today has a newly recorded bass and drum part. When you're looking for "cretinous simplicity", as Zappa described it, the original version comes out more outspoken in line with its intentions. Especially the drum part from 1968 with its simple beat, ticking with a little echo, had a mechanical repetitiveness, achieved by a tape loop. A few extras are included, like a Cucamonga recording of "Love of my life" and a longer version of "Stuff up the cracks".

Greasy love songs
- "No, no, no", opening (1968 version) KS
- Stuff up the cracks, section (1968 version) KS


Zappa's testimony before the Senate's committee from 1985 plus various interview excerpts. This is not a music CD, only some snippets of synclavier music are included (two or three minutes in total). Zappa himself used outtakes from the hearing for 44), with the accent lying on the senators speaking as Paula Hawkins and Ernest Hollings. Many interviews followed.


A three CD set taken from the concerts Zappa gave at the Hammersmith Odeon, February and March 1978. It gives you a chance to listen to many "Sheik Yerbouti" tracks without the overdubs. It's less edited but much worth to be released. The versions can be different and the idea of being present at a live concert comes out better. The packaging is cute, referring to what would have been Zappa's 70th birthday. With "Zappa in New York" still unreleased, the bulk of the repertoire was still new for the audience. Maybe for that reason Zappa kept relying upon the "Dinah-Moe Humm - Camarillo brillo - Muffin man" finale for so long.

Hammersmith Odeon
- I have been in you, opening bars KS
- Flakes (1978), fragment KS
- Dong work for Yuda, end KS
- King Kong (1978), section KS
- Watermelon in Easter hay (prequel), section KS


The same idea as for i).


A Penguin in bondage execution from 1974 plus interviews. Downloadable via i-tunes.


A mastertape from 1986 with the title in Zappa's handwriting on it. It contains three larger synclavier works of the collage type. The title track is entirely new. The other two tracks would eventually be first released on "Civilization phaze III" in much shorter edits. As an extra to this mastertape, two more synclavier works from this period are included. It looks like Zappa was at one point on the verge of releasing this music himself, but eventually decided to continue working upon it, giving it the status of work in progress.

Feeding the monkeys at ma maison
- Samba funk BS/*)
*) Transcribed/arranged by Andrew Digby for the Ensemble Ascolta. A transcription of the opening bars is included in this study.


This CD does exactly what it says it will do: give you the opportunity to ear-witness most of the two concerts Zappa gave at Carnegie Hall in 1971. A 1971/2011 ticket is included for fun. Recording conditions weren't ideal in this period (this one is in mono), something you have to accept for lack of alternatives. The 1971 tour is now heavily documented since Zappa's own three live releases from this year were already available, a couple of tracks on YCDTOSA and the "Fire!/Montreux" bootleg from the "Beat the boots" series. Still this massive release offers enough to make its addition worthwhile.

Carnegie Hall
- Brain police (1971), theme KS


The same idea as for i).

92) ZFT: ROAD TAPES, VENUE #1, 2012

A live double CD with a 1968 concert, Vancouver, Canada, on it. This CD gets announced as venue #1 of an upcoming series of concerts where recording conditions were poor, semi-bootleg as Zappa himself wrote himself in the YCDTOSA booklets, and mostly excluded from his own releases. Because there are relatively few official live recordings from 1968, this one is welcome, giving you an idea of what an entire concert by the Mothers would be like at that time.

Road tapes, venue #1
- Oh, in the sky, themes KS


In 2012 the ZFT bought the rights back from Rykodisc, re-releasing Zappa's entire catalogue anew. Along with it the Rykodisc compilation CDs, like "Strictly commercial", are no longer available and the ZFT now includes this double CD compilation in their catalogue.


A selection of solos from songs the Mothers of Invention used to play live in 1969 and 1971, combined with some experimental studio improvisations. The amount of unreleased material and the quality of some of its tracks make this one of the better archive releases as it comes to offering new angles upon Zappa's music. Some overlaps exist in the sense that "Uncle rhebus" is also known via the Beat the boots series, but now you can hear it with a better sound quality.

