Frank Zappa

last update: 28. Feb 2009


Date Venue Title CD/ LP
     Hot Rats LP
 24 - 27 October 1969  Actuel Festival, Amougies, Belgium  Actuel Festival CD
 June 1971  Fillmore East, New York  Fillmore East, June 1971 CD


Hot Rats

LP, Reprise Reocrds RS 6356 (official)


1. Peaches en ragalia

2. Willie the pimp

3. Son of Mr. Green Genes

4. Little umbrellas

5. The gumbo variations

6. It must be a camel



Frank Zappa       Guitar, Octave Bass, percussion

Ian Underwood   Piano, Organus Maximus, flute, all clarinets and flute

Captain Beefheart   Vocals  on Willie the Pimp

Sugar Cane Harris  Violin on Willie the Pimp, the Gumbo Variations

Jean Luc Ponty  Violin on it must be a camel

John Guerin   Drums  on Willie the Pimp, Little umbrellas, it must be a camel

Paul Humphrey   Drums  on Son of Mr. Green Genes, The gumbo variations

Ron Selico   Drums  on Peaches en ragalia

Max Bennett   all bass  expect Peaches en ragalia

Shuggy Otis   bass  on Peaches en ragalia



Actuel Festival

24 - 27 October 1969, Actuel Festival, Amougies, Belgium

Quality: very good audience recording


the Actuel festival was organized by the publication of the same name (who, under different editorship, went on to become a prime mover of the French counterculture in the early to mid-70s) in collaboration with the fledgling BYG label. It was originally going to take place in or near Paris, but French authorities forbid it and the marquee was eventually set up a few miles outside the French border, on Belgian soil. It took place over 5 nights, entertaining an audience of 15-20,000 to a unique mixture of progressive pop, free jazz and contemporary music.

Frank Zappa was present at the festival (well, the first four days, it seems) in a twofold capacity. First, as Captain Beefheart's road manager; secondly, as M.C., assisting Pierre Lattes, a famous radio/TV presenter at the time (and the pop music editor for Actuel magazine). The latter task proved problematic given FZ's very limited mastery of French, the prevailing language among the audience, who themselves didn't seem to understand much English. Instead, FZ relinquished his M.C. job for one of occasional guest guitarist.


As far as I know, with the exception of FZ's performance with Captain Beefheart, this collects all of his jams with participating bands. A couple of films, directed by Jerome Laperrousaz and Jean-Noel Roy, came out in 1970 but were instantly banned because of objections from various bands (most notably Pink Floyd) whose permission hadn't been properly secured. Zappa's performance with Beefheart is included in one of them, and since the audio of the film (unlike the film itself) is in circulation, possibly in better sound than I could provide, I decided not to include it.


The whereabouts of the master tapes for the festival, if any exist, are unknown. What recordings are circulating are either the soundtrack of the film, or taken from radio broadcasts (on Luxemburg's RTL and Belgium's RTBF). The source used here is an audience recording made by a young French member of the audience using a now antiquated amateur tape recorder. The original tapes have been newly transferred, but even so, the sound quality is rather poor. Still, it seems to be the only source available at this time, so that will have to do for now.


Most legendary, of course, is Frank Zappa's jam with Pink Floyd on a very extended "Interstellar Overdrive". Apparently, despite the wealth of Pink Floyd bootlegs in circulation, no one seems to have their Amougies set, so this will probably delight a lot of people. Browing various PF-related websites, there even seems to be a debate on whether the jam ever took place. Well, here is the final proof that it did.


1. Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation: unknown title (7:08)

[October 24]

Victor Brox (vocals, harmonica); John Moorshead (guitar); Alex (Erroneous) Dmochowski (bass); Aynsley Dunbar (drums)


2. Pink Floyd: Interstellar Overdrive (20:25)

[October 25]

David Gilmour (guitar); Richard Wright (organ); Roger Waters (bass); Nick Mason (drums)


3. Caravan: If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You (7:55)

[October 26]

Pye Hastings (guitar & vocals); David Sinclair (keyboards); Richard Sinclair (bass & vocals); Richard Coughlan (drums)


4. Blossom Toes: unknown title (26:10)

[October 26]

Brian Godding (guitar, vocals & keyboards); Jim Cregan (guitar & vocals); Brian Belshaw (bass & vocals); Kevin Westlake (drums)


5. Sam Apple Pie: unknown title (6:04)

[October 27]

Sam Sampson (vocals & harmonica); Danny Barnes (lead guitar); Andy Johnson (slide guitar); Bob Renny (bass & vocals); Lee Baxter Hayes Jr (drums)



Fillmore East, June 1971

June 1971, Fillmore East, New York

Ryko Disc RCD 10512 (official)


1.   Little House I Used To Live In [04:41]

2.   The Mud Shark [05:22]

3.   What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are? [04:17]

4.   Bwana Dik [02:21]

5.   Latex Solar Beef [02:38]

6.   Willie The Pimp Part One [04:03]

7.   Do You Like My New Car? [07:08]

8.   Happy Together [02:57]


Encore excerpt featuring Don Preston on Mini Moog

9.   Lonesome Electric Turkey [02:32]

10. Peaches En Regalia [03:22]

11. Tears Began To Fall [02:45]



Frank Zappa       Guitar & Dialog

Mark Volman      Lead Vocal & Dialog

Howard Kaylan   Lead Vocal & Dialog

Ian Underwood   Winds & Keyboards & Vocals

Aynsley Dunbar   Drums

Jim Pons              Bass & Vocals & Dialog

Bob Harris           2nd Keyboard & Vocals

Don Preston         Mini Moog