BAND MEMBERS- FZ, Napoleon Murphy Brock (vocals, sax), Roy Estrada (bass, noises), André Lewis (keyboard, vocals), Terry Bozzio (drums, vocals)
DATES- January 11th through March 17th
COUNTRIES- 15 (Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Europe)
# OF DIFFERENT SONGS PLAYED- 32
AVERAGE SHOW LENGTH- 120 minutes
AVERAGE # OF FZ SOLOS PER SHOW- 9
SONGS FZ WOULD SOLO IN- Advance Romance, Black Napkins, Carolina Hard-core Ecstasy, Chunga's Revenge, Dirty Love, Filthy Habits, I'm the Slime, Illinios Enema Bandit, Lonely Little Girl (short), Let's Move to Cleveland, Muffin Man, Stinkfoot, The Torture Never Stops, Zoot Allures
COMMENTS ON FZ SOLOS- For me, the highlight of this tour, and really the only reason I find myself listening to and enjoying a show from this tour, is Frank's guitar playing. The funny thing is, apart from the two songs I mention in the following sentence, his guitar playing is not all that great this time around, but it is by far the most interesting thing happening on the tour. To begin with, almost every show contains two mammoth FZ guitar workouts-"Filthy Habits" and "Zoot Allures". Apart from the "Any Downers" monsters from the previous tour, "Filthy Habits" contains some of the meanest and dirtiest guitar playing of Frank's career. Riffing away over one of his most evil vamps, Frank recreates the spooky feel of the classic "Sleep Dirt" track, and consistently brings each show to an early climax. On the other side of the musical pallette, "Zoot Allures" contains some of Frank's most beautiful and reflective playing, ranging from the carefully constructed theme, through the angular lines of the main solo, into the effect laden meanderings of the closing jam. Frank runs the gambit from metal to jazz to undescribable Zappa in these two songs, and produces guitar solos the likes of which would not be heard on any other tour. The rest of the solos are no slouches, either. Arriving in what are somewhat standard guitar solo vehicles, the majority of the solos are simply straightforward Frank affairs. While they are not great solos, they are consistently good, and probably constitute the highlights of each show considering the repetitive setlist that is performed each night.
SONGS THAT FZ USUALLY SOLOED IN BUT DID NOT ON THIS TOUR- I'm Not Satisfied
NEW SONGS ON TOUR- Disco Boy (music only), Ms. Pinky (music only), She's A Lady (?), Tryin To Grow A Chin, Wind Up Workin' In A Gas Station (w/ lyrics)
MONSTER SONGS- In the sense of full-band improv, there are no Monster Songs this time around. We get several lengthy solo-fests ("Chunga's Revenge", "Advance Romance"), but no "where-is-this-going-now?" improvisation. In terms of guitar playing, however, we definitely get the Monster version of a typically much more restrained song. As I mention above, "Zoot Allures" is a beast of a different nature on this tour, boasting some of the most interesting and diverse guitar playing of Frank's career.
OVERVIEW- My father always told me if I have nothing nice to say, do not say anything at all (I know that has not stopped me on other tours, but hey...).. I guess this should be short then. I like it when Frank plays the guitar on this tour. I like it when he plays "Filthy Habits" and "Zoot Allures", because they both contain some incredible guitar. I like it when Nappy does not butcher a song with his overdone vocals. I like the short "Inca Roads" opening. I like it when I can fast-forward through the majority of the tunes and not have to listen to the uninspired songs which are played at every single show in the exact same order. I like the early shows on the tour when Frank still performed the awesome WOIIFTM medley. I occasionally like André's cheesy synthesizer solos, though not too often. I like the fact that Roy occasionally gets to babble on like a maniac. I like knowing that no other Frank tour is as dull as this one. I like it when Frank says "Thank you very much. Good Night." (For a little more information on this tour, see the Fall '75 Overview and the comparisons I make between the two.)
ADVANCE ROMANCE- Essentially performed as on "Bongo Fury", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation.. For the solo section, first we get to "see what she did to André", with André demonstrating his pain via his keyboards. Frank then takes his obligatory solo, before Brock concludes the tune with his overdone vocals.