Finer moments
- You never know who your friends are, section KS
- Uncle rhebus, sections KS
- The subcutaneous peril, sections KS


See the DVD section. The soundtrack has been made downloadable via iTunes. Release #37 by Zappa himself already contains a number of titles in CD format. This is thus the whole soundtrack as music only and because of that it has been given a number in the official catalogue.

96) ZFT: ROAD TAPES, VENUE #2, 2014

The second release from a series of "guerilla recordings". The sound quality is indeed less, but acceptable. This one is from the Helsinki concerts from 1973, with Ian Underwood and Jean-Luc Ponty still in the "Roxy" band. We already knew this band from the "Piquantique" bootleg. Here the track list is much bigger, made up from the three gigs the band played at the Finlandia hall during this leg of the 1973 tour. As usual there are a few unreleased songs, version differences and many differences in the way the improvised sections get dealt with.

Road tapes, venue #2
- Exercise #4 (1973), opening KS
- Pojama prelude, section KS
- All skate, sections KS
- Village of the sun (1973), opening KS


This is the KCET TV special in full, first on released on DVD and next on CD as the soundtrack of the DVD. Half of it was used for the earlier Dub room special DVD/CD. Zappa got it broadcast in two European countries, thus this is official material by Zappa himself.

A token of his extreme
- Pygmy twylyte, solo opening KS


The fifth archive release from the Joe's series. This is a rehearsals recording from 1975 with a 7-member band, that eventually never actually performed. It's interesting material, though only a demo. Especially the two unreleased musical tracks are fine. The version differences between some other tracks in their very first stage and their actual releases on album are notable. Sometimes the sound quality is acceptable (though never good), sometimes more like coming from a cassette recorder running in a corner.

Joe's camouflage
- Phyniox (take 1), sections KS
- Reeny ra, sections KS
- Any downers, outro KS
- Phyniox (take 2), fragment KS

99) ZFT: ROXY BY PROXY, 2014.

A CD with material from the three Roxy concerts from 1973, not released on Roxy and elsewhere. In the liner notes Ruth Underwood expresses what goes for most posthumous releases. They are not as good as original Zappa CDs, but they can be nice material to listen to nevertheless. Some titles Zappa skipped for the Roxy album are present on this one. Fans had been pressing the ZFT for years to release more from the Roxy concerts and there would be more to come. See 102) and eventually the big one, release 111).

Roxy by proxy
- Penguin in bondage, section KS
- Inca roads (1973), sections KS

100) DANCE ME THIS, 2015.

One of the last projects Zappa completed before his death. It looked for long that its release got postponed indefinitely, but when the number 100 got near in the official CD catalogue, the ZFT thought this might be a reason to bring it to the market in 2015. The album knows contributions by Tuvan throat singers and one cooperation with Todd Yvega. Next to synclavier music via note or keyboard entries, this CD contains a large collage piece, called Wolf Harbor, 28 minutes in total. Listening to it is made easier by splitting it up into five movements, so you can select the number of movements you would like to hear at once. As in the case of "Trance-fusion", the delay in releasing it has nothing to do with a lesser importance. It's a masterpiece, once again coming up with new angles, as people who lived when Zappa was productive were used to.

Dance me this
- Dance me this, sections KS
- Pachuco gavotte, section KS
- Wolf Harbor, fragments KS
- Goat polo, fragment KS
- Rykoniki, end KS
- Piano, sections KS
- Calculus, opening KS

101) 200 MOTELS - THE SUITES, 2015.

This is the version of 200 Motels Zappa had in mind for the 1971 Albert Hall concert. It's the orchestral and choral material from the 1971 album with half an hour extra music that didn't make it to the album. It got premiered in 2000 during the Holland Festival. This is a live recording with the L.A. Philharmonic and the L.A. Master Chorale from 2013. The new music and the much better sound quality make this release a major contribution to the Zappa catalogue. The scores are listed above at the 1971 album, also the ones that you can only hear on The suites.

102) ZFT: ROXY, THE MOVIE, 2015.

The DVD release of Roxy, the movie, got accompanied by a soundtrack in CD format as well. See the DVDs section.

103) ZFT: ROAD TAPES, VENUE #3, 2016.

