Broadway The Hard Way


Original Vinyl Track List

Side One

  1. Elvis Has Just Left The Building 2:24
  2. Planet Of The Baritone Women 2:48
  3. Any Kind Of Pain 5:42
  4. Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk 9:15
    • Medley includes "Twilight Zone Theme" (Marius Constant)

Side Two

  1. Dickie's Such An Asshole 6:37
  2. When The Lie's So Big 3:38
  3. Rhymin' Man 3:51
  4. Promiscuous 2:03
  5. The Untouchables (Nelson Riddle) 3:05


The Cover Art

FZ, interviewed by Michael Heinze, July 30, 1990

In the case of A. West, he showed me a portfolio, and I hired him to do the Broadway The Hard Way cover, and then to do the illustrations of the book.

Den Simms, "They're Doing The Interview Of The Century," Society Pages, April, 1990

DS: I have a tape [audio] copy of that too. I'll go back and listen to that, think of what that is. Let's talk about A. West. He was pretty cool doin' his preacher thing. How did your involvement with him come about? Did you meet him as somebody who was gonna illustrate for your book, or meet him and find out that he was an illustrator, also? How did that come about?

FZ: Well, first I was doing business with a printing company that showed me these things (FZ hands Den a book of "Rev. A. West World Salvation stamps") 'cause they had done some work for A. West.

DS: Reverend A. West World Salvation stamps. . .these are great! (laughs)

FZ: Take 'em!... Uh, then I was introduced to him by Jeff Stein, who worked on Dweezil's "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" video. And then I saw some of his work. He did some logos for me and some other illustrations. He did the album cover for Broadway The Hard Way, and then he did illustrations for the book.

DS: The work he did on your book was really fantastic.

FZ: That took a long time.

DS: Yeah, and there was a unity of all of those things. It was...

FZ: Well, the way that was done was he'd come over here and we'd go chapter by chapter through the book, and I'd tell him my ideas for what oughta be, y'know, how to illustrate what I was talking about. Then he would do sketches, and some of 'em were not approved by the publisher. They wouldn't let him put some of the things in there.

DS: So there was some things that you guys wanted to have in there that didn't make it?

FZ: Yeah. One of the problems was the publisher was very adamant about the size of the book. It only had to be a certain number of pages. Some of the other decisions as to what to leave out were based on, they felt the illustrations were in bad taste, or something like that. And there's nothin' that I could do about it because it's not my publishing company.

DS: I noticed that there certainly was continuity among all those...

FZ: The Nu-Perfect America Company...

DS: Yeah. There was that and the Frank Zappa with the clothing from the back cover photo, and all that...

FZ: Yeah.

DS: But just in the way that the style that he drew those illustrations, and such. There was an element of continuity throughout that I found really pleasing. I just thought he did a really outstanding job.

FZ: Well, so you'll understand, it's another one of those things like "Mississippi Mud" that you don't know about. The whole illustrational style in there is derived from a type of cartoon approach that was in American popular literature in the early part of the century. It's got that, the whole old-fashioned type of illustration to it. So it's a parody of that kind of Americana that he's doing.


Synclavier & Samples

Mike Keneally, "Really, Keneally?,"

Q: There is a tremendous amount of apparently impromptu sample triggering on TBBYNHIYL, MAJNH, and BTHW. Did everyone in the band have the ability to trigger samples (like "The Sam Kinison Scream" or "It's Hot" or "Fire And Chains") whenever they felt the urge, or was just one person doing all that?

A: Frank had a switching system whereby he could allow one of three different guys to trigger Synclavier samples, either Ed, Chad or Bobby. Plus of course Frank himself had access to the keyboard at any time. Also Ed had a huge library of samples he'd compiled himself. I'd say Ed was responsible for about 65% of the injections, with Frank handling about 30%, Chad occasionally receving something and Bobby rarely.


1. Elvis Has Just Left The Building

FZ, interviewed by Dan Ouellette, Pulse! Magazine, August, 1993

There's one [request] from a young filmmaker in upstate New York who wants to use "Elvis Has Just Left the Building" from the Broadway the Hard Way album to conclude a mock documentary he's making of current Elvis sightings.

He gave away Cadillacs once in a while

"Cadillacs That Elvis Gave Away," Elvis's Cadillacs

Elvis's generosity, especially in giving gifts of automobiles to friends, family, associates and complete strangers was legendary, as was his preference for Cadillac cars. Sometimes he would test drive them himself for a few days before giving them away.

Probably one of the earliest occasions Elvis gave a Cadillac away was when he gave a 1954 convertible to Sam Phillips of Sun Records in late 1955.


