A Collector's 10 Favourite Boots
This first appeared here as an article by Rene De La Salle from Hot Wacks
Magazine that Miguel Amorim
"bootlegged" to alt.fan.frank-zappa (under the guise of "a
collector's 10 favourite boots"), perhaps in November 1997 or 1998, slightly edited for readability by Bossk (R).
In January 2000, the author himself was in touch with comments and corrections:
A bit of background on the article: I self-published a low-budget hi-info
bootleg discography in 1990 & sold it through Goldmine magazine that
year. It detailed 225 vinyl boot titles including some CDs. The folks at Hot
Wacks liked it & asked me if I wanted to write a 10 favorite, or best,
rarest, whatever ... & would plug the book as well. At the time, Hot
Wacks was still publishing Bob Godwin's Led Zep Boot Discography
(vinyl LPs) & offered to publish my book. I wrote the article in 1991 &
it was published in Hot Wacks' The Last Wacks book in 1992.
My "Top Ten" were in chronological order & chosen simply as
cross section of the wealth of unreleased material.
You have to understand that was 10 years ago & the quantity & quality
of boots were mediocre compared to what's out there now. Although some of the
material has turned up in FZ's packages, that list is old & obsolete. You
guys should put together a survey of collectors' favorite material, perhaps
breaking it down into categories or eras. A more current & statistical list ...
cuz dat oldum one stinks!!!
Anyway, hope this minutia helps. Projects like this take on a life of their
own after awhile, don't they?
Rene De La Salle
Certainly! Article follows:
By Rene De La Salle
Frank Zappa doesn't have a fistful of hit records, rarely gets television and
radio airplay, and his popularity pales by comparison to Madonna or Bruce
Springsteen. So why does this guy have so many bootlegs worldwide? Well, one
reason is that his career spans over 25 years. There have been dozens of
personnel changes in the 20 or so different band lineups which, as a result,
have produced a variety of styles such as classical, jazz and rock. He himself
continues to release old and new material from his massive archive of live
recordings, adding to his 50+ commercial titles. Another reason there are so
many bootlegs is that FZ rehearses his bands vigorously, sometimes for months,
before touring. Their repertoire may be as large as 75 songs by the time they
get out on the road, giving bootleggers an abundance of material to produce.
Capturing all the stages of FZ's career in a few selections is obviously
impossible nor would it be feasible to say taht any particular set of material
is better than another. I've decided instead to sample a cross-section of a
quarter of a century of material from over 250 bootlegs.
- My first selection is a 7" single in red vinyl called "My
Name is Fritz". It's a 1968 studio recording with the MOI supposedly
through customs, with special guest Lowell George
as a German
official. No music, but very comical. This 1983 issue is the
complete version of the unreleased track that's
are only 450 copies pressed, making it a nice little gem to add to
- My next pick was released as 2 singles, from the December 4, 1971
Montreux Casino concert in Switzerland. Their individual titles are Fire!
Cheese. These are a good example of Flo
(Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan) ad-libs that would change from show to
show. This set is a great alternative to your Fillmore
1971 [official] LP. These European imports were released in 1985 and are also
available as picture discs, black, multi colored LPs, as well as
on CDs. The source for the show was a stereo soundboard  and runs about
- In 1973 Zappa spent 10 months on the road, and was riding a wave of
popularity with the release of the classic [official] Over-Nite Sensation
LP. There was a lot of material put out for that year, but one boot that
comes to mind is The
Rondo Hatton Band, which is part of the 10-LP
box set titled Mystery Box. Side 1 is from New Jersey and features
all unreleased material. Disc 2 contains
more of the Sydney,
Australia show that's available as Piquantique,
which is now part of Zappa's [official] Beat the Boots #1 set. The sound on this
one is excellent and runs about 48 minutes.
