In 1964, Ray Collins formed a band called The Soul Giants with drummer
Jimmy Carl Black, bassist Roy Estrada, saxophonist Dave Coronado,
and guitarist Ray Hunt. Not long later, Collins got into a fight with Hunt,
who left the band and Ray asked Frank Zappa to join the band.
Zappa convinced the others that playing his original compositions
would step them up to the big time. They changed their name to
The Mothers and by 1966 were ready to release Freak Out, the
second double album in rock history. Their label insisted on a
name change, and the Mothers of Invention were unleashed
upon the world.
After touring widely and releasing 5 albums, Zappa disbanded
the group in 1969- a decision that was not well received by band
members. He signed with a new label and released a solo album
called Hot Rats. He would also release two Mothers of Invention
albums in 1969 using existing Mothers studio work as well as
The 1969 album was called Burnt Weenie Sandwich. The second,
released in 1970, was called Weasels Ripped My Flesh.
Weasels Ripped My Flesh
The title came from a cover headline on the September 1956
issue of Man's Life, a men's adventure magazine. Zappa had
been given the magazine by a young fan named Dan O'Brien,
who had acquired it from his brother, a musician who had
found it during his day job at a pornographic publishing house.
The absurdity of flesh-ripping weasels appealed to Frank's
sense of humor. According to legend, Zappa showed it to a
young San Francisco poster artist known as Neon Park and
said “What can you do that’s worse than this?”
Park's painting, for which he was paid $250, almost didn't
see the light of day. Zappa fought with Warner Bros. over
its suitability for release. "Evidently," says Park, "...it wasn't
up to their standards." Warner's eventually caved, but then
the printer pitched a fit.
"The printer was greatly offended," says Park. "The girl who
worked for him, his assistant, she wouldn't touch the painting.
She wouldn't pick it up with her hands."
Zappa and Park were enjoyed the brouhaha: "I was greatly
amused by the cover, and so was Frank," says Park.
"I mean, we giggled a lot."
It could have been worse. German releases of the album
featured an album cover showing a metal baby caught in
a rat trap. This cover was not approved by Zappa.
Park would go on to do work for Little Feat, David Bowie,
Dr. John and the Beach Boys as well as illustrations for Playboy,
National Lampoon, Glass Eye, and Dreamworks.
In 1992, he was diagnosed in 1992 with amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
When his doctor told him the diagnoses,
Park replied "I never even played baseball."
Is the album any good?
One review says "....Weasels can make for difficult, incoherent listening,
especially at first. But there is a certain logic behind the band's accom-
plished genre-bending and Zappa's gleefully abrupt veering between musical
extremes; without pretension, Zappa blurs the normally sharp line between
intellectual concept music and the visceral immediacy of rock and R&B.
Zappa's anything-goes approach and the distance between his extremes a
re what make Weasels Ripped My Flesh ultimately invigorating; they
also even make the closing title track -- a minute and a half of squalling
feedback, followed by applause -- perfectly logical in the album's context.
Billboard magazine said it was "far out".
You can judge for yourself...
learn much, much more at United Mutations!
the deep background on "the weasels" and other elements of pulp life at:
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