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Zappa... Why did you do that?
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embryonomore
embryonomore
853 posts

Zappa... Why did you do that?
Mar 17, 2010, 12:17
A while back I got hold of some MP3's of early Zappa material. I have most of these albums on CD and know them very well, however a friend has had them on loan for a very long time.

I'm particularly fond of We're Only In It For The Money, so I'm sure you can imagine my shock and horror to hear the MP3 version I'd acquired when I played it yesterday and found it to be covered with feckin horrible 80's bass guitar and Jazz drum work.

WTF Zappa? You took something 'of it's time' and turned it into something else entirely. It hurt my ears. I'm sure Jimmy Carl Black must have wanted to hit you for replacing his perfectly adequate beats with all this double kick drum flim flam nonsense.

I'd heard the 80's reworked Ruben and The Jets album, which was bad enough, but why turn a pastiche of 60's psychedelic albums into something that sounds nothing like a 60's psychedelic album? It's just wrong and I have no idea what the man was thinking.
1001realapes
1001realapes
1931 posts

Edited Mar 17, 2010, 12:23
Re: Zappa... Why did you do that?
Mar 17, 2010, 12:20
It's been reissued with the original mix

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Were-Only-Money-Mothers-Invention/dp/B0000009RX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1268824927&sr=1-1
embryonomore
embryonomore
853 posts

Re: Zappa... Why did you do that?
Mar 17, 2010, 12:32
Yeah, that's the CD I have, know and love. I'm just shocked that this alternate 80's version exists really. It's awful! Especially after ten years of only knowing the original mix.
1001realapes
1001realapes
1931 posts

Re: Zappa... Why did you do that?
Mar 17, 2010, 13:22
That 80's mix is an abomination , as is the
Rueben , got a nice vinyl @ a very good price
and needledropped it .
Dog 3000
Dog 3000
4611 posts

Edited Mar 17, 2010, 14:58
Re: Zappa... Why did you do that?
Mar 17, 2010, 14:56
I love Z-Man, but I will never understand that move either.

Money is supposed to sound "sixties" and Ruben is supposed to sound "fifties."

I guess he just spent too much time in the recording studio -- he was like a junkie for messing with tapes. Couldn't help himself.

Fortunately I had both of these on LP before the CD's even came out and never got shnookered into buying the inferior versions.

By the way there are also at least 2 distinct versions of the Money LP as well -- the original "slightly censored" and a record-company revised "even more censored" version.
Citizensmurf
Citizensmurf
1414 posts

Cuz he wanted to
Mar 17, 2010, 22:41
These mixes have been debated about/over since they came out in the original reissue campaign on vinyl in the early 80's. Most people were outraged because these albums were viewed as classic, and fine the way they were. Frank was never happy with the sounds he got from the original Mothers, or with the quality of studio recording available at the time. When it came time to put them out again, he decided to add new bass & drums and tweak a lot of the other sounds or remix here and there. It wasn't because the multitrack tapes were damaged, though the 2-track stereo master for WOIIFTM may have been.

Personally, I prefer the 80's mixes over the originals. They were never psychedelic 60's albums to begin with, no matter who listened to them. They were of their own time and still are. The real reason people don't like the new mixes has nothing to do with sonics, and everything to do with nostalgia. Just like some people think things sound better on vinyl, really they are just nostalgic for that 'perceived authenticity'.

Maybe because I heard the 80's versions of Money and Ruben first, I'm biased it the opposite direction, but when I listen to the seperate mixes, I'm gobsmacked that someone can prefer the originals for purely sonic reasons. Fair enough if you're only in it for the nostalgia, but Frank knew exactly what he was doing when he changed these albums for the better. I even think the remix of Lumpy Gravy is improved as heard on the recent Lumpy Money reissue.

I realize I'm the minority in this section of the Zappa camp, and you will find many many more supporters of the pro 60's mixes, but I couldn't keep quiet.
Dog 3000
Dog 3000
4611 posts

Edited Mar 17, 2010, 23:10
Re: Cuz he wanted to
Mar 17, 2010, 23:07
Money was a parody of psych-rock, recorded using the same instruments and recording techniques that "actual psych-rock" was being made in at the same time, and in the very same studios. It works as parody because it sounds exactly like the thing it is meant to be parodying.

The re-recorded version sounds like Zappa's 80's band (because it's his 80's rhtyhm section that was overdubbed -- just the bass & drums.) A 60's parody that sounds like 80's jazz-wank just doesn't "work" as a parody.

Similarly, Ruben is sort of a 50's album, though the re-recording is a bit less obnoxious since it didn't really sound like a 50's album in the first place (whether recorded in the 60's or 80's it's more of a "nostalgia pastiche" than a straight "parody.")

Though I still say both original versions are "obviously" superior -- Zappa did have a rather shitty attitude towards his original group (hence why not re-record JC Black's drum parts? He could only play in 4/4 time after all!) This is one of the biggest things that rubs me the wrong way about him (but that's Zappa -- he pisses everyone off one way or another.)

Though in conclusion -- I'm really not "upset" that he went back and fucked with his own tapes . . . at least not as long as the originals are also still available.
handofdave
handofdave
3515 posts

Re: Zappa... Why did you do that?
Mar 17, 2010, 23:25
Reminds me of a terrible reissue of Screamin' Jay Hawkins "I Put A Spell On You" where some generic studio band and some erstwhile rappers drop layer after layer of hyperactive crap on top of what was a perfectly good song. Very disappointing, and carrying the reek of industry salesmen figuring out how they can make a buck repackaging something great into something mediocre for a few clams.

It wouldn't surprise me if that was Zappa's real intention with his remixes too (altho perhaps he did believe he was improving on them. I LOVE the homespun psychedelic sound of the old Mothers albums, the old Fugs albums, etc.... there was more spontaneous energy in those albums, less dicking with knobs, which eventually can bleed all the life out of something if perspective isn't maintained during the creative process.
Dog 3000
Dog 3000
4611 posts

Edited Mar 17, 2010, 23:48
Re: Zappa... Why did you do that?
Mar 17, 2010, 23:47
Zappa was the original king of knob-dicking -- one of the most distinctive things about those classic Mothers albums is that most of the instruments are "varispeeded" -- meaning he plays them back at different speeds to change pitch & timbre. I daresay MOST of the tracks from 1967-1969 use this on most of the instruments (Uncle Meat especially, but also Hot Rats.)

BUT that was analog knob-dicking, which sounds different (and yes I would say "cooler") than the laptop knob-dicking that everyone does these days.

(I wonder if redoing the records in the 80's was sort of like his obsession with dicking with the original recordings back in the 60's -- i.e., he didn't trust those musicians to play it "good enough" so he had to make with the studio-fuckery.)

Speaking of useless remixes -- I remember Puff Daddy (whatever he was called back then) did a "remix" of Grandmaster Flash's immortal "The Message" which basically sounded like the original track running on for twice the length with some dipshit (Puffy) yelling "uh! uh! yeah!" in between the verses.

Like I should take the original "Strawberry Fields Forever" and loop it and yell "UH YEAH REMIX BABY!!!!!" over the top and claim it as my own song!!
1001realapes
1001realapes
1931 posts

Re: Zappa... Why did you do that?
Mar 18, 2010, 01:26
Then there was the hideous digital
remix of Freak Out , the new MOFO
is the original '66 stereo .
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