Raisin' My Lonely T-Shirts

Frank Zappa and his vocalists (notably Ike Willis) often changed the lyrics of songs, usually to include "secret words" and/or allude to recent events. An interesting example of such lyric mutation occurred in the late show on Halloween, 1972. Earlier in the show, FZ had commented on someone selling T-shirts in the lobby. He imitated the vendor's cry of "T-shirts" in a dumb voice. This show's rendition of "Montana" contains absolutely no mention of dental floss, but instead deals with T-shirts. Very few members of the audience would have been familiar with the song, since it had been previously performed at most four times.


Words and Music by Frank Zappa
(as performed at the late show, 10/31/72, Capitol Theatre, Passaic, New Jersey)

I might be movin' to Montana soon
Just to raise me up a crop of

Raisin' 'em up
Waxin' 'em down
Hawkin' 'em in the lobby of this theatre
Spreadin' 'em all aroun'

By myself I would
Be the boss,
Raisin' my lonely

I might grow me some bees
And leave that sweet stuff
To somebody else...

But I'd save that wax
And I'd melt it down
I'd make me a stencil
And I'd smear it all aroun'

I'd get me some paint
Write something snazzy on 'em
So the teenagers could scarf 'em right up

I'm movin' to Montana
Where the Chamber of Commerce will guarantee me
Industrial security in the T-shirt business
With favorable tax shelters available

Come on to Montana now

[guitar solo]

I might find me a horse
About that big
An' ride him all along the border line

Pair of heavy-duty
Zircon-encrusted T-shirts in my hand
Every other promoter might
Think I was grand

My T-shirts aren't too beautiful
But they sell just the same
And there's only some guy in the garment district to blame

I might
Ride along the border
With my T-shirts gleamin'
In the moon-lighty night
(Due to fluorescent paint, you understand)

But I would
Sit myself down
Give my foot a push...
Me 'n a stack of T-shirts
Over by the promoter bush

N' then I might
Find that Greyhound bus and jump back on
An' ride
Through the dawn
Back to Montana

Oh, Montana
It leaves you the smell [?] for just thinkin' of 'em

Goodnight, little T-shirts
Wherever you are

FZ reportedly performed a song about the Passaic T-shirt seller in Waterbury the next night.

FZ referred back to this evening when he returned to the Capitol Theatre two years later:

"And may the Lord have mercy on your soul, if you have a soul somewhere deep down in the depths of your--T-shirt!" (FZ introducing "Ruthie Ruthie", 11/8/74)

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