Burnt Weeny Sandwich


The Title

Dwight Bement (quoted in Splat's Zappapage)

When I lived with Ronnie [Williams], we must have had a lot of time on our hands. We showed FZ the benefits of burnt weinie sandwiches. We smoked up Ronnie's kitchen pretty good during these sessions.


The Cover Art

Property From The State Of Frank & Gail Zappa, November 4th, 2016, Los Angeles, CA, Julien's Auctions, 2016, p. 177

Julien's Auctions


An assemblage created by Cal Schenkel that was used on the cover of The Mothers of Invention 1970 album Burnt Weeny Sandwich. The mixed media collage is mounted to particle board.

18 1/4 by 14 1/2 inches


Calvin Schenkel, interviewed by Barry Miles, "The Grand Wazoo," Mojo, 1994

Originally done for an Eric Dolphy album, Moop Record, that Frank was supposed to produce. "It took about a day. I found all these interesting things and it just went together very quickly. But then the project was cancelled and the piece of art just sat there. Then Frank used it for Burnt Weenie."

Calvin Schenkel, interviewed by Steven Cerio, Seconds #32, 1995

Burnt Weenie Sandwich was done much earlier for another project when we were still in New York, which was around the time of Lumpy Gravy and We're Only In It For The Money. It was done for a project that Frank got involved in with Alan Douglas. We were going to be supplying advertising and packaging for a little label that Alan Douglas was starting, Moop. There were some ads done—crazy comic strip stuff, very surrealistic. Then I did a series of covers—I don't remember what most of them were—but Burnt Weenie Sandwich was originally done for an Eric Dolphy album. Then at the last minute Alan Douglas backed out. That piece of art sat around for a couple of years and then Frank decided to use it. At the time he decided to use it, we had a minor falling out. I was out of the picture and he had this nice piece of art and decided to use it for Burnt Weenie Sandwich.

Cal Schenkel, alt.fan.frank-zappa, October 2, 1997

Art early 67 -NY. Assemblage. Layout by John Williams. The assemblage on this album cover was originally done for an Eric Dolphy album (Moop Records) that never happened. So Frank decided to use it here. BC photo by CS of Ian chewing on the very corrugated sole of his very tasty little sucker, from that first MOI Euro-tour. As well as the two stage shots inside—(center right: rehearsal at Albert Hall). The shot of Don (l) is from Apostolic Studios (solarized & developed in the bedroom closet of Franks Charles St. NY apartment).

95RR-inlay: Previously unused promo-photo by Ed Caraeff of the ever growing Mothers. (captured directly from the moldy contact sheet)

Calvin Schenkel, interviewed by Dan Nadel, Eye #53, 2001

Frank had this project called 'Moop', which was a line of albums produced by record producer Alan Douglas that Frank was supposed to create album covers and advertisements for, like a creative agency job. I did some work for it, but Douglas thought they were too weird, and out of that came the cover for Burnt Weenie Sandwich, which was initially an Eric Dolphy cover, and some interesting ads as well.

Calvin Schenkel, Cal Schenkel Magazine, September, 1981

The story behind MOOP:

MOOP was kind of a thrown-together record company (by Alan Douglas [...]) for the purpose of releasing some tapes of Muddy Waters, Richie Havens and some other artists that I can't remember. These tapes were, as I recall, of somewhat suspicious origins. Alan Douglas came to Frank to have his ad agency NT&B (Nifty, Tough and Bitchin') prepare a series of ads and album covers. I did these two ads which ran in "The Hit Parader" during that summer [1967]. Frank pretty much left me alone to do whatever I wanted with them, some of the ideas coming from some earlier comic strips that I had done in Philadelphia. I don't know what Alan Douglas thought about the whole thing, but I know that the albums were never released as MOOP.

Cal Schenkel Magazine

Cal Schenkel Magazine

Uncle Meat (1989), minute 0:52:49 approximately

Uncle Meat



Liner notes

sings "Dit-Dit-Doo-Way-Doo"
on WPLJ, (tune one on side A).

Lowell George, interviewed by Andy Childs, ZigZag #50, March, 1975

I sang on "WPLJ," and I played on Hot Rats, and I sang something else. I wasn't on Uncle Meat although my photograph was. Very strange things occurred at that period.


3. Overture To A Holiday In Berlin

Barry Miles, Visual Documentary, p. 47

"Overture To A Holiday In Berlin" was recorded at TT&G, Los Angeles as part of the Hot Rats sessions (The day after "Willy the Pimp").

