Next week will mark the 47th anniversary of Frank Zappa's first release, Freak Out! (#01)* (June 27, 1966).
On December 12th, 2012, Gail Zappa released Finer Moments (#94), a beautifully-packaged double-CD of music from 1969-1972. To date, this is the 94th "Official Release" in the Frank Zappa catalog. (The term "official release" is used to distinguish the recognized canon from bootleg recordings, live shows taped by fans, compilation albums, etc.)
In addition to the 94 LPs and CDs, Zappa directed two amazing full-length films (200 Motels  and Baby Snakes ); wrote two books (Them or Us  and The Real Frank Zappa Book ); produced numerous video compilations and played literally thousands of live concerts between 1966 and 1988.
Thus the term “project/object,” which refers to the whole shebang: music (live and studio), films, books, interviews, public appearances, etc. The PO is held together by the musical, lyrical and Dadaistic connections of FZ’s universal language. Poodles, dental floss, the tritone, a gas mask, naughty televangelists – all figure into the mysterious, ethereal, ever-changing world that Frank Zappa created, nurtured and produced over an approximately 35-year period.
Zappa used the term conceptual continuity to define the inner workings of his Project/Object. CC has a variety of usages in the FZ universe.
For example, chronologically, the word "poodle" is first used on a track entitled "The Purse" from the posthumous 2005 release, Joe's XMASage (#75). (In the liner notes, Gail says that "there are over 19,321 clues in this one.")
Al Surratt is reading a letter from some girl out loud to Zappa:
'Guess what? I have a French poodle. That's right.
A pedigree. Apricot champagne French poodle. He was given to me as a present, gift from a man who raises them. He was repaying me for a flavor I did him once. I named the dog Duchamp, with a long A. He sure is a cute thing, and I -- and so well-behaved. He is six months old. I wish you could have see him. He is the prettiest color. George just loves him. And he is trying to spoil him something awful. Sometimes I feel he comes over just to see the dog.'
'We are doing real good in football so far. We played Burroughs last Friday for our first league game. And beset them.'
From that 1963 tape onwards, there are 16 additional and separate references to poodles on other releases, not including the clever title of Ben Watson's mighty tome, "The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play."
2. #14. (1972) On the high-energy remake of "Call Any Vegetable," Flo & Eddie engage in this brief rap over a repeating vamp:
You know, a lot of people don't bother about their friends in the vegetable kingdom. They think, "What can I say?" Sometimes they think, "Where can I go?" / Where can I go to get my poodle clipped in Burbank? / At Ralph's vegetarian poodle clippin', where you can come this ...
3. #17. (1973) In the original three-minute "Dirty Love," Zappa as narrator sings:
Your dirty love
Just like your mama
Make her fuzzy poodle do
4. #18. (1974) The "Stink-Foot" outro repeats the
poodle bites / the poodle chews it ...
section from "Dirty Love."
5. #19. (1974) On "Cheepnis," the poodle is named Frunobulax -- a movie monster!
6. #52. (1974) In Helsinki, the poodle became Frenchie.
7-9. #70/#86/#59. (1976-1977) "The Poodle Lecture" preceded "Dirty Love" in concert, usually with the assistance of visual aids, as Frank would explain it all for his rapt audience.
10. #37. (1977) "They stole my poodle from last ..." screams a deranged fan into the microphone during "Disco Boy." (Most likely, the guy was referring to the stuffed poodle toys that Zappa used as props in "The Poodle Lecture.")
11-12. #34/#80. (1980) "Mudd Club." Zappa's voice is electronically modulated:
Try it on a Saturday 'bout four o'clock in the mornin'
Or even a Monday at midnight
When there's just a few of those
Doin' the Peppermint Twist for real
In a black sack dress with nine inch heels
And then a guy with a blue mohawk comes in
In Serious Leather ...
