Roxy & Elsewhere
What to Get: The original Zappa
Records/Barking Pumpkin disc with the original "Cheepnis" is a delight,
but most people will be satisfied by any CD, which are (by and large)
all the same.
Summary: The original BP/Zappa Records CDs
seem to be like the vinyl,
but some later CDs--including, just to make life difficult, some copies
of the Barking Pumpkin disc--have a
different mix of "Cheepnis." The 1995 and 2012 discs
have restored cover/booklet artwork, but are otherwise identical to
earlier discs and each other.
ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: One CD with the "Cheepnis"
remix and one CD or LP with the original mix of it. [completist's
- Original vinyl (DiscReet 2DS 2202 in the US, K 69201 in the
UK, September 10 1974)
- French & German vinyl (DiscReet 69201, gatefold sleeve)
- Other German vinyls (DiscReet DIS 89 200, WEA DiscReet
- Other French vinyl (DiscReet 2DS2202, gatefold cover)
- Japanese vinyl (DiscReet P-5174D, white-label promo also
- Australian vinyl (DiscReet 2DS 2202, 1974)
- "Facsimile bootleg" vinyl
- South-Korean vinyl (K-1045)
- Cassette (DiscReet D 52202)
- 8-track (DiscReet 82202)
- The Old Masters vinyl (Barking
Pumpkin BPR 9999-5, December 1987)
- US vinyl re-issue (Zappa Records ZAPPA 39, 1990)
- Original CD (Zappa Records
CDZAP39 in the UK, January of February 1992; Barking Pumpkin D2 74241
in the US, February 1992; VACK 5082 in Japan)
- Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA39)
- 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10520, May 2 1995;
VACK 5082 in Japan, renumbered
5217 in 1998)
- 1995 cassette (Ryko RAC 10520, May 16 1995)
- Japanese paper-sleeve CD
(Ryko/VACK 1219, October 24 2001)
- 2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR3852
August 28, 2012)
- Bootleg CD (CDT Berlin 54374)
And around midsummer 2001, Jonathan Gatarz unearthed an old
ad for quadraphonic Zappa albums, which included Roxy &
so maybe, even if it wasn't actually released in quad, it was at one
planned for 4-channel release. Interesting!
"Facsimile Bootleg" Vinyl
From Román García Albertos:
Well, I call 'em "facsimile bootlegs", because they
reproduce the cover and the label and the vinyl of the original
releases. But they aren't. They don't sound very good (well, they sound
good, but they're at least second generation), and the covers seem to
be xerocopies of the originals. When the original releases were
impossible to find and the CD era hadn't come yet, I think this was the
only way to hear the records.
From Kristian Kier:
The main differences between the counterfeit and the
original are the covers and the matrix numbers. The covers show some
damages which weren't caused by handling, they were copied (xeroxed
might be the wrong terme, since they seem to be printed professionally)
due to photo transfer. Best examples: We're Only
In It for the Money and Zappa in New York.
The matrix numbers on the counterfeits are all hand-written.
Original records by Verve/Polydor don't have hand-written numbers!
That's the easiest way to check whether it's a fake, or not!
The "hand-written rule" is valid only for European
Verve/Polydor pressings, not for Verve US pressings. So if the record
you are interested in has a V(6)/5045 number, it should have
hand-written matrix numbers.
Another clue: Most of these counterfeits do not have track
separation between the songs.
I do have the fakes of Freak Out!,
Absolutely Free, We're Only In It for the Money, Cruising with Ruben & the Jets, Lumpy Gravy and Zappa
in New York (with "Punky's Whips"), all coming from Italy. I
remember having seen Roxy & Elsewhere, too.
Old Masters Vinyl
From Rip Alexander:
The first version of "Cheepnis" I heard was from the Old Masters version of "Roxy". I remember
when the Barking Pumpkin CD came out I was
completely taken by surprise by its version of "Cheepnis" - there was definitely
a difference between the Old Masters
version and the CD version. The second guitar chord fill after the line
"I ate a hot dog, it tasted real good" was at a much higher level than
the Old Masters version. There may have
been many more smaller differences, but the chord fill was one that
couldn't be missed. Whether the Old Masters
version was similar to the original vinyl mix or a new mix altogether
I'm not sure of (I've never heard an original vinyl copy).
This seems to mean that the Old
Masters, as can be expected, had the original "Cheepnis" mix. It
was remixed later - see CD section below.
From Neil in the UK:
Same mix. Good sound quality.
The original US CD was released in 1992 on Barking Pumpkin
D2 74241. The artwork was identical to the 1995
Some or all Barking Pumpkin runs had the "Cheepnis" remix that
officially announced only in 1995. From David G.:
The odd "changing" Barking Pumpkin CDs have always
interested me. For what it's worth, my Barking Pumpkin Roxy (with
the "Cheepnis" remix) sounds almost identical to my later Rykodisc
copy. (Ed: It is, in fact, identical. See
I've now listened to four older copies of Roxy and
Elsewhere: two Barking Pumpkin CDs and two Zappa Records CDs. My
findings: both Barking Pumpkin discs have the "Cheepnis" remix, while
both Zappa Records CDs have the original vinyl mix (yay!). Offhand,
both discs seem pretty similar except for that one difference. (Ed:
Once again, see below for a subsequent
Obviously, this doesn't really prove anything, but as my
findings here mirror what I've found re Sleep
Dirt (ie my Zappa Records CD has the old "Regyptian Strut", whereas
the Barking Pumpkin CD I listened to has the new one and sounds
suspiciously like the current Ryko master), it might be that Frank
never bothered supplying new masters for these Zappa Records issues.