I was present at TTG when Ian Underwood dubbed his sax piece on the 16-track for "Overture to A Holiday In Berlin." Ian played facing the wall so the sound bounced off, rebounded off the ceiling and was caught by the microphone set up behind him. "That's how they got that greasy feeling"—Zappa. The band was playing deliberately slightly out of tune to get that '50s feeling. Zappa was in the control booth, and leading the band was Johnny Otis, deeply tanned and looking just like his album sleeves, with jet-black, gelled hair. He was clapping his hands high in the bass player's face, who didn't like it.

Barry Miles, Mojo, 1994

Frank made strenuous efforts to show me the sights. We went with Gail to his favourite drive-in taco stand for dinner and, more interestingly, he took me to a recording session at TT&G Studios. He had hired veteran doowop producer Johnny Otis to lead the Mothers in the studio while he controlled things in the booth. I cannot be sure, but I think they were cutting "Overture To A Holiday In Berlin."

Johnny Otis, whose only British hit was 1957's "Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me," had a very slick studio technique. He would walk very quickly into the studio, shout "let's get this group moving," nod his head and stamp his foot ferociously just a fraction ahead of the beat, then, when the take was over, say, "not bad. Now do another one." He wore shades, a late '50s Tony Curtis slicked into place with thick lacquer so not a hair moved out of place as he bobbed his head to the music, had a knife-edge crease to his pants, short black silk socks held with black calf-suspenders, high shine shoes, black shirt and a little voodoo doll worn as a necklace. Johnny was cool.

A litle bead of sweat appeared on his brow as he grinned and grimaced with the beat, leaning over and clapping his hands within inches of the drummer's ear, driving him into the music. Art Tripp did not look pleased but his massive injection of energy soon made the band move. Johnny had been working for the Musicians Union for the past few years but he was soon to make a comeback.

Frank's cigarette burned another brown line in the formica top of the mixing board as he balanced the tracks. The Mothers were amazingly professional and unlike most rock groups could read music: at one point Frank interrupted Ian Underwood in the middle of a keyboard passage to rewrite the whole centre section of the passage, telling him the changes over the slate. After a short silence Underwood called back, "Okay, I got it."

They played it through again with Underwood flawlessly playing the new score. On the second take Frank decided that he had master rhythm tracks and went into the studio to position the microphones for the next part. "We'll put the Electrovoice there, pointing upwards to catch the sound of the saxophone as it bounces off the wall. That's how they made it sound so greasy in the '50s!" He and Otis discussed the room sound of the '50s and did a test run. Sometime in the middle of the night, Frank was twiddling with the knobs on the mixing board and explaining, "I'll just make a test mix before we go."

Charles Ulrich, August 19, 2002

Roy Estrada suggested that the out-of-tune bass [by John Balkin] was on "Holiday In Berlin".

Charles Ulrich, November 25, 2003

At the Zappanale in 2002, Bunk Gardner told me that he couldn't remember the name of the song [in which John Balkin played string bass], but the instruments were out of tune. Roy Estrada suggested that it was "Holiday In Berlin," which of course is not on Absolutely Free. But it wasn't until last night that I realized that this is the controversial cello on "Overture To A Holiday In Berlin." The low instrument playing the melody at 1:00-1:26 was the object of discussion on affz in 1996 and 2000, with several highly respected people identifying it as a cello and several other respected people identifying it as a baritone sax.


4. Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich

Art Tripp, to Andy Holliden (quoted by Charles Ulrich, June 23, 2006)

I was in that studio in New York—I must have averaged 10, 12 hours a day. We were just always playing, playing on and on and on and on and on. And I did a thing there one night and Frank was away for some reason and it was just me, Dick Kunc, and Ian. I set up all the percussion in a circle and I was playing similar to—there was a piece by Stockhausen called "Zyklus" written for solo percussionist, and I played that at my senior recital at the conservatory in Cincinnati. That's where I got the concept of putting everything in a circle and playing. There was everything there; all kinds of little drums and cymbals, the marimba and vibes—just everything in a big circle and I would just go around and play back and forth, or go in a circle, or go backwards or whatever and play free-form stuff which was my—really my favorite playing of all. That's what I really enjoyed. I must have played, jeez, about two hours, and they recorded the whole thing. Frank came back and heard it and he flipped out and it cropped up in a couple of tunes. It was just random improvised stuff that I did. Usually anything from that era that sounded like that, it was probably me recorded back at Apostolic.

