FRANK ZAPPA – ” Zappa ’80 Mudd Club “

Posted: January 15, 2023 in MUSIC

During the Spring/Summer tour of 1980, Frank Zappa played a set at his favorite NYC nightclub – the famous Mudd Club. Zappa adored the place and even wrote a song dedicated to it. The complete performance is included on two 45rpm 180g audiophile Coke Bottle Green vinyl LP’s and mastered by Bernie Grundman, 2022. Package features photography and memoir from George Alper, who worked for FZ and was at the event, along with liner notes from Arthur Barrow, Steve Vai & Vaultmeister Joe Travers and iron-on transfers.

Zappa ’80: Mudd Club/Munich, out March 3rd, boasts two complete shows from the guitar god’s short-lived five-piece line-up, gigs that followed a torrid 1979 that saw Zappa release both “Sheik Yerbouti” and his three-act “Joe’s Garage”.

The first show in the 3CD set showcases Zappa and company’s May 8th 1980 gig at New York City’s 240-capacity Mudd Club, a concert that he sandwiched between two arena-sized dates in Philadelphia and Long Island.

The shows are stocked with selections from Zappa’s then-new albums — like “Joe’s Garage,” Keep It Greasy,” “City of Tiny Lite” and more — plus selections from throughout his enormous catalogue and songs that would ultimately wind up on his 1981 LP “You Are What You Is”.

Ahead of the live set’s March 3rd release, check out “Outside Now” from the Mudd Club show:

Joining Zappa on the road for both gigs were singers Ike Willis and Ray White, bassist Arthur Barrow, keyboardist Tommy Mars, and drummer David Logeman, whose tenure in the band only lasted one year; Zappa ’80: Mudd Club is the first release to feature entire Logeman shows.

Only two of the tracks found on Zappa ’80: Mudd Club have previously been released, having been included on the live comps “You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore“. The live albums also include an essay by Zappa Vault master Joe Travers, a track-by-track setlist breakdown by bassist Barrow and a remembrance by Steve Vai, who attended the Mudd Club gig and would soon after join Zappa’s band.

Guitar: Frank Zappa Guitar: Ike Willis Guitar: Ray White , Keyboards: Tommy Mars , Bass: Arthur Barrow Drums: David Logeman

The Mudd Club was a happening, underground venue in lower Manhattan best known for being a popular hangout for the counterculture and a bastion of new wave and punk which dominated NYC’s music and fashion scene. As Travers writes in the liners, “celebrities and musicians alike would frequent the ‘art bar cabaret’ during its heyday between 1979 and 1983, dancing, drinking and making the scene amongst the New York City denizens of the deep.” Zappa loved the small, seedy club and the punks, posers and hipsters that called it home, and so made it a priority to play there while on tour, scheduling a performance on May 8th, 1980, at the tiny 240-capacity room, sandwiched between much larger arena dates in Cincinnati, Philadelphia and the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Long Island where he played two shows in one night to more than 20,000 fans total.

Zappa and his five-piece band treated the sweaty, packed club to a thrilling 15-song, hour-long set filled with tracks from the recently released 1979 albums, the triple LP rock opera, Joe’s Garage (“Joe’s Garage,” “Keep It Greasy,” “Outside Now,” “Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?”), and Sheik Yerbuti (“Bobby Brown Goes Down,” “City Of Tiny Lites“), along with songs from across his prolific catalogue, including “I Ain’t Got No Heart” and “You Didn’t Try To Call Me” from 1966’s Freak Out!, and the title track from 1970’s “Chunga’s Revenge.” Additionally, the band played early versions of Zappa’s homage to the club, “Mudd Club,” “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing,” and “You Are What You Is,” which would all be recorded after the tour and released the following year on “You Are What You Is”The show was famously captured by an Austrian film crew DoRo (Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher) who included two songs – “Mudd Club” and “Chunga’s Revenge” – in their documentary, “Frank Zappa: New York and Elsewhere.”

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