Friday, June 21, 2024

Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention's Wild Three-Hour Concert Album, "Whisky a Go Go, 1968," Out Now

Today marks the official release date of Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention's three-hour concert album, "Whisky a Go Go, 1968." Additionally, 5LP vinyl box set and 2LP vinyl titles are set for release on July 12th...Robert Kinsler





Los Angeles – June 21, 2024 – Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention’s legendary three-hour performance at the famed Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood on July 23, 1968, is available now as the 3CD/digital album, Whisky a Go Go, 1968, via Zappa Records/UMe. Produced by Ahmet Zappa and Zappa Vaultmeister Joe Travers, this extensive collection, released 56 years after it was recorded, compiles everything The Mothers played across their three sets that night, nearly three hours in all, complete and newly remixed in 2023 from hi-res 24-bit/96kHz digital transfers of the original 1” 8-track analog tapes by Craig Parker Adams at Winslow CT Studios. The Super Deluxe Edition box set features a booklet with many unseen photos from the night’s events, along with copious liner notes by Travers, an essay by Pamela Des Barres of the Zappa-signed group The GTOs who played that evening, and an interview by Ahmet Zappa with the legendary Alice Cooper, whose own band made a most momentous splash at the Whisky that night as one of the featured acts.

Purchase/stream Whisky a Go Go, 1968 here:

On July 12thWhisky a Go Go, 1968 will be released as a 5LP box set, containing nine sides of music and a silkscreen printed image on the 10th side plus a custom turntable mat. A 2LP Highlights edition will also be available, spotlighting highlights from all three sets. All vinyl was cut from hi-res digital file by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in 2023 and is being pressed at Optimal: Media in Germany on BioVinyl, a new environment-friendly formulation and sustainable product made from bio-based PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The petroleum previously required for PVC production is replaced by recycling used cooking oil or industrial waste gases. Through the use of renewable energies and recycled raw materials, CO2 emissions are significantly reduced. More information about BioVinyl available here:

L to R: West Hollywood Vice Mayor Chelsea Lee Byers, Diva Zappa, Moon Zappa, West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson. Photo by Scott Dudelson

Last week, the city of West Hollywood, home to the iconic Whisky a Go Go, declared June 10, 2024, as “Frank Zappa Day,” in honor of the many valuable contributions the legendary musician, activist and counterculture icon made to music and culture in West Hollywood and beyond. In a private ceremony at the Whisky, located on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, Moon Zappa and Diva Zappa, the daughters of Frank and Gail Zappa, were presented the proclamation by West Hollywood Mayor John M. Erickson and Vice Mayor Chelsea Lee Byers

In conjunction with today’s release, a 14-minute video featuring newly restored 16mm film footage shot at Zappa’s historical Whisky show has been unearthed from The Vault and is available to view for the first time. The film, which was shot in increments throughout the night, has been painstakingly synched to music for the first time, marking the first time it’s ever been seen with audio (Zappa himself never had the opportunity to see the footage synched to the music). The video is an incredible document of the five-hour festivities and shows fans lined up around the block on Sunset Blvd., the late ‘60s free-spirited revelry of the packed audience and the musicians and never-before-seen performance footage of The Mothers along with scenes involving The Freaks and the debut of The GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously). In the audience that night were Flo & Eddie (The Turtles), John Mayall, Elliot Ingber (The Fraternity Of Man), Alice Cooper and members of the Rolling Stones. Watch the video here:

Also available now are the first three episodes of the four-part Whisky A Go Go Series on YouTube, hosted by Travers and recorded inside the Whisky. In the first episode, Travers sits down with Sunset strip icon Pamela Des Barres who reflects about her own band, Girls Together Outrageously (the GTOs), making their world premiere at the wild five-hour show and what performing with Zappa meant to her. The second episode continues with Des Barres reminiscing fondly about the historic gig as she sees footage for the first time ever of herself and her friends performing that night culled from previously unreleased film discovered in The Vault. The third video sees Travers and Des Barres discussing the “freaks and fashion of 1968 and Zappa’s influence on the freak out culture.” Check out the series here:


Additionally, a new merch collection for Whisky a Go Go, 1968 is also available now. Visit the official Frank Zappa Store to see the new offerings:

The hand-scrawled ad in the L.A. Free Press — an open invitation to Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention’s all-night affair at one of their favorite venues, L.A.’s historic Whisky a Go Go — laid things out in black and white as to what Zappa and the band’s intentions were for that soon-to-be epic evening. It read: “The Mothers of Invention cordially invite you to join them on Tuesday, July 23, 1968, when they will be taking over the Whisky a Go Go for 5 full hours of unprecedented merriment, which will be secretly recorded for an upcoming record album. Dress optional. Starting sometime in the evening. R.S.V.D.T.” The show was billed on the Whisky marquee as “Mothers Of Invention – Recording Session,” and thus, Zappa had indeed recorded the entire evening’s aural festivities with the intention of releasing an album. That project never quite fully materialized — until now.

Early on during the Whisky proceedings — right after the quite gnarly eight-minute “Tiny Sick Tears Jam” — Zappa told the eclectic gathering of freaks and hippie-cum-hipster music geeks alike, “The purpose of this evening is supposedly to make some recordings of The Mothers live, in person.” Zappa’s core intention of live invention that night was to capture an entire Mothers performance on multi-track tape. The only other time this had occurred was two months earlier at the Miami Pop Festival on May 18, 1968, when Eddie Kramer had documented The Mothers’ set on 1” 8-track tape. For the Whisky engagement, Zappa had hired the Wally Heider remote truck, which itself had been outfitted with a 1” 8-track recorder that would be helmed by recording engineer Dick Kunc.

The choice of venue was no accident either. The Whisky had been very good to The Mothers over their formative years, and this showcase event was a way to give back to the place where manager Herb Cohen had persuaded producer Tom Wilson to witness Zappa and The Mothers perform in late 1965. That ultimately resulted in the band securing a record contract with MGM, not to mention planting the seeds of the fruitful relationship that developed between Zappa and Wilson. By the time The Mothers came back to the Whisky in July 1968, they had quite well established themselves as leaders of the underground.

Led by Zappa on guitar and vocals, The Mothers’ formidable lineup for this extravaganza included Ray Collins (vocals, percussion), Ian Underwood (alto sax), Bunk Gardner (tenor sax, flute), Don Preston (keyboards, gong), Motorhead Sherwood (baritone sax, percussion), Roy Estrada (bass, vocals), Art Tripp (drum set, percussion), and Jimmy Carl Black (drum set, percussion).

Along with the three individual sets The Mothers played that night, there were also performances by Alice CooperWild Man FischerThe GTOs, and a still-mysterious guitar player from New Jersey named Joe Piresanti. The ensuing mayhem during these performances — “from time to time, there’ll be interesting events taking place here in the arena, to keep you occupied,” as Zappa put it — was duly captured on film as well. VitoSzouCarl and The Freaks writhed and contorted themselves in an orgy-like state on the floor in front of the stage, while The GTO’s danced, twirled, and screamed along for the entire evening, hands down the most raucous and most verbally reassuring cheerleading section in the house. Besides all their gyrating, whooping, and hollering, The GTOs also performed a pair of carefully hand-selected numbers onstage during “King Kong – Part 2.” Other notable scenesters in attendance that evening were The BTO’s, Kim Fowley (whom, at FZ’s insistence, joins in vocally early on in the set, a la his accompaniment on Freak Out!), The Turtles, John Mayall, Elliot Ingber (a former Mother now part of The Fraternity Of Man), and members of The Rolling Stones.

