The Torture Never Stops
Filmed Live at The Palladium, NYC, Hallowen 1981
created by FZ from the original Boggs-Baker/FZ MTV concert production.
edited, performed & music composed & conducted by Frank Zappa
with Ray White, Steve Vai, Bobby Martin, Tommy Mars, Ed Mann, Scott Thunes & Chad Wackerman.
First may I say I thank FZ for making every one of them a Happy Halloween.
In my world, and I quote FZ "Goblin Girl is to Halloween what Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer is for Christmas."
Hot Dogs and Artistic Integrity
- While the NY Mets and The NY Yankees welcome Pedro Martinez and Jaba Chamberlain to their starting rotations 26 years after Frank Zappa edited two 1981 Palladium Halloween Concerts for a VHS The Torture Never Stops
the ZFTonce again takes action whereby protecting and serving the artistic intent of Frank Zappa the American Composer. The Torture Never Stops DVD has saved the "hard cores" well being from VHS Tape Oxidation From Hell. This DVD is once again a most heart welcomed maneuver by the ZFT. Not only have they as stated in the Liner Notes "transfered the 1" stereo video master
" but they have gone several steps further adding some spifnificent bonus nuggets, once again as stated "YES, AND BUT ALSO" Discography, DVDography, Liner Notes, Credits & extas, A New Car
". Inspector Clouseau has deciphered the DVD Nuggets to include audio/video bonus material featuring two songs from the Halloween shows previously not included, The YAWYI video and a Photo Gallery of 24 historic photos from Halloween 81'. If this were not enough the Liner Notes are written by then FZ Bass Player Scott Thunes and the amaray DVD case contains a bunch of treats one of which I could see many a NYC finest crazy type persons using come this Halloween. Now why you may ask I start this review out with a sporting analogy?
BEND OVER AND SPREAD 'EM! Here comes my . . . BULLET!!
-While the American Idol unreality trends of today seemingly have programmed adolescent brains appreciation for art into some sporting event where they not only swim the 200 meter Olympic trials and but also push the kill or be killed winning or loosing agenda. Ladies and Gentleman let's get ready to rumble. The appreciation of art, more so today than every, is predominantly governed by TV production values and cell phone voting systems but thinking back to 1981 on that fateful night of the first live concert broadcast done by MTV, a TV company that in one moment made history but in the long haul revolutionized the downtrend of artistic integrity I can only say that Scott Thunes reiterates that even in 1975, if I may extrapolate some liner notes, " I was too young to 'get' that 1975 concert. Frank sat on a stool and played solos a lot, if I recall, and the concert to my 'normal' mind, hit-less.
" Folks you are never too young or too old to dilate beyond a commercially programed mentality. There is always hope if you just open your eyes and ears. Commercialism knows where to put the cork.
Trendmonger Halloween 81' Costume
-While we did not get to see my 1981 Halloween Cosutume where I wore a womans size 3 disco spandex jump suit I am here to reiterate once again that I was interviewed by MTV at the Palladium less than two hours prior to the 2 concerts. MTV used that interview footage to promote the midnight show that was once again a world premiere live event of any live concert event for MTV named Zappa Halloween 81. In that interview I was asked what was my favorite song and if I thought Frank would perform it that evening. I answered that most Zappa fans did not come to hear a hit song but I could sing them one, so as the story goes I conducted NYCs finest crazy type persons into a street version of Stick It Out the German verse. Yes right underneath the Palladium marque that is spifnificent photo #24. While FZs Stick it Out was not played that evening one participant under my guidance "Artis The Spoon Man
" made a special guest appearance on stage with FZ during that Halloween engagement. One other special guest Al Dimeola made his appearance with the 81' Zappa Band just a short time later at The Ritz and I for one, self vacuumed cleaner hosed and all am keeping my eyes and ears open for ZAPPA RITZ 81' as an official release.
