One Size Fits All


The Cover Art

FZ, interviewed by David Fudger, "One Size Fits All," Disc, April 26, 1975

"It's a very good title when you consider that the front cover shows a picture of a sofa and the back cover is references to the Universe in general. I think that it's applicable."

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

One Size Fits All was basically an illustration based on a story, with some input from Frank as to what he wanted to see in it. Then there's interplay, too, where I would have ideas beyond that preliminary state. On One Size Fits All, the back is pretty much my concept.

Nik Zierenberg, "A Report On Cal Schenkel And His Beautiful Dog Ralf"

Cal explained to me briefly how one of his favorite Zappa album covers was done.

—Frank gave him a call saying it was time to start work on another album.
—The concept is established for how Zappa would like the album, entitled One Size Fits All to come out.
—The main concept came from a song on the album called Sofa
—Starts work on a rough drawing, through various thumbnail sketches
—Zappa & Schenkel exchange a few more ideas.
—More elaborate sketches are drawn, but not full scale... but more detailed visualizations then the thumbnail sketches were.
—The main piece on the front of One Size Fits All is a giant red sofa, which Cal used photo of his own sofa to draw from.
—Cal got the ideas for the back of the album, which is a twisted and deranged astrological kind of looking star map from old National Geographic sky charts, but everything is changed.
—A color rough was done called a study to show how the colors were to work
—Then the final piece was done... for the covers, and painted on panels.
—Then he did the type-setting, deciding fonts and sizes etc. and all was well.

One Size Fits All Stars

2:30 IN

URSULA MINOR "The Little Dip" [0-8 / 75º-90º]
ZIRCON (The Nose Star)
Kojac (Kolchek)

CANCER [23-2 / 60º-75º]

AIRIES [3-5 / 60º-75º]

[4-6 / 30º-75º]

THORAX "The Bull" [5-8 / 30º-60º]
El Nash


DRANO [5-9 / 0º-60º]
*KNARF (uview)*
Modus Operandi
Lotte Lenya

[5-7 / 15º-30º]

JIM & I "The Siamese Twins" [6-8 / (-15º)-30º]
Zloty Groszy

O'BRION [6-12 / 45º-75º]

A Capella


COMA BERNICE "The Plumber" [8-9 / 30º-60º]
Henna Brillo

LEO LIMON [8-10 / 0º-30º]
Fan Belt
Steering Wheel

CUNARD [9-8 / 0º-(-15º)]

VIRGIL [8-10 / 15º-(-30º)]
Horn Relay
6 Red
Acc. Flasher
Spring Garden St.
Edgware Road
Charing Cross (c)


Willow Gr.

CORONA BEGONIA [9-11 / 0º-30º]

*DWEEZIL (auriga Ra6b 46m145d47º6')*

REX BEGONIA [10-11 / 0º-15º]
Per Diem

Alpha Romeo

PIXIES [10-12 / 15º-60º]
Ed Ruscha


DAVID BOÖTES [11-13 / 30º-60º]

AQUARIUM [11-15 / 0º-30º]
Ali Baba

BUFO BOREALIS [12-16 / 30º-75º]
Bufo speciosus
Katy, Texas


[13-14 / 15º-45º]
Alison (Wickwire)

Dar Al Zanuck

CAPRICORN "Gus Goat" [14-16 / 0º-45º]
Yazoo Delta
Atlanta, Ga.
Sal Hepatica
Sal Ammoniac


*HONKULES (galaxy)*

MUSCA [15-17 / 30º-60º]

OFIE YUCAS [15-18 / (-30º)-45º]
Yed On Prior
Ras Aldazzl
Ras Perry


AGITTARIUS [16-18 / (-30º)-30º]
Al Nozzle

CRUX "The Western Cross" [16-17 / (-15º)-0º]
D Crux


SILVERFISH [17-19 / 15º-45º]
Al Surat
Aunt Letty

Ed Barbar

URSALA MAJOR "The Big Dip" [16-22 / 60º-90º]


LIBRA [19-22 / 45º-60º]
Zubin Mehta







Nigey Lennon, quoted in ARF: Notes & Comments

"O'Brion", incidentally, refers to Brian Krokus, the Tycobrahe sound mixer who worked on the 1974 tour and who was romantically involved with my friend Ruth Underwood.


