Written by Miembro Amargo
Frank Zappa was an iconoclastic artist for over 30 years and he created a seemingly endless string of studio and live records. Zappa's music has been as much of a tribute to the styles he explored as well as a complete deconstruction of those idioms. Whether it was doo-wop, rock, orchestra compositions, jazz, blues, electronic, surf music, sound collages, or country, he always put his own humorous twist to the music and is one of the great avant-garde composers of the 20th century. Unfortunately, Zappa died of prostate cancer at the age of 52 in 1993. Fortunately, he recorded or filmed just about everything he did and his family has continued his legacy by sharing the gems from the wealth of this material.
An Evening With Frank Zappa During Which…The Torture Never Stops is the latest DVD release by the Zappa Family Trust via Eagle Rock Entertainment. It presents live concert footage from the NYC Palladium on Halloween night, edited and produced in its entirety by Frank Zappa for airing on MTV back in 1981.
Over the years Zappa’s band lineup changed often but always consisted of top-notch musicians and this is no exception. With Ray White (vocal, guitar), Steve Vai (guitar, vocal), Bobby Martin (keyboard, sax, vocal), Tommy Mars (keyboard, vocal), Ed Mann (percussion, vocal), Scott Thunes (bass, vocal), and Chad Wackerman (drums), this band delivers.
The concert was filmed around the same time as the release of You Are What You Is and many of the songs on the DVD come from that album. True to Zappa form, “Harder Then Your Husband” lampoons a country song about an extramarital affair coming apart. “Beauty Knows No Pain” utilizes syncopated and off-kilter rock riffs and is about the price of vanity and the commodity of beauty. “The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing” lambastes religion and evangelism. Of course with a running time of 120 minutes Zappa was able to put in many of his classic songs like “Montana,” “Easy Meat,” “Broken Hearts Are For Assholes,” and “The Torture Never Stops” assuring a diverse, eclectic, and, with Zappa, always eccentric set.