Two totally different separate CDs at first carried the mark "release number 102", while Roxy, the movie, had no CD numbering at all. This situation has been resolved on the ZFT site with a re-numbering of these CDs, that I'm following here. Road tapes, venue #3, covers the 1970 tour, filling in a conspicuous gap. At some points the tapes contained defects, as explained in the CD leaflet. This band had a specific sound of its own. The improvisations show how the "Nancy and Mary music" from 11) got constructed.

Road tapes, venue #3
- King Kong/Igor's boogie *)
*) See 9) and 61) for the main themes, a fragment from the guitar solo is included in this study.


A series of alternative recordings for "Apostrophe (')". There are no major differences. It simply gives you the opportunity to listen to the songs from this album and some other CDs once again with some passages going a bit differently. See CD 18) for the scores.

The crux of the biscuit
- Cosmic debris, bars 1-6 KS
- Don't eat the yellow snow (live), opening KS


An important release as it comes to new titles. The "Overture to Uncle Sam" sounds as a finished synclavier work for a CD, that couldn't be completed anymore. It can be very well played by itself, without knowing what "Uncle Sam" would be like, if ever Zappa got as far as composing this piece. "Medieval ensemble" is pretty interesting as it comes to the use of counterpoint. There are also things on it as another remix of "Brown shoes don't make it", that don't contribute much anymore when you already have the original.

Frank Zappa for president
- Overture to Uncle Sam *)
- Amnerika, opening bars KS
*) Andrew Digby from the Ensemble Ascolta is working on a performing score. Two transcribed fragments are included in this study.

106) ZFT: ZAPPATITE, 2016.

Following upon 93), a single CD compilation issue.

107) ZFT: MEAT LIGHT, 2016.

The 1969 vinyl mix of Uncle Meat, plus a series of different edits. Also included are the Uncle Meat tracks in a different following order, that Zappa had had in mind. King Kong is shorter in this version, while two other live solos would have been included, that eventually got skipped. Like 104) there are no major differences.

Meat light
- Blood unit, opening KS

108) ZFT: CHICAGO '78, 2016.

A full concert from the fall tour of 1978, with Ike Willis in the band for the first time. "Paroxysmal splendor" is to a point an unreleased title. You can hear "Yo' mama" without the overdubs, maybe less overwhelming, but those E Mixolydian pedal solos he played during this song never fail to impress. "Twenty-one" is played as an independent solo, another unreleased track, serving as the concert opener.

Chicago '78
- Twenty-one, opening KS
- Paroxysmal splendor, sections KS
- Yo' mama solo, sections KS

109) ZFT: LITTLE DOTS, 2016.

A sequel to 76), again with interesting material from the 1972 tour. Much is improvised music, at one point a song is even created on the spot. The title track is peculiar atonal music, turning up in two versions. "Cosmic debris" gets performed too, one of the few connections between the years 1972 (jazz) and 1973 (pop music). Zappa could change directions with an amazing ease.

Little dots
- Little dots #1, fragment KS/*)
- Little dots #2, fragment KS
*) A sample page from the original score is included in the CD booklet.

110) ZFT: HALLOWEEN 77, 2017.

A massive release with all of the six concerts held at the Palladium, New York, 1977. The complete concerts were released on a stick. The three-CDs version contains all titles from the concerts once. Many titles have been released earlier via 37) and 95), or the "Baby snakes" DVD, but this one is far more complete as it comes to covering these shows. And it's good to be able to hear the "Conehead instrumental" premiered as intended for these concerts.

Halloween 77.
- Conehead instrumental KS
- Wild love (1977), solo outtake KS
- Läther, coda KS


All of the four concerts held at the Roxy, 1973, plus a try-out concert and some studio sessions. Zappa liked to go on the road with enough titles to play two completely different shows, as he is doing here. Also from day to day new agreements could be made about what to do. So even with seven CDs, you don't get the idea that it's getting redundant. It turns out that "Dummy up" is a heavily edited version of what the band did during the try-out night. Because of three earlier releases one couldn't expect unreleased songs still turning up. "That arrogant Dick Nixon" is new as it comes to the lyrics.