The Recording Sessions

Liner notes by FZ, 1975

Engineers—Kerry McNab; Gary O; Jukka
Recordist—Mike Braunstein
Re-mix—Kerry McNab
Studios—The Record Plant L.A.; Caribou; Paramount; KCET TV; Finnlevy Studiot, Helsinki; Wally Heider Remote Truck

December 5-26, 1974—Caribou Ranch, Nederland, CO

Steve Weitzman, "What's A Mother To Do?," Zoo World, January 2, 1975

Plans for his next recording sessions are a bit more upfront though. From December 5th through the 26th Frank will be at Caribou Studios in Colorado laying down the basic tracks for the next Mothers album ("hopefully a double Lp to be released in the Spring") plus the next Frank Zappa album. To clarify matters, a Mothers album consists of the orchestration that the group is at the time and a Frank Zappa album may include anyone Zappa has a desire to record with at the time.

One of the attractions Caribou has as a studio is the house piano—a Steinway that came from Columbia Records. "It's one of the best pianos in the world," Zappa notes, "and it used to be used for all the classical recordings. To me, that's what a piano is supposed to sound like.

"But I wouldn't go there just for the piano," he adds. "It has other advantages: You buy the studio for twenty-four hours a day and you go in whenever you want, you know. You just live at the place, stay there for a while and you get your work done."

"Greggery Peccary," the composition Frank was scoring at the outset of our interview is one piece slated for Caribou to be included on the next Mothers album. Started two years ago, Frank explains, "it's written for an orchestra. This band will play it but it's for all kinds of other instruments too." As for performing it, "It'd be very difficult because it's for a non-standard orchestra. It's for instruments that orchestras don't usually have—exotic woodwinds and things. It'd be expensive to do live. And it ain't gonna be cheap to record it either."

George Duke, "Discography—1970s," George Duke Online

"Dawn" [from The Aura Will Prevail (1975)] was written at The Caribou Ranch Recording Studio, in my room, after a session with Zappa. We recorded there for a week or so, and I guess the snow and altitude had an affect on my creativity.

FZ, interviewed by Joseph Laux, Modern Recording, March, 1978

MR: Do you have any favorite studio at the moment?

FZ: I like Caribou, except for the fact it is 8000 feet up. If it was at sea level it would be a fantastic studio for my purposes, but so many funny things have happened to people and musical instruments when the air is so thin. The distance between the air molecules affects the sound of the instruments and the acoustics, and also creates other problems for monitoring.

Neil Slaven, Electric Don Quixote—The Definitive Story Of Frank Zappa, 2003, p. 212

Further recording for the album took place during December at Jim Guercio's Caribou studio in Colorado, where basic tracks for songs from Hunchentoot were also laid down.

Tom Fowler, interviewed by Evil Prince, T'Mershi Duween, March, 2000

The 1974 band was really loose—we could [play] anything we goddamn wanted. It was really unfortunate that I broke my hand because that was like the beginning of the end. Frank was really impatient. I could play three weeks after the accident; that's when we did One Size Fits All. Right at the end of the tour, he had booked a studio in Colorado and ended up with virtually nothing. Then we came back to LA and did that album which is a good one. They did "Sofa" in Colorado, I know that. They did one other song and I had to overdub the bass part which was really awkward and the feel wasn't right. I think this was "Can't Afford No Shoes."

Bird Youmans, "Frank Zappa," Birds Country, Rock And Blues

Then In December we went to Caribou Studios in Colorado to record for, seems like it was a week or so. I don't know who owns it now or if it is still in use or not, but what a neat place. [...] They had taken an old ghost town and rebuilt the log cabins and put a grand piano in each where the musicians stayed two to a cabin and the cabins were two bed room. Up close to the timberline. The snow was incredible. I can see how you could write a whole album there. Coffee over a grand piano each morning looking out on miles of unbroken snow with the occasional pine. I'll never forget it. [...]