What attendees and participants alike witnessed that night at the Whisky — keeping in mind that some audience members had to be swapped in and out from set to set, since people were lined up around the block to get in (Thank you teenagers, one and all). Linchpin songs like “Memories of El Monte” and “Help, I’m A Rock” were there, and well known from the beginning days of The Mothers’ L.A. gigs. Improvisation was critical — “Just start playing something nice, in G minor. Make it up,” Zappa implores before The Mothers dive into “Improvisation: Episode II” — plus, there were doo-wop chops for days (“Valerie,” the soaring falsetto from Roy Estrada in “Oh, In The Sky”). As for Zappa himself, not only did he commence the first set by utilizing his trademark hand signals to direct the band in real time, he also got to deploy his then newly acquired Les Paul Gold Top guitar before the Bigsby tailpiece and other experimental modifications on the instrument had been implemented.

For his part, Alice Cooper remains thankful to this day for not only what Zappa saw in his fledgling group, but for giving them a cherished slot on that fateful Whisky night. “Nobody would touch us except Frank. He was the only one that even gave us the time of day,” as Cooper related to Ahmet Zappa in the liners. “He saw something specific in us that was pretty insane. All the record companies wanted the next Buffalo Springfield, and we were not that.” No, they were decidedly not that — and Alice Cooper collectively lit the Whisky ablaze with an incendiary performance of their own that set the table for a career that’s still in full swing.  

“It truly was a night of nights,” as Travers oh-so-succinctly put it in the liners. “The Mothers performance wasn’t perfect, but very good. Frank was in good spirits, the band played well, and the sequence of songs did capture the group’s live repertoire of the time.” The Mothers were already poised for greater pastures and pastimes ahead by virtue of the music they would soon enough be creating for their next studio album, one that would arrive before the tail end of 1968 — the doo-wop-inspired concept piece, Cruising With Ruben & The Jets. But for five glorious hours on a hot mid-1968 summer night in L.A., the Whisky a Go Go was the most happening place to be. To best absorb the contents of Whisky a Go Go 1968, we should all follow the advice given by GTOs royalty Miss Pamela Des Barres, who implores us to “listen to all of this album in its entirety and try to envision the Whisky a Go Go that long ago night. It happened in a space and time that will never come again, so buckle up, baby, close your eyes, let your imagination soar, and set your freak free.” 








CD 1

1. Whisky Improvisation: Episode I

2. America Drinks & Goes Home

3. Help, I’m A Rock / Transylvania Boogie

4. My Boyfriend’s Back

5. Bust His Head

6. Tiny Sick Tears Jam

7. “The Purpose Of This Evening…”

8. Whisky Improvisation: Episode II 

9. Status Back Baby

10. Memories Of El Monte

11. Oh, In The Sky

12. Valerie

CD 2

1. “Fun & Merriment”

2. Hungry Freaks, Daddy

3. King Kong – Part 1

4. King Kong – Part 2

5. Octandre

6. Whisky Improvisation: Episode III

7. Meow

8. God Bless America

9. Presentation Of Wings

10. Plastic People

11. Della’s Preamble

12. The Duke – Take 1

13. The Duke – Take 2

14. Khaki Sack

CD 3

1. The Whip

2. Whisky Chouflée

3. Brown Shoes Don’t Make It

4. Brown Shoes Shuffle

Bonus Vintage Mixes

5. The Whip (FZ Mix)

6. Hungry Freaks, Daddy (FZ Mono Mix)



Side 1

1. Whisky Improvisation: Episode I

2. America Drinks & Goes Home

3. Help, I’m A Rock / Transylvania Boogie


Side 2

1. My Boyfriend’s Back

2. Bust His Head

3. Tiny Sick Tears Jam

4. “The Purpose Of This Evening…”

5. Whisky Improvisation: Episode II (Part 1)


Side 3

1. Whisky Improvisation: Episode II (Part 2)

2. Status Back Baby

3. Memories Of El Monte

4. Oh, In The Sky

5. Valerie


Side 4

1. “Fun & Merriment”

