Zappa & Mothers TV Special, 1974

On Tuesday afternoon of August 27th, 1974, sometime after 5:30pm, Frank Zappa, George Duke, Chester Thompson, Tom Fowler, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Ruth Underwood took to KCET-TV Channel 28’s Sound Stage B in Culver City, Los Angeles to film a performance for broadcast later that December 8th (and thus becoming the source material for countless bootleg vinyl records, and later, bootleg videos and DVDs).

It’s a unique performance. For instance, on “Montana”, Zappa seems to forget the lyrics “And it would be on top, / That’s why I’m moving to Montana” and sings nonsense instead. “Stink-foot” is a “Tom Waits Version” (“right around the corner – over by Tom Waits’ restaurant”) and is sung through a frequency shifter transposing his voice down below normal range. “Inca Roads” provides the basic tracks for the official One Size Fits All release. “Florentine Pogen” (view the clips above) is the One Size Fits All version, but here it is 9:40, whereas on One Size Fits All it fades and is several minutes shorter.

I have gathered and linked the bootlegged filmed performance, A Token Of His Extreme, below:

The Dog Breath Variations
• Uncle Meat
More Trouble Every Day
George Duke Solo
Florentine Pogen Part 1
Florentine Pogen Part 2 (The Solo)
Oh No
Pygmy Twylyte
Stink-Foot (Tom Waits Version)
Inca Roads
• Pygmy Twylyte (Dummy Up)
A Token Of My Extreme (Honey Jam)
Cosmik Debris
Room Service

As per usual with bootlegged videos, the visual and audio qualities of each segment comes and goes. And, also, as usual, the Warner Group of Companies were busy muting a lot of these postings on YouTube, or outrightly having them removed altogether. Unless you already have a copy (available from Zappateers), this performance will soon disappear from YouTube. I suggest failing that, saving your money and waiting for the Zappa Family Trust to release an official version more in keeping with Zappa’s legacy (I certainly would like to replace my copy with something highly clean, crisp and watch-able).

Warning: some segments may induce epileptic seizures.

Thanks to ‘bakabana1966’ and ‘phideauxiii’ for posting these video clips.

Ultimate Insult: Somewhere In NYC

In the first video, Frank Zappa tells the story of how the Fillmore East incident involving John Lennon and Yoko Ono started from an exciting jam between two musical iconoclasts, to a matter to be decided between opposing lawyers.

The second video is footage of Lennon’s and Yoko’s 1971 guest appearance at the Mothers of Invention gig at the Fillmore East.

Finally, as a point of historical interest, the following is an original vinyl version of Jamrag (anyone with even a passing affinity for Frank Zappa and the Mother’s music will quickly identify this song):