Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention: Lost Broadcast: Beat Club '68

Mothers footage from the mists of time.

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No one jammed, rehearsed or sound-checked like Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention. This curio from 1968 was captured at a loose rehearsal (if ‘loose’ can be defined by tight improvisation and cruel chord structures) the band performed at the Beat Club in Bremen, Germany.

The last half hour or so made it to German TV two years later – something BBC4 might blanch at even now – while the rest of it languished in a vault until the advent of YouTube and tape traders sent it out into the world.

Which is not to decry its charms; Frank remains the kooky – if uniquely determined – ringmaster, while his band do terrible and magical things with songs like Uncle Meat and a life-affirming Let’s Make The Water Turn Black, all rendered in a mottled footage that harbours shadows, raises sands and conjures up ghosts.

Classic Rock 221: Stuff

Philip Wilding

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.