A Conversation for 'Broadway The Hard Way' - the Frank Zappa 1988 Tour
Errors & Comments
HarryTheBeast Started conversation Sep 22, 2006
There are a few errors in this article - sorry to be pedantic but for those that care here's the corrections:-
Frank never had his own mobile recording studio as such. The UMRK is the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen the (then) state of the art studio installed in Zappa's home in California. This error is often repeated - sometimes in published biogs.
As far as I know the recordings on the '88 Tour were done on the Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Facility (no doubt someone will correct me if they ever manage to find this under-publicised part of the web) and remixed at the UMRK.
The setlist did indeed vary everyday - which is why hardcore fans like me would book a week off work and go to every show in their state/country.
Penguin In Bondage was a Zappa classic dating from 1973 and was not originally about Jimmy Swaggart - like many other songs on the '88 tour the lyrics were adapted on occasions to Jimmy Swaggart's detriment.
Zappa constantly moaned about the cost of touring - although he was renowned for paying his band members relatively small amounts as he genuinely believed that being in his band was a priviledge (as stated in the article). After the '82 tour he said he wouldn't tour again, he said it again after the '84 tour and he said it again after the '88 tour. No-one really believed him.
Zappa's constant complaints about the costs of touring need to be taken with a healthy pinch of salt. He didn't need to tour with a 12 piece line-up - the largest since the Grand Wazoo mini-tour of September 1972. He was the consumate businessman - he would have done his sums and worked out the economics of the whole tour before he even engaged the band. The bands (at least in Europe) playes some very large venues, and were pretty much sold-out.
There was an ongoing 'Secret Word' banter with the audience whereby Frank would pick a secret word or phrase and the band would replace the regular song lyrics with the secret word(s) in the most ludicrous places throughout the concert. This may have been spontaneous in the US part of the tour - but by the time the tour reached Europe this was standard practice. My own particular favourites were Dragon Master and also (although not strictly a secret word) the Nando/JellyFish concert - the very last concert of the tour.(For full details on Nando - who he was and his relationship with Frank see http://homepage.ntlworld.com/andymurkin/Resources/MusicRes/ZapRes/jellyfish.html it's a great story).
For full details on what was verifiably played on the '88 tour see the FZShows website http://home.swipnet.se/fzshows/88.html
Verifiably - because there are tapes in existence of these shows.
To hear what the band sounded like from the audience see the Zappateers site http://www.zappateers.com/bb/
Loads of other links about FZ can be found here
For more general information on Zappa see Wikipedia
or the Zappa dedicated Wiki Jawaka
Errors & Comments
Dr Hell Posted Oct 12, 2006
Hey Harry, you're a real pedantic Beast!
Thank you very much for commenting. It's good to see fellow Zappa fans here on hootoo! In retrospect I agree that some passages could have been reworded for the more pedantic accuracy! But hey, it's not that bad after all.
Just for the record: I have not said that Penguin in Bondage was an original 1988 song aimed at Swaggart. The recording of Penguin in Bondage on TBBYNHIYL which is aimed at Swaggart was used as an example for the "entertainment" and "social comment" quality of the shows. Just that.
Thanks for the remaining comments and the obvious links I missed to place in the Entry.
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