(And all the rest of whom for which
To whensonever of partially indeterminate
Seek the path to the sudsy yellow nozzle
Of their foaming nocturnal
Parametric digital whole-wheat inter-faith
Geo-thermal terpsichorean ejectamenta)
13-15. #40/#54/#67. (1984) "In France"
Now we cannot wait
(Wait wait waiting)
Till we go back
(Wait wait waiting)
Gets so exciting
(Wait wait waiting)
When the poodles 'react'
16. #62. (1993) How fitting that this one last poodle reference made its way onto this track on this magnificent FZ release -- the last one before his death -- for which the complete lyrics are as follows:
'Food Gathering In Post-Industrial America, 1992'
When the last decrepit factory
Has dumped its final load of toxic waste into the water supply
And shipped its last badly manufactured,
Incompetently designed consumer-thing,
We gaze in astonishment
As the denizens of NU-PERFECT AMERICA dine on rats,
Styrofoam packing pellets,
All floating in a broth of tritium-enriched sewage,
Roasting the least-diseased body parts of abandoned 'wild children'
(Accumulating since the total ban on abortion a few years back)
Similarly, musical connections can be made from era to era; for example, this single line in "Fembot in a Wet T-Shirt" from Joe's Garage, Act I (#28):
I know you want someone to show you some tit!
is re-used as the initial motive which begins Zappa's greatest orchestral work, "Mo 'N Herb's Vacation" (#38).
Quotes from Stravinsky, Holst and even Tchaikovsky adorn some pieces, while "The Sailor's Hornpipe" is just as likely to show up in some marginal musical space as the "Entry of the Gladiators (Thunder and Blazes)" by Julius Fučík (1872-1916) -- written in 1897.
For our purposes, think of Zappa’s work as one big lifetime-long composition. This week, I will attempt to deconstruct that work into its sub-units, the 94 “Official Releases.”
For a good history of FZ’s life before 1966, the Wikipedia article is a good place to start.
RELEASES #1-13 (1966-1971)
01. Freak Out! (2LP, Verve/MGM V/V6-5005-2, June 27, 1966)
For a look at your humble poster's detailed analysis of this debut (and the following four or five releases), click here.
On June 27, 1966, the second two-disc rock & roll record in history was released (Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde beat him by one week).
Sides One, Two and Three (of the original LPs) contain pop/rock & roll songs that vary between wonderful, bitingly sarcastic ditties to the powerful “Trouble Every Day.” Zappa’s arrangements are interesting and diverse, as he supplemented the Mothers with fine studio musicians, who quit giggling the moment they saw their parts! The xylophone is featured in “Wowie Zowie” and kazoos (Spike Jones influence) are used prominently in many of the tracks, creating a bizarre sense of disorientation.
Side Four is “Help, I’m a Rock” and “The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet,” a twelve-minute excursion into weirdness for which the album title seems quite appropriate.
02. Absolutely Free (LP, Verve V/V6-5013, June 26, 1967)
Almost a year to the day, Zappa puts out Album Number Two. Although he had participated in the designing of the Freak Out! cover – here, for the first and last time, FZ did all the album cover artwork (he had previously designed greeting cards).
The musical material is wrapped around the concept of an “underground oratorio.” Part One is titled “Absolutely Free” and Part Two is “The M.O.I. American Pageant.” Zappa pushed his untrained musicians to the limit here, often having them sing in a quasi-operatic style, dripping with sarcasm and contempt.
Highlights include “Call Any Vegetable” and “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It.”
The CD release added Zappa’s two singles (45 RPM) from the period: “Big Leg Emma” and “Why Don’tcha Do Me Right?”
03. We're Only In It For The Money (LP, Verve V/V6-5045, March 4, 1968)
Almost always on a Zappa Freak’s Top-Ten list. Although Frank was operating on a very immediate, 1968 vibe, the powerful music on this album is eternally relevant.
The complicated history of how this record came to be cannot fit on these pages. Suffice it to say that at one point Lenny Bruce was involved. After the initial release, things got even weirder due to some unbelievable corporate censorship. To top it all off, in 1984 Zappa himself performed drastic surgery on this music (see previous link).
