Dub Room Special (DVD)

October 18 2005


  1. Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat
  2. Room Service
  3. Nig Biz
  4. Approximate
  5. Cosmic Debris
  6. Cocaine Decisions
  7. Montana
  8. Tengo Na Minchia Tanta
  9. Florentine Pogen
  10. Stevie’s Spanking
  11. Stinkfoot
  12. Flakes
  13. Inca Roads
  14. Easy Meat

22 thoughts on “Dub Room Special (DVD)”

  1. I just bought this DVD the other day, I owned a VHS copy many years ago but traded it for something Zappa-related.

    I like the tone of “Compact Video” sections, seeing Frank interacting with normal humans is amusing. When he asked one of the people (Tim?) if they would mind wearing the PZM microphone and Tim responds “I’d love to wear it!!”, it’s a funny surreal moment.

    It’s nice seeing a few songs from the Roxy footage, thought some of the editing and the Bickford animation gets old after awhile. The back and forth editing during “dog breath variations/Uncle Meat” is headache inducing !!! Watching the performance of George Duke during “Inca Roads” is one of the most musically inspirational things you can watch. GD is a brilliant musicians and his performance is flawless !!! The DVD is worth it for that alone.

  2. I am always excited to get a DVD of anything from the Zappa Trust. It could be Frank yelling at his console in the studio for 20 mins and I’d play it over and over. With that moronic comment said… I give it maximum stars and maximum attention. Seriously folks… claymation aside I think it’s tip top.

  3. i love it. aside from a few weaker song selections, such as cocaine decisions, excellent. especially the visuals of ruth mastering such a complex instrument. the claymation does interfere once in awhile but zappa’s soloing is brilliant. stevie’s spanking is a great selection to watch and/or hear as bobby martin’s voice is just as powerful as zappa’s and stevie’s guitar solos.
    get it people. anything that show’s zappa in his element is worth it. GIVE ME MORE!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Note from the janitor: the rating system for this dvd (see above) seems to have been “vandalized” (150 votes in 8 hours and a rating of 3!) so I’m hereby resetting it.

  5. Well, I HAVEN’T seen it and I think it’s excellent. I ordered it from a local record
    store yesterday and I have to wait 15 days for it. I thought that was the worst part of “Dub Room Special”.

  6. I think that this is a very good VHS release-definetely amusing and well worth the price of the ticket (DVD price). As performace and editing goes, it is vastly brilliant. The successful juxtoposition of Bickford/KCET/82/Compact Video footage creates further argument to conceptual continuity….well played Frank, well played….
    Other than this, it is a great work and a great VHS release but IMHO an unfortunate DVD release. Albeit, it did have extras (the Valley Girl doc) but it could have been so much more, Eg. audio commentery by Bickford and the band, or perhaps it could have been combined with Video from Hell or even made it a double/triple/ quadruple set and released all 3 of the concerts (which they plan to do, this would have made the wait substantially less). Plus remaining compact video hyjinks. Not to mention an isolated audio feature would be nice so we can hear the soundtrack (which is also slated for release), if not the complete shows.
    That said, dont let it ruin your enjoyment of this release. It is a great program with two great line-ups and the Zappa/Compact banter is classic.

  7. I just got my copy of DUB ROOM SPECIAL and I love it. My ONLY complaint is this: One of my favorite FZ songs is Inca Roads…especially the guitar solo (from Helsinki) and the instrumental parts after the guitar solo. After nearly 30 years of listening to that it still BLOWS MY MIND.
    On DUB ROOM SPECIAL Frank covered the musicians with animation during that part. Not for nothing, but I’d have liked to see them play the actual album version before my eyes.

  8. I’m 14. Pretty new to Zappa, seeing as it has only been 5 months since my first CD…

    Anyway, this is my first FZ movie, and I thought it was great. I liked the constant changing between the 2 concerts, and I loved the segues into Mossimo’s song as well as Frank’s time spent in that high tech recording room of sorts :D

    Stevie’s Spanking, Florentine Pogen, and Stink Foot were my favorite parts of the movie. I thought it was EXTREMELY interesting since I have seen close to nothing of FZ in concert. I’ve watched it about 5 times now. It was pretty mind-blowing overall, especially when I first put it in and saw all the weird editing and claymation by Bruce Bickford.

    I want every man and woman even slightly keen to Zappa to but this DVD please :)

  9. Interesting to find out how few overdubs there are on the album version of ‘Florentine Pogen’, and no edits between performances. I think that’s my favorite song on the DVD.

    Zappa trivia:

    Anybody know what a ‘florentine pogen’ actually is (or was)? (I found out totally by accident).

  10. Talkin’ bout the tiny cookies…

    I should’ve known that no detail has not, by now, been covered! I found this out taking an airline flight in the early 80s sometime. After a meal, they handed out these little shortbread cookies with raspberry jam in the middle. Of course, I was the only person on the plane who was impressed and said, ‘Hey! Florentine Pogens! WOW!’.

