Kaiser Rolls

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)


Foggy G, "The Songs That Were Played," We're Only In It For The Touring

1975: I have not yet heard this tune, though the title is very intriguing. Anybody heard any of the poorly rated tapes that this song is purportedly played in? [Jon Naurin contributes the following info: "I don't really know what to say about this song. A little pop ditty sung by Napoleon, but I can't make out much of the vocals. The verses consist of a very simple melody over a simple vamp, but end up with some "ugly" bars. After two verses, FZ plays a serie of chords (the ones you get if you play an open D and moves your left hand up the frets). Then there's an instrumental section, before something that sounds like a chorus. Get the picture? Well, never mind. Interesting (?) fact: This song might have been a precursor to "Any Kind of Pain", though a very distant one. In rehearsals from 1981, the band plays AKOP, with the verse very similar to "Kaiser Rolls".]

1976: This is not a bad little tune, though nothing really to write home about. Sounding quite similar to "Carolina Hard-core Ecstasy"- what with the sweeping guitar highlights, and the lyrical tale of misfortune. Brock does the majority of the singing (of course), with band mates helping out for the chorus's. It only rears its head a handful of times early in the tour (having premiered late in '75), before disappearing from the wonderful world of Zappa. [See Fall '75 for Jon Naurin's take on the tune]

Jon Naurin

Played a few times in Dec '75/Jan '76, then reappearing at 1981 rehearsals with slightly changed words. The lyrics don't always make perfect sense, and I can't guarantee they're right, though I've had qualified consultation.

The lyrics

This is a story, tell it quick as I can
a week ago, I met a stumbler man.
He stumbled up, he said "All I wanna know,
How far the motherfuckin' Kaiser Rolls.
(How's about a dollar for some Kaiser Rolls—1981 rehearsal)

And this part (?) shoulda' have turned him red,
so hard talking to a stumbler man.
He stumbled over, and over again
"The Kaiser fuckin' Rolls since the time began"

I raised my finger from the center of my hand,
tried to wave farewell to the stumbling man.
He stumbled 'n puked (?) in a garbage can.
"The Fuckin' Kaiser Rollin might raise some sand"

Pushed him aside as he was slow in my path
so hard to understand a real stumbler man.
Stuff stuck up his nose, crawl all over his clothes, he said:
"No one really tells me which way he go"

Kaiser rolls, roll 'n roll?
Kaiser rolls, and guys 'n rolls??
...surprising to me they ain't catched him yet,
how's about a dollar for some cigarettes?

Original lyric transcription: Jon Naurin

And WHAT IS a Kaiser Roll?

Chris Maxfield, April 25, 2002

Assuming this is a serious language query: a "kaiser roll" is a type of white
bread roll or bun, approximately the size and shape of a large hamburger roll
or bun. Usually a little more "crusty" and chewy than the typical hamburger
roll in America, they are often festooned with poppy seeds. They are used in
the making of a variety of sandwiches.

I assume the use of the term "kaiser roll" has something to do with the poduct
being a variation on a german bread roll. Probably the term originated during
or around the time of the First World War, but I'm only guessing.

Marc De Bruyn (emdebe@village.uunet.be)—August 13, 2003

At a certain moment in time, FZ's father owned a Henry J, "an extinct and severely uncomfortable, small, cheap car manufactured then by Kaiser" (see page 23 in "The Real Frank Zappa Book", 1989, FZ with Peter Occhiogrosso, Poseidon Press, New York, ISBN: 0-671-63870-X). This might shed some light on what a "Kaiser" is, or on "how far the motherfuckin' Kaiser Rolls"...

The Henry J (named for one of the most prominent industrialists of the time, Henry J. Kaiser) was one of the first small economy cars produced in the US; even the "Deluxe" model was very spartan by today's standards.

The first model, the "Henry J Standard Four" (4 cylinder engine, that is), was built in 1951; it was sold at a whopping $1.363 (38.500 units found a home in 1951). By purchasing the "Henry J DeLuxe Six" model ($1.499), you got the 6 cylinder engine, chrome windshield and hood trim (43.400 units were sold in 1951).

As a cost saving measure early Henry J's did not have a glove box door (there was a storage pouch on the passenger side kick panel), and trunk lid (all storage was accessed through the front doors over the folding rear seat). Other optional equipment included oil filter, turn signals, heater, fresh air vent package, cigar lighter, ashtray, passenger side sun visor, and front and rear wing windows. Kaiser-Frazer set their cars apart from the competition by offering the largest selection of colors and interiors offered by any manufacture of the time. The original shade of Aloha Green was typical of how the Henry J was marketed with bright colors (yellow, red, blue and gray were also available).

The 1952 models: Henry J Vagabond Standard Four ($1.407, 3.000 units sold), Henry J Corsair Standard Four ($1.517, 7.600 units sold), Henry J Vagabond DeLuxe Six ($1.552, 4.000 units sold), Henry J Corsair DeLuxe Six ($1.664, 8.900 units sold). And for completeness sake, the 1953 models: Henry J Corsair Four ($1.399, 9.333 units sold), Henry J Corsair DeLuxe Six ($1.561, 8.172 units sold), Henry J Corsair Four ($1.404, 800 units sold), Henry J Corsair DeLuxe Six ($1.566, 325 units sold).

Henry J

Henry J

Henry J

Henry J

Henry J


Conceptual Continuity

Village Inn & The Stumbler:


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This page updated: 2016-10-11