From the beginning whisperings of “Are You Hung Up?” to the ringing telephone in “Telephone Conversation” to the final, awesome “Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny,” this album is a MUST-HAVE!
The addition of Cal Schenkel into the Zappa universe cannot be underestimated. The first of many unforgettable graphic contributions to Frank’s art!
04. Lumpy Gravy (LP, Verve V/V6-8741, May 13, 1968)
Regarding #03, 04, 05, and 07 Zappa stated, "It's all one album. All the material in the albums is organically related and if I had all the master tapes and I could take a razor blade and cut them apart and put it together again in a different order it still would make one piece of music you can listen to. Then I could take that razor blade and cut it apart and reassemble it a different way, and it still would make sense. I could do this twenty ways. The material is definitely related."
Although several of the Mothers speak on this album, this was the first FZ release without the “Mothers of Invention” attached to the name. Some of the beguiling orchestral music here was heard briefly in parts of the companion WOIIFTM – and the crazy dialogue of the “piano people” will be amazingly retrofitted into Zappa’s final masterpiece -- 26 years later – Release #63, Civilization Phaze III.
Zappa’s love of doo-wop was evident from the very start (“Go Cry” from Freak Out! for example). Here he devotes an entire album to the genre.
As much as #03, this release has a bizarre history. Once again, Zappa re-recorded the bass and drum parts – even though he admitted that the original tapes were in good enough shape (he always maintained that the replacement tracks on WOIIFTM were necessary because of tape degradation).
As Release #85 (The Lumpy Money Project/Object) gives us all the original musical materials from WOIIFTM, this release was finally given its proper treatment by restoring the original vinyl version in #87 (Greasy Love Songs).
FZ was not only “interested” in many musical genres – he considered his varied passions to be entirely equal. A good sea shanty was just as likely to elicit a wide grin from Frank as would a fine performance of a difficult work by Varèse.
06. Mothermania (LP, Bizarre/Verve V6 5068, March 24, 1969)
Mothermania is a compilation album, delivered by FZ as part of his contract with MGM. It holds special interest for Zappa Freaks because several of the tracks have been re-mixed from their original version, sometimes drastically.
07. Uncle Meat (2LP, Bizarre/Reprise 2MS 2024, April 21, 1969)
The second double-LP from Frank was something incredibly special. Zappa continues to raise the bar for his musicians, demanding extremely difficult passage work on tracks like “Project X” and others. In addition to Don Preston and the Gardners, Zappa added two additional classically-trained musicians – Art Tripp and Ruth Underwood (both percussionists).
Notice the way Zappa the composer and Zappa the producer morph into one being here, perhaps for the first time. The booklet which accompanied the record contained FZ’s neatly handwritten lead sheet for both “Uncle Meat” and “King Kong.” To your young 16-year-old poster, this notation was like a personal gift from Frank. I fetished those charts for years, learning Zappa’s secrets, and the magic of the “2 chord.”
Examine the first three tracks. “Uncle Meat” segues into “Suzy Creemcheese” [conceptual continuity: Freak Out!] who says:
“ . . . Hello, teenage America (heh),
My name is Suzy Creemcheese,
I’m Suzy Creemcheese because I’ve never worn fake eyelashes in my whole life
And I never made it on the surfing set
And I never made it on the beatnik set
And I couldn’t cut the groupie set either
And, um …
Actually I really fucked up in Europe.
Now that I’ve done it all over and nobody else will accept me
I’ve come home to my Mothers . . .”
In the 26 seconds of this monologue (interrupted by the fabulous snorks of Dick Barber, the road manager) you can hear beautiful music if you listen carefully. This is a follow-up to the same sort of treatment on WOIIFTM in “Telephone Conversation.” Rhythm and Melody in pure human speech. The more ridiculous the better.
This segues without pause into “Nine Types of Industrial Pollution,” a massive, complex solo for acoustic guitar!