2. Planet Of The Baritone Women


3. Any Kind Of Pain

When she's in a bold mood,
"Confinement Loaf" sounds good—

Frank Zappa Tour 88—Broadway The Hard Way (1988)

When she's in a bold mood,
NUKE-YA-LER sounds good


4. Dickie's Such An Asshole (The San Clemente Magnetic Deviation)

CNN ran a story last week about this new product that has been developed for our prison system. It is called "Confinement Loaf." Now what it is it's, uh, bean by-products compressed into a loaf, which is administered to problem prisoners. Their diet will be a slice of "Confinement Loaf" and a cup of water, and it seems to mellow them out right away. So my question is: How long before "Confinement Loaf" appears in United States High Schools?

Mike Keneally, "February 13, 1988," 1988 Was A Million Years Ago, 1998

[Confinement Loaf] was a unifying thread between the three Washington shows, as well as tonight's first show in Pittsburgh—not Pittsburgh, where am I? Philadelphia. I'm in Philadelphia right now. It's true, it's true, what they say about being on the road, you forget where you are. Um, confinement loaf is something that Ike had seen a report about on CNN, which is some kind of bean by-product mixed with water, and formed into a loaf shape as if to resemble meat loaf. And this is served to problem inmates in prisons, people with behavioral maladjustments, and this stuff, whatever it is, bean curd, is supposed to calm them down. The bad attitude people get taken care of right away. And the name of this stuff is confinement loaf, although I think that might have been just the name which Ike invented to describe it, I'm not totally straight on that. Ike told Frank about it and this was naturally right up Frank's alley, so many lyrics were suitably altered.

"Prisons To Try 'Confinement Loaf'," The Day, February 8, 1988

RAIFORD, Fla.—Florida prison officials have a new weapon against unruly inmates, and they're hoping prisoners don't have the stomach for it. Beginning Feb. 15, problem inmates at two prisons will find their diet limited to the confinement loaf, a bland mixture of beans and other ingredients that might form a normal meal. The loaf resembles meat loaf or banana bread, but only in appearance. No spices are added to the mixture, which is blended with water, then formed into a loaf and baked.


5. When The Lie's So Big

Scott Thunes, "1988 Tour Horn Charts," Zappateers, September 29, 2019

I recall only one horn part coming fully-formed out of an evening of Frank messing around in his Synclavier submenus to generate the ugly chart that turned into When The Lie's So Big. Once in the past I remember mentioning that the only 'part' I ever received in rehearsals for 88 was for this song.

(Pinch it good!
You know, that confinement loaf is real good stuff
Hey, you oughta try some!)


6. Rhymin' Man


7. Promiscuous

FZ, interviewed by Jon Winokur, 1992

If it wasn't for rap there would be no poetry in America. I think we went directly from Walt Whitman to Ice-T.

Is Doctor Koop a man to trust?
It seems at least that Reagan must
(And Ron's a trusting sort of guy—
He trusts Ed Meese
I wonder why?)

FZ, interviewed by Bill Camarata, Scene, March, 1988

We know who talks to us on television once in a while, but we don't know who the president is, and that's the real problem! Because it used to be Bill Casey, but he's dead, and then it was kind of Oliver North, but now he's unemployed, so who the f**k is doin' it? We know that the guy we see on TV is doin' nothing except taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe it's Ed Meese. That would explain some of the ignorant policy decisions that are comin' out of there. That's right there in line with his average of brilliant decisions. In the news, when they were talking about Ronald Reagan and Ed Meese, the line was "almost brothers." Remember that one?


8. The Untouchables

FZ, interviewed by Den Simms, Eric Buxton and Rob Samler, Society Pages, April, 1990

DS: What led up to you playing the Untouchables Theme? How did that come about?

FZ: I think that's a great piece of music. That's a genius TV theme, and I've always liked it. One day, we were in Chicago at a sound check, and I said, "We should play The Untouchables". But nobody could remember exactly how it went. So Laurel Fishman went to a television station, and got a cassette, this TV station was running The Untouchables there, and talked somebody at the station into making a little audio cassette of the theme. We brought it back to the sound check. We listened to the cassette through the speakers that played into the room. The horn players went over and stood next to the speakers and they listened . . . (to Eric) Were you there at that soundcheck?

EB: Yeah, I was there.

FZ: Alright! And they listened carefully and each guy picked out his own part out of this thing, and they sketched out their parts, and that's how we learned The Untouchables.


9. Why Don't You Like Me?


10. Bacon Fat

"Check out the politics
Practiced by this oaf
And if they ain't just right
Feed him Confinement Loaf."

