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Frank Zappa Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention album cover
3.22 | 172 ratings | 11 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1985

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. We're Turning Again (4:55)
2. Alien Orifice (4:10)
3. Yo Cats (3:33)
4. What's New in Baltimore? (5:20)
5. Little Beige Sambo (3:02)
6. Porn Wars (12:05)
7. Aerobics in Bondage (3:16)

Bonus tracks on 1986 Rykodisc CD:
1. I Don't Even Care (4:39)
2. One Man, One Vote (2:35)

Extra bonus track on 1990 Zappa Records remixed edition:
9. H.R. 2911 (3:35)

Total Time: 47:10

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / guitar, synclavier, vocals, producer

- Steve Vai / guitar
- Johnny 'Guitar' Watson / guitar (1), vocals
- Ike Willis / guitar, vocals
- Ray White / guitar, vocals
- Bobby Martin / keyboards, vocals
- Tommy Mars / keyboards
- Scott Thunes / bass
- Chad Wackerman / drums
- Ed Mann / percussion
- Moon Zappa / vocals
- Dweezil Zappa / vocals

Releases information

Artwork: John Dearstyne

LP Barking Pumpkin - ST74203 (1985, US)

CD Rykodisc ‎- RCD 10023 (1986, US) 2 bonus tracks and different running order (bt,bt,5,7,1,2,3,4,6)
CD Zappa Records ‎- CDZAP 33 (1990, Europe) Remixed by Bob Stone w/ another bonus track and new track sequence

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy FRANK ZAPPA Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention Music

FRANK ZAPPA Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention ratings distribution

(172 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(24%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (16%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

FRANK ZAPPA Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Around the mid-80's, under the strong conservativeship of Ronald McReagan, political correctness became a word that was worth 10 000 points, and the backwards-minded administration wxas using this to gain free games at the Presidential Pinball rally. In stepped Frank to defend the freedom of speech.

The main point of this is Francesco fighting the censorship so he can still sell album like Joe's Garage to kids and the text are the usual Zappaesque madness. Of course the man couldn't help adding his own humour to the situation and the album he produced about this "mess" is not exactly his best. Too bad he was also fighting for idiot bands such as WASP ([%*!#] Like a Beast ) and Cop Killer.

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars MOP is mainly based on Zappa's experience of the "famous" explicit lyrics sticker hearings, resulting in the censorship by not distributing the records. Funny sideeffect: Jazz from hell a 100% instrumental record was on this list. So the main dish on MOP is Porn Wars, a very funny(or not so funny, seeing the final decision) collage of the senator hearings, Zappas typical comments and lots of editing, synclavier stuff etc.We 're turning again makes fun of the old "hippie"bands still around and Yo cats does the same for Jazz musicians (Jazz is not dead it just smells funny). Alien Orifice and What's new are nice group instrumentals which have been integrated in the life material.The rest is synclavier stuff... Well I love Zappa, but I never quiet liked his synclavier stuff, not so much for the compositions but the cheesy sounds. L'Ensemble moderne recorded a record of Zappa music and the synclavier compositions sound much better played by "real" musicians.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Again, this album contains some funny & pleasant moments, as reveal the miscellaneous lead & backing vocals + the narrative vocals on "We're Turning Again". The percussion work is absolutely outstanding (fast & complex xylophone among others). Some tracks are rhythmic & elaborated, while others are complex, darker & more dissonant, always very structured, instrumental with sophisticated crystal clear Synclavier & keyboards parts, a bit like on the "Jazz from hell" album. Indeed the tracks have different styles: "Yo Cats" has a very particular retro pop style; "I Don't Even Care" is a visceral rhythmic rock song. Zappa has couples of excellent guitar solos here which are less monolithic. The only bad track is "H.R. 2911", where one can hear the Zappa's piggy sounds, like he used to do on the "Weasels ripped my flesh" album.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not a very basic 80's effort from Zappa, just a tad different. From basic rhythmic rock to post-modern experimental avant-garde, this is most likely Zappa's most unusual album, at least in his 80's period considering that his other 80's releases are more rock oriented (with the exception of "Jazz From Hell" and his classical stuff). There are also synclavier parts (tracks 2-4 on the CD remaster) which are all good, though I enjoy his rock/jazz stuff a lot more. This one is not as rewarding either, but it also has it great moments too, though it lacks the usual Zappa "effort" to it, but "Porn Wars" is a really well-made track though incredibly bizarre.