Perhaps the first release which completely captivates one’s ear with Zappa's unique brand of “electric chamber music,” nevertheless Side Four ("King Kong") tends to disappoint. A rambling series of increasingly bizarre solos, including Bunk Gardner using an octave divider, eventually dissolves into an anticlimactic ending to an otherwise superb piece of work.
08. Hot Rats (LP, Bizarre/Reprise RS6356, October 15, 1969)
With his eighth release, Frank Zappa cemented his place in musical history with this undisputed masterpiece. This is truly a Frank Zappa record – there is only one “Mother” involved, although he is nearly as important as FZ here – the amazing Ian Underwood (keyboards and winds).
Here begins the infamous LP versus CD controversy. (This link takes you to one of the most important Zappa sites on the internet.)
In the mid-eighties, FZ decided to re-mix older material for the new medium of the CD. He was quoted as saying that the audio capacity of the CD allowed him to re-create the music in a way which was impossible in 1969.
Perhaps so – but imagine us Freaks who had been listening to this album three times a day from 1969 through the 70’s and 80’s … and suddenly we have a new Hot Rats – and it is nothing like the original LP!
He not only did a drastic remix (keyboards and saxes exchanging places in the mix, etc.), but he chopped up the tapes and re-arranged the order of phrases and entire section chunks.
Alas, there are now two very different versions of this great masterpiece.
Surely, a neurophysiologist could explain it better, but I’m convinced that important musical memories stored over such a long period of time (16 years) somehow fight off the newer mix. I “like” what FZ did with the CD – but when I really want to listen to this jewel -- I go to the Barking Pumpkin LP.
Six tracks – each a work of genius -- masterfully edited (twice) by FZ. There are three long tracks which feature extended jams (“Willie the Pimp,” “Mr. Green Genes,” and “The Gumbo Variations”) interspersed amongst three short tracks (“Peaches,” “Little Umbrellas,” and “It Must Be a Camel”).
Zappa’s solo on WTP is perhaps one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. It is certainly his greatest studio solo. He much preferred to use guitar solos from road tapes in later days. Underwood's tenor sax playing underpins much of the ingenuity on the other two lengthy tracks.
“It Must Be a Camel” is a gorgeous work with the French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty making an important contribution with his funky, slippery sound. "Little Umbrellas" is unforgettable and "Peaches" was a "hit" (I'll never forget the day I arrived in Paris -- February 23, 1971 -- and heard "Peaches" on the radio in the taxi from the airport! Of course, the French always did appreciate genius, even if Frank might not have returned the feelings [see "In France" on Release #40].)
MUST-HAVE. Be sure to go for the LP version, which is finally available on CD for the first time ever!
This is also one of seven "non-classical" releases which have "scores" available (this release, #17, 18, and 20 [all published by Hal Leonard] and #31, 32 and 33 in the long-out-of-print "The Frank Zappa Guitar Book").
09. Burnt Weeny Sandwich (LP, Bizarre/Reprise RS6370, February 9, 1970)
The band broke up!
Here, Zappa shows his mastery of the art of compilation, using both live and studio recordings (often on the same track). His clever editing – perceived only after multiple listening sessions – is astonishing! “Little House I Used to Live In” is a wonderful example. The studio recording (using multiple winds, including bassoon) is a perfect offset for the live portions – and FZ’s timing and impeccable taste in putting all these things together is simply awesome.
10. Weasels Ripped My Flesh (LP, Bizarre/Reprise MS 2028, August 10, 1970)
Another retrospective on the original Mothers – this time more focused on the weirdness; Zappa extracting excerpts of live performances and the attendant madness, and putting it all together with his Magic Razor Blade. This release demonstrates Frank’s love of editing more than any other, previously.
A perfect example: the brilliant studio-live hybrid which is “Toads of the Short Forest,” beginning in studio and cutting live in an amazing segue.
