Mothers Of Invention: We're Only In It For The Money

By Steven Lowe

High Fidelity, June 1968

MOTHERS OF INVENTION: We're Only in It for the Money.

Frank Zappa, guitar, piano, and lead vocals; Billy Mundi, drums and vocals; Bunk Gardner, woodwinds; Roy Estrada, electric bass and vocals; Jimmy Carl Black, drums. trumpet, and vocals; Ian Underwood, piano and woodwinds; Euclid James "Motorhead" Sherwood, soprano and baritone saxophones; other assisting musicians. Bow Tie Daddy; What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?; Mother People; twelve others. Verve 5045, $3.79 or 6-5045, $4.79.

This is one hell of a production – a delicious fold-out cover in beautiful parody of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (complete with cardboard sheet of cut-out pictures) with lots of extras shouting and making obscene noises.

The Mothers take on the whole world; their attack isn't restricted simply to the established Establishment but is explosively directed at institutionalized hippiedom, to "the place where phony hippies meet . . . psychedelic dungeons . . . GO TO SAN FRANCISCO." They unload H bombs where their fellow rockers throw darts or couch implicit criticisms in soft-edged irony (the Beatles, specifically).

Beyond the message is the music, and once again the Mothers come off better than almost any group around. The pacing is fast, the chords change quickly and strongly, editing is rapid-fire, textures are constantly changing – very unsettling and all the more interesting for it. The Mothers have phenomenal discipline and improvise like few other rock groups can. It's this very combination that allows them the freedom to make changes as quickly and resolutely as they do.

The entire record proceeds like a tightly edited, sped-up film; it is less a collection of songs than a rock oratorio (which is what they termed the two sides of their previous album, "Absolutely Free ") .

This is an exciting album and one which is sure to offend some people. I recommend it. S.L.

Read by OCR software. If you spot errors, let me know afka (at)