Best described as a fan album only. People who like Zappa albums like "Jazz From Hell" and "Thing Fish" will like this one a lot since this one both have strong elements similar to those two. There are a few excellent jazz-rock instrumentals here, which again show Zappa's sense of complexity, and "Porn Wars" is one of the album's definite highlights. However, tracks such as "Yo Cats" and "We're Turning Again" never appealed too much for me, and the synclavier stuff are good but nothing truly fascinating. Really uneven album overall, and it struggles with the main focus at times, still the constant switching between the album's featured genres work strangely well, though it doesn't really help the album further musically.

My favorite tracks: "I Don't Even Care", "Alien Orifice", "What's New In Baltimore" and "Porn Wars". Collectors/Fans only, 2 stars (3 stars is my personal rating though.)

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
3 stars Meets The Mothers Of Prevention proves to be an oddity in the Zappa catalouge, and knowing anything about Mr. Zappa you would know that that is quite a feat.

This album is spilt into synclavier tracks, actual instrument tracks with some sort of a poppish leaning, and instrumentals, with the emphasis on the synclavier (in both terms of quanity and quality). For that fact, I would give this album a boost in rating, being that I've always enjoyed his synclavier pieces, and that they provide some sort of reprieve from the poppier songs. Not to mention that using the synclavier would also increase the progressiveness of this record, being that this is surely different and boundary pushing, at least to some degree. However, that 80s sound does tend to creep into the picture a few times throughout, but its presence is limited and short lived (and for that I say thank God). Each synclavier track is an interesting view on the instrument in its own right, and shows that quite agreeable pieces can be coerced from the thing.

The quote unquote magnum opus of this CD is Porn Wars, which includes actual dialogue from the famous (or infamous) Senate hearings about censorship on music. The song is primarily synclavier based, but the conversations are interweaved quite well, including adding that typical Zappa humor along the way. To some degree this song is worth the price of admission along (espeically since this CD seems to be available for fairly cheap). But never fear, there is more to hear. Aside from the aforementioned Synclavier tracks, three tracks are of interest to me. What's New In Baltimore? is a fun instrumental with nice xylophone work that eventually morphs into a cool little guitar solo. Alien Orifice is similar albeit somewhat simplier. Of the three remaining tracks (I Don't Even Care, We're Turning Again, and Yo Cats), We're Turning Again provides the most amount of enjoyment IMO, though all three are fairly straight forward and are easily the low points of this disc.

All in all, this disc is a bit mixed. It has its highs (Porn Wars, One Man, One Vote, Little Beige Sambo, What's New In Baltimore?) and its lows (Yo Cats, I Don't Even Care). For me, the highs are stronger than the lows are weaker. However, one would have to be acustomed to the synclavier and Zappa's general avant-garde style to enjoy this disc to the fullest (though I would say Meets The Mothers Of Pervention would make a good introduction to Zappa's Synclavier work). Thus, this one is not for beginners. 3 stars for this one. Recommended to a degree.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars I know that there wasn't direct cause-and-effect at play here, but I still can't help but be amused that this album immediately followed Thing Fish. Basically, between the last album and this one, Frank Zappa and a few others (including John Denver for some reason) were hauled in before Congress to answer charges that they were making music that constituted pornography, and should be regulated as such. In addition to providing the inspiration for this album's title, these hearings also provided the source material for the album's conceptual centerpiece, the 12-minute "Porn Wars." Basically, Zappa took the audio from the hearings and made a collage out of it. Sometimes it features a small number of vocal samples that are played repeatedly, sometimes it features Zappa actually fast-forwarding through large parts of the hearing, sometimes it features the return of Ike Willis as Thing Fish (with some quotes from that album), and it ends with a senator basically telling Zappa he's full of crap. It even, amusingly and infamously enough, features Al Gore saying on record that he's a big fan of Zappa's music. Anyway, it's definitely a track every Zappa fan should hear once, but I have no idea why somebody would want to listen to it again. I'd much prefer to listen to the actual hearing, honestly.