“My Guitar” should have been a radio hit / “Oh No” is music from Lumpy Gravy with added lyrics (devastating!) / “Weasels” is a 2:05 track that every potential Zappa fan should listen to because “it’s good for you.” (Frank loved to say this at concerts when he was about to play his latest ballet or whatever weird little “classical” piece he was working on – “it’s sooooooooooo good for you, kids!”)
Get ready for the groupies! The next three albums are all about them!
This wonderful collection is as eclectic as it gets: two guitar solos (“Transylvania Boogie” and “Chunga’s Revenge”); “Twenty Small Cigars” – a leftover from the Hot Rats sessions; a long King Kong jam (“The Nancy & Mary Music” -- better than the original); and five songs about sex and/or groupies: “Road Ladies,” “Tell Me You Love Me,” “Would You Go All the Way?” “Rudy Wants to Buy Yez a Drink,” and “Sharleena.”
“Sharleena” qualifies as a classic. “Rudy” is about the evils of the Musicians Union. CC: Later, Zappa follows up on this theme with "Stick Together" (#36) and “Yo Cats” (#44).
12. Fillmore East—June 1971 (LP, Bizarre/Reprise MS 2042, August 2, 1971)
In one of my favorite moments of “Billy the Mountain” (Release #14, tomorrow), Howard Kaylan, as Studebaker Hoch, answers a ringing telephone, saying:
"So . . . ah . . . yeah, yeah, hello already . . . what? . . . Well, yeah? . . . Ah, are you kidding . . . ? You're not kidding . . . a mountain . . . ? With a tree growing off of its shoulder . . . ? Aw, you're fulla shit, man . . . ah, listen, by the way, before I go on; did you get those white albums I sent ya with the pencil on the front . . . ? Yeah . . . ? Yeah, you should move some of those for me, we're having a lot of . . .
Of course, the white album with the pencil on the front is this release!
Many Zappa fans who were listening to Uncle Meat, Hot Rats, and even the two compilation albums, were extremely disappointed with this album, so perhaps it should not surprise us that Zappa buried a commercial for it in his later work!
Despite a less than perfect field recording (o the days of analog), there is plenty to enjoy here. Flo & Eddie (the ex-Turtles) were not popular at first – but over the years, this band has stood the test of time. Zappa’s arrangement of the big Turtles hit (“Happy Together”) brings down the house.
This record still makes me laugh like hell, just as it did when it was the soundtrack for Parisian merriment in the company of David Lehman and Friends.
13. Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (2LP, Bizarre/United Artists UAS 9956, October 4, 1971)
The music in the film and this audio release differ greatly – both in track order and in mix qualities – making it a distinct pleasure to watch one and listen to the other!
The orchestral music on Lumpy Gravy was beautiful, well-written and recorded – but it lacked the gravitas and musical force-power which Zappa brings here in orchestral music he composed primarily at airports and motel lounges between 1968 and 1970. It is fairly well-performed by the Royal Philharmonic.
Interspersed between the groupies, industrial vacuum cleaners, Theodore Bikel and Ringo Starr, there is some very important – and beautiful -- music here!
