Concert preview : Mothers Of Invention

By Joseph Fernbacher

The Spectrum, April 28, 1969

Way back in the days of the slicked-back greasy hair, radios stuck in teenagers' ears, white socks and butch haircuts, there was a man. He was cleancut and ambitious.

His name was Frank Zappa. He got an idea. It was to see how he could make money. Hmmm, he thought. I think I will grow my hair long, become freaky and make some money. This he did.

Frank Zappa, once cleancut all-American boy, is now head mother in one of the most progressive rock groups of our times. He is leader of the Mothers of Invention.

Guess what? Frank Zappa and his seven freaks are on their way in the greasy grass of Buffalo. They will be here for the annual Spring Weekend on May 2 in Clark Gym.

Zappa and his group are at once gifted satirists and capable musicians. They dig putting the public on.

In a recent interview, Zappa said this about the Mothers: "I am trying to use weapons of a disoriented and unhappy society against itself. The Mothers of Invention are designed to come in the back door and kill you while you're sleeping."

Hairy group

In a series of highly successful lps entitled, Absolutely Free, Freak Out, Reuben and the Jets and their most recent lp Uncle Meat, the Mothers have established a reputation of being one of the hairiest groups going. A Mothers concert is both a musical experience and a theatrical conglomeration.

"Dolls are mutilated. A gas mask is displayed. A bag of vegetables is unpacked and examined. There are spaced intervals of honks and suddenly the Mothers perform 'Dead Air.' They stop, sit down and ignore the audience." This is the way Life Magazine described a Mothers concert. [1]

Newsweek recently said of Mothers concert: "Here style becomes content – a mosaic of Brechtian musical comments, oinks and monologues on carburetors by versatile Jim (Motorhead) Sherwood, who plays a hot sax, drums and tambourine; extended cantatas like 'King Kong' which has run up to 70 minutes; and infusions of electronic zaps and gurgles over a dozen amplifiers." [2]

Commenting on a recent television interview, Zappa said that his greatest kick, for amusement, is to "sit down and watch a John Wayne war movie."

In a style that combines the excitement of the electric chair and the calamity of a Doris Day flick, the Mothers are coming.

So who are the Mothers????

1. Life, June 28, 1968.

2. "Zapping with Zappa". Newsweek, June 3, 1968.