The Story Behind: Frank Zappa ; Hot Rats.
Wear your Sound: Frank Zappa Hot Rats. Released Oct 1969 by Bizarre Records in the US.
This is the 2nd Solo release for Frank after the disbandment of The Mothers. This album is departure from
what Frank Zappa had done before with the Mothers as it is mostly an instrumental album. With only one vocal
track with none other than Captain Beefheart on vocals. That track is “Willie the Pimp”. The most important track on the
album is “Peaches en Regalia“. This was released as a single also. It is easily recognized as one of the most well known Zappa songs.
All tracks were recorded by Frank with his newly acquired 16 track recorder. Frank used tape speed manipulation to create
strange and unusual timbres in the album. He also used double speed drum tracks and stereo drum recording. Ian Underwood the
multi-instrumentalist was the major musician that played on all tracks. He was featured on as many as 10 different instruments on several tracks.
Other musicians on specific tracks include Lowell George of Little Feat who played rhythm guitar. June-luc Ponte, the violinist. Shuggie Otis, bass on “Peaches“.
Max Bennett who played bass on all other tracks besides “Peaches“.
The cover of the woman pictured on the cover is Christine Frka, alias Miss Christine of The GTOs. The photo’s were shot in
infrared which gave it that strange red glow. Record or Vinyl collectors it is a “hot Item”
My 2 Cents$
Hot Rats is one of favorites from the Zappa archive. I started following Zappa only a few years after my single digit years. I remember hearing Zappa on a late night radio show and jumping out of bed and writing the name down on some paper next to my bed. The next day I started researching like a mad man and was rewarded by a teacher who told me Zappa was weird. That was it. I had to know more. Being a musician , I appreciate the complexities of Zappa’s music. Having read through many of his scores and transcribed guitar parts. His rhythms and chord progressions can keep you busy. Hot Rats tends to be more on the Jazz side of his works more so than some of his other albums. I would not recommend this album for the new Zappa listener. A better choice would be “Overnight Sensation” The truly “almost” commercial album.
Overall, this album is a “Milestone” in Zappa’s career. This album actually provided the credentials to showcase his composition skills. Good Work Frank!
There you have it. My 2 Cents$ If you see me at a show, stop by and talk to me about “Hot Rats“.