Frank Zappa – Hot Rats

This folio features note-for-note transcriptions of Frank Zappa's influential 1969 jazz-rock fusion masterpiece, which also featured guest appearances by Captain Beefheart and Jean-Luc Ponty.  Music transcriptions by Andy Aledort.


  • The Gumbo Variations
  • It Must Be a Camel
  • Little Umbrellas
  • Peaches in Regalia
  • Son of Mr. Green Genes
  • Willie the Pimp


Includes lots of photos, and an intro by and album cover courtesy of Matt Groening. 

Publisher: Hal Leonard 
Publication Date: February 1, 2001
UPC: 073999670653
Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 12 inches
Print Length: 72 pages

Available in Paperback and Digital



When Hot Rats first dropped onto my sick little teenage record player back in 1969, I planted myself on the floor and sandwiched my head between the two speakers, expecting yet another masterpiece from Frank Zappa.

But what another masterpiece!

Even by Frank's brilliant standards, Hot Rats is in a class by itself. With its angular melodies, quick-change rhythms, and eccentric arrangements, Hot Rats basically invented that peculiar musical genre known as fusion. I think it also remains the finest jazz-rock album of all time. Everything about Hot Rats, from Sugarcane Harris's screeching violin to Ian Underwood's exuberant saxes (not to mention Don Van Vliet at his growly Beefheartiest) continues to amaze me. I've been listening to it for more than three decades now, and I keep hearing new things in Frank's extended guitar solos, which play like sneaky little compositions within the bigger pieces. (And does anyone else hear a wee bit of Stravinsky's Petrouchka in "Willie the Pimp"?)

One little confession: the cover of Love Is Hell, my first cartoon book, was inspired by the graphic starkness of the Hot Rats cover. I admitted this to Frank and Gail several years ago, which led to Gail asking me to write this little piece. Gail also asked if I still had my original beat-up LP copy of Hot Rats, so here it is reproduced in all its mottled, stained, dog-eared glory, complete with candle-wax drippings.

HOT RATS… HOT ROOTS… HOT ZITS… what another masterpiece!

Matt Groening
Los Angeles
December 21, 2000