The rest basically makes up a prototypical mid-80's Zappa album (I should note that the original US version had seven tracks, while the CD release has ten). Four of the tracks continue Frank's experimentation with the Synclavier, and they're ok, though only the last one (the creepy "H.R. 2911") has as interesting an atmosphere as the best stuff on Perfect Stranger. If I had to pick, I'd probably say that "One Man, One Vote" amuses me the most; I can't help but think that if C-Span were ever to come up with theme music like on The People's Court (maybe to be played when Congress is voting on something), it would sound like this. A couple of other tracks ("Alien Orifice," "What's New in Baltimore?") are instrumentals on par with the best stuff from Utopia, with moody synths, well- placed xylophones (or whatever they are), effective guitar lines and all that.

The remaining three tracks are "regular" songs, and they're inconsistent. I'm quite fond of "We're Turning Again," with some interesting lyrics that look back with scorn on the late 60's, a great use of the Thing Fish voice in a mid-song monologue, and a decent (if underwritten) chorus. The opening "I Don't Even Care" has something resembling a solid groove, but it's not that great a groove, and I tend to feel like the song, at just four-and-a-half minutes, is overlong. And finally, "Yo Cats," some weird cross between Broadway and jazz, is just uninteresting from start to finish.

I really get the feeling, overall, that if Zappa hadn't had a ready-made premise for the album, even he'd have been hesitant to release most of these tracks at this point. A lot of the album is fully listenable, yes, but this would be just another obscure 80's Zappa album were it not for the Big Cultural Statement. Still, there's a good amount of moderately worthwhile material here, so while I'd probably get 30 or so Zappa albums before this one, I wouldn't avoid this forever.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars Maybe it's the unimaginative cover that has always put me off of this release, but I never think of this as one of Frank Zappa's better albums. But then when I listen to it, it changes my mind. By the way, I have the original Ryko CD (and somewhere, a pre-release cassette), which doesn't include H.R. 2911, so my review will not include that track.

The album's main taget is the outrage Zappa felt (and rightly so) over the U.S. Senate making rock lyrics into one of those phony issues that was a "threat to America". That our government wasted so much time and money on this bulls#$% issue was a national embarrassment. Aside from the great warning label Zappa concocted, the album's focal point is the twelve minute collage, Porn Wars, which features Senatorial bozos, both Democrat and Republican, making complete fools of themselves, over some fine Synclavier tracks. While the piece may not stand up to frequent listens, it is still a wonder to listen to.

There are three pieces Zappa programmed on his Synclavier. I love Zappa's compositions, and I know he sometimes composed things that were just not possible for a human band to play, but as good as these are, they leave me a bit cold.

There are three vocal songs. I Don't Even Care, featuring Johnny "Guitar" Watson, is a bit too repetitious to be interesting, and is the weakest track in the album. We're Turning Again and Yo Cats, are both funny satirical songs, the first taking aim at the supposedly hip drug users, the second at studio musicians.

The two other instrumentals are both great tunes that Zappa's band frequently played on tour. Alien Orifice and What's New In Baltimore are the type of songs that made Frank's concerts so special.

It's a mixed bag, but a high quality mixed bag.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This FZ album is a strange concoction yet also very interesting especially in a historical sense in FZ's history. It is strange in the collection of tracks that are on it. Some of the music sounds like outtakes from other albums, for the most part they are a lot of lesser used songs from FZ's huge library of music that were put together, most of them with questionable themes, yet the lewdness as for as sexual lyrics is not quite as prevalent as some albums, the themes that are questionable, at least to a certain sector of the public, range from several subjects. This was all to prove Zappa's point about the fight for free speech. But, on the surface, it is a little tougher to hear the "continuity" on this album if you are not familiar with the context of the songs and the titles.

