In many ways the closest Zappa ever got to an autonomous band rather than a benign dictatorship, the post-Mothers Of Invention/Flo and Eddie era was the first to display his obsession with the ‘amateur anthropology’ of road life, rock excess and groupie subculture.
Although the somewhat seedy and scatological lyric matter alienated a fair few original Mothers fans, The Turtles’ Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (aka Flo and Eddie) brought a sizeable portion of their own. Musically it was leagues above anything heard previously, confirming Zappa’s ever-long quest for virtuosity.
This convoluted period is expertly documented here with rare footage, superior talking heads and no little love. With a running time topping two hours it’s arguably for the committed Zappaphile only (not that there are many other kinds), but such is the narrative and insight the engagement never stops./o:p