Consequently, at least for now, if people're looking for the
totally-superior vinyl "Cheepnis" mix, the Zappa Records disc seems to
be the best place to find it.
Something interesting I'd also like to note: perhaps thanks
to the film-soundtrack nature of the Roxy material, the original
version of "Cheepnis" and the remix sync up surprisingly well, although
there is one extra bar in the latter (which can easily be edited out).
As the two mixes are almost "mirror images" of each other with regard
to instrument placement, you can have lots of fun attempting to create
homebrew mixes. Do it today!
Official statement from Ryko:
New master. New timing sheet. Restored artwork. New
FZ-approved remix of "Cheepnis". [full
From Ryko Aquires Zappa's Masters by Steve Marshall,
in the E-zine Cosmik
Debris #4 (September 1995):
"Cheepnis" has been remixed. The result sounds almost too
clean. The vocals are the thing that really stands out, as well as the
percussion. In this particular instance, the album [English for
"vinyl"] sounds better. Tracks like "Penguin in Bondage" and "More
Trouble Every Day" sound better than ever, but Frank should have left
BOSSK (R): After years of listening to the 1995 remix,
the original "Cheepnis" is a treat to hear ... it sounds a lot more
like a real band playing instead of something that has had everything
about it boosted to death.
JWB: I cannot tell the difference between the original 1992 Barking Pumpkin CD and the 1995
reissue mixes of "Cheepnis". I have never heard the original
vinyl. Could BOTH CDs contain the remix? (And UMRK and Ryko
fucked up their information, similar to the "Re-Gyptian Strut" Läther bonus track mix-up?)
CAPTAIN BIFFHEART: I have the original American CD and
confirm that the LP mix of "Cheepnis" was used there. If any Barking
Pumpkin CD has the remix, it must be a later press run ... if the
drummers are mixed left and right, that's the original mix. If the
drums seem to
be centered, that's the remix.
CD Versions Compared (or:
Significantly More than a Comparison of the 1995 and Older Discs)
From the 2004 Zappa CD Rundown:
Roxy presents one of the first "pre-1995" instances of
variation, in that some older copies of the disc have a remix of
"Cheepnis" (as does the '95
disc), while some have the original vinyl mix. Out of the 5 older discs
I've listened to, the
two Zappa Records CDs had the original mix, and the 3 BP CDs had the
remix; this could
just be a coincidence, but...
Anyway, "Cheepnis" remix aside, all three discs-Zappa
Records without the remix, BP with the remix, '95 disc-are absolutely
the BP and '95 disc being completely identical. As Roxy made
its CD debut fairly late,
this isn't too surprising. Interestingly, only the *body* of Cheepnis
differs, as the spoken intro is
identical on all three discs.
In other words, all CDs (barring that pesky
counterfeit bootleg version, of course) are completely identical,
barring the "body" of the song "Cheepnis." For that song, all versions
with the remix have a digitally-identical version of the remix. Phew!
Japanese Paper-Sleeve Version (2001-2002)
Starting in 2001, Video Arts Music released a limited-edition series (2000
copies each) of Zappa CDs in
paper sleeves - miniature LP sleeves. There was nothing special about this
series other than the covers, which were very well done - inserts and
"bonuses" were reproduced, the albums that originally had gatefold
covers got little miniature gatefolds, and cover track lists were exactly as on
the corresponding LPs, even in cases where the CD has bonus tracks or a
different track order. Included in this series were some entries that never had
"proper" LP issues, i.e. Läther. Additionally, some rarities--like the "green/gold"
cover of Chunga's Revenge--were reproduced as special items in this run.
We need to stress that the sound quality of these discs matches the US
Ryko issues, which they are clearly derived from. These are collectors
items, not new remastered editions.
Late-2012-update: It appears as if the Japanese may be warming up the
mini-LP ovens for a new batch based on the 2012 UMe remasters. We'll let you
know if this happens.
2012 UMe CD
"Mastered by Stephen Marcussen in 1990, sourced from 1992 1630 digital
master." In short: the same as your Ryko copies. Black Elk decodes this
The obvious implication is that Marcussen mastered
the album in `90, it
took until `92 for it to be released, and FZ made no further changes
when he "approved" the `93/`95 versions. As a result, they refer to the
master (first time a 1630 went to CD production) as 1992.
Consider yourselves educated!
Roxy & Elsewhere wasn't re-released on CD until
1992, and someone
made a counterfeit
least two years before it was officially released.
- Any details on cassette versions?
- Any details on 8-track versions?
- Any regional peculiarities?
- Any points to make about the Old Masters version?
- There's probably no way to know, but is it possible that
the Cheepnis remix is in some way derived from the unreleased quad mix?
- Mikael Agardsson
- Steve Jones