DVD: Frank Zappa’s “The Torture Never Stops”

(Eagle Vision, 2010):

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of Frank Zappa, which is always cause for celebration. I’ve been a Zappa fan since I was in high school, when “Freak Out” and his other early Mothers albums melted my mind and set me off on my life-long musical adventures.

Recorded back in 1981, the disc boasts three essential ingredients – 1) Frank Zappa 2) live in New York City at the Pallidium 3) on Halloween night. It’s actually a two-hour concert compilation culled from two FZ performances that evening.

This concert DVD dips back into the rich Zappa vaults, and it’s something of a legendary event – originally airing on MTV back in the days when the “M” stood for music. It’s been circulating amongst Zappa fans for years now, and was released back in ’08 by Zappa’s peeps, but it’s just now getting a wide retail release.

All of which means that if you’re a Zappa fan, you already know all about it… or you already own it.

If you’re not a diehard Zappa fan, this DVD isn’t a bad place to start, although the “Baby Snakes” DVD might give you more bang.

On “The Torture Never Stops,” Zappa shears off one monster guitar solo after another. And he’s in good company with Steve Vai by his side. Put Zappa and Vai together, and you get something special. Check out “Alien Orifice,” if you don’t believe me. Oh yeah, and then there’s “Stevie’s Spanking,” too.

The band is so tight. Chad Wackerman – looking about 13 years old – is a machine, bashing away at his roto-tom laden drum kit. And the masterful, multi-talented percussionist Ed Mann makes the music sparkle with his mallet work (as well as a pretty damn fine Bob Dylan impersonation, too).

It’s difficult to believe that this live concert DVD is nearly 30 years old, as Zappa’s music here seems to be not only ahead of its time – but still ahead of our time, too.

Happy birthday, Frank…

PERSONNEL: Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals), Ray White (guitar, vocals), Tommy Mars (keyboards, vocal); Scott Thunes (bass, vocal); Chad Wackerman (drums); Ed Mann (percussion, vocal); Bobby Martin (keyboard, sax, vocal), Steve Vai (guitar, vocal)

Black Napkins
Easy Meat
Beauty Knows No Pain
Charlie’s Enormous Mouth
Fine Girl
Teen-age Wind
Harder Than Your Husband
Bamboozled By Love
We’re Turning Again
Alien Orifice
Broken Hearts Are for Assholes
You Are What You Is
Mudd Club
The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing
Dumb All Over
Heavenly Bank Account
Suicide Chump
Jumbo Go Away
Stevie’s Spanking
The Torture Never Stops
Strictly Genteel
The Illinois Enema Bandit
Teen-age Prostitute (live)
City Of Tiny Lites (live)
You Are What You Is (music video)

1 Comment
  1. Andy M. says

    We miss you Frank, but Dweezil is doing a fine job of preserving your legacy…whether you wanted him to or not.

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