The album starts out with something that sounds like it comes from the "You Are What You Is" sessions. "I Don't Even Care" is from a studio session and the only other instance of it in Zappa's discography is from "Understanding America". To me, it sounds too much like a "YAWYI" track for my liking, but it's okay I suppose. It's mostly vocals with no instrumental breaks to speak of, just like all the tracks from that time period. Next, we get 3 instrumentals of FZ on synclavier. You can hear that Zappa's talent has improved with the instrument and he is able now to get the sound that he prefers from his technically difficult and sometimes impossible compositions. These tracks tend to sound quite clinical sounding because there is not a lot of dynamism here, but there is a lot of genius present in the composition itself. These tracks are "One Man, One Vote", "Little Beige Sambo" (of course a take on the destruction of that fairy tale that got labeled as being racist [Little Black Sambo]), and (probably one of my favorite titles at least) "Aerobics in Bondage" (just try to do aerobics to this track). Next is a live track of "We're Turning Again" recorded at Santa Monica in December 1981. Not a bad song that sounds similar to the "Thing Fish" era that has lyrics regarding Jimi Hendrix and is also available at another concert recording on "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore Vol. 6".

Next up is an instrumental called "Alien Orifice" which this time is performed with an entire band in a concert setting circa Sept 1981 - June 1982. It is interesting in this album arrangement to hear how the band compares to the synclavier sound. The technicality is still there, but it's not as sterile sounding and the dynamics are better. Percussion on this track sound almost as good as Ruth Underwood used to sound, and you might be fooled into thinking it is her playing here, but it is in actuality Ed Mann. Quite impressive. I must say in most instances I prefer the full band anytime over the synclavier, but that's just me. Next is "Yo Cats" which only appears on one other album "Have I Offended Someone". This is probably the best vocal track on the album, is very lounge act/jazzy sounding. This one is somewhat entertaining as it lampoons lounge singers. The best track on the album follows, "What's New in Baltimore". This one is culled from several different concerts, but it all fits together well. It is an instrumental with a full band and an excellent guitar solo by Frank, but if you are looking for any more guitar soloing on this album, you'll be disappointed because this is the only one. But it sounds great here, especially because it is the lone track with a great solo. The rest of the line up shines through here too, but since the track is only over 5 minutes, no one else other than Zappa gets to shine here.

Next is the sound montage "Porn Wars". Contrary to what the title puts you in mind of, this isn't a mishmash of Porn movie sounds. It is really sound bites from senators and FZ talking in court, but arranged in ways that is very reminiscent of the sound collages on the album "Freak Out!". This is set to music and the arrangement of voices both untreated and treated is unbelievably entertaining. There are some very funny comments made, and many of those comments are from people that were arguing against free speech just to demonstrate how ridiculous their arguments were (and still are in many cases). There are also some lyrical bits from track by The Mentors called "Golden Showers". At least we're spared from the most disgusting parts of those lyrics, but there are a few snippets of lyrics from that song that are repeated throughout. The last track is "H.R. 2911" which is the name of the legislation act that FZ referenced in his testimony against censorship. The track itself is all performed by FZ on synclavier and really doesn't do much of anything for me, that is, I can't even remember it right after it plays, that's how small of an impression it leaves on me.

After all is said and done, this is a historical recording, but not really an essential recording in my opinion. There are much better representations of FZ's music out there. There are some good bits there though that save it from being only an album of interest to collectors though, so we can push this rating up to a 3 star album, but not any more than that.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Review #162 Sadly, this is one of the least popular albums in Frank ZAPPA's discography, it is not only a very interesting recording musically, but also, it is a souvenir of Frank ZAPPA's fight for defending free speech in music and avoiding that ridiculous custom of censorship. The tracklist ... (read more)

Report this review (#2649498) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Saturday, December 4, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I love this record. Only downside is the opening track I don't even care, which I really don't care. It's one of the worst songs in Zappa's catalog. From second track to the last one this very enjoyable record. It spans different sides of Zappa's work. Catchy rock songs like We're turning again, ... (read more)

Report this review (#162114) | Posted by PurpleCobra | Monday, February 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The above tracklisting which i assume is the cd version is not the way to hear this album. If you get the two vinyl versions( European and American) then the tracks are in a different order and split up-thus you get what