- Freak Out! (2LP, Verve/MGM V/V6-5005-2, June 27, 1966)
- Absolutely Free (LP, Verve V/V6-5013, June 26, 1967)
- We're Only In It For The Money (LP, Verve V/V6-5045, March 4, 1968)
- Lumpy Gravy (LP, Verve V/V6-8741, May 13, 1968)
- Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (LP, Bizarre/Verve V6-5055, December 2, 1968)
- Mothermania (LP, Bizarre/Verve V6 5068, March 24, 1969)
- Uncle Meat (2LP, Bizarre/Reprise 2MS 2024, April 21, 1969)
- Hot Rats (LP, Bizarre/Reprise RS6356, October 15, 1969)
- Burnt Weeny Sandwich (LP, Bizarre/Reprise RS6370, February 9, 1970)
- Weasels Ripped My Flesh (LP, Bizarre/Reprise MS 2028, August 10, 1970)
- Chunga's Revenge (LP, Bizarre/Reprise MS 2030, October 23, 1970)
- Fillmore East—June 1971 (LP, Bizarre/Reprise MS 2042, August 2, 1971)
- Frank Zappa's 200 Motels (2LP, Bizarre/United Artists UAS 9956, October 4, 1971)
- Just Another Band From L.A. (LP, Bizarre/Reprise MS 2075, March 26, 1972)
- Waka/Jawaka (LP, Bizarre/Reprise MS 2094, July 5, 1972)
- The Grand Wazoo (LP, Bizarre/Reprise MS 2093, November 27, 1972)
- Over-Nite Sensation (LP, DiscReet MS 2149, September 7, 1973)
- Apostrophe (') (LP, DiscReet DS 2175, March 22, 1974)
- Roxy & Elsewhere (2LP, DiscReet 2DS 2202, September 10, 1974)
- One Size Fits All (LP, DiscReet DS 2216, June 25, 1975)
- Bongo Fury (LP, DiscReet DS 2234, October 2, 1975)
- Zoot Allures (LP, Warner Bros. BS 2970, October 29, 1976)
- Zappa In New York (2LP, DiscReet 2D 2290, March 13, 1978)
- Studio Tan (LP, DiscReet DSK 2291, September 15, 1978)
- Sleep Dirt (LP, DiscReet DSK 2292, January 12, 1979)
- Sheik Yerbouti (2LP, Zappa SRZ-2-1501, March 3, 1979)
- Orchestral Favorites (LP, DiscReet DSK 2294, May 4, 1979)
- Joe's Garage Act I (LP, Zappa SRZ-1-1603, September 3, 1979)
- Joe's Garage Acts II & III (2LP, Zappa SRZ-2-1502, November 19, 1979)
- Tinsel Town Rebellion (2LP, Barking Pumpkin PW2 37336, May 11, 1981)
- Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (LP, Barking Pumpkin BPR 1111, May 11, 1981)
- Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More (LP, Barking Pumpkin BPR 1112, May 11, 1981)
- Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (LP, Barking Pumpkin BPR 1113, May 11, 1981)
- You Are What You Is (2LP, Barking Pumpkin PW2 37537, September 23, 1981)
- Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (LP, Barking Pumpkin FW 38066, May 3, 1982)
- The Man From Utopia (LP, Barking Pumpkin FW 38403, March 28, 1983)
- Baby Snakes (LP, Barking Pumpkin BPR 1115, March 28, 1983)
- London Symphony Orchestra Vol. I (LP, Barking Pumpkin FW 38820, June 9, 1983)
- Boulez conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger (LP, Angel DS-38170, August 23, 1984)
- Them Or Us (2LP, Barking Pumpkin SVBO-74200, October 18, 1984)
- Thing-Fish (3LP, Barking Pumpkin SKCO-74201, November 21, 1984)
- Francesco Zappa (LP, Barking Pumpkin ST-74202, November 21, 1984)
- The Old Masters Box One (7LP, Barking Pumpkin BPR-7777, April 19, 1985)
- Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention (LP, Barking Pumpkin ST-74203, November 21, 1985)
- Does Humor Belong In Music? (CD, EMI CDP 7 46188 2, UK, January 27, 1986)
- The Old Masters Box Two (8LP, Barking Pumpkin BPR-8888, November 25, 1986)
- Jazz From Hell (LP, Barking Pumpkin ST-74205, November 25, 1986)
- London Symphony Orchestra Vol. II (LP, Barking Pumpkin SJ-74207, September 17, 1987)