Charles Ulrich, March 17, 2007

Art [Tripp] says that:

a) he's playing percussion on Theme From Burnt Weeny Sandwich
b) some of it is from the Zyklus-style solo tape
c) some may be from another session
d) some is sped up
e) some is not sped up

Excerpts of the Zyklus tape are also heard in We Can Shoot You and possibly Nine Types Of Industrial Pollution.


6. Holiday In Berlin, Full-Blown

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

Speaking of Germany, how did the title of the song "Holiday In Berlin" originate?

"Holiday in Berlin" refers to a riot we had at the Sport Palast in Berlin in 1968.

A riot caused by your concert?

No, it was caused by the SDS. What happened was during the sound check in the afternoon a bunch of student rebels came and said they wanted to talk to me. I listened to them, and they said, [in fraudulent German accent] "You know there will be 8000 people here tonight and they have never demonstrated before, and we want you to tell them to come with us." I said, "Really, where are you going?" And they said, [in mysterious voice] "It's a cold night." And I said, "Oh, you're going to make it warm eh?" Like, "We are going to start a fire." I said, "Well, where?" "Around the corner," was the answer. You know what was around the corner? NATO Command Headquarters! They wanted me to tell the audience to go with them to start a fire. So I told the guy, "You have bad mental health." And he didn't like it.

So that night they came back, 200 of them, and they had jars of paint, cherry bombs, banners, they made a mess out of the fucking show. And there were 20 to 30 German policemen who refused to even show themselves during this thing, and we had to play for two hours: two one-hour segments with an intermission. So during the show these guys were doing their best to make a mess out of things. So we take our intermission, we go backstage, and they figure they've run us off. They went onto the stage. They had wire cutters, they cut the wires to a bunch of the equipment. It was really pretty obnoxious, so we surprised them. We came back and played the second half of the show. They were so stunned that they shut up. Our roadies glued things back together and we kept playing. Toward the end of the show they figured this is their last chance to get the audience to go with them, so the student leader leaps onto the stage and grabs the microphone and starts babbling away in German. So in order to keep him from doing what he was going to do, I gave Don Preston instructions to put our electronic organ through a fuzz tone and put both arms on the keyboard. You know what that sounds like—that's an ugly fucking sound.

And meanwhile our road crew, such as it was, was carrying instruments off of the stage one at a time. I made my guitar feed back, and it's just me and Preston making ugly noises and this guy going like that [pantomimes screaming]. And at the end we both unplugged our stuff and walked off and just left him there babbling. That was "Holiday in Berlin."

FZ, Carman Moore's Popular Music Class, The New School, NYC, NY, WBIA-FM NYC, February 21, 1969

FZ: We were in Germany recently. We played five dates in Germany last fall. And the German youth today has not come very far from the ones in the short pants singing the same song. Today the German youth— you know they have sort of their own brand of Flower Power over there. They have hairy boys and girls with beads and funny close, and they're Nazis. Just like their mothers and fathers.

The problem is they believe they are the new left. The believe they are the new "what's happening"—forefront of the youth revolution. You know that student riot that happened last Easter in Berlin.... I's just a crazed fantasy that these kids have that they are actually doing something new. I talked with them and they're just

Female audience member: For the Germans that's new.

FZ: That's new??

Female: Wearing the beads ...

FZ: Yeah, well it's just a question of packaging

Female: Are they organized?

FZ: Yes they are to a certain extent. But like the purpose of their organization is still a little bit cloudy, you know. They talk about a revolution in sort of carnival terms. They're still thinking about banners, gathering together in the street and yelling things at policemen. That's their idea of a revolution, and it's so old-fashioned and corny even.

Female: Do they actually think along Nazi lines or ...?

FZ: No that ACT along Nazi lines.

[elision on tape]

Interviewer: I hear that they wanted you to lead something.

FZ: We had an incident at a concert in Berlin where I was approached by some "student leaders." They told me they student leaders—you know when someone comes and introduces himself to you and says hello I'm a student leader. [laughter] Little red scarf around his neck, flowing over the shoulder, sort of revolutionary flow down here on the side, down to here, a little hair frizzing out to the side, little beard, little khaki coat. Surrounded by people trying to dress like Che Guevara, you know.

They had a sort of robin hood band of German rockers, okay? And we're going to play a concert at the Sportpalast, which is one of the places where Hitler delivered some spiffy speeches during the war. And we're at the rehearsal in the afternoon and this guy says, "I'd like to talk to you for a minute. We'd like your assistance with a political action this evening at the concert." And I said, "Well what do you have, uh, on your mind." And he said, "Well there'll be about 8,000 kids here tonight and most of them have never demonstrated before. And we would like to have you tell them to come with us while we go around the corner and set fire to the Allied Command Center." [peels of laughter] I told him I didn't think that was good mental health. [i.e., crazy] And he got really pissed off, you know, and so they tried to wreck our show.

