The Original Recordings

Joe Chicarelli, interviewed by Richard Elen, Apogee, 2002

Boston-born Chiccarelli is not only mixing it: it turns out it was the first live recording he ever made, soon after he had started working with Zappa in the late 70s. Chiccarelli had moved West and was working in LA's Cherokee Studios when he landed his first gig with Zappa, engineering the album Sheik Yerbouti and subsequently several other Zappa discs. And this live project.

The show was recorded on 16 reels of 24-track analog, recorded on an Ampex MM1200 in Dave Hewitt's mobile truck. "It was a great show," Chiccarelli recalls.

FZ, interviewed by Ralph Denyer, Sound International, April/May, 1979

I've been amazed by the kind of separation I've been able to get on this last live recording we did in New York. We had the drums set up in a very strange place, they were up on the left-hand side of the stage with the drummer's back to the side-fills and a C24 mic overhead looking down at the whole set plus mics, not in but looking down at the tom toms—and the side-fills were loud. When I took the tapes into the studio there wasn't a homogenous amount of leakage from the side-fills in there. It was a very tolerable amount, kickdrum sounded tight, snare sounded good and all the rest of the drums. I take the bass direct, keyboards direct. All the guitar stuff was miked on the amps, I didn't bother taking direct on any of the (four) guitars.

[...] What I did with the stuff from New York was to mix it without any overdubs. It sounded fine and the audience recording was excellent. We had a total of 10 mics on the audience including two shotguns that were looking right down into the front row. Then there were three or four along the sides and a C24 in the centre and one at the back. The combination of all those signals gave a really full room sound plus proximity on all the things people were saying. All the applause sounds very realistic.


The Project

Carl Baugher, liner notes

After the 1978 Halloween shows (of which there were five, culminating with an approximately four-hour how on Halloween night), FZ went into the studio and physically excised masters from the original tapes with a razor blade. The stuff he liked best he compiled together on master reels. The rest of the stuff is scattered across dozens of reels. When it came time to put together this disc, the issue of sequencing, pacing and continuity became the order of the day. In other words, Joe and Dweezil needed to come up with about 70 minutes that played like a show [...]. The only answer was to go back to the vault, find all the original material, listen to it and decide what should go on the finished program. [...] The starting point, of course, were FZ's preferred performances. The result is that about half of the tunes you hear were FZ's personal choices and the other half were laboriously [...] compiled by Joe and Dweezil from the vault tapes.


Denny Walley & Janet The Planet

Andrew Greenaway, "Interview With Denny Walley," The Idiot Bastard, July 31, 2008

IB: How did you and Janet "The Planet" first get together?

DW: We first met in 1978. We were playing in New York at The Palladium, doing our annual Halloween shows. Frank filmed Baby Snakes the year before and Janet had no idea that she was included in the final film. When Frank saw her, he said "I'm so glad to see you here; you were so fantastic in my new movie." She was brought backstage and that is when I first met her. We started dating in April of 1987 and were married in August of '89.


2. Ancient Armaments

Screen menu credits

This from an FZ Build Reel.

This is Frank Zappa on Halloween and he's like Guy Lombardo on New Years!!

Wikipedia, April 25, 2011

Gaetano Alberto "Guy" Lombardo (June 19, 1902-November 5, 1977) was a Canadian, then American bandleader and violinist. [...] Lombardo's orchestra played at the "Roosevelt Grill" in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and their New Year's Eve broadcasts (which continued with Lombardo until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria) were a major part of New Year's celebrations across North America. Even after Lombardo's death, the band's New Year's specials continued for two more years on CBS.

DVD version vs. single version

Single version from The Frank Zappa AAA·FNR·AAA Birthday Bundle 21.Dec.2008 (2008) Halloween (2003)
0:00-1:43 0:21-2:04
1:43-2:06 2:16-2:33
2:06-3:38 3:04-4:35
3:38-4:07 4:49-5:19

3. Dancin' Fool

Hi! How ya doin'? Come up here. It's my little friend from TV, huh?

4. Easy Meat

Screen menu credits

This from an FZ Build Reel.


5. Magic Fingers

Screen menu credits

This from an FZ Build Reel.


7. Conehead

Screen menu credits

This from an FZ Build Reel.


8. "Zeets"

Screen menu credits

This from an FZ Build Reel.


9. Stink-Foot

Wait a minute. You look, you look very familiar. Are you the guy—you're the guy?! C'mere. Get up here. Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know how many of you people were at the Garrick Theatre in uh '67, in the olden days. There's probably very few of you left but, way back when, there were, there were these two guys that used to come to all the shows back then. Called themselves Loeb & Leopold. [...] You know what this guy used to do? You know what his idea of a good time was in those days? He would run up onto the stage And he would take the microphone and he would scream into it as loud as he could and then he would lay on the stage and wait for me to spit Pepsi-Cola all over his body, right?

FZ, interviewed by Steve Lyons and Batya Friedman, Option, March/April, 1987

You had a fairly regular audience [at the Garrick Theater] too.

There were some kids, by the time the show closed, they were crying. I would talk with them outside the thing. A couple of guys were there 40 times; they had the ticket stubs to prove it. They just loved it so much. I saw one of them in the audience when we were working in the Palladium in 1980 or '81. He was in the front row. His name is Mark Trotiner. He was all grown up.

Was he waving?

No, he wasn't waving. I recognized him.

And I said, "It's you!" Mark used to come to the Garrick Theater concerts with a friend of his. We called them "Loeb and Leopold." Their idea of a good time was one guy would get up and run screaming down the aisle and run to the stage screaming like he was insane and would come up on the stage and I would give him the microphone, and he would take it and he would scream at the top of his lungs into our horrible little PA system and fall in a heap on the floor, and then I would spit Coca-Cola all over his body. That's what he wanted me to do! We did it several times.

FZ with Peter Occhiogrosso, The Real Frank Zappa Book, 1989, p. 96

There were two suburban Jewish guys who attended the Garrick shows relentlessly. They called themselves 'Loeb & Leopold' (not the real 'Loeb & Leopold,' but an incredibly lifelike simulation). They came to at least thirty shows.

At the end of our run they came backstage, opened up their wallets and, with tears in their eyes, showed me all their ticket stubs. They loved the Garrick shows.

One of the guys—I'm pretty sure his name was Mark Trottiner—liked to run up the aisle, jump on stage, grab the microphone out of my hand and scream into it as loud as he could. Then he would fall on the stage, roll over like a dog and urge me to spit Pepsi-Cola all over his body. What a crowd-pleaser.

Ten years later, I was doing a Halloween show at the Palladium, and I looked out into the audience and thought I saw him. It had to be him. I said, "Aren't you the guy who used to?" It was him. He grew up to become a record distributor in Queens.



Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
This page updated: 2018-07-29