FURTHER COMMENTS ON STAGE III

Scott Maykrantz' comments on Volume Three.

SHARLEENA: 0
I really want to give this at least half a point because of the "Battlestar Galactica?" line at the beginning and because Dweezil's playing on it. But the percussion sounds horrible, the song is very boring, and the solo (which starts well) becomes sonic wallpaper, easily ignored.
BAMBOOZLED BY LOVE: 1
Love it: the New Wave version of a song about beating up your girlfriend. Who else but Zappa could do this? The guitar tone in the solo is perfect. I've played this for friends who don't like Zappa but know "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and every one of them said "Hey, that's pretty damn cool."
LUCILLE HAS MESSED MY MIND UP: 0
Could have been half a point because this is a very live version of the song (you can hear the audience, etc.). But then I noticed how many other songs from "Joe's Garage" are on this disc. Forget it.
ADVANCE ROMANCE: 0
When I listen to this, I wait for something to happen. Nothing does. A passable song, full of little chunks of this and that, but nothing to unify it or make it extraordinary.
BOBBY BROWN GOES DOWN: 0
A dull rendition of a so-so song. Could have been half a point, but the hi-ho silver stuff ruins it.
KEEP IT GREASY: 0
No way. Too much hi-ho-silver here. And it's not even a good song, even in the "Joe's Garage" version.
HONEY, DON’T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME?: 1/2
I'm a sucker for this one. I first heard it on "Lather," which is one of the best versions. This one is very live, with the "Twisted Sister" sing-along. I like it, but not quite enough for a full point.
IN FRANCE: 0
Could have been good, based on the content of the song. But the music is truly lame. Check out that dead-on-arrival harmonica solo. This song gives the 1984 band a bad name.
DROWNING WITCH: 1
Compared to the rest of this disc, this is a gem. Slightly better than the version from the album of (almost) the same name. The liner notes make this track seem more important; they make you listen intently for the transitions from one band to the next.
RIDE MY FACE TO CHICAGO: 1
Funny premise. A very simple song with a surprisingly long guitar solo. This was going to be just half a point but, since this is the only place you can find this song --- and it's something we should have heard elsewhere --- it gets a full point.
CAROL YOU FOOL: 0
Almost half a point for the great singing. But, in the end, this is dull. This whole disc is full of songs that go nowhere fast. This is the best example.
CHANA IN DA BUSHWOP: 0
Another one worth listening to once or twice a year, and then ignored. There's too many inside jokes here and not enough music.
JOE’S GARAGE: 0
Never liked this song. The final burst at the end is impressive, but not enough for half a point.
WHY DOES IT HURT WHEN I PEE?: 0
Inside jokes, yet another "Joe's Garage" song, and a by-the-numbers rendition. Zero.
DICKIE’S SUCH AN ASSHOLE: 0
The best thing about this song? It's a welcome break from the 1984 band. Other than that, this a stiff performance from one of Zappa's best bands. That percussion sound is horrible. It sounds like someone is banging on pots and pans. The 1988 version is 100% better.
HANDS WITH A HAMMER: 1
Not such a great solo, but I like the fact that Zappa stuck this in here. The drums sound good (as he mentions in the liner notes) and the performance is subtle and brief. (Hey, let's face it. Most drum solos are ten minutes long. What's so bad about three minutes of Terry Bozzio hammering away?)
ZAOOT ALLURES: 1
Probably the best track on this album. Seriously! I agree with you that the editing is a bad idea, but I haven't heard FZPTMOFZ. This is one of my favorite guitar "showcases." Starts slow, finishes clean!
SOCIETY PAGES: 0
Wow. What a waste. In the notes, Zappa says the band was trying to play this exactly as heard on YAWYI. Okay, so he's proud of the band for getting it right, but that accomplishment should prevent it from being on YCDTOSA. If it sounds exactly like the version on YAWYI, we get nothing from this. (Too bad they didn't change it or screw it up a little, or this would get a full point.)
I’M A BEAUTIFUL GUY: 1/2
I'm going to be a nice guy and give this one half a point because the live version is a little harder and faster than the YAWYI version, and it's a very complex song.
BEAUTY KNOWS NO PAIN: 0
Huge disappointement. Get this: Zappa does the "beauty is" rap exactly as heard on YAWYI. He could have made it more interesting. Something topical, something addressed directly to the audience, something bizarre. Instead, he does nothing with it.
CHARILIE’S ENORMOUS MOUTH: 0
A poor rendition of this cool song. This is one of the better songs on YAWYI because, in addition to the angry lyrics, it picks up steam as it goes along. Here, it has the same tempo throughout.
COCAINE DECISIONS: 1
I'm fascinated by the sound of those tear gas launchers going off. The song is lame, but hearing the band try to decide if they should keep playing is quite an experience. A full point for liberating this from the vault. (But why start off with a snippet from the 1984 Thanksgiving show?)
NIG BIZ: 1/2
The music is weak, but the singing is good. Not much here to hang your hat on. The best thing about this: it is being played during the Palermo riot that begins in the previous track.
KING KONG: 1
A full point for sheer length and variety. I wish every YCDTOSA volume had one of these. I almost dropped it down to half a point because of the vocals. The "blow job!" chatter at the beginning gets old fast, and Zappa's remark about the poetry-reader from YCDTOSA #1 is meanspirited. I made an edited version of this; I removed the first five minutes and one minute of "asshole/you mean kindergarten" stuff in the middle. The result: eighteen-and-a-half minutes of bliss.
COSMIK DEBRIS: 0
I like the song, but this version doesn't have anything unique in it. The inside jokes continue here, but that just makes the track even worse. Zappa should have closed this disc with the previous track.

Total Points: 8 1/2

OVERALL REVIEW
The 1984 band doesn't have much going for it. They sing well, but that's about it. The let's-make-the-other-guys-laugh-during-a-song gag is fun for the band, but gives nothing to the audience. To prove just how boring the 1984 band is, just look at the dates for the best tracks on this volume --- the best tracks come from handful of other bands features on this volume.
Dragging this YCDTOSA further down are the song selections. Too many tracks from "Joe's Garage."

SONGS THAT GO ON THE "BEST OF THE YCDTOSA SERIES" LIST
King Kong
Ride My Face to Chicago
Bamboozled By Love

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1997 turtlestew@compuserve.com