Weasels Ripped My Flesh

By Bill Reed

Rolling Stone, October 1, 1970

The Mothers of Invention
(Bizarre/Reprise 2018)

"Yes, well, Zappa is always delightful, isn't he?" And for once, here is a jacket that is worth the price of the record alone. (How can you possibly describe a record cover that lives up to the title Weasels Ripped My Flesh?)

Here it is! Another nifty collection of music inspired by Frank Zappa's pre-occupation with Edgar Varese, death, bopping and jacking off.

Once I thought that Zappa and his group might be the saviors of pop music. Now after all the music that they've produced since their Suzie Creamcheese period I'm not sure that I don't still feel much the same. This random collection of editing room snippets recorded at the Mothers' concerts over the last few years finds the group peerless in the field of amalgamating satire, muaical adventuresomeness, and flash. This could be because they're the only ones attempting it, but no matter.

It's all here: more assaults on the calibrated sexuality of early rock, and jousts at the pomposity which musical avant-guardism has traditionally engendered. Held together with Zappa's Spike Jones-ish bag of tricks and the Mothers' usual impressive control over electronic technology.

Everytime a live audience demands that the group re-hash its circa '67 Supremes imitations the Mothers seem to advance one step further into the realm of musical extremism. "Weasels" is a grand example of the latter. But it's not all Alban Berg revisited by any means; for this latest Zappa comes closer than any other record I can think of to meeting the needs of both rock and jazz listeners. A consummate example of this is the group's version of Little Richard's "Directly From My Heart To You." The song is rendered against a hard-edged blues back-up that manages to integrate into its midst a swinging Forties-style jazz violin. It coalesces into something at least as "nouveau nouveau" as anything you'll find in recent release on ESP Records.

At the very least this must be one of the most impressive collections of out-takes ever.