He and I were night owls while the others would head out pretty soon after we were done for the day. One night he showed me a progression on guitar, again, don't know if he was just seeing what I was like on guitar or what, but we jammed on and on for a bit and finally he asked me if I was getting tired and I said jokingly "no, I just got my fingers stuck in the strings". I didn't realize that he had recorded all of that, and It wound up on one of his albums.

January 3-14, 1975—The Record Plant, LA, CA

Bob Kirsch, "Studio Track," Billboard, January 18, 1975, p. 24

It looks like a busy beginning for the Record Plants in Los Angeles and San Francisco this year. [...] Frank Zappa cutting his next, producing himself with Bob Hughes engineering.

Greg Russo, Cosmik Debris: The Collected History And Improvisations Of Frank Zappa (The Son Of Revised), 2003, p. 290

01/03/75 (9PM-12midnight) The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—The New Brown Clouds (a section of "Greggary Peccary")
MUSICIANS: FZ, Mike Altschul, Johnny Rotella, Raymond Reed, JoAnn Caldwell, Earle D. Dumler, Victor Morosco, Malcolm McNab, Graham Young, Bruce L. Fowler, Jonathan C. Ellis, Dana Hughes, Donald G. Waldrop

01/06/75 (10AM-1:30PM & 2:30-6PM) The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—Greggary Peccary Part I; Greggary Peccary Part III
MUSICIANS: FZ, Mike Altschul, Johnny Rotella, Raymond Reed, JoAnn Caldwell, Earle D. Dumler, Victor Morosco, Malcolm McNab, Jay J. Daversa, Bruce L. Fowler, Jonathan C. Ellis, Dana Hughes, Donald G. Waldrop, Murray Adler, Sheldon Sanov, Pamela Goldsmith, Jerry Kessler, Edward F. Meares Jr., George Mac Duke, Thomas W. Fowler, Chester C. Thompson

01/08/75 (8:30-11:30PM) & 01/09/75 (12midnight-3AM) The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—San Ber'dino; Cucamonga; Is There Anything Good Inside Of You (final title: "Andy")
MUSICIANS: FZ, George Duke, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Tom Fowler, Chester Thompson

01/09/75 (8:30-11:30PM) & 01/10/75 (12midnight-3AM) The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—San Ber'dino; Can't Afford No Shoes; Greggery Peccary Parts I-III
MUSICIANS: FZ, George Duke, Napoleon Brock, Tom Fowler, Chester Thompson

01/10/75 (8:30PM-midnight) The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—The New Brown Clouds (a section of "Greggery Peccary"); Greggery Peccary Part I; Greggery Peccary Part II
MUSICIANS: FZ, Emil R. Radocchia (aka Emil Richards), Alan C. Estes, John D. Berkman, Mike Altschul, Michael Zearott

01/13/75 (7:30PM-midnight) The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—The New Brown Clouds (a section of "Greggery Peccary"); Greggery Peccary Part I; Greggery Peccary Part II
MUSICIANS: FZ, Emil R. Radocchia (aka Emil Richards), Alan C. Estes, John D. Berkman, Mike Altschul, Michael Zearott

01/14/75 (6:30PM-midnight) The Record Plant, Hollywood, CA—The New Brown Clouds (a section of "Greggery Peccary"); Greggery Peccary Part I; Greggery Peccary Part II
MUSICIANS: FZ, Emil R. Radocchia (aka Emil Richards), Alan C. Estes, John D. Berkman, Mike Altschul, Michael Zearott

Credits & Personnel

FZ, liner notes, 1975

Engineers—Kerry McNab; Gary O; Jukka
Recordist—Mike Braunstein
Re-mix—Kerry McNab
Studios—The Record Plant L.A.; Caribou; Paramount; KCET TV; Finnlevy Studiot, Helsinki; Wally Heider Remote Truck
Assistance—Paul Hof; Richard "Tex" Abel; Dick Barber; Coy Featherstone; Bill Romero; Unity; Matti Laipio
Abuse (unwarranted)—Marty Perellis
Special Electronics—Musitronics; 360 Systems
German Translation—Lu Paschotta
Herbalism—Herb Cohen
Mastering—Kendun Studios
Design & Fresco—Cal Schenkel
Sofa Upholstery—Lynn Lascaro
Archaic Typography—Composition Arts; Vernon Simpson