AIN'T GOT NO HEART- Essentially performed as on "Tinseltown Rebellion", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with Brock's horribly oversung vocals. For some reason- the band, this particular arrangement, Brock's screeching- these are possibly the worst live performances of this tune ever. In fact, the whole three song "Freak Out" medley, consisting of "How Could I Be Such A Fool?", this, and an equally horrible "I'm Not Satisfied", are typically the scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel low points of each show.
BLACK NAPKINS- Essentially performed as on "Zoot Allures", or as on FZPTMOFZ, for those of you (like me) who shelled out the 27 dollars. Unlike both of those versions, however, the performances on this tour contain a Brock sax solo and a Frank guitar workout. In fact, the edited performance on "Zoot Allures" (from 2/3 Osaka) originally contains a Brock solo, and a lengthier FZ excursion.
CAMARILLO BRILLO- Essentially performed as always, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the fast first half and the slow second half.
CAROLINA HARD-CORE ECSTASY- Essentially performed as on "Bongo Fury", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo.
CHUNGA'S REVENGE- Essentially performed as on "Chunga's Revenge", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in the solos. For the lengthy solo section, Brock goes first, followed by Lewis, with Frank concluding the affair. Frequently throughout the tour, Bozzio would take a drum solo after Lewis' solo, and the band would segue into "Zoot Allures" after this solo (as can be heard on YCDTOSA Volume III). For these shows, Frank obviously would not take a solo during "Chunga's Revenge", with his turn coming during the exploratory "Zoot Allures" extravaganzas.
DINAH-MOE HUMM- Essentially performed as always, with the standard deviation coming in, no, wait, this is "Dinah-Moe Humm". Sorry.
DIRTY LOVE- Essentially performed as on "Overnite Sensation", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. The end of this song is typically the "my-monitor-is-not-working" part of the show, and thus we frequently get an extended outro on this song while all necessary amends are made.
DISCO BOY- This tune appears as an instrumental on this tour. During several "Chunga's Revenge" solos, Frank abruptly segues into this song, the band follows suit, and we get a short taste of the song that would appear on "Zoot Allures" later in the year. As with "Ms. Pinky", this tune essentially serves as an outro to the handful of "Chunga's Revenge's" that it appears in.
FILTHY HABITS- This is the heavy metal monster we know and love, with Frank taking his typically mean-spirited solo. In what is usually a momentary bummer, André takes a keyboard solo to start off the solo section (a quite lengthy one) but both his sound and overly dramatic technique prove to be frequently enjoyable. Not only that, but Frank's solo is even more wicked and more insane when compared to the noodlings of André. This tune is one of the few reasons why this tour is worth having a tape or two from.
FIND HER FINER- Essentially performed as on "Zoot Allures", though minus the guitar as Frank is doing the singing and thus cannot play the guitar. These performances are not as lethargic as the album version, but nowhere near the upbeat numbers that the '88 band frequently performed. Brock's occasional backing horn parts do add a nice flavor to the tune, though.
HONEY DON'T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME?- This is a rather skeletal version of the tune that we all know and probably have mixed feelings about.
HOW COULD I BE SUCH A FOOL?- Essentially performed as on "Ruben and the Jets"", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation. Brock overdoes the vocals, and even though Frank adds a little more oomph! to the proceedings with his guitar, this is overall a pretty painful version of this tune.
ILLINOIS ENEMA BANDIT- This version is essentially performed as on ZINY, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. The only real difference in this version is the opening riff (which is centered around Brock's saxophone), and the shortening of the first verse. These performances also contain a lengthy and rather dull introduction, in which Frank explains and occasionally demonstrates the happenings of Michael Kenyon.