Mike Keneally, "February 13, 1988," 1988 Was A Million Years Ago, 1998

[On February 10, Washington, DC,] from ["Sinister Footwear"] it went into "Bacon Fat" which we haven't played so far on the tour, but it wasn't "Bacon Fat", it's been changed to "Confinement Loaf". [...] So for "Bacon Fat" Frank completely rewrote the lyrics, and it also contained references to "CBS News Nightwatch"—I'm trying to remember how the second verse went: "Then I went and did some network T.V./His name was Charlie and he listened to me/He said "What about this song about Pat?"/I said "He's lame, can we agree upon that?"/"If that is so, then who should we back?"/I said "Let's get Mario and watch those Nazis react". 'Cause Frank likes Mario Cuomo. I'm trying to remember how the first verse went, it had something to do with some people not wanting Frank to play in their town because he is an "oaf", they don't like the political views of this "oaf", we should get him a corner and give him "loaf" or something like that.

(1998 comment: the version of "Confinement Loaf" which was released under the name "Bacon Fat" on the "Broadway The Hard Way" CD contains only the first verse which I was just trying to remember, omitting the entire second verse quoted above, as well as virtually all (except for the final bar) of a new second chorus which was added later in the tour: "We oughta be draftin' him, draftin' him, draftin' him, draftin' him, draftin' him, draftin' him, draftin' him, draftin' him, NOW." This is the source of the single word "NOW" which closes the released version of the song. The "Charlie" in the omitted second verse is Charlie Rose, who was then the anchor of "CBS News Nightwatch".)

FZ, interviewed by Den Simms, Society Pages, April, 1990

Den Simms: Particularly in "Confinement Loaf" that second verse had some references to Charlie Rose and the Nightwatch interview, I wondered if that had anything to do with anything.

FZ: No.

Den Simms: Just an artistic choice on your part?

FZ: Artistic choice. I don't have anything against Charlie Rose.


11. Stolen Moments


12. Murder By Numbers


13. Jezebel Boy

Mike Keneally, "February 14, 1988," 1988 Was A Million Years Ago, 1998

[Philadelphia, February 13, 1988] Following ["Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue"], "Jezebel Boy"—another tour premiere, as I recall... (1998 comment: It was in fact the only time we ever played "Jezebel Boy", and although it was loaded with mistakes, it's this version which by default ended up on "Broadway The Hard Way". Why we didn't play more versions for Frank to choose from [we rehearsed it at least 100 times in Los Angeles] I do not understand.)


14. Outside Now


15. Hot-Plate Heaven At The Green Hotel


16. What Kind Of Girl?

I get off being spoo-ed upon [...]
This unfortunate little vixen wouldn't let just ANYBODY
Spoo all over her lap—


17. Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk

While you all smell the glove

Henry Cisneros, ladies and gentlemen!

"San Antonio Passes Nation's First Ordinance Forbidding Children to Attend Rock Concerts," Los Angeles Times, November 16, 1985

Council members voted Thursday night to approve an ordinance, backed by Mayor Henry G. Cisneros, to ban children age 13 and under from rock concerts at city-owned facilities.

"This is not a violation of the First Amendment, and I think the courts will prove that out," Cisneros said. "This is saying that, in San Antonio, we are prepared to try to take a reasonable legal position that young children need not be exposed to whatever (philosophies) some rock groups . . . happen to have."

FZ, interviewed by Den Simms, Society Pages, September, 1990

DS: What happened with Henry Cisneros (mayor of San Antonio Texas), and all that?

FZ: Henry Cisneros had a little embarrassing situation to his political career down there. Didn't he wind up having a girlfriend, or something, and have some political problems about a year ago? Yeah, I don't know what happened to his career.

DS: But the health ordinance that he was . . .

FZ: That's on the books, as far as I can tell.

DS: So, I mean, down there, they can tell you that . . .

FZ: It's unhealthful to go to rock [concerts].

(Hey, look! Godzilla!)

FZ, quoted by Suzy Caowan, New Music Magazine, April, 1976 [English translation by Tan Mitsugu]

I've been studying monster movies for a long time. I'm very interested in Japanese special effect techniques. And fireworks and explosives are interesting, too. On the contrary, American monster movies are not interesting, as they don't have a human touch. It's only Japanese people who invented a monster that shoots out a ring of smoke when he is stomped on his tail. Mother Godzilla steps on Baby Godzilla's tail, and then, a ring of smoke is coming out from Baby's mouth [Son Of Godzilla (1967)]. It's definitely an excellent art.



Additional informant: Charles Ulrich

Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
Original provocation by Vladimir Sovetov
This page updated: 2020-02-13