Of Weasels, Hot Rats and Lumpy Gravy: Some Zappa Reissue Questions Answered
Ever since news broke of Universal’s upcoming series of Frank Zappa reissues, there have been as many questions as answers regarding this hotly-anticipated catalogue campaign. Although the first thirteen titles, chronologically representing 1966’s Freak Out! through 1971’s Just Another Band From L.A., don’t arrive until July 31, a trickle of information has already been released by Gail Zappa, Frank’s widow and the representative of the Zappa Family Trust.
Gail Zappa has taken to answering some burning questions on the “GZ Sez” area of Zappa.com, and we’re happy to pass on this information to you! Responding to Bruce White’s email of June 11 inquiring whether the Universal releases would be remastered or otherwise differ from past issues, Gail confirmed that “the digital masters were all re-transferred by the Vaultmeister and about a third of the titles were reMastered [sic] from the original analog source. So the happy answer is, you betcha!! Each one is carefully labelled with the information you are looking for. Watch the skies.”
In response to Jess R. Hernandez’ email, Gail revealed more details including a tantalizing teaser about Hot Rats. Frank Zappa’s 1969 album was remixed by its artist in 1987, and his remixed edition offered significantly different versions of such compositions as “Willie the Pimp,” “The Gumbo Variations” and “Little Umbrellas.” Hernandez’ questions and Gail Zappa’s responses follow:
Q: The Hot Rats CD has always been a 1987 re-mix, not the original 1969 mix. Is this new CD the `69 mix, or the `87 re-mix? I prefer either.
A: Technically none of the above – this is the 2008 Bernie Grundman re-master – which mostly resembles the original 1969 mix. You will love it.
Q: Is the packaging faithful to the LPs?
A: Absolutely. And even more faithful to the requirements established by the original Barking Pumpkin releases.
Q: Should I sell or junk my `95 Ryko CDs, or keep `em as collector’s items?
A: I would keep them for the moment – but you decide. None of the new releases are “sourced” from the Ryko releases and although many represent the digital masters mostly as you have come to understand them, many do not! Each package will identify the actual source so you will be able to plan your collection accordingly. We think everything sounds better but I am sure you will let us know.
Here at Second Disc HQ, we’re particularly thrilled that Gail Zappa has twice acknowledged that original source information will be included and clearly marked on each disc. Hit the jump for more, including the full list of reissues plus pre-order links!
The first wave of Frank Zappa reissues from Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will arrive on July 31. Current plans call for “another dozen recordings to be released monthly through the end of 2012,” for a total of 60 albums. Watch this space for more news as it comes, and if you have a question about these new reissues for Gail Zappa, why not drop her a line at Zappa.com? You just might get an answer!
Frank Zappa, 2012 Reissue Campaign (Universal Music Enterprises)
- Freak Out! (1966)
- Absolutely Free (1967)
- Lumpy Gravy (1967)
- We’re Only In It For The Money (1968)
- Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1968)
- Uncle Meat (1969)
- Hot Rats (1969)
- Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970)
- Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970)
- Chunga’s Revenge (1970)
- Fillmore East – June 1971 (1971)
- Just Another Band From LA (1971)