  11. I’m a pit of useless factoids, as well as Zappa knowledge. I’m like your go-to answer guy.

  12. Esa bella y pícara sonrisa de Zappa cantando Cosmik Debrise
    Veo y veo y vuelvo a ver y a escuchar el video en donde Frank Zappa interpreta lleno de vida y de energía la pieza Cosmik Debrise en el DVD “Dub Room Special”
    Ver la maestría del maestro tocando la guitarra o a la Ruth Underwood moviéndose con tanta agilidad entre tambores y xilófonos es estupendo… Pero cuando la cámara hace un close up del Zappa y este sonríe es lo máximo, pues es tan contagiosa esa sonrisa que de inmediato yo también sonrío…
    De verdad disfruto mucho de Cosmik Debrise y mas cuando veo esa bella y pícara sonrisa de mi idolo Frank Zappa cantando, dirigiendo a su banda y tocando su guitarra eléctrica.

  13. Excellent. A fine juxtaposition of two periods in Zappa’s live performance history. I get the impression however that the 1974 band (and FZ) seem happier than the 1981 band…

  14. I agree with xorg. Frank sounded like he was having a wonderful time with the 1974 band; in fact, one of the things that first turned me on to Zappa was listening to his Preambles on Roxy and hearing how much fun he was having.

  15. Yeah Frank’s obviously in either a more serious mindset or just plain pissed at the 82 concert, hard to be certain which. I’ve had a bootleg copy of the original VHS release of this for years but at least with the DVD release I finally have a stereo soundtrack and the ability to jump to specific songs without weakening the tape. I’m pretty sure, given Frank’s propensity to start with live recordings and edit or overdub the missed parts that the animation overlays are there to cover up those kind of mistakes or in the case of the guitar solo in Inca Roads, cover up a performance that the boss didn’t care for. Over-all very glad to have this out on DVD.

  16. The high lights are extremely high on this release.
    However: the sound effects during the Bickford incidents are much too loud, and that included parts of Inca Roads that sound very good.
    Another “complain” is about the often inaudible Steve Vai parts. We know from Stage 3 that the last part of the Stevie’s Spanking solo is a duel, you can see him play the shit out of his guitar here, but no sound.

    But, I repeat: the high lights are worth it. Approximate is hilarious, Inca Roads can make any music lover go crazy, the pompous instrumental section of Easy Meat is a treat and finally: the beautiful guitar tones, often very different from other recordings, by FZ.

  17. A real blast, this … I think this one was a case where FZ truly no longer gave a rat’s ass what anybody would think about his baffling pursuit of cinema … which thus helps make room for MORE FUN … fun in which both the genius & the cheepnis are proudly shining through.

    Only brevity keeps it from being as sweet as Baby Snakes for me, hell, I even like the dorky C64-style 80’s sound FX blithely glertching out all over the tunes – why? Because it’s Option-Tastic … like the drastic headband mic on the cover. YOW! APPLIANCE!

    Have to enjoy the irony-quotient of this also including a Valley Girl Doc, given that he & Moon rather despised what their little joke song unwittingly unleashed on the world, but hey, pobody’s nerfect.

    That Massimo song with the monkey & the chicken is sincerely hated by nearly all – heck, Zappa himself may’ve secretly loathed it but been unable to resist doing it – & it never fails to get me violently fruging with joy in a frenzy of strenuous identification, dizzy like a teenage girl in love … not to mention we get a brief anthropolgy clip from that Bitchen Sicily Riot Of ’82, where the flak jackets are a tip-off that The Gig Has Gone BAD.

    Also kicks big smokin’ holes in the walls of the mind via “Montana” or “Florentine Pogen” or “Inca Roads” or a very edifying schtick with “Approximate” … & I’m pretty sure that that “Dog/Meat” editing is SUPPOSED to zap yer eyes & brain, eh? It makes my Inner Punk sneer with satisfaction, going along as it does with such sterling material. 1970’s Cyberpunk?! Heh heh heh.

    This was sincerely intended as an actual TeeVee Special – wonder if any network ran it?

  18. Great to watch Napoleon Murphy Brock leaping about the stage!!!!
    Love his expressions during “Florentine Pogen”

    Not to forget Mort Libov who FZ gets on stage and stops him from escaping – the look of dread on that fellas face still makes me laugh!!!

  19. yeah napoleon is excellent throughout the 70s stuff. the 80s stuff is okay but not my favourite zappa era by any stretch, so i guess i would have been happier with roxy era footage all the way…
    having said that, cocaine decisions is one of ym favourite 80s tracks! and i like bruce bickford’s animation, it terrified me as a kid when my dad was watching the city of tiny lites video… but yeah the sound effects are a bit irritating. they’re not really in time with the music either which is surprising considering the author.
    i bought this last year but haven’t watched it that much, it’s got some gold on there but a lot to skip inbetween… i liked ‘does humour belong in music?’ better as a document of the 80s zappa, and the 70s mothers deserve ten whole dvds of their own.

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