Imaginary Diseases

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December 22 2005

“Produced by Frank Zappa. Vaultmeistered by Joe Travers. Liner notes by Steve Vai. 10 Piece Band! Live!”


  1. Oddients
  2. Rollo
  3. Been To Kansas City In A Minor
  4. Farther O’Blivion
  5. D.C. Boogie
  6. Imaginary Diseases
  7. Montreal

29 thoughts on “Imaginary Diseases”

  1. This is more like it, the real stuff, recorded live on the 1972 tour of the so called “Petite Wazoo” band (which, according to liner notes, FZ called the Mothers of Invention, but primarily for marketing purposes.) “Farther Oblivion” is a long piece consisting of themes that later appear in “Greggery Peckery”. “Imaginary Diseases” sounds very similar to “Apostrophe”. “Been to Kansas City…” is a blues jam. “Montreal” is primarily a guitar jam, as is “D.C.Boogie”, but there is alot of great horn solos as well.I’ve always really dug Zappa’s horn bands (forget Blood Sweat and Tears). I’m sure I’ll be putting this disc into heavy rotation.

  2. I absolutley love this album. I just received it yesterday, and I can’t get enough. It’s got plenty of guitar and horn solos. Several blues-based tracks and other improvisational songs. I’m honestly thinking that I enjoy it as much, maybe more than Roxy and Elsewhere. Obviously, I’d reccomend it for anyone looking into FZ’s early guitar work and jams.

  3. Ok, lets be sensible, it isn’t as good as Roxy. Theres a reason it sat in the vault all this time. Its loose. Compared to the rest of Fz’s tight as fuck catalogue, its pretty loose and more of a jam than a collection of compositions. That said its pretty good to hear something that most of us have never heard before. Clear sounding FZ produced material. Far more worthy than Domage, Corsage and Xmasage nonsense.

  4. Since everyone on the planet seems to overrate this one – I DON’T LIKE IT! Bad, underrehearsed performances, uninspired improvisations, unbalanced mix. Seems like a rough mix that was never intented for release by Frank himself. This is not what i expect from a FZ record. Another unnecessary release in a row of unnecessary posthumous releases. Still waiting for the real one.

  5. This is better than previous vault releases, but still not up to FZ commercial release standards.
    But I expect most vault releases to be a bit raw.
    The two blues numbers seem like filler.

    Just as others have been saying for years – over a decade now…what about the two or three remaining things that FZ actually worked on before he died?

    One problem is that so much time has passed that the market for FZ material has dwindled, making a viable commercial release almost impossible. If Gail waits another few years, no one will care.

  6. A fantastic look at Frank’s early guitar soloing when it was just starting to become really staggering to listen to. The horns give some really nice sound to the arrangments of Farther O’Blivion and Rollo. This is a fantastic disc with alot of beautiful instant composition, if you’re looking for 1984 band type stuff look elsewhere.

  7. I have been reading with interest the reviews on your page here and on the strength of the number of conflicting accounts i was forced to get a copy.Can anyone explain why the disc is so friggin’ expensive! at the price i thought i was buying a double cd! be that as it may the music is awesome.tracks that i like best are ‘imaginary diseases’ and ‘montreal’ where Frank explores a modal style of improvisation seldom heard in his body of work.
    That style of playing caught my ear first but on repeated listenings i like all the tracks and the quality of the sound is fine on my system so i find it hard to fathom the complaints about unbalanced sound quality.
    Any zappa fan who enjoys blistering improvisation ala ‘zomby woof’and the 72-75 period really should get hold of this but compare the price ‘cos it’s only a single cd!

  8. The best of the “vault” releases so far.

    It’s great to hear a decent sounding version of “Farther O’Blivion”, though I would love to hear a non-bootleg version of this piece performed by the pre-“Overnight Sensation” band, who had a much better rhythm section IMHO.

    Sidenote: I saw the entire “Grand” Wazoo at the Hollywood Bowl, with FZ in a wheelchair. He used an unusual guitar processing device (“…because I can’t work a Wah-Wah with my foot in a cast…”), which I’ve never heard elsewhere. Anyone else remember this?

    Footnote: Why is the Roxy DVD still unreleased?
    Zappa taught the audience some of his ques and we performed a conducted improvisation the night I went.

  9. Much spiffier acoustically than any “Joe’s-Thingz” I’ve yet heard, & methinks more solid playing also – “Farther” is quite tasty, & “Rollo” is good enough (in a more precise rendition) t’be an outtake from “Lather” but I most like the “Boogie” – & hey, he lets de folks what bought de tickets decide how it’ll end, now isn’t that nice?

  10. Bimmler,
    as written in the album:
    Frank Zappa:Conductor, Guitar, Vocals
    Malcolm McNabb:Trumpet
    Gary Barone:Trumpet/Fugelhorn
    Tom Malone:Tuba/Saxes/Piccolo Trumpet/Trumpet
    Earl Dumler:Woodwinds
    Glenn Ferris:Trombone
    Bruce Fowler:Trombone
    Tony Duran:Slide Guitar
    Dave Parlato:Bass
    Jim Gordon:Drums

  11. Took a little getting used to at first.

    Now I think the structured compositions are great, the jams pretty good, but the horn section seems really tentative or out of it at times. Oddly, the worst playing appears in the easiest parts – just a few notes in a repeating riff behind the guitar solo.