2. Hungry Freaks, Daddy

3. King Kong – Part 1


Side 5

1. King Kong – Part 2 

2. Octandre

3. Whisky Improvisation: Episode III

4. Meow

5. God Bless America

6. Presentation Of Wings

7. Plastic People


Side 6

1. Della’s Preamble

2. The Duke – Take 1

3. The Duke – Take 2

4. Khaki Sack


Side 7

1. The Whip

2. Whisky Chouflée


Side 8

1. Brown Shoes Don’t Make It

2. Brown Shoes Shuffle


Side 9 – Bonus Vintage Mixes

1. The Whip (FZ Mix)

2. Hungry Freaks, Daddy (FZ Mono Mix)

Side 10

No Music – “Mothers” Silkscreen Image


Side 1

1. Help, I’m A Rock / Transylvania Boogie

2. My Boyfriend’s Back

3. Bust His Head

4. Tiny Sick Tears Jam


Side 2

1. “Fun & Merriment”

2. Hungry Freaks, Daddy

3. King Kong


Side 3

1. “The Purpose Of This Evening…”

2. The Duke – Take 2

3. Khaki Sack


Side 4

1. The Whip (FZ Mix)

2. Brown Shoes Don’t Make It

# # #

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Cleopatra Entertainment announces Todd Rundgren 'Liars Live' on Blu-ray

Todd Rundgren fans take note! The forthcoming Ralph Umhoefer-directed "Liars Live" is set to be released on Blu-ray next month courtesy of Cleopatra Entertainment...Robert Kinsler 

Introducing Todd Rundgren - 
Liars Live
Coming to Blu-ray for the first time on July 19, 2024
A stellar 160-minute live concert from legendary musician/songwriter/producer Todd Rundgren, performing material from his critically acclaimed 2004 album, Liars, and other classics!  

This two-hours-plus live concert - released for the first time on Blu-ray disc - was shot on June 9, 2005 in Albany, NY, and features songs from Rundgren's acclaimed Liars album.  
The band (including Utopia veterans Kasim SultonJesse Gress, and Prairie Prince) delivers 19 stellar performances, including the classic "Hello It's Me," and a cover of The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."  

Track Listing
Buffalo Grass
Fascist Christ
I Hate My Frickin' I.S.P.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
God Said
Soul Brother
Love Science
Born To Synthesize
Feel It
The Want Of A Nail
Hello It's Me
Just One Victory

Bonus Materials
Includes bonus Trailers, Slide Show & more!

Learn more on the upcoming Blu-ray release HERE

Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate/Baseball Project) Debut Memoir & Solo Album Set for August 30

Very exciting! Today we learn that acclaimed singer-songwriter Steve Wynn will release his official autobiography and his first solo album in 12 years this summer...Robert Kinsler


Debut Memoir and New Album Written in Tandem, Tell the Autobiographical Tale as Memoirist and Musician, a Duel One-Man Exploration into the History and Present Day Journey of One of the Founders of the Indie Rock / Post Punk Scene

