Dragon Master

(lyrics by FZ/music by Dweezil Zappa)

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

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: Can you tell us some more about the song 'Dragonmaster'?

E: I don't know what the titles mean. The titles always change. But yeah, I think we did it in a soundcheck.

Q: Stockholm or Helsinki; one of those shows.

E: Not Stockholm, because the truck broke down. Maybe Helsinki. I remember him saying 'This is Dragonmaster'. I don't remember what it sounds like; we just did that one day.

Dirk Laforce

Dragonmaster: was performed at a soundcheck before the May 1, 1988 concert in Stockholm, Sweden (Mike Keneally's notes about 1988 soundcheck confirms this).

Mike Keneally, 1988 Was A Million Years Ago (May 8, 1988)

I woke up the next day in Stockholm, and I'm about to run out of tape here I think. Just in case I'm not, I'll tell you that Vivian showed up the following morning in Stockholm, and at the soundcheck in Stockholm, we played another new chart with six series of chord changes [click!]

Continued, and a bunch of scales to accompany the chord changes. And a brand new heavy metal song called Dragonmaster, and Sofa, as usual, and Dupree's Paradise.

Mike Keneally, Mike Keneally With Dweezil Zappa and Z

None of the leftover "Shampoohorn" tracks were used for "MFP", and there were some really good leftovers, particularly the infamous "Dragonmaster" which has lyrics by Frank Zappa and music by Dweezil, and a great jam with Bozzio called "Therapy".

Dweezil Zappa, interviewed in T'Mershi Duween #22, May 8, 1991

Can you tell me about 'Dragonmaster'?
The infamous 'Dragonmaster'. Yeah, Frank wrote the lyrics to it, I guess, in Stockholm. I heard it in various bits and pieces, but never in an arrangement that I thought was quite appropriate for it. Frank's not up on his thrash metal, so he suggested to me one night "Why don't we do 'Dragonmaster'?" So I wrote basically the ugliest music that I could possibly write. It's meant to be done as a bit of a joke, really. It's a send up of speed metal and all that stuff. It's pretty good though.

Is it going to be released in the future?
Maybe on the next record, but it's got such satanic lyrics I could get myself into trouble.

Dweezil Zappa, interviewd by Gary Krow, Rolling Stone, October 16, 2015

"In the late Eighties, when heavy metal still topped the charts, Frank told me about a new song he had written and he had a look on his face that indicated there was something special about it," Dweezil says. "I asked him the name of it, and he said with [a] smile, 'Dragon Master.' I grew up being inspired by early metal guitarists like Tony Iommi and Randy Rhoads. My dad told me I should write the music for the song and he handed me the lyrics. They are filled with epic metal imagery. I tried to match the intensity of the lyrics with a riff reeking of classic metal."

The song's lyrics contain purposely silly, over-the-top turns of phrase like "Satan is the dragon master/Bringer of total disaster" and "leather children are bound in chains." Shawn Albro, previously of the hard-rock group U.P.O., sings the tune's predictably wacky vocal line. "The lyrics to 'Dragon Master' definitely have humor to them," Dweezil says. "I wanted to juxtapose that by making the music deadly serious. I infused the nasty sound of the riff with an Arabic motif that I played on the oud. I also reinforced that motif with a string quartet."

Andrew Greenaway, "Chin-Wag In De Bush-Wop," The Idiot Bastard, October 17, 2015

IB: When I first interviewed you in 1991 we talked a little about Dragon Master. It's great to finally have your version out there. You've cleaned it up a bit though—you've left out Frank's rather 'parental advisory' lyrics at the end.

DZ: Well that crazy 'dragon masturbate', all that stuff, that wasn't in his lyrics. That was something that when we did a version with Z, that was a thing that just became this joke—it was like "Drag! Dragon! Dragon Mast! Dragon Master! Dragon Masturbates!" None of that stuff was in there originally.

IB: I detect Ahmet's input there.

DZ: Yeah. So none of that stuff was in Frank's original lyrics. But even so, the lyrics that are in my version, I did also change it a little bit, because there was "Dragon whore! Expose your vent! Your Master's vengeance must be spent!" A great lyric, but what I decided to do when I put this together, I wanted it to have the feeling of a classic metal tune and originally I was gonna see if I could get somebody like Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson to sing it. But chances are good that those lyrics are not gonna be inspiring for them to want to sing it. So I just tweaked a couple of lines so that it still had the overall feel of this master of dragons, but it's something that could potentially be on metal radio.

IB: The 1988 band did a rendition of it during rehearsals in Stockholm—you didn't use that as a reference?

DZ: The only time I ever heard it was during that sound check. Frank had put something together, but then after the sound check, that's when he handed me the lyrics and said, "You should write the music for this," because he didn't really have a riff for it. It was more like, as far as I can remember, just a chord progression type of thing—not like a blues progression, but a standardised kinda thing. He really didn't create a major riff for it, which is what he thought it needed and that's when he said that. I used to have a version that I played in Z that had more speed metal and other stuff in it. At that time, I went along more with the joke of the whole thing—you know, let's put the humour at the forefront. But I did the opposite for this version. What I wanted to do was feel like I was playing it deadly serious so that the average metal person—an Iron Maiden, Dio or Judas Priest fan—they won't hear a joke in it at all. But there are still things in it that make me laugh. There's a line in it that says, "Hate the day! Hate the light!", and I told the guy singing it, Shawn Albro, you've got to add an extra syllable to the word 'light'. He says, "What do you mean?" I said, "Like Ronnie James Dio—sort of, 'Hate the day! Hate the light-ahh!'" And he's like, "You mean make it cool?" And I'm like "Yes!" So it's got stuff like that, all these metalisms that to me make it funny.

