Previously released on VHS and Beta and only available through mail order, Frank Zappa's Dub Room Special is an extremely rare TV special comprising two live performances from one of Rock's great individuals. Zappa's unparalleled abilities as a composer, guitarist, and absurdist/social commentator run rampant on The Dub Room Special – and it is a unique window on his willingness to push the envelope of what is possible no matter how improbable. Selections from two separate concerts, one, called A Token of His Extreme, shot in 1974 at Los Angeles public television station KCET and one in 1981 filmed at his annual New York Halloween show, are interspersed with then-cutting edge claymation/stop motion animation from Bruce Bickford and assorted comedy bits.
Official Release #104. All Master Recordings Produced By Frank Zappa. The Crux Of The Biscuit was created in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Frank Zappa's 1974 album Apostrophe('). As part of the ongoing Project/Object Audio Documentary Series, it contains rare alternate mixes, live performances & studio session outtakes. This release celebrates the creation of a truly iconic record that reached the Top Ten in the Billboard Chart and earned FZ an RIAA Gold Record Award.
Official Release #64. A 30-track compilation of rarities, spanning much of his career, but in the main confined to the 1960s and early '70s (some date from as early as the late '50s!). Much of it's previously unreleased, or extremely hard to locate. It's not just a collection of fan-oriented odds and ends, though. The material, for one thing, is extremely diverse, ranging from collaborations with Captain Beefheart and primitive teenage garage recordings to comic dialog to progressive instrumentals and orchestral pieces.
Official Release #55. This two-CD set is the second of three albums of material Frank Zappa compiled from the 1988 tour. While Broadway the Hard Way (released in 1988) mostly presented the new songs performed during that tour, this set focuses on older songs (Make a Jazz Noise Here would contain mostly instrumental pieces). This is the best band you never heard in your life because the 12-piece group disintegrated after only four months of touring through the U.S. East Coast and Europe. These shows took place during the Jimmy Swaggart scandal, when the televangelist was caught with a prostitute.
2014 Anything Anytime Anywhere For No Reason At All. Happy Birthday Frank! Digital download release in honor of Zappa's birthday. 3 audio tracks and a video. Video says: "Distributed by Honker Home Video/Digital". Released: 21 Dec 2014.
It is a more song-driven, and less conceptual work than many others in Zappa's oeuvre. The album is named after a 1950s song, written by Donald and Doris Woods, which Zappa covers as part of "The Man from Utopia Meets Mary Lou". The sleeve art features the work of RanXerox artist Tanino Liberatore. It portrays Zappa on stage trying to kill mosquitos. The back cover shows the audience as seen from the stage. Chaos prevails, and the cover is meant to show the events at a disastrous concert in Palermo, Italy, July 14, 1982. At that concert, fans kept trying to rush the stage, and the local security force began firing tear-gas canisters into the crowd.
During his last years, Frank Zappa concentrated on his "serious music," trying to impose himself as a composer and relegating the rock personality to the closet. His last two completed projects topped everything he had done before in this particular field. The Yellow Shark, an album of orchestral music, was released only a few weeks before he succumbed to cancer (the computer music/sound collage album Civilization Phaze III was released a few months later). This CD, named for a plexiglas fish given to Zappa in 1988, culls live recordings from the Ensemble Modern's 1992 program of the composer's music.
When Frank Zappa teamed up with renowned conductor Kent Nagano and the London Symphony Orchestra for three days in January 1983, he was expecting to walk away with a set of stellar performances of some of his most challenging contemporary classical pieces, as done by one of the world's top symphonic ensembles. What he got instead were bad attitudes, terrible work habits, unforgiving union stipulations and a hard lesson in preconceived notions – showing him that working with unschooled but enthusiastic rock musicians also had its advantages, and giving rise to his well-documented love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with symphony orchestras thereafter.
For many, Frank Zappa is an acquired taste. Few would dispute his genius or the stunning complexity of his compositions and arrangements, but not everyone is up to the demands Zappa places on an audience. If you count yourself among those who scratch their heads listening to a Zappa album, you might find a new appreciation for his work by seeing it performed. Zappa’s acerbic humor and his band’s white-knuckle musicianship are both well served by the visual medium of a concert DVD.