Chunga's Revenge

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared:

Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1):

Comments:

Touring versions from Foggy G's We're Only In It For The Touring:

1970 (Hot Rats Band): BOLERO IN G (Chunga's Revenge) (7:04)—Having first appeared late in the '69 tour, this is the second performance of what would one week later be "Chunga's Revenge". While the "Chunga's" theme is easily recognizable, here it is slow and slightly tweaked. Sounds like the album version with the pitch and tempo misadjusted. Interesting, and competent, just a little jarring. Frank plays the main theme, followed by the abrupt intro (meaning the riff that opens the album version), while Dunbar plays much more actively than in your typical "Chunga's Revenge". Frank takes a solo—nothing great but not bad—before returning to the main theme.
CHUNGA'S REVENGE (24:12)—In seven days, Frank took a mangled piece of music known as "Bolero in G" and transformed it into the instrumental powerhouse known as "Chunga's Revenge". This performance is as powerful as always, with the strong opening theme, followed by a series of equally strong solos. Frank extends this early performance beyond its solo-vehicle expectancy, and churns out some thoroughly exciting and spine—tingling music. The first series of solos runs about 13 minutes, containing an Underwood saxophone solo, a Harris keyboard solo, and a jazzy, melodical Frank solo. These solos are all great, and made even more so by Bennett's ever-shifting bass lines, and Dunbar's thunderous drumming. After the obligatory drum solo, Bennett returns to the "Chunga's" theme with a slow, death march take on the main riff. Frank abruptly enters the scene, with a full-blown psychedelic mangling of the theme. The bass player continues with his methodical plodding, leading the jam with a slow, walking bass line, gradually building in intensity thanks to the impetus of Frank's rhythm. Over this, Harris whips out the violin solo of his life, producing musical blasphemy for four exhausting minutes. The sounds Sugarcane wrangles out of his violin must be heard to be believed. The whole band eventually coalesces back into one, before Frank takes off for yet another solo, exploring the stratosphere for three more minutes. Finally, 24 minutes after the insanity began, the music stops, and everyone scrambles to find their minds. Heaven.

1970 Jun-Dec: Essentially performed as on "Chunga's Revenge", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's solo. This tune is apparently only performed once on this tour.

1972 (Grand Wazoo): Essentially performed as on "Chunga's Revenge", with the standard deviation coming in Frank's quite lengthy guitar solo. Frank chose to use a smaller band for this encore treat, and thus we get the leaner, meaner "Chunga", played without the brass and woodwind sections.

1972 (Petit Wazoo): Essentially performed as on "Chunga's Revenge", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in the solos. For this tour, we get at least two solos—first a horn solo, a return to the opening riff, and then the standard Frank solo. This is the standard progression of this tune, though occasionally Frank would give an additional member of the band a chance to wreak his revenge.

1973 and 1973-74: Played as part of the "Mr. Green Genes-> King Kong-> Chunga's Revenge-> Mr. Green Genes" medley. As far as the main theme goes, all we get is the abrupt guitar intro as it appears on the album, followed by a Frank Zappa guitar solo played over the "Chunga's" bass line. Upon completion of his solo, Frank would segue into the melody of "Mr. Green Genes", at which point the band would follow suit and ease into the medley closing tune.

1975 Apr-May: During a lengthy "Pound for a Brown" performance on 4/19, Frank segues into this tune during his guitar solo. The band hesitantly follows suit, performing a ricketey version of the calm theme and abrupt guitar segue. Brock immediately begins soloing upon completion of this tease, though the accompanying vamp relates more to the "Pound for a Brown" jam than the typical "Chunga's Revenge" vamp. After a series of solos, and a Beefheart "Crazy Little Thing" tease, the entire band brings this jam to an end by returning to the "Chunga's Revenge" theme, with this later version being more confident and powerful.

1975-76: Essentially performed as on "Chunga's Revenge", allowing for obvious differences in instrumentation, and with the standard deviation coming in the solos. For the lengthy solo section, Brock goes first, followed by Lewis, with Frank concluding the affair. Frank's solos are consistently excellent in this song, with Frank exploring a variety of different textures and styles throughout the tour. The early solos tend to be more straightforward journeys, while his later explorations delve into different musical styles and directions. For the 10/31 performances, Norma Bell takes an excellent alto sax solo during this song, concluding her moment in the spotlight with some soulful improvised singing.

1980 and 1981: Essentially performed as a show opening, guitar solo vehicle. The song begins rather calmly, with the bass-prominent main theme and no abrupt guitar intro as on the studio release. Once the main theme is played through, then we get the aforementioned guitar part, which drops us off into Frank's solo. Upon the conclusion of the solo, the bass theme would then be used as the vamp for the band introductions.

1984: Sadly, we have no live versions of this anywhere in the official catalog, do we? Quite a shame. On this tour, the song did not begin with the aggressive guitar riff that opens the studio track. Instead, on this tour, and the other '80's tours, the tune starts with the mellow bass line and main theme, then heads into the aforementioned guitar part, before heading into solo territory. For the most part, Frank was the only one to take a solo on this tour for this song, except on 7/22, when Denny Walley and Bruce Fowler joined the band for this final encore, with Ansley Dunbar guesting also on drums. Also, apart from this 7/22 performance, the song was used in the opening spot only.

1988: Essentially performed as the standard "Chunga's" guitar solo vehicle. The song begins rather calmly, with the bass-prominent main theme and no abrupt guitar intro as on the studio release. Once the main theme is played through, then we get the aforementioned guitar part, which drops us off into Frank's solo. Unfortunately, the song is only performed twice on the tour—once on each leg. (And when will "Trance-Fusion" be released to right the horrible wrong made by the exclusion of not a single live performance of "Chunga's" in the official catalog? A travesty.)

 

 

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