I'M NOT SATISFIED- As far as this version goes, I'm not satisfed either. What can I say- this version sucks. It is great in the sixties, with Ray crooning the vocals and Frank just going at it on guitar. The Petit Wazoo version is the most random yet satisfying performance of that tour. And the Fall '74 performances simply rock, with Brock managing to sound somewhat restrained in the vocal department. But these performances? Ouch. Essentially performed as on "Freak Out", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and quite a bit faster. Frank does not solo this time round, in what may possibly be the worst version of this song ever. The arrangement is cluttered, Brock screams uncontrollably throughout, and none of the energy of the original is anywhere near present.
I'M THE SLIME- Essentially performed as on ZINY, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. These performances contain the frenzied guitar opening.
INCA ROADS- Not played in its entirety.. Instead, the post-guitar solo theme as heard on "One Size Fits All" (the one that is used as the immediate segue from Frank's solo into the second half of the song) is performed as the opening segment of the show. We simply get a dramatic and majestic version of this riff, an occasional brief Zappa guitar flurry, and then a smooth segue into the standard "Stinkfoot" opener. An excellent beginning to these not-so-excellent shows. This theme is also used as a show closer, in much the same way "Tush Tush Tush" is used on the Fall '74 tour, or "The Purple Lagoon" is used on the '77 and '78 tours. The band plays a short, usually chaotic version of this theme, while Frank rips off some short riffs, and then the show ends.
KAISER ROLLS- This is not a bad little tune, though nothing really to write home about. Sounding quite similar to "Carolina Hard-core Ecstasy"- what with the sweeping guitar highlights, and the lyrical tale of misfortune. Brock does the majority of the singing (of course), with band mates helping out for the chorus's. It only rears its head a handful of times early in the tour (having premiered late in '75), before disappearing from the wonderful world of Zappa. [See Fall '75 for Jon Naurin's take on the tune]
KEEP IT GREASY- Amazingly enough, this song appears on this tour in almost exactly the same form it would reappear several years later. There are several slight differences throughout the tune, but for the most part, the lyrics and structure sound exactly as they would on "Joe's Garage". The opening riff is different, consisting of a busier, more chorded guitar intro. After the "Roll it over and grease it down" lines, there is a new section of music, approximately 10 seconds in length, consisting of the lines "Grease it down" and a new short riff (this music sounds quite similar to the ending riff that appears in the 1980 version of "Dead Girls of London"). Finally, after the "Here comes that screaming sound" line, Brock takes a screeching sax solo over the following riff, which would later be replaced by vocal parts. The overall feel of the tune is remarkedly similar to that of the later versions, and whether you like this version or not really depends on how well you like any other version of this song.
LET'S MOVE TO CLEVELAND- Oh, what a mess. This version of this classic guitar solo vehicle sounds as if the song was being put through a blender. All the parts are here, but they are either shortened, or sped up, or arranged so dramatically different that you cannot be sure that this really is "Let's Move To Cleveland". In fact, roughly half the tune is performed swing style, and several parts of the song sound more like "T'Mershi Duween" than anything else. Frank takes a solo, but it is rather short and uninvolved, and does not seem as if it really belongs. This is an highly interesting listen, don't get me wrong, but its quite different from the monster number that would appear 6 years later. I wish that Frank had given this tune more work at this early point in time, as I would love to hear what the Fall '77 and Fall '78 bands would have done to this song.
LONELY LITTLE GIRL- I absolutely love the WOIIFTM medley from this tour, with this tune being my favorite of the three songs in the medley. Heavy on the guitar, this spiffed up version is sung by a somewhat restrained Brock, and contains an extended instrumental ending with Frank playing the melody once through on guitar.
MS. PINKY- This tune is performed as an instrumental this time round. It usually arises out of the "Ship Ahoy" section of "Zoot Allures", with Frank leading the way on guitar. Bozzio and Estrada pick up the trail, with Brock finally joining in by playing the vocal melody line on sax. The song is not played in its entirety, but essentially serves as an outro to the "Zoot Allures" monsters.
MUFFIN MAN- Essentially performed as on "Bongo Fury" (the live part), allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo.
POODLE RAP- Essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume VI, though thankfully its much shorter than that version in the majority of these performances. My only question is-Why, Frank, why?