  12. Great release, great one. So much better quality than the Rhino/Phooee release (Byzantique?)it’s my favourite period before Frank decided his audience wanted more peurile jokes (Ponty had the right idea).
    I saw Grand Wazoo in LONDON, age 13 or something, stunning. Don’t know what Zappa used but I suppose it may have been a Maestro box, he loved those.

  13. Today, is my first day listening to Imaginary Diseases … It doesn’t sound bad since it’s F zappa palying it anyways. But, it looks like most of the Zappa fans out there, are waiting for that one release from the vault…that is going to be as good as the 70’s releases, or any other Zappa albums… Well, this is my opinion; there isn’t going to be any release like that, since the man himself, is up there next to Jesus in a big purple chair.And I don’t think that anyone in the ZFT is capable of releasing such a thing.(actually they tried but look at the results…)So what I suggest is, enjoy what you got and ROCK ON.

  14. The title track, in my opinion, makes up for any looseness on this recording. The fact of the matter is, we know what Frank became, so to hear him in a period of transition where things were not quite ship-shape offers some insight into the fact that he was not always the master we know him as. I love to hear the complete process, warts and all, for it gives me much needed insight into this man’s long and arduous career. I have never been “let down” by a Zappa release, and never will be, for true genius overrides superficiality.

  15. Hi folks,
    Got my copy a few weeks ago here in Belgium, waited a long time to hear new stuff from Frank, any stuff… I can understand people being critical and demanding very high standards from an FZ record but let’s be serious folks, with the state of contemporary music being what it is ANY music from Frank is heaven sent. Was I glad to hear him plucking away at his sixstring once again! Freak out forever!!

  16. I’ve decided I need to buy this one. But it’s a friggin’ digipak. God, how I hate those things. Is there a jewel case version?

  17. Hello casimirtheimmortalmonster,
    This is not a friggin’ digipak. Actually it is rather a friggin’ papersleeve.
    Unfortunately for you… no, there is no jewel case version.

  18. takatek —

    yes, i remember that night at the Hollywood Bowl, but I didn’t remember the device he used. mostly, i remember that he wanted us to be happy with the volume of EACH AND EVERY INSTRUMENT. this meant a riff played, and FZ asking if it needed to be louder. of course, the crowd would vote for louder. once he started conducting the first piece, it was obvious that the show would be an ear-splitting experience.

  19. I like this better than Wazoo to be honest, I think for a bootleg that is likeley to be in stereo analog that this is a great quality recording and FZ couldn’t have done that much better IMO. I just think that it should’ve ended in a dog food jingle and evidently so did the crowd. As a previous reviewer said a bad quality recording of FZ beats ANYTHING… ANYTHING coming out today. I play this a fair bit as I do Waka-Jawaka and Grand Wazoo – I love those albums.

  20. methinks more people should hear more material from this tour before they make a judgment about the legitimacy of this release’s existence.
    Struck by Imaginary Diseases, “… if only they knew it.”

    The first time I ever heard a good sounding boot of this band and tour was on the old KUR and I loved it and am eternally grateful.
    I’ve struggled for years now to try to perfect that idealised Petit Wazoo band muxtape in my iTunes of all the aud tapes I have and can never decide which Montana or wash that thing I want on it.
    All the versions of Duke of Prunes are delightful and melancholy.
    The beginning of DC Boogie where it goes all raga presages Treacherous Cretins in a way and is my favorite on this release. It’s Eastern and hiphop, transcontinental and astral travel. Gives a contemporary’s Blues For Allah a kick in the head.
    Rollo gets it’s own first cd release!

  21. i just heard farther oblivion on zappa radio. my first fz show was at the bowl for the grand wazoo show. tim buckley opened followed by the doors (sans jimbo- he got stuck in some dirt in paris i heard).
    am i challenged or is the drum solo from this song amazing?

  22. To all the people who disliked this album: in the nicest way possible (and i do mean that, no sarcasm intended), you need to pull your head out of your rear end. This album is absolute gold! Sure, some of it is a little iffy, but thats what it always sounded like Frank liked on occaision: CHANCES. Also, I’m interested to hear where all these people who say it was never intended for release are getting their info, because it says RIGHT ON THE ALBUM that it was all edited and set for release by the man himself (paraphrasing, sorry, can’t find the cd at the moment). As for the musical aspect, it is essentially a loose version of what went on with the 73/74 band, in terms of musical ideas. It’s actually essentially the bridge between The Grand Wazoo type of music and the 73/74 band. I noticed a large number of you said it was nowhere near as good as the Roxy & Elsewhere. FYI: Farther O’blivion is the exact same musical themes as “Bebop Tango (of the Old Jazzmen’s Church)”. This is important material! And as for the comments saying it was TOO iffy/underrehearsed/etc: did you actually listen to any of The Mothers from 66-71? thats all they WERE was underrehearsed, yet it still sounded GREAT! As far as I’m concerned, this has been a high point in the posthumous releases, and really a high point in the FZ career. And I mean hey, who couldn’t love the Jim Gordon drum solo on Farther O’blivion? Not to mention FZ’s fuzzy-as-hell guitar tone on Been to Kansas City in A Minor! A kickass album overall!:D

  23. Kickass indeed! I love the looseness and for sure, the solos on Farther Oblivion are great: is that a tuba?!?

  24. Trombone, isn’t it? Farther Oblivion is great, yeah, but the out of tune horn there rivals the trumpet section of LSO in Strictly Genteel for most messy brass on a Zappa record. Frank never said anything about the mistakes of the Petit Wazoo, but then he didn’t release the take, either. I still dig Imaginary Diseases!

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