FRANK ZAPPA The Lumpy/Money Project Object

The Lumpy/Money Project Object offers remixes and outtakes that the Zappa Family Trust (ZFT) have seen fit to overprice, then release to us dwindling hardcore fans in recent years. I love Frank, and have owned the originals for almost 40 years, but I no longer have the patience to compare the minor variations between a mono mix from 1968 with any of the 3 subsequent CD releases of We’re Only In It For The Money. I especially don’t like paying AGAIN for the shit version issued in 1986 (with re-recorded bass and drums, which Frank yanked off the market himself). Yet, that’s what’s in the new 3CD release, priced at nearly $60, w/tax & postage. And, as usual, ZFT refuses to even divulge what you’re getting before you order. At least this time… I understand why. This should have been a $25, 2CD set, at most. Sell us “the good stuff,” as Frank would say, at a reasonable price instead of over-charging everybody for the noisy few that demand it all – in turn, you’ll broaden the fan base and please the faithful. To be fair (to Frank), there are some fascinating tidbits scattered about the set, and the stripped orchestral mix of Lumpy Gravy is great to finally hear. The set’s saving grace, however, is the 25 minute “How Did That Get In Here?,” recorded on February 13, 1967. An incredibly ambitious piece, fusing group improv with some of Zappa’s (now) signature melodies, which Frank would later pillage to lace together Lumpy Gravy. For more evidence of Frank’s already documented brilliance, track the box down and give it a listen. For more evidence of ZFT’s ongoing disrespect for Frank’s dedicated fans, buy the box.


  • 1
    April 4, 2009 - 14:37 | Permalink

    Totally Agree Willard had the records then the flood of material came out on CD priced higher than a mountain and yes it did nothing but put a fence up between the price and the music and I also left the great mans music behind those were the days when pot luck was all you had and we all bought so much rubbish back then to the amusement of product producers

  • 2
    April 4, 2009 - 14:39 | Permalink

    At least Frank had the sense to NOT release that LG remix, which is more than can be said for ZFT. Lumpy Gravy with mammy vocals, for crissakes. 8 guys in a forum bellyache to have it and the rest of Frank's fans – and could-have-been fans – are forced to pay for it and forever skip past it. Gail has ZERO marketing sense. ZFT barely released shit in the decade after Frank's death – when the public was most curious and the material was most desired… has done less than Ryko to re-introduce Frank's catalog to a new generation (bless Dweezil's Zappa Plays Zappa project)… and, as Frank's remaining fans slowly die off, is busy over-charging their fixed incomes. By comparison, Yoko Ono is a saint.

  • 3
    Pants Elk
    April 4, 2009 - 14:39 | Permalink

    What you said, Willard. Gail Zappa is the second Most Irritating Person In Rock, just after Matthew Katz and only a smidgeon before Yoko Ono. You forgot (I think -) to mention that this cynically over-priced (and under-designed – check those cover graphics) package also includes Frank's remix abortion of Lumpy Gravy, slated to be on the twofer with the fucked-up mix of "Money" but mysteriously replaced by the "original"-ish mix. These two pieces alone prove that the artist is not necessarily the best custodian of his own work.
    I resented having to pay the cover price so much I decided to download the whole set for nothing, along with about a trillion other Zappa fans, leaving only Gail Zappa lap dancers and packaging fetishists to ante up for the product.
    One other thing while I'm here – the orchestral Lumpy (very, very fine) is *different* to the acetate …

  • 4
    Joseph "Jon" Lanthier
    April 4, 2009 - 14:40 | Permalink

    Hard to argue with anything being said here, although for the sake fairness I think that the remixes of LG & WOIIFTM are intriguing from a historical/completist perspective, even if I find them ridiculously hard to listen to. Still, I was rather aghast at discovering that the entirety of one disc on "Lumpy Money" was devoted to these damning train wrecks. I feel the "Freak Out!" Project/Object was a far superior package (although even the "original album mix" on that set showed signs of serious tinkering). And why'd they skip over "Absolutely Free," I wonder?

    Zappa's catalog presents a singular challenge to archivists and engineers because there are so many versions of individual album mixes, before you even start diving into bonus tracks or vault material. I am particularly looking forward to seeing how the ZFT botches the release of the "Hot Rats" Project/Object, which (if done appropriately) would feature the original LP mix (for the first time on CD) as well as the later revision, and a wealth of holy grail bonuses, such as the various takes of "Sharleena". For an institution so concerned with monopolizing Frank's legacy (Ed Palermo, our sympathies go out to you) you'd think they'd possess the sense to administrate it appropriately.

  • 5
    April 4, 2009 - 14:42 | Permalink

    Yep. I mean… we know they're not TRYING to alienate fans, but they also have to know they're doing it. It's like Gail adopted Frank's bullheadedness, but doesn't have the wherewithal to best use that trait. Seriously… how many of the new generation fans being produced by Dweezil’s Zappa Plays Zappa tours are going to drop $50-$60 for 40 year old re-issues designed by, and marketed to, obsessives. Get smart! For all ZFT's bitching, Ryko did a better job. And the Rykos are out there for $10 and under… while a Studio Z download is a mouse click away. ZFT is acting like it’s still the glory days of the record industry, when it’s not even the glory days of Mothermania anymore.

  • 6
    Joseph "Jon" Lanthier
    April 4, 2009 - 14:42 | Permalink

    Totally agreed, Willard. I have quizzically pondered on many occasions the ZFT's seemingly obstreperous desire to alienate the one demographic that could make them a successful business and a lasting testament to Frank's incredible work. One wonders if Gail is operating under an "apres moi, le deluge" self-delusion, in which case I sincerely hope that the "floods" in question are a torrent of Zappa Vault gold that Gail is corking the release of.