- The Old Masters Box Three (9LP, Barking Pumpkin BPR-9999, December 30, 1987)
- Guitar (2LP, Barking Pumpkin D1 74212, April 26, 1988)
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1 (2CD, Rykodisc RCD 10081/82, May 9, 1988)
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2 (2CD, Rykodisc RCD 10083/84, October 25, 1988)
- Broadway The Hard Way (LP, Barking Pumpkin D1 74218, October 25, 1988)
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3 (2CD, Rykodisc RCD 10085/86, November 13, 1989)
- The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life (2CD, Barking Pumpkin D2 74233, April 16, 1991)
- Make A Jazz Noise Here (2CD, Barking Pumpkin D2 74234, June 4, 1991)
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4 (2CD, Rykodisc RCD 10087/88, June 14, 1991)
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5 (2CD, Rykodisc RCD 10089/90, July 10, 1992)
- You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 6 (2CD, Rykodisc RCD 10091/92, July 10, 1992)
- Playground Psychotics (2CD, Barking Pumpkin D2 74244, October 27, 1992)
- Ahead Of Their Time (CD, Barking Pumpkin D2 74246, April 20, 1993)
- The Yellow Shark (CD, Barking Pumpkin R2 71600, November 2, 1993)
- Civilization Phaze III (2CD, Barking Pumpkin UMRK 01, December 2, 1994)
- The Lost Episodes (CD, Rykodisc RCD 40573, February 27, 1996)
- Läther (3CD, Rykodisc RCD 10574/76, September 24, 1996)
- Frank Zappa Plays The Music Of Frank Zappa, a memorial tribute (CD, Barking Pumpkin UMRK 02, October 31, 1996)
- Have I Offended Someone? (CD, Rykodisc RCD 10577, April 8, 1997)
- Mystery Disc (CD, Rykodisc RCD 10580, September 15, 1998)
- Everything Is Healing Nicely (CD, Barking Pumpkin UMRK 03, December 21, 1999)
- FZ:OZ (2CD, Vaulternative VR 2002-1, August 16, 2002)
- Halloween (DVD-A, Vaulternative/DTS 1101, February 4, 2003)
- Joe's Corsage (CD, Vaulternative VR 20041, May 30, 2004)
- QuAUDIOPHILIAc (DVD-A, Barking Pumpkin/DTS 1125, September 14, 2004)
- Joe's Domage (CD, Vaulternative VR 20042, October 1, 2004)
- Joe's XMASage (CD, Vaulternative VR 20051, December 21, 2005)
- Imaginary Diseases (CD, Zappa Records ZR 20001, January 13, 2006)
- Trance-Fusion (CD, Zappa Records ZR 20002, November 7, 2006)
- The MOFO Project/Object (fazedooh) (2CD, Zappa Records ZR 20005, December 5, 2006)
- The MOFO Project/Object (4CD, Zappa Records ZR 20004, December 12, 2006)
- Buffalo (2CD, Vaulternative VR 2007-1, April 1, 2007)
- The Dub Room Special! (CD, Zappa Records ZR 20006, August 24, 2007)
- Wazoo (2CD, Vaulternative VR 2007-2, October 31, 2007)
- One Shot Deal (CD, Zappa Records ZR 20007, June 13, 2008)
- Joe's Menage (CD, Vaulternative Records VR 20081, September 26, 2008)
- The Lumpy Money Project/Object (3CD, Zappa Records ZR20008, January 21, 2009)
- Philly '76 (2CD, Vaulternative Records VR 20091, December 15, 2009)
- Greasy Love Songs (CD, Zappa Records ZR20010, April 19, 2010)
- “Congress Shall Make No Law . . . " (CD, Zappa Records ZR 20011, September 19, 2010)
- Hammersmith Odeon (3CD, Vaulternative Records VR 20101, November 6, 2010)
- Feeding The Monkies At Ma Maison (CD, Zappa Records ZR20012, September 22, 2011)
- Carnegie Hall (4CD, Vaulternative Records VR 2011-1, November 17, 2011)
- Understanding America (2CD, Zappa Records/UMe ZR3892, October 30, 2012)
- Road Tapes, Venue #1 (2CD, Vaulternative Records VR 20122, November 7, 2012)
- Finer Moments (2CD, Zappa Records/UMe ZR3894, December 12, 2012)