The Mothers: Just Another Band from L.A.

By Joel Vance

Stereo Review, November 1971

THE MOTHERS: Just Another Band from L.A. Frank Zappa (guitar and vocals); Mark Volman (lead vocals); Howard Kaylan (lead vocals); Ian Underwood (winds, keyboards, and vocals); Aynsley Dunbar (drums); Don Preston (keyboard and mini-Moog); Jim Pons (bass, vocals). Billy the Mountain; Call Any Vegetable; Eddie, Are You Kidding?; Magdalena; Dog Breath. BIZARRE/REPRISE MS 2075 $4.98, Ⓑ M 82075 $6.98, © M 52075 $6.98.

Performance: Special
Recording: Good

If you've got the time to listen to Zappa – and it takes time – you'll find he's intelligent and shrewd, sometimes astute, perhaps talented. I've come to the conclusion that Zappa couldn't care less what anybody thinks because he doesn't believe anybody thinks; they are all programmed and believe what they see in TV ads.

Zappa is a satirist with a serious fault. He is within his rights to hold his audience in contempt, I suppose, but he also holds the form in which he projects his satire in contempt. He uses "rock-and-roll" as a vehicle for his antipersonnel salvos, but in using it he deliberately twists it all out of shape. This means the listener has to spend as much time deciphering the twisting as he does getting the message. Whether it's worth spending that much time getting the message is up to you. This album isn't significantly different from any he has ever made. There are some funny moments, but not enough for me.