Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention


1. I Don't Even Care

Scott Thunes, March 19, 2001

"I Don't Even Care" is a sad affair. The basic track was a sound-check track that I loved playing on, and was very happy with the groove and all. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the bass channel on that recording, so Artie had to record a brand new bass part on the bassless groove. I HATED THAT. I was so excited that Frank decided to use that particular groove, as we so rarely used soundcheck tracks for permanent recorded artifacts. So that's that.

Different Edits

European LP (1986)/Rykodisc CD (1995) EMI CD (1990)/Understanding America (2012)
0:00-2:09 0:00-2:09
2:29-2:52 2:09-2:31
3:12-3:22 2:31-2:41
3:33-4:39 2:41-3:47


3. Little Beige Sambo


5. We're Turning Again

FZ, interviewed by John Swenson, Guitar World, March, 1982

It is just a comment on the fact that as we head into the Dark Ages again you will hear only ten songs for the rest of your life. And I think a little variety never hurt. [...]

It's a tribute to anybody who did anything in rock and roll that set the standards for what people are doing now, and often copying in a bad way. You know, to me the original stuff . . . it's just like the original rhythm and blues records. There's nothing like it. A lot of those same things are being re-recorded again and recorded cleaner and nicer and better and whatever, faster. But it's not the same. And it's really not New Wave and it's not improved anything. It's just today's freeze-dried version of the mannerisms of another form of music that already happened.

Dey looked like DONOVAN fans

Singin': "JIMI COME BACK!"

Steve Vai, interviewed by Tom Mulhern, Guitar Player, February, 1983

Like on "We're Turning Again" where I do Hendrix-style things—Adrian Belew rip-offs (laughs). Well, some nights it works, some nights it doesn't—just like Hendrix, I guess. As some magazine said about me, it's my never-ending quest to be more like Adrian Belew (laughs). No offense against Adrian—I love the way he plays.

Yo' HAZE was so PURPLE

It caused your AXIS to be BOLD AS LOVE

And set your stuff on FIRE

Through the canyons of your mind

WOOOH, we'll just jump in the bath-tub
With that other guy JIM
And make him be more careful

FZ, interviewed by John Swenson, Guitar World, March, 1982

I'm not even picking on Jim Morrison. I am talking about the machinery that takes anything and exaggerates it to the point where it's blown out of proportion and the public believes the inflated version of what the reality is. I am a realistic kind of a guy. I just try and look at things the way they are, take them for what they are, deal with them the way they are, and go on to the next case. But, Americans thrive on hype and bloated images and bloated everything, and anything that's realistic they turn away from. They want the candy gloss version of whatever it is. And Jim Morrison is only one example of that.


7. Yo Cats

Liner notes



Axel Wünsch, Aad Hoogesteger, Harald Hering and Achim Mänz, "Urban Leader: Ed Mann and Tommy Mars interviewed in Wuppertal 10.3.91," T'Mershi Duween, #18-19, April-May 1991

Q: How come your real name appears on 'Meets the Mothers of Prevention'?

T: Because I have publishing on that. In my publishing, I use my real name. For my family to make them feel proud. (To Ed) Did you ever get publishing on a tune pops?

E: No, you just caught him on a good moment.

Q: Do you know about Tommy getting some credits?

E: Oh sure, I was there, kind of.

T: You were there. You were in the room when he came in, when we were working on it . . .

E: It was in the producer's studio.

T: Yeah and he . . . No no, when he told me I got credit for it was up at the house later that night. We came back up to the house later on at night . . .

E: Oh that's when we were rehearsing at eh . . .

T: Yeah and Frank was in the booth doing some work and suddenly he came out and said 'I really feel like I want to give you co-writing on this because you did a lot there . . . '

E: It was 'Yo Cats'.

T: Yeah, and I was real surprised; I didn't expect it. That's the weird thing about Frank. Things you just never expect happen and then when you expect something, it never happens. Weird.

Play some footballs on your hoe
Watch your watch, play a little flat
Make the session go overtime, that's where it's at

David Ocker, The David Ocker Internet Interview, 1994-1995

Play some "footballs"—slang for a "whole note" and by extension an "easy gig" as in "there was nothing to play but footballs". The suggestion that a player would intentionally play badly to send the session into overtime is, um, rather unkind.

Your Girl, Arlyn's, what's the diff
What's the service that you're with
So long as you can suck the butt
Of the contractor who calls you up

David Ocker, The David Ocker Internet Interview, 1994-1995

"Your Girl" and "Arlyns" were answering services particularly geared to service professional studio musicians—for example, a contractor, wanting to hire a list of people for a date, could simply give the list to the answering service who would then call all the musicians for him—or better yet, the service would keep a copy of the players schedule and accept or deny the job and then inform the player where and when to show up.

Staying in close contact with "the service" is important—the contractors won't wait for ever for a reply and calls for last minute jobs can be the most lucrative.

Arthur Barrow, Of Course I Said Yes!, 2016, p. 49

There were entities called answering services for which a small monthly fee was charged. There were two that were used specifically by musicians: "Your Girl" and "Arlyn's." If someone dialed a number connected to a service and got no answer after a number of rings, the service would pick up the line and take a message about the gig or whatever. The musician could check in with the service to see if any calls had come in. As I recall, they even acted as a go-between for musicians, keeping track of their calendars to some extent. It was almost like having a secretary.


