The Mothers of Invention got so tired of sneakin' around and put it all out there with this adventurous avante jazz memorial barbecue. Produced in tandem with 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich', 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' was released after the band was finished.
Zappa would kvetch: “The worst thing about having a band like that is the responsibility falls on you. You have to remember, all the time, that the main concern of a rock-n-roll band is how much money it earns. It’s a perfectly valid stance to take, because these men were earning very little, and some of them had families – Jimmy Carl Black had five kids...So when I’d announce we had a tour coming up, a few people in a burst of enthusiasm might go out and spend the money in advance. Then the promoter rings up and says the tour’s off, and someone has to meet that bill, either me or Herbie (Cohen, their manager, and Zappa’s partner in business ventures). Everybody in the band hated me or Herbie in turn...When I disbanded the group it was as if I’d taken their income away. There was a lot of mumbling and grumbling. Nobody paused to consider that I might have been running the band purely on a musical basis. But I would say during the five years that group was together it was a very good relationship – we put up with a lot of hardship and misunderstanding.”
'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' was drawn together from live improvisations and overdubs featuring Frank Zappa on lead guitar and vocals; Jimmy Carl Black on drums; Ray Collins on vocals; Roy Estrada on bass and vocals; Bunk Gardner on tenor saxophone; Lowell George on rhythm guitar and vocals; Don "Sugarcane" Harris on vocals and electric violin; Don Preston on organ and electronic effects; Buzz Gardner on trumpet and flugel horn; Motorhead Sherwood on baritone saxophone and snorks; Art Tripp on drums; and Ian Underwood on alto saxophone.
The iconic album cover was done by Neon Park based on a cover of 'Man's Life' magazine that Zappa gave him: "It was one of those men's magazines like 'Saga', The cover story was "Weasels ripped my flesh" and it was the adventure of a guy, naked to the waist, who was in water. the water was swarming with weasels, and they were all kind of climbing on him and biting him. so frank said, `This is it. what can you do that's worse than this?' And the rest is history."
'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' peaked at number one hundred and eighty nine on the Billboard 200 album chart.
'Weasels Ripped My Flesh'
All songs written and composed by Frank Zappa except where noted.
00:00 "Didja Get Any Onya" March 2, 1969, Philadelphia Arena, Philadelphia 3:44
06:51 "Directly from My Heart to You" (Richard Wayne Penniman) July 1969, TTG Recording Studios, Hollywood 5:17
12:10 "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" October 25, 1968, Royal Festival Hall, London 3:35
15:56 "Toads of the Short Forest" August 1969, Whitney Studios, Glendale and February 7–8, 1969, Thee Image, Miami 4:48
20:44 "Get a Little" February 13, 1969, The Factory, New York 2:35
23:16 "Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" June 1969, A&R Studios, New York 6:53
30:08 "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" December 1967-February 1968, Apostolic Studios, New York 2:12
32:21 "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" February 1969, Criteria Studios, Miami and August–September 1969, T.T.G. Studios, Hollywood 3:35
35:53 "Oh No" December 1967-February 1968, Apostolic Studios, New York 1:46
37:39 "The Orange County Lumber Truck" October 25, 1968, Royal Festival Hall, London 3:18
41:01 "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" May 30, 1969, Town Hall, Birmingham 2:05