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REVIEW: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention ‘The Lost Broadcast’

ZappaWhat is The Lost Broadcast? It’s a filmed rehearsal of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention at the Beat Club in Bremen, Germany, recorded on the 6th of October 1968 (years before I was born, My dad was only five at time so it would not have made much sense if I was pottering about) which was never broadcast, aside from the last 35 minutes, which aired in Germany during 1970.

The definition of ‘for the fans’, definitely rings true here. The video is low quality and at times almost unwatchable/unlistenable, yet  somehow still beautiful, alluring and captivating. This release is definitely for historical purposes, as says the disclaimer apologizing for the audio drop outs and low video quality.

We start of with the Mothers eating before their rehearsal, playing with their grapes and kielbasa casually as if it’s their pre-show ritual. The wonderful Frank Zappa being photographed while seemingly eating one of the many forms of bread. Our Lonesome Cowboy, Jimmy Carl Black stuffing his face with as much kielbasa as one can handle. Then, almost as part of a natural progression, the noodling and tuning begins. Don’t worry, they continue to snack throughout.

It’s always a delight watching Zappa conduct, and even more delightful watching him play guitar. The band interactions are humourous and it’s fun to see these mythological beings just hanging out and having a bit of a jam.

The next 70-or so minutes we see The Mothers almost completely improvised with sections of their pre-written tracks thrown into the mix. Psychedelically edited, shots melting into other shots and silhouetted, the camera ruthlessly moving from player to player.

The set also includes a bucket of toys for the band-members to play with. There may be a little too much footage of the ‘bear-with-sausage-erection-on-doll’ scene for some. Although watching a grown man make what appears to be a naked, golden GI-Joe doll sit on top of a beer bottle can be quite intense.

As all Zappa fans know,  Zappa recorded basically everything,  but very little of it has surfaced. As earlier stated, it’s a hard watch and I would suggest looking elsewhere if you are in the early stages of Zappa fandom or looking for an easy introduction.

The Players:
Frank Zappa
Roy Estrada
Ian Underwood
Don Preston
Bunk Gardner
Art Tripp
James ‘Motorhead’ Sherwood
Jimmy Carl Black

You can purchase a copy of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention “The Lost Broadcast: The Beat Club ’68 HERE.

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Angela Mastrogiacomo

Founder of Infectious Magazine & Muddy Paw Public Relations. Lover of passion, ice cream, and books.

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