 

The lyrics

Zonx (p. 634)

The dragon spreads
His leather wings!
His rancid breath
Sets fire to things!
The pox-ed peasants
Fear the sound—
Destruction follows
All around!
They cry in fear:
"The end is near!
The King of Dragons'
Burnin' here!"

Screaming in his
Metal Tower,
Voice commanding
Evil Power—
Causing flame
To rise and dance—
("There goes England;
Now it's France!
Now it's time for Germany,
With flames as far as we can see!")

Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold disaster!
Leather children
Bound in chains;
Fever burning
In their brains—
Hate the day;
Hate the light—
Dragon Master
Rules the night

He lifts his head
We hear him roar:
Bring to me
The Dragon Whore!
Now behold:
His Dragon Prong—
It weighs a ton;
It's ten feet long!
Dragon Whore! Expose your vent!
Your Master's vengeance must be Spent!
Hear your Master call to you—
Now gargle down His steaming spoo!

Z version

Transcription by Charles Ulrich. Special thanks to Gary Cox.

Mommy, I want to be a dragon master

The dragon spreads
His leather wings!
His rancid breath
Sets fire to things!
The pox-ed peasants
Fear the sound—
Destruction follows
All around!
They cry in fear:
"The end is near!
The King of Dragons'
Burnin' here!"

Ah, [come together]
Satan!

Screaming in his
Metal Tower,
Voice commanding
Evil Power—
Causing flame
To rise and dance—
("There goes England;
Now it's France!
Now it's time for Germany,
With flames as far as we can see!")

Ah, [come together]
Satan!

Leather children
Bound in chains;
Fever burning
In their brains—
Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold disaster!

Dragon master
Dragon master

Shaking hands with the devil
Shaking hands with the devil
Shaking hands with the devil
His grip is
His grip is hot

He lifts his head
We hear him roar:
Bring to me
My Dragon Whore!
Now behold:
My Dragon Prong—
It weighs a ton;
It's ten feet long!
Dragon Whore! Expose your vent!
Your Master's vengeance must be Spent!
Hear your Master call to you—
Now gargle down my steaming spoo!

Drag
Dragon master
Satan

Leather children
Bound in chains;
Fever burning
In their brains-
Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold disaster!

Blessed art thou
Children of the dark
Who are not in heaven
Grant me my divine power
Of eternal evil
Allow me to spontaneously combust
In the name of Satan
Sending forth your legions of succubi
I call them legions
For they are many
I will gladly [...] unbaptized child
So that I may fly
Transform my deformed body
Into [...] power
So that I may punish the unbelievers
For their [...]
Amen

Drag
Dragon
Dragon mas
Dragon master
Dragon masturbate

Drag
Dragon
Dragon mas
Dragon master
Dragon masturbate

Shaking hands with the devil
Shaking hands with the devil
Shaking hands with the devil
His grip is
His grip is hot

Drag
Dragon
Dragon mas
Dragon master
Dragon masturbate
Dragon masturbated
Dragon masturbated on
Dragon masturbated on my
Dragon masturbated on my face
The dragon masturbated on my face

Dweezil Zappa, Via Zammata', 2015

Corrections by Charles Ulrich.

The dragon spreads
His leather wings!
His rancid breath
Sets fire to things!
The pox-ed peasants
Fear the sound—
Destruction follows
All around!
They cry in fear:
"The end is near!
The King of Dragons'
Burnin' here!"

Ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh

Screaming in his
Metal Tower,
Voice commanding
Evil Power—
Causing flame
To rise and dance—
("There goes England;
Now it's France!
Now it's time for Germany,
With flames as far as we can see!")

Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold disaster!
Leather children
Bound in chains;
Fever burning
In their brains—

Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold flaming disaster!
Total control
Is what he is after
Get on your knees
And obey your master

Hate the day;
Hate the light—
The Dragon Master
Rules the night
He lifts his head
We hear a roar:
Bring to me
Your Dragon Whore!
Hear your Master call to you—
The engines of his evil due

Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold disaster!
Leather children
Bound in chains;
Fever burning
In their brains—

Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold flaming disaster!
Total control
Is what he is after
Get on your knees
And obey your master

Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold disaster!
Leather children
Bound in chains;
Fever burning
Fever burning
Fever burning
In their brains—

Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Bringer of
Untold flaming disaster!
Total control
Is what he is after
Get on your knees
And obey your master

Satan is the
Dragon Master:
Get on your knees
And obey your master

Drag
Dragon
Dragon Mas
Dragon Master
Drag
Dragon
Dragon Mas
Dragon Master
Drag
Dragon
Dragon Mas
Dragon Master
Drag
Dragon
Dragon Mas
Dragon Master

 

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