Now as far as the DVD itself
-There is no need to spoil the surprise whereby getting into some detailed review description of each and every song. Oh I knew you'd be surprised but may I point out that this DVD is visually and audio wise wonderful,wonderful and wonderful. The arrangements performed here is ever clear. While I tend to shy away from favorite, once again as if favorite was some sporting event, the sound of this band, even when there are a few minor performance pitch errors in a small vocal line or small whammy bar guitar line overall the timbre of the 1981 Palladium arrangements are very thick and where I can not only listen to but now watch over and over, without any concern for oxidation and or stickiness VHS tape dropouts.
-FZs Les Paul with it's previously documented and researchable circuitry and effects rack played through a three amp Carvin, Marshal and Carvin Acoustic configuration. This would be the near end of FZs usage of The Les Paul where Frank would soon reintroduce the Hendrix Strat a day later leading to his predominant usage of modified strat bodies by performance guitar. I appreciate FZs compositional approach to guitar no matter what axe he is using but that Les Paul could not only take off like a rocket ship but could ride on a cloud of silk. No sense getting into each tonality here but shit FZ Les Paul. Two days and counting to ZPZ Phase III and I wonder if this guitar could be reporting for duty.
Bass & Drums
-Chad's acoustic setup and Thunes round sound in 81' delivered a magical/fabrical landscape that was warm. No digital synthetics. Don't get me wrong, 84 & 88 offered FZ wonderful VAMPS and or rhythmic sonic landscapes to solo over but those Simmons digital drums had severe limitations in dropout in amplitude.
-Yes The Italian Virtuouso Seve Vai. Also can't help mysef I have to like those D'Addario stickers.
Keyboards & Horns & Rythem Guitar
-Tommy's configuration similar of FZ with his Les Paul is my pick as to why I very much like FZs choice for arrangements of this tour. Bobby Martin has some very nice keyboard and electric piano parts but his vocal abilities are what shines. While Bobby did not bring the arrangement offerings of Peter Wolfe his vocals and added Horn work that marries wonderfully with Tommy's keyboards leading into FZs solo in Alien Orifice is one example of something really special. With Ray White be it his rhythm work on his Anniversary Strat or a really tasteful Blues Scat solo Ray's contributions speaks with integrity and but also new car or not Steve Vai's rhythm work while unconventional be it strumming or whammy rhythms are uniquely/supersonically very much a part of these arrangements. He may have been young and had some blue hair but just as he cut it all off for Ritz 81 sometimes you don't need the shred fest with a hair brush.
-Not only do we get all the traditional mallet and percussive work one is accustom to in what I will call prime Zappa arrangement techniques but Ed Mann usage of syndrum and Bob Dylan vocals speak volumes. Goodnight Montgomery Burns wherever you are.
-For me this is "the tour" where Frank had it all together. He was teaching these guys to stretch out into those doo wop harmonizations and Frank was vivid on stage as ever as can be seen in the traditional Halloween number The Torture Never Stops . Not that prior FZ bands never went down that road but live the harmonies were really there. While the 84 band had more arrangements that focused on that doo wop method it was the 81 band that harmonically delivered it with the so called clarity of timbre mixing in with all instrumentation. Don't worry if you don't agree with me you can come back on Sunday for the Gong Show.
The 1981 Band Compositionally
-While The Torture Never Stops has plenty of viable contemporary songs as heard on the YAWYI LP the touring band is not about HIT SONGS. Oh there was noting wrong with Riding Like The Wind
but looking at Frank conduct Stritly Genteel
with the Palladium Chandelier overheard, what I see and hear this is what Zappa is about for he was an American Composer. It is my opinion that fans that want to appreciate FZ as an American Composer should separate themselves from their Sporting Event TV Cell Phone Voting ideology.
-Put the cellphones down,
use your eyes and ears,
when the performance is over
just as you can see during the rolling credits,
thousands of NYCs Finest Crazy Type Persons
I encourage you to join me in
standing, whistling and screaming
and all the rest of whom for which
To whensonever of partially indeterminate
Seek the path to the sudsy yellow nozzle
Of their foaming nocturnal
Parametric digital whole-wheat inter-faith
Geo-thermal terpsichorean ejectamenta)
FZ - MUDD CLUB
You Are What You Is
Official Release #34
BTW I wonder if Bill Boggs ever took the nose and glasses costume off.