  • 7
    April 4, 2009 - 14:43 | Permalink

    Our Catasto pals don't leave those things up long. Better move it…

  • 8
    Pants Elk
    April 4, 2009 - 14:43 | Permalink

    Uh … so that upload of the vinyl Hot Rats rip is looking pretty good right now?

  • 9
    April 4, 2009 - 14:43 | Permalink

    Thanks for the taste. bbq

  • 10
    April 4, 2009 - 14:44 | Permalink

    Hi Miles,
    We're on the same page. Post production curios some 17 years after the fact could never compete with hearing the original genesis tapes of Lumpy Gravy. Connecting those lineage dots was what Frank's project/object concept was all about in the first place. Always glad when you stop by… it's a reminder to check out your blog's latest insightful comps.

  • 11
    April 4, 2009 - 14:44 | Permalink

    Thanks for the preview, Willard. I pretty much agree with most everything that's already been said, especially regarding the Mammy vocal mix on Lumpy Gravy. Entirely unnecessary. A one time listen would be enough for the insatiable perhaps, but beyond that…

    I'm much more interested in revelatory insights into the creation of the original masterpiece as we've come to know it.

  • 12
    Pants Elk
    April 4, 2009 - 14:44 | Permalink

    Just … faaaaaaaaabulous.

  • 13
    April 4, 2009 - 14:45 | Permalink

    Save that thought for the overpriced Absolutely Free box that's coming soon.

  • 14
    April 4, 2009 - 14:45 | Permalink

    You know what they say. Brown shoes don't make it. Quit school, why fake it?

  • 15
    April 4, 2009 - 14:45 | Permalink

    the drummer on this 25:01 piece: Billy Mundi?? feels like him
    [we luv our Billy]

  • 16
    Pants Elk
    April 4, 2009 - 14:47 | Permalink

    Heads-up for the magnificent (and impeccably recorded) Appleton Concert over at Studio Z …

  • 17
    April 4, 2009 - 14:47 | Permalink

    Oh Willard, You Tease !

  • 18
    April 4, 2009 - 14:48 | Permalink

    On a different subject, following the Zappa post, I was tempted to listen to a few other recordings 'Hot Rats' & 'The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life'
    I was blown away,
    Thank you for introducing me to such an incredible talent.

  • 19
    April 5, 2009 - 05:13 | Permalink

    I have a feeling that Gail/ZFT is waiting for Don van Vliet to kick the bucket so she can release the original "Shiny Beast" sessions and not have to pay Don (though I imagine his wife and members of that incarnation of the Magic band would come calling.)

  • 20
    February 14, 2012 - 00:41 | Permalink

    @19 – anonymouse (5 April 2009) – You called it, buckaroo. In December 2011, the ZFT announced that the original “BAT CHAIN PULLER” album was available for pre-order at $20, with a release scheduled for January 15 2012. Then, as January rolled past, they sent out another email message to say there were manufacturing delays of some kind, and the CDs would reach customers by February 13 2012, if not sooner. Well, mine has not arrived yet, and take note of today’s date.

  • 21
    September 13, 2012 - 18:42 | Permalink

    Yes… #19 called it dead on. And did you see the cover they created for it? As of late… they are now reissuing all of FZ’s original albums. The same one FZ sold to Ryko just before his death to set up his family for life. I don’t remember the numbers, but the family got something like $30M for the rights to re-release FZ’s entire catalog on Ryko. Then… what does Gail do? Bitched about Ryko on end, as if THEY were destroying FZ’s legacy and for years (when it was ONLY in their best interest to sell his work), barely released a damn thing with FZ’s name on it (after his death) to help keep the flame alive and slowing begans to undermine the entire deal, by issuing different version of tapes that mirrored the originals, but were not technically the same (getting around their contracts)… When they DO release something, it’s with a $20 price tag and ZFT REFUSES to tell you what’s even on it until it arrives in the mail. Well… now they got their catalog back and cut a deal with Universal – who, I’ll wager, are the ones who insisted on a reasonable ($13) price tag for a CD. As for Ryko… they got fucked royally.. as I read they almost (or did) go into some kind of bankruptcy because of the deal. I don’t really have the details, because dealing with that bunch makes my stomach turn. FZ was well known and celebrated asshole, and we all loved him for it. But Gail has the exact same characteristic without the talent. So, it’s unforgiving. ZFT (NOT Dweezil, bless his heart) have completely turned me off FZ and I refuse to give them another penny, for life. Just imagine your all time favorite band, and being so pissed off at the handling of his catalog and legacy that you never wanna hear another note. I would have never believed it… but that’s what happened to me

  • 22
    Edith Piaf
    November 3, 2013 - 10:35 | Permalink

    Re-up please? :)

  • 24
    May 29, 2014 - 07:45 | Permalink

    Here’s a link to a Rhino Compilation from 1991, featuring various artists on Zappa’s BIZARRE/STRAIGHT labels. It features songs from Alice Cooper, Nugent, Tom Waits, Tim Buckley, Lord Buckley (any relation?), Lenny Bruce, The GTOs, Persuasions, and the other great Capt, Captain Beefheart. Diehards probably have all this stuff already, but I thought someone out there will discover this for the first time.

    I tried to post this to the FZ/CB collection, but instead, I got a NeilYoung page when I clicked it on . Just thought you ought to know.


    • 25
      May 29, 2014 - 09:02 | Permalink

      Hi Frank.. you should post these things in Readers Links. They’ll get a lot more notice. Comments in old posts tend to be a dead zone and upped links will automatically be terminated by Zippy after 30 days of non-use. Thanks for the link note, fixed.

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