- Skipping ahead a couple of tours brings us to the April 27, 1975 concert in Boston. It's
a 1985 European double-LP release titled No
Bacon for Breakfast volumes 1 and 2. I chose this one because it contains
material from the
Bongo Fury period. The sound is mediocre and could have been a lot
better considering the tapes that are circulating. There are a few
special moments and some rare tracks, along with some
Captain Beefheart. This set is also available as 2 single LPs with
the same covers. The total running time is 105 minutes. The set is
sought after mostly by collectors.
- My next pick is from the 1976 tour. It's an acceptable audience
recording from the February 15, 1976 Ludwigshafen,
concert titled Pappa
Zappa. Included are some new songs
from the Fall 1975 tour not contained on the last selection. Only 2
of these songs made it on Zappa's [official] Live in New York double set, which was from
the Fall. Nice versions of "Filthy Habits" and "Black Napkins",
were probably not too many of these 1982
double European sets
pressed, as they're on either yellow, orange or red vinyl. The total
running time is just over 90 minutes.
- Another worthwhile addition would be a single LP of the September 21 1978 Poughkeepsie, NY concert titled
famous Mudshark label. It's on stereo soundboard, featuring new nice
versions of "Conehead", "Little House I Used to Live in" and
"Yo' Mama". This
LP was released in 1980 and re-issued on CD
in 1991. It's also
available as a European picture disc LP titled Moe's
total running time is about 41 minutes.
- This brings us to the FM stereo broadcast that bootleggers always
cash-in on. Well, actually there are a few of them, but this one is
nice. It's titled Personality
and is the May 24,
concert. It's in excellent stereo of course, and includes material
mostly from the Joe's Garage Acts I, II & III, Tinsel-Town
and You Are What You Is LPs . This is a European double LP set that
was also re-issued as Rotterdam 1980 with a different
running time on this one is 85 minutes.
- Next on the list is another double LP set
Favourite. This is the May 15, 1982
show in Rotterdam. The
performance and sound are very good, except side 4 where the sound
quality drops. It also contains a nice blend of material from his '81
and '82 tours. Since some of the 1981 shows are available
videotapes (TORTURE NEVER STOPS, DUMB ALL OVER NEW YORK) and most of
the bootlegs from the 1982 tour are sloppy or terrible
this set would complement any collection. This is also a
package, running about 115 minutes. The show is also available
Elephants Never Cry (But They Sure Screw Like Hell),
much shorter and a very bad recording.
- Choosing a selection from the 1984 tour is not easy, with over 75
songs. It was to be Zappa's final and Greatest Hits tour.  There is,
however, one popular double-LP set titled Z:
All You Need Is Glove.
It uses several different sources, all of which are soundboard, and
includes many classics and special guests. Overall, it's
package and probably not too hard to find, as it
was a domestic
issue. The total running time is about 80 minutes.
- Well, never say never. In 1988, Zappa put together the biggest band
since the Grand Wazoo Orchestra of back in 1972. This time the
12-man band played over 80 songs and still counting, as many of
were played only once or twice. Surprisingly,
there are only a
handful of bootlegs of this tour, compared to the
dozens of the
1984 tour. This may be due to the fact that Zappa had already released
one single and 2 double CD sets of live material from the tour (Broadway the
Hard Way, Make a Jazz Noise Here & The Best Band You Never
Heard in Your Life), which are equivalent to about 7 albums.
going to cheat a little for this selection, and recommend any one or
all of the Showtime Records series, as they contain
issued by Zappa. The titles are: I) The
Untouchables, 2 LPs; II) The
Godfather Meets the Untouchables, 4 LPs; and III) The
Godfather in Full Metal Jacket, 2 LPs. They were
all available domestically.
There you have it, just a slice of life on the road with FZ. Collect'em all,
play'em loud and get Zapped.
(Rene De La Salle is the author and publisher of
the book - On Tour with the Evil Prince.)
by Bossk (R)
 Of course, this
refers to live versions of songs from those
albums, not the album versions.
 Yes, Zappa meant the
1984 tour to be his last, but
changed his mind later.