The minute we came out on stage, about 35 or 50 of these kids out in the audience—'activists' I believe would be what you'd call them. They whipped out a large red banner, waved it, sang "Ho Ho Ho Chi Min," blew air horns, threw vegetables on stage, marched around in the audience while the rest of the kids in the audience were going like this...they didn't know what was going on.

So we continued to play. We had to play a two hour show in the middle of all this bullshit. And these guys were out there stomping around and rah and throwing stuff and the people on the bandstand are getting hit with hard vegetables, you know, cucumbers [laughter], squash. you know they really hit you like a rock up there. And they were throwing eggs, and cherry bombs. And then they grabbed this big fence, like a restraining device to keep the audience away from the performers at those events. It was made out of pipes this big around with a chain link fence in between and concrete feet. And about thirty of them picked it up and tried to throw it on stage, which would have killed both of our drummers by pinning them against the amplifiers, you see.

So our manager Herbie and this German promoter Fritz Rau caught it in mid air and threw it back on them. And then this other guy charged the stage and Herbie put his foot through his face. And then they kept on throwing things, and then they kept on trying to get up onto the stage. We kept pushing these guys back—and we're up there humming and strumming...[laughter] and it was really a very unusual situation.

So then we had to take an intermission, see. We left the stage after an hour of fun and merriment. And during that time the ordinaries, that the local promoter had hired to keep everything under control at the hop thought that we had run off, so they ran away. And when they ran away, about a hundred of these kids wailed up onto the stage and started stomping all over our equipment.

So we come back from intermission, and here's all these people milling around on stage. They don't even know why they're there. They look like cows. They're standing there like this, But they're standing, you know, on drums, and they're knocking things over, and a few of the guys had stolen small pieces of equipment and disappeared into the audience. They were just making a lot of noise and standing around. Just completely blank. They don't even know what their revolution is about.

So we started pushing them of the stage. We started putting our equipment back together. We got the PA system working. And I gave them a speech for about 15 minutes, wherein I discussed the possibility that they were acting more like Americans than anything I've ever seen. And that pissed them off. And they're out there yelling "Revolution, Revolution"—and I'm saying "You people need evolution, not revolution."

And they said, "No take it back you're the Mothers of Reaction." And I told them they were {beep}, and they understand English. I told them whether they liked it or not we were going to continued to play the second half of the program. So gradually they shut up, and they sat down. The only thing that happened during the second hour was one cherry bomb on stage.

And we had played about 45-50 minutes, and we were into a long instrumental piece, which was going to be our closing number, and I'd reduced the volume of the tune so that I could say good night to the nice German people. At which point the student leader with the red rag around his neck comes running up on stage and grabs the microphone and starts raving in German. I just knew he was telling these people, "I've got the matches come with me."

So we played real loud so nobody could hear what he was saying. Two people were taking the instruments off the stage, you know piece by piece pulling things away until it was just me and the organist left on stage playing one full-volume fuzztone loud ugly note that was just going BLAAAAAH. And it was the only thing that kept people back off the stage, 'cause they kept trying to get up onto the stage and this noise would hit them and they'd go ...

Finally when they got all the drums and all the rest of the stuff out of the way, we just unplugged and split off the stage, and they all came milling back up there. And they looked around and they didn't know why they were on stage again.

That's Germany today.

Jimmy Carl Black, interviewed by Phil McMullen, Ptolemaic Terrascope, Autumn 1992

The European tour of 1968 was probably the most memorable of all the tours that the Mothers ever did. One thing that happened, and it was actually quite frightening at the time, was in Berlin. We had been on tour for about a month and finally got to Berlin where we were to play at the Sportspalast, a place where Hitler used to make regular speeches during the war. The S.D.S., Students for a Democratic Society, had contacted Frank and asked him to get the audience excited that night and then tell them to all go burn down the Allied supply dump. Frank informed them that we were a musical band and we weren't into doing that kind of thing, plus of course we wanted to go back to the United States after the tour and if we'd done something like that we would have never gotten to return home. So they told us that in that case, they would destroy our show.

