Thursday, August 18, 2011

JOE'S GARAGE - Frank Zappa

YEAR: 1979

LABEL: Rykodisc

TRACK LISTING: Central Scutinizer, Joe's Garage, Catholic Girls, Crew Slut, Fembot in a Wet T-Shirt, On the Bus, Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?, Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up, Scrutinizer Postlude, A Token of My Extreme, Stick It Out, Sy Borg, Dong Work For Yuda, Keep It Greasey, Outside Now, He Used To Cut the Grass, Packard Goose, Watermelon In Easter Hay, A Little Green Rosetta

IMPRESSIONS: Family friend Ronnie has been surreptitiously influencing my intellectual development since I was a kid. I think I got my first example of "ecclectic tastes" in music and books from him. I'm sure he doesn't know it. The first I heard this album (or any other Frank Zappa) was from Ronnie because he was a major Zappa nut. He recorded JOE'S GARAGE as well as SHEIK YERBOUTI for my dad on reel-to-reel tape in 1979 and that's when I first got to listen to the albums in toto. The spooky voice of the Central Scrutinizer was all I needed to be hooked into listening to this strange tale of governmental oppression and muffins. Several years later, my friend Cheeks and I started listening to it a lot after I put some of it on a Cerpts tape; therefore JOE'S GARAGE now has a strong "Cheeky" connection as well. The entire concept of governmental outlaw of music is taken the usual Zappaesque comic route but Frank also made sure to point out: "If the plot of this story seems just a little bit preposterous, and if the idea of The Central Scrutinizer enforcing laws that haven't been passed yet makes you giggle, just be glad you don't live in one of the cheerful little countries where, at this very moment, music is either severely restricted . . . or, as it is in Iran, totally illegal". That was in 1979, folks. Sadly, since Frank has been gone we've gotten a lot closer to that eventuality.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Central Scrutinizer, Joe's Garage, Catholic Girls, Crew Slut, Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?, Dong Work For Yuda, Watermelon In Easter Hay, A Little Green Rosetta

FACT SHEET: JOE'S GARAGE ACTS I, II, & III is Frank Zappa's 28th album. The album was actually released separately as ACT I and then later ACTS II & III were issued as a double album; the three LPs were collected into a box set and later the album was issued as a double cd. JOE'S GARAGE is a rock opera which, according to Zappa's liner notes " a stupid story about how the government is going to try to do away with music (a prime cause of unwanted mass behavior)". The "hero" of the story is a teenager named Joe who goes from a garage band to the labyrinthine maze of the music business; all the while haunted by an interior/governmental voice called "The Central Scrutinizer" who narrates the tale as well as providing McCarthyesque diatribes and "scrutiny" of Joe's behaviour. The "cast" features Frank Zappa as the Central Scrutinizer, Larry, L. Ron Hoover, Father Riley & Buddy Jones, Ike Willis as Joe, Dale Bozzio as Mary, Denny Walley as Mrs. Borg, Al Malkin as Officer Butzis, Warren Cucurullo & Ed Mann as Sy Borg, and Terry Bozzio as Bald-Headed John.

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