Michael Braunstein

Michael Braunstein, "The Frank I Remember," Mix, March 1, 2003

I began working as Frank's recording engineer on January 3, 1975, when Kerry McNab (arguably the best engineer Frank ever had) began his slow withdrawal from the scene and subsequently from engineering entirely. Because of a contractual obligation to Kerry, Marty Perellis (Frank's then-manager) insisted on listing me as "recordist" on the One Size Fits All LP, though I did much of the actual engineering. I went on to engineer all or part of six or so albums with Frank.

Michael Braunstein, "Photo Page,"

I started with Frank on Jan. 3, 1975 (coincidentally, Stephen Stills' birthday) sitting as Kerry McNabb's second engineer until Kerry retired from FZ a few sessions later. I was an eager beaver. The first night, I set up 12 mics for a guitar solo overdub in Studio C. Some of them, AKG 414s, were on Star Booms raised to within six inches of the ceiling in each corner of the huge Studio C room. I think Kerry and Frank indulged me—until they heard how cool each mic sounded. "Po-Jama People" on the One Size Fits All album. Stayed working for FZ through Bongo Fury, Zoot Allures and Studio Tan and Joe's Garage etc. up until about mid-1977. Lots of growth during that time. Lots of stories, too.

Braunstein Schedule

Gary 'O' Adante

Noisy NeighborsWho We AreGary Adante

Beginning his career in 1972 as a staff engineer for Record Plant, Los Angeles, Gary ['O' Adante] worked his way up to become co-producer / chief engineer for Stevie Wonder from 1975 to 1990.



David Fudger, "One Size Fits All," Disc, April 26, 1975

While he's here [in the UK] Zappa is also getting in some plugs for his forthcoming album One Size Fits All, the release of which is being held up due to some contractual matters. [...]

One Size Fits All is to be released by Warner Brothers and not through the Discreet label, as were his two previous records, Over-nite Sensation and Apostrophe ('). Frank was careful to explain the situation.

"Basically Discreet is a company that in the past has released my records and as far as me producing things for it is concerned, I've avoided it very carefully. I figured my time was better spent working on things for the Mothers, and my efforts on behalf of other artists, producing their records, are seldom appreciated."


Quadraphonic Version

FZ, interviewed by Rob Fixmer, Bugle American, December 17, 1975

When you said at last year's Milwaukee press conference that in a nation which can afford two cars in every garage people who are really into music should all go out and get four channel stereos, I wasn't sympathetic to your cause.

Well, as a matter of fact, One Size Fits All is not available in quad, and The Roxy and Elsewhere, which was mixed in quad, was never released in quad. The only two albums available in quad are Apostrophe and Overnight Sensation.

In other words, you're not really pushing anymore for quad.

No. I figure if people are having trouble getting something to eat, they're possibly not going to go out and get two extra speakers and another stereo amplifier.


1. Inca Roads

FZ, interviewed by Rob Fixmer, Bugle American, December 17, 1975

In "Inca Roads" were you making fun of (author of Chariot of the Gods) Von Däniken?

Of course, of course. No seriously, I'll tell you what "Inca Roads" was about. It was an instrumental melody which existed for three years before I tried to write words to it. The melody covers more than two octaves. It's very difficult to sing, and I wrote words to it one day. That's what the actual history of that song is all about. I thought it was quite an accomplishment. And it was written before Von Däniken.

I didn't know that, but unfortunately it didn't come out until after the Von Däniken book.

Yes, but it had already been corrupted by the time that it came out. It was totally corrupted from the words which had originally been written which was way before all this stuff was considered commercial.

Bulgarian Bagpipe

FZ, interviewed by Steve Rosen, Guitar Player, January, 1977

I also do some stuff where I use the pick on the fingerboard, pressing down and hitting the string at the same time. It gets kind of a Bulgarian bagpipe sound. An example of that is on the end of the solo in "Inca Roads" and also on "Po-Jama People."


