The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh

By Don Heckman

Stereo Review, January 1971

THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION: Weasels Ripped My Flesh. The Mothers of Invention (vocals and instrumentals). Didja Get Any Onya; Directly from My Heart to You; Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask; Toads of the Short Forest; Get a Little; and six others. BIZARRE MS 2028 $5.98, Ⓑ RPS M-82028 $6.95, © RPS M- 52028 $5.95.

Performance: Snippets of Zappa
Recording: Varies – good to very good

Here are fragments from the Mothers' large collection of recorded "out-takes," all dolled up with one of the ugliest covers I've ever seen (it depicts, in living color, the record's title). Some eleven tracks are included, recorded at concerts in Philadelphia and London, and at recording studios in Miami, New York, and California. The range is from Zappa's pseudo-teenage rock-&-freak music to his neo-Stravinsky concert pieces. Here and there a bit of Cageian banter – laugh tracks and the like – helps enliven things.

 As I've said so often in the past, Zappa is one of the genuinely gifted performer-composers to emerge from the rock revolution of the Sixties. But I'm beginning to wonder where he is headed. He now has achieved the kind of commercial success – with its commensurate recording and performing possibilities – that most university-based composers lick their chops for. But he seems hesitant to move beyond the orbit of the pop-rock-freak music that brought him to prominence. I'm not sure if this is because of a limited musical focus or a hesitancy to face the greater risks of non-commercial composing. And so long as his recorded output consists of bits and pieces from the past, we'll never know.