The Roxy performances.
- Penguin in bondage (12-10-1973, show), 6 bars from the solo KS


A five CD set of the five December 1976 concerts at the Palladium. Disc 1 is the original album, discs 2-5 are additional live recordings plus two studio recordings of The black page on piano. With his own re-release of 23) Zappa had already extended the album to a double CD. This one offers still seven more titles from these concerts not yet available, next to several alternative recordings.

Zappa in New York Deluxe
- The purple lagoon, Be-bop tango part KS
- America drinks (1976), section BS/KS
- The black page #1, piano version, bars 20-25 BS/KS


In 1975 Zappa performed and recorded at the Royce Hall for three days with a smaller orchestra. See 25) for the original official recordings. This CD also contains the full second concert of the two concerts that were held. The rehearsal time was too limited to get at live performances accurate enough to use for the album, but the atmosphere was good and the audience was much receptive to the difficult music they got to hear. It sets this project in a different light.

Orchestral favorites 40th anniversary
- Black napkins instructions, section KS
- Evening at the Hermitage, end KS

114) ZFT: HALLOWEEN 73, 2019.

One of the earlier shows with the band as how they played on "Roxy and elsewhere", combined with rehearsal recordings. It's sold in the shape of a box including a green Halloween mask. That year the Halloween concert took place in Chicago.

Halloween 73
- Pygmy twylyte (1973), sections KS


A 6-CD audio documentary, for the larger part about recording the basic tracks for "Hot rats", with some titles appearing on later albums.

The Hot rats sessions
- Peaches jam, section KS
- Bognor Regis, opening KS
- Little umbrellas (Cucamonga), end KS
- Another waltz, guitar solo sections KS

116) ZFT: THE MOTHERS 1970, 2020.

Following upon 103), a 4-CD box covering the year 1970. Up till these two issues, relatively little from the 1970 got released. With this box the year 1970 has become well documented too. Apart from filling in a gap, this box offers a good overview of the 1970 tours, as well as premiering a few fine titles that, for some reason, Zappa didn't release himself.

The Mothers 1970
- Red tubular lighter, sections KS
- Giraffe-take 4, sections KS

117) ZFT: HALLOWEEN 81, 2020.

Because of all the work to be done for Joe's garage, the 1979 fall tour got skipped. In 1980 Zappa was back at the Palladium for doing his Halloween concerts, but decided that the tapes could be re-used. So there's only some bootleg coverage of these concerts, like one calling itself Boot the beats, next to a few cassette tape recordings (according to the Halloween 81 booklet). This specific ZFT release is a 6-CD set covering the 1981 Halloween concerts, parts of which were also used earlier by Zappa himself and the ZFT for their The torture never stops DVD.

Halloween 81
- Suicide chump, guitar solo KS
- Dave & Al, end KS


This is the soundtrack of the Zappa documentary by Alex Winter, spread out over three CDs. For this documentary Alex had the full cooperation of the ZFT, including access to the Vault. So some unique material is present, like home movies Zappa made as a teenager and pages of sheet music, used for the Mount St. Mary concert. It's an excellent documentary. Due to Covid measures in various countries it could not be shown in cinemas as much as under normal conditions, but on-line streaming facilities compensated for this.

Zappa - Original motion picture soundtrack
- Mo's vacation, bars 1-6 KS

119) ZFT: ZAPPA '88: THE LAST U.S. SHOW, 2021.

The last show the band gave in the U.S. before friction in the band caused the fall tour to be annuled. This double CD includes the covers of Beatles songs, not released before, as well as a few other titles not included in Zappa's own releases.

Zappa '88: the last U.S. show
- Packard goose pts. I & II, sections KS

120) ZFT: 200 MOTELS 50TH ANNIVERSARY, 2021.

An edition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 200 Motels in the shape of a book with the hard covers containing six CDs. The book includes several examples of the original handwritten scores, descriptions of sets and overviews with a scene numbering. The CDs contain material from the vault related to the recording of 200 Motels, among others studio recordings from 1970 with the band playing what would become known as the groupie opera. A few smaller takes with orchestral music that didn't make it to the album or movie are included as well.

200 Motels 50th anniversary
- What will this morning bring me this evening, section KS

121) ZFT: THE MOTHERS 1971, 2022.