Arthur Barrow,, October 27, 1999

And of course everyone knows that part of Approx is in Inca Roads "Why don't you sharpen it..." section, for example.

Mike, February 10, 2014

"Inca Roads" contains a quote from "Strictly Genteel."

Lino González, August 19, 2010

In the first part of the song, when the instrumental interlude appears around at 1:45 of the song, the musical intented to be very Peruvian oriented, the sound of the synthesizer like a fluted they used called QUENA and the rhythm section is something similar to the rhythm they've made called CARNAVALITO.

Why don't you sharpen it then?
[...] Mother Mary and Jozuf!

FZ, interviewed by Den Simms & Rob Samler, Society Pages, September, 1991

RS: How 'bout "Why don't you sharpen it, then?"

FZ: We used to have a carpenter that worked around here. He talked to himself. He would argue with himself, (laughter) and you'd see him out in the yard, and he'd be sayin' things like, "Where's that screwdriver? Screwdriver don't work. Why don't you sharpen it, then?" (laughter) And he also used to hit his thumb every once in a while, and scream, "Mother Mary 'n Jozuf!" (laughter)


Did a booger-bear
Come from somewhere out there

Den Simms, Eric Buxton & Rob Samler, "They're Doing the Interview of the Century—Part 3," Society Pages (US), September 1990

FZ: A Booger Bear is an extremely ugly anything, and a Booger is short for Booger Bear, in the parlance of that '73 band.

George Duke, MCO Studio, Hilversum, Holland, October 29, 2009

Somewhere along the line—I don't know whether Frank talked about it—we instituted what what's called eventually The Booger Bear Award. Now, the way that developed is— I don't know if I should do this. No, I shouldn't. No. Ok. We'll do that in private. Well, there's respectable people here, you know.

Well, anyway, what it meant, the Booger Bear meant, it was a kind of a homely woman. Homely, not, you know, not a good looking girl, in a word. And so there used to be these groupies, you know, at the show. Some of the guys were, you know, involved with that kind of thing. And they made up this mask that kind of look like a cross between a gorilla and—you know those shrunken heads they have in Africa, they look like—with hair, and the whole bit, you know. And they put one of these on the door, so whoever had the Booger Bear they had that on their door. It became a topic of conversation on the bus because everybody would come out and look and see who had the Booger Bear Award, you know?

And that went off for a while and everybody laughed, Frank laughed, everybody was having fun with it, until Frank got it. That was the end of the Booger Bear Award. 'Cause Frank said, "Why did I get it? Who put that on my door?" Everybody was like mute, the whole band was giggling. You know, Frank was serious, he was pissed.

It's as simple as that.


00:00-00:33 00:00-00:33  
00:33-02:00 00:37-02:04  
02:00-03:51   02:05-03:55
03:51-04:15   04:27-04:50
04:15-04:37   05:24-05:46
04:37-08:45 05:31-09:39  


2. Can't Afford No Shoes

Fretless Guitar


4. Po-Jama People

FZ, interviewed in Stereo, April, 1976 [English translation by Tan Mitsugu]

I once had a group with technically superb musicians only, but it was the most boring tour I ever had. Although they were pretty good musicians, I had no fun hanging around with them. The only thing they wanted to do was to play chess (laugh).

FZ, interviewed by Paul Colbert, Musicians Only, January 26, 1980

I have had bands where everyone has been a reader. The most boring band I had was like that and ultimately led to the song "[Po-Jama] People" which is written about that particular band which had people like Ruth (Underwood), George (Duke) and Ponty. You go on the road and you have these people living their life to play [Yahtzee] on the bus, and chess and engaging in intellectual juiceless pursuits. I like to have guys in the band who want to go out there and want to get laid.

Bulgarian Bagpipe


5. Florentine Pogen

Napoleon Murphy Brock, interviewed by Andrew Greenaway, April 29, 2002

You saw the gorilla that came up behind Chester? [...] When Chester was playing, you saw the gorilla that came up with the clock and a comb? Well that was Marty Perellis in the gorilla outfit. And no one knew—even Frank—that he was gonna do that. He would do that impromptu to blow our minds. And as you saw, Chester was quite surprised—and the rest of us were too . . . I looked back, "A gorilla?" . . . but I got to the point were I was learning to expect just about anything from this organisation.