We were about 15 minutes into the show when we started to get showered with eggs. Then came these green pears that were like baseballs hitting us all and we didn't know where they were coming from. There was 10,000 people in that hall, and it was jam-packed. After the pears came a can of green paint; it went all over my drums, all over me, and Roy Estrada had this pair of white pants on which immediately turned green: It was then that they started ripping the iron railings from around the balconies, ready to throw those down onto the band. At this point Herb Cohen kicked the thing out of the way just as they threw it and instead of dropping onto us, it took out the first few rows of people. I mean, this thing came crashing down on a lot of people. We got off the stage pretty fast and went back to the dressing room but we couldn't get in because all the seventy or eighty security guards were hiding in there. Pretty soon a message came down that if we didn't get out on stage to finish the concert, they were going to come and get us. So we went. And we played the last pan of the show with about 200 S.D.S. members up on stage with us—we couldn't even see each other to play. We eventually finished the show—and got the hell out of Berlin.


7. Aybe Sea

Sources & Edits

7. "Aybe Sea" Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970; Zappa Records, 1991) 1.02. "Piano Music (Section 3)" The Hot Rats Sessions (2019) 4.08. "Piano Music (Section 3, OD Version)" The Hot Rats Sessions (2019) Music
  0:00-0:35 0:00-0:35 "Peaches En Regalia"
  0:35-1:38 0:35-1:38 "Aybe Sea"
0:00-1:30 1:38-3:09 1:38-3:09
  3:09-4:22 3:09-4:22
1:30-2:46 4:22-5:42 4:22-5:41


8. The Little House I Used To Live In

Piano solo

FZ, quoted in Down Beat, October 30, 1969, p. 31

The theme of the piece is the first three notes and the material derived from the superposition of augmented chords. The origins of that material are a piano exercise dated approximately 1962, and the rest of the piece consists of extrapolations of that material, influenced by the environments of a number of Holiday Inns across the country.

Sugarcane Harris

Charles Ulrich, July 19, 2005

Roy [Estrada] confirmed that he and JCB played with Sugarcane Harris on Little House I Used To Live In.

London, June 6, 1969

FZ, quoted by Neil Slaven, Record Hunter, July, 1992

That was the gig which yielded the line that's included in Burnt Weeny Sandwich. When the attendant came on stage to eject someone, this guy in the audience shouted: "Get that uniform off the stage, Frank!" And I said: "Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform and don't kid yourself."

Whitney organ

FZ, interviewed by Keith Elshaw, CFNY, Toronto, Canada, October 2, 1978

I play the organ solo at the end and it was recorded in 1969. [...] The organ is in a studio in Los Angeles called Whitney Recorders. The guy that owns the studio is an organ freak and he has an old theater organ built into the studio.

Sources & Edits

Special thanks to Tan Mitsugu

8. "Little House I Used To Live In" Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970; Zappa Records, 1991) 1.01. "Piano Music (Section 1)" The Hot Rats Sessions (2019) 3.09. "Another Waltz (Unedited Master)" The Hot Rats Sessions (2019) Date & Place Music
00:00-01:43 0:00-1:47 (alt. take)   T.T.G., LA, CA, July 18, 1969 "Little House" piano solo
01:43-02:09     Criteria Studios, Miami, FL, c. February 1-7, 1969 "Return Of The Hunch-Back Duke"
02:09-02:34     Royal Albert Hall, June 6, 1969
02:34-04:18     Criteria Studios, Miami, FL, c. February 1-7, 1969
04:18-05:13     Royal Albert Hall, June 6, 1969 (with edits) guitar solo
05:13-05:49   26:07-26:43 T.T.G., LA, CA, July 30, 1969 violin & piano solos
05:49-10:35   12:18-17:09
10:35-11:54   17:48-19:06
11:54-12:37   19:35-20:19
12:37-13:01   25:38-26:03
13:01-13:35   26:55-27:29
13:35-14:52     unknown chamber music
14:52-17:10     Whitney Studios, c. August 28-30, 1969 organ solo/"Aybe Sea"
17:10-18:41     Royal Albert Hall, June 6, 1969 dialog


9. Valarie

Recording date

FZ, introducing the song in Boston, July 8, 1969 (from The Ark)

Now we got desperate a few months ago and uh, because we thought nobody liked us. [...] So what we did was we went into a professional recording studio in New York City in the middle of the night for two nights in a row and also a Saturday afternoon for mixing and cranked out two miserable teen-age type records with words that couldn't possibly offend anybody [...]. And so they're being released this week. [...] We'll begin our medley of Mothers Of Invention hit singles, ahem, with the B-side of this one, which is a tune called "Valarie."



Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
Original provocation by Vladimir Sovetov
This page updated: 2019-12-25