8. What's New In Baltimore?


9. Porn Wars

The PMRC and the Senate Hearings

Kevin Fobbs, February 23, 2005

I was a Michigan coordinator of PMRC, and like millions of parents all across America was worried about the recording industry's seemingly unabashed effort at repeatedly targeting minors like my child.

I did a live broadcast with recording artist Frank Zappa who was joined on the phone from Hollywood. When I challenged his frayed and faulty logic concerning the harm to the children of America, instead of being an adult and reasonable he simply hung up on me on the air. Zappa was not trying to protect children but his right to make music. He wanted to expose children to the destabilizing influence of music, which glorified sex, emphasized drug use and violence, and promoted the decay of the family. That was his world and it was the world that Hollywood reflected as well.

FZ, interviewed by Don Menn & Matt Groening, "The Mother Of All Interviews, Act II," Zappa!, 1992, p. 51

DM: When you were at the Senate in '85, were you serious or funny?

I thought I was funny.

DM: Did they?

Well, the audience did. They kept telling the audience to shut up. The atmosphere there was really very strange, because the hearing itself was such a mongrelization. It took place in the Science, Commerce, and Transportation Committee—the least likely place in all of the U.S. government you'd think that the matter of rock lyrics should be brought up. The reason it was there was that five of the members of the committee had wives who had signed the original PMRC letter, and they were using it as a photo op, and it was wildly attended. There were 50 still photographers and something like 30 video teams. It was a big media event. And one of the senators said, "I've been on committees dealing with the MX, the budget, this thing, that thing, and I have never seen anything like this in my life." It was the hot ticket of 1985.

DM: What do you mean, he'd never seen anything like it?

The media zoo that sprang up around the issue. One of the stars of the hearing was Paula Hawkins, the Nancy Reagan lookalike from Florida—she had the reputation of being the least effective senator; she was really a disaster. Another one of her outstanding features was that all the Watergate burglars had found employment in her office in Florida. She was just this miserable thing. She wasn't a member of the committee, but she was having trouble getting re-elected, so Danforth, who was the chairman of the committee, did her a favor—one Republican to another—and allowed her to participate in the media circus, make some comments, and, you know, to grill me. She was the one who wanted to know what kind of toys my children had.

Johnny Guitar Watson: YEAH!

FZ, quoted by Paul Gilby, Sound On Sound, February, 1987

You know, when you look at individual frames of sound, each one has a microtonal pitch to it, and when they are played back really fast, it gives you the illusion that you are hearing a replica of the real instrument. A bit like movie film where you have 24 separate image frames per second to re-create the movement. It's like really tiny tuning discrepancies from frame to frame. So you can re-pitch the frames how you like. For example, you could choose to pitch them to the exact tuning of a keyboard so that when you hit a single note on the keyboard, instead of getting "Laah," which may sound like a real instrument, you get a "melismic" effect—a quick melody line. And since the Synclavier has four partials that you can stack this on, you can plan to have four different harmony parts which move in different directions resolving to something at the end. So, we call these things either "resolvers" or "evolvers."

Evolvers are timbres that start with one kind of a sound in re-synthesis, and you take a certain number of frames from that, and they cross-fade into another timbre. For example, a horn could fade into a clarinet and then into a string section over a pre-determined time.

Resolvers are a classification of sound which has some sort of melody line built into it, but all under control of one key on the keyboard. This is an example of the technique and it was derived from one sample of Johnny Guitar Watson's voice; I think he was originally saying "Yeah!."


Senator Hawkins: I'd be interested to see what toys your kids ever had.
FZ: Why would you be interested?
Senator Hawkins: Just as a point of interest in this . . .
FZ: Well, come on over to the house. I'll show 'em to you . . . Really!
Senator Hawkins: I . . . I might do that.

Tom Brown, quoted by Drew51, Zappateers, December 20, 2010

Somehow the conversation got around to the PMRC hearings which triggered Frank to tell us that he had actually invited Paula Hawkins over to the house several times.

John Swenson, "Frank Zappa—A Misunderstood Man," Register-Pajaronian, April 28, 1988

"I actually called her office later and said I'm serious, I'll give you a date, c'mon over. Her aides laughed about it, but Paula didn't have much of a sense of humor," Zappa said.

Senator Gore: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I found your statement very interesting and, ah, let me say although I disagree with some of the statements that you make and have made on other occasions, I have been a fan of your music, believe it or not. And I, I, ah, respect you as a true original and a tremendously talented musician.

Tom Brown, quoted by Drew51, Zappateers, December 20, 2010

[FZ] began to pontificate about Al Gore, who had also been present and one of the senators lording over the hearings. Referring to Al's statement, "I've been a big fan of your music," Frank took a long drag on his cigarette, raised an eyebrow and exhaled, "It makes a guy wonder. What was he listening to? Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Lumpy Gravy?", as we all enjoyed a good laugh at the expense of Al Gore.

John Swenson, "Frank Zappa—A Misunderstood Man," Register-Pajaronian, April 28, 1988

"I wonder what albums Albert Gore ever had," Zappa mused, "or what sort of activities he and Tipper were engaged in while they were listening to my records. "And what about the drum set in the basement? Tipper apparently used to be a drummer. So what if one of the Bangles were suddenly to get sick, would Tipper be a substitute Bangle? That would be some photo opportunity."


10. H.R. 2911



Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
Original provocation by Vladimir Sovetov
This page updated: 2018-04-18