LOS ANGELES, CA AND NEW YORK, NY (THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2024) – Steve Wynn, leader of the band The Dream Syndicate, founding member of The Baseball Project and solo artist, announced today that he will release both his autobiography I Wouldn’t Say It If It Wasn’t True (Jawbone Press) and his first solo album in 12 years, Make It Right (Fire Records) on August 30.
I Wouldn’t Say It If It Wasn’t True is the vivid and revealing memoir from leader and founder of one of the most revered indie-rock bands of the 1980s, The Dream Syndicate. It’s a tale of writing songs and playing in bands as a conduit to a world its author could once have barely imagined—a world of indie and major labels, luxury tour buses, and sold-out theatres, but also one of alcohol, drugs, and a low-level rock’n’roll Babylon. Ultimately, it’s a tale of redemption, with music as a vehicle for artistic and personal transformation and transcendence.
Make It Right features contributions from Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Vicki Peterson (The Bangles), Chris Schlarb (Psychic Temple), Emil Nikolaisen (Serena Maneesh), Linda Pitmon (The Baseball Project) and a cast of dozens. The songs aren’t directly autobiographical although the album does start with “Santa Monica,” the city and boulevard where Wynn was born and concludes with “Roosevelt Avenue,” the main thoroughfare of the Queens neighborhood in New York City that he calls home today.
“I wrote and recorded the songs on Make It Right in tandem with working on I Wouldn’t Say It If It Wasn’t True, my memoir, which are being released the same week as Make It Right, my first solo album since 2010,” said Steve Wynn. “With each chapter, I would get ideas for songs inspired by the deep dive into my past and vice versa. The reflections became intertwined after a while, a mutual commentary between literal and metaphorical ruminating.”
Wynn will also be touring solo across the UK, Europe North America this Autumn as a one-man show blending songs from and inspired by the book along with a narrative structure of readings and storytelling. Fans can expect a selection of evergreens and rarities from the Dream Syndicate’s catalogue along with reflective numbers from the new album as well, all adding up to an evening of a past revisited. Baseball Project Tickets here and tickets for A Night of Songs and Stories here.
Select tour dates include:
Baseball Project Tour Dates:
July 4 @ Space, Evanston, IL
July 5 @ Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI
July 6 @ Turf Club, St. Paul, MN
July 7 @ Wooly’s, Des Moines, IA
July 8 @ The Waiting Room, Omaha, NE
July 10 @ The Record Bar, Kansas City, MO
July 11 @ Cain’s Ballroom, Tulsa, OK
July 12 @ Tannahill’s, Ft. Worth, TX
July 13 @ Antone’s, Austin, TX
July 14 @ White Oak Music Hall, Houston, TX
Steve Wynn European Tour Dates – A Night of Songs and Stories:
Sept. 16 @ Jericho, Oxford, UK
Sept. 17 @ Hen & Chicken, Bristol UK
Sept. 18 @ The Greystones, Sheffield, UK
Sept. 19 @ The Hug & Pint, Glasgow, Scotland UK
Sept. 20 @ Gulliver’s, Manchester, UK
Sept. 21 @ Bluebird, York, UK
Sept. 22 @ Walthamstow Rock n Roll Book Club London, UK
Sept. 24 @ Mid Sussex Music Hall, Hassocks, UK
Sept. 25 @ Life Is A Minestrone House Show, Paris, France
Steve Wynn North American Tour Dates – A Night of Songs and Stories:
Oct. 8 @ City Winery, New York, NY
Oct. 9 @ Milkboy, Philadelphia, PA
Oct. 11 @ Pie Shop, Washington, DC
Oct. 12 @ Pinhook, Durham, NC
Oct. 15 @ Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC
Oct. 16 @ The Earl, Atlanta, GA
Oct. 17 @ Basement, Nashville, TN
Oct. 20 @ Hideout, Chicago, IL
Oct. 22 @ Happy Dog, Cleveland, OH
Additional US Tour dates for Steve Wynn to be announced shortly.
Make It Right track listing:
1. Santa Monica
2. Make It Right
3. What Were You Expecting
4. You’re Halfway There
5. Making Good On My Promises
6. Cherry Avenue
7. Then Again
8. Madly
9. Simpler Than The Rain
10. Roosevelt Avenue 
Steve Wynn is a founding member of The Dream Syndicate, whose debut album, The Days Of Wine And Roses, is widely regarded as a cornerstone of the indie/alternative rock scene of the 1980s. He has also enjoyed a prolific solo career, touring the world on a regular basis and performing and recording in groups such as Danny & Dusty, Gutterball, and The Baseball Project (also featuring R.E.M. founders Mike Mills and Peter Buck). He scored two Norwegian hit TV shows, Dag and Exit, and his songs have been covered by Luna, Yo La Tengo, and Concrete Blonde, among others. I Wouldn’t Say It If It Wasn’t True is his first book. He lives in New York City.

Steve Wynn