6. Evelyn, A Modified Dog

Neil Slaven, Electric Don Quixote—The Definitive Story Of Frank Zappa, 2003, p. 212

The same combination [as "A Little Green Rosetta"] also recorded "Evelyn, A Modified Dog," the latest instance of canine conceptual continuity.

FZ, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, April 23, 1975

Well the thing about dogs is, it's happening on a very rarefied conceptual level, as you'll see there's references to dog throughout the work, and the reference to the dog has nothing to do with the dog, or the concept of a dog is just like, you can think of it as a, you know when Rembrandt did those paintings to make them all look the same he'd mix brown with every colour, you know, to get that thing, so I said, "That's a funny idea, I'll stick a little piece of a dog in every record." And so on the next album, the concept of the dog has been brought down to the word "Arf" in two songs, and another song called "Evelyn, A Modified Dog," which is included in there, and you know, it's just a little bit all the way along.


7. San Ber'dino

Fretless Guitar

ZULCH is the auto works
I'm tellin' you
That's where they take
All the cars that they hurt

Zulch Auto Works ad

Zulch Auto Works


From the bottom up, Zulch Auto Works is the best place to take your car in San Bernardino for complete automobile reconstruction. This company is equipped and staffed to handle even the most major automobile repair and rebuilding problems, including body and frame realignment and painting, radiator work, wheel aligning and axle straightening, Radio-dispatched trucks are on call 24-hours a day for immediate service anywhere in the San Bernardino area.

274 North "I' Street
Phone TUxxx


8. Andy


9. Sofa No. 2

FZ, interviewed by Don Menn & Matt Groening, "The Mother Of All Interviews, Act II," Zappa!, 1992, p. 63

We learned it phonetically. The translation was done by a girl who used to be our babysitter. She was from Munich, and apparently not a very good translator. People look at what it means in English, and then listen to the German words, and they've told me that the translation is laughable. And then they tell me what it really should be in German, and it's unsingable.

[...] That particular tour, I tried to convince Mark and Howard that it was a good idea to learn these things phonetically, because most American groups, if they go and play in another country, make no attempt to communicate in the native language, and I thought it would be a worthwhile gesture and probably a groundbreaking thing to do. In fact, in Germany, it was groundbreaking, because I had reports afterward that people in Germany who were musicians who wanted to do rock and roll had never considered that their language would work for rock. I didn't realize that they weren't doing rock stuff in German. If they did rock, they would be doing bad phonetic English rock lyrics.

FZ, interviewed by Rob Fixmer, Bugle American, December 17, 1975

Would you condescend to explain the thing, or is that asking too much?

No, certainly. First of all, the cover is what that song is all about, and its part of the conceptual continuity of the story of "Billy the Mountain." But you had no way of knowing that.

No, I didn't, and neither did anyone else.

But these things are revealed later.


See, that's the way continuity runs. Well, say three albums from now you'll find out that all that stuff fits together, and while you're sitting there in your little room going "Wow, this one's for shit!" you'll suddenly say "Hey, wait a minute." But that's only for people who actually go back and listen.

[...] Now whether it had anything to do with the cover art or with "Billy the Mountain," I think that that particular song is a wonderful song. Let me tell you the story of that song.

First of all, it was written in English. Then it was translated into German. I got a transcript of the phonetic pronunciation of the German lyrics, and the music was written around the German pronunciation. It's the first time I've ever tried to do that. It was considered to be quite an achievement in the German press, because many German groups won't sing in German because they don't think they can do rock and roll in German. We went over there on a tour with Mark and Howard and went on performing that as part of our show. They were surprised that an American group would want to make up a song—and we actually had a whole section of our show that was done in—German.

Is that the part that you did on the Dick Cavett Show? It was never on a record as far as I know.

That's right. And that is it.



Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
Original provocation by Vladimir Sovetov
This page updated: 2020-02-15