In 1971, June 5th and 6th, the Mothers played four concerts at the Fillmore East, from which the Fillmore East album was extracted. This release contains these concerts in full as well as material from two other gigs from June. Included as well is the entire Rainbow Theatre concert. A novelty is Joe Travers having been able to find a secondary tape with the last encore song on it, the notorious event when Zappa got thrown off the stage into the orchestra pit.

The Mothers 1971
- Willie the pimp solo, sections KS
- Billy the mountain solo, section KS
- Junier Mintz boogie, section KS

122) ZFT: ZAPPA/ERIE, 2022.

A six-CD set in the shape of a book with concerts held at the nearby towns Erie and Edinboro, 1974 and 1976. The Edinboro concert contributed much of the elsewhere part to Roxy and Elsewhere.

- Inca roads (Edinboro), section KS
- Dinah-Moe Humm (Erie), section KS
- Dupree's paradise, guitar solos, fragments KS


In 1975 Zappa had the opportunity to play in Yugoslavia when it still was one country with a communist government. The ZFT has combined tracks from the Zagreb and Llubljana concert to the size of one concert on a double CD. These are concerts including Norma Bell on sax, who only briefly was part of the band. So far only "Joe's menage" featured her. The solos on this CD are of interest, as well as an instrumental version of "Wind up working in a gas station", called prototype on the backside of the CD.

Zappa '75 Zagreb/Ljubljana
- Stinkfoot (1975), section KS
- Advance romance solo, section KS
- The Illinois enema bandit solo, opening KS
- Chunga's revenge solo, sections KS

124) ZFT: WAKA/WAZOO, 2022.

A reissue of Waka/Jawaka and The grand wazoo in Blu-Ray format plus four extra CDs with material from the vault. These contain alternative takes from the final sessions (with much unused soloing), demos of four George Duke songs and a concert from december 1972.

- Montana (1972), section KS


Two concerts from the 1980 spring tour. One in a smaller club hall, the Mudd Club, the other a larger venue from Munich. At the Mudd Club only a two-track recorded could be installed, but it's nice to hear the band playing in such a different environment.

Zappa '80 Mudd Club/Munich
- Mudd Club (1980), opening bars KS
- City of tiny lites solo (1980), sections KS


In February and March 1970 Zappa recorded various titles with what you could call the Hot Rats band at the Record Plant. Very little from these sessions got eventually actually used for the next "Chunga's revenge" album. In the liner notes Joe Travers expresses his amazement in finding that much unreleased material.

Funky nothingness
- Khaki sack, theme KS
- Twinkle tits, section See k)
- Basement jam, opening KS
- Funky nothingness, opening KS
- Love will make your mind go wild, opening KS
- Halos and arrows, section KS
- Moldred, sections KS


A five CD-set with archive material surrounding the Overnite sensation recording sessions. Included as well is about half of two concerts from the spring tour from 1973 with among others songs from Overnite sensation and Apostrophe, at that time still unreleased.

Overnite sensation 50th anniversary deluxe edition
- The curse of the Zomboids solo, section KS
- Palladium jam - part 2, section KS


Some music that Zappa scored out has not yet appeared on record in full. There are also a few examples of Zappa contributing a song to an album by somebody else, like "No more Mr. nice girl" for Shankar's "Touch me there".

- String quartet/quintet (None of the above) 1)
- Wind quintet/sextet (Times Beach I-V) 2)
- Number 6 BS
- Number 7 BS
- Opus 5 3)
- Guitar waltz 4)
- Mice, sample bars KS
- Mo' mama GB
- Would you like a snack? (1968), fragment, from Crown of creation KS
- If only I could be your love again, section, from For Real! KS
- No more Mr. nice girl (Shankar/Zappa), sections, from Touch me there KS
- Improvisation in A, opening, from Adieu CA KS
- The (unanswered) cluster, 1a 4)
1) Score handed over to the Kronos Quartet.
2) Score handed over to the Aspen Wind Quintet and the Ensemble Modern.
3) Played by the Pamona Symphony Orchestra in 1963. A transcribed section from the piano part is included in this study.
4) Printed in the Zappa! special issue of Guitar player.

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