SAN BER'DINO- Essentially performed as on OSFA, allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation.
SHE'S A LADY- This appears on setlists after "Chunga's Revenge" on the 3/13 Lugano show- one of the last dates of the tour. I have not heard it, and suspect that it is not a full blown tune, but simply some random improvised madness. Anyone know? [Yes, Jon Naurin knows- "This is actually a brand new song, which sounds like it had been written during soundcheck or something. In the middle of Roy's gas mask extravaganzas, FZ starts playing the simplest of doo-wop vamps (I-vi-IV-V or however you choose to write it). The songs turns out to be about Ms Pinky, a very simple melody with Roy providing some typical falsetto screaming. If I get time, I'll try to type down the words, though they're not too amusing. BTW, I'm going to change the title into something more fitting, namely "Song for Pinky", and you can do so too if you like.] Thanks, but I like this title.
SHIP AHOY- This track from SUNPYG is actually part of the extended guitar solo from a "Zoot Allures" performance, with such a performance being heard in its entirety on FZPTMOFZ (for those of you who shelled out the 27 dollars for that little sucker). On this tour, "Zoot Allures" consists of the head, similarly played as on YCDTOSA Volume III, a guitar solo which evolves from this head, and the extended "Ship Ahoy" outro.
SONG FOR PINKY- See "She's A Lady".
STINKFOOT- Essentially performed as always, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's particularly lengthy and hard-edged solos. Unfortunately, the "Poodle Lecture" follows hot-on-the-heels of these solos, and thus serves to deflate this early high.
TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF WHEN YOU DANCE- Another of the great WOIIFTM tunes. Brock handles the vocals, of course, singing the melody as on WOIIFTM, while the band plays the accompaning music reggae style. Brock sings the first verse, the band performs an instrumental version of the second verse, Lewis takes a short keyboard solo, and then Brock finishes the lyrics and the tune. Pretty cool.
TORTURE NEVER STOPS, THE- Essentially performed as on "Zoot Allures", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. This is a pretty scrappy, but typically interesting, version of this song. The entire song is performed in a very relaxed and understated manner, creating the feeling that the tune is simply going to fall apart at any moment. Because of this, Frank's solos tend to meander at times, lacking any real direction or intensity. At other times, however, this lack of structure gives Frank the greater rein that he needs to stretch out and really explore the guitar.
TRYIN' TO GROW A CHIN- Essentially performed as on "Sheik Yerbouti", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation.
WHAT'S THE UGLIEST PART OF YOUR BODY?- Essentially performed as on WOIIFTM, allowing for the obvious differences in instrumentation, and with some purposefully overdramatic singing. This tune is part three of the awesome WOIIFTM medley, and serves as an excellent segue into the lengthy "Chunga's Revenge" jams.
WIND UP WORKIN' IN A GAS STATION- This debuted as a guitar based instrumental during the Fall portion of the tour. It then reappeared during this tour, essentially appearing as on "Zoot Allures". Compared to the YCDTOSA Volume VI version (from the Fall '76 tour), these performances lack the vocal dynamics that Bianca added; and compared to the album version, these performances lack the guitar power that FZ added. Thus, compared to all other versions, theses performances suck.
ZOOT ALLURES- For those of you who shelled out the 27 bucks, then I will tell you that this tune is essentially performed as on FZPTMOFZ, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's lengthy and highly experimental solo. For those of you who have not broken down and acquired the mustache-laden mail order CD, then I will tell you that this tune contains three parts. Part one is essentially performed as on YCDTOSA Volume III (the pre-solo part). Part two is the "Zoot Allures" guitar solo, which evolves directly out of the head of the tune. Part three is essentially performed as on "Ship Ahoy" from SUNPYG, with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. During these "Ship Ahoy" experiments, Frank occasionally segues into raw, instrumental versions of either "Ms. Pinky" or "Disco Boy", both of which sound better here than they do in there officially released versions. Without a doubt, these guitar workshops are highlights of each show, and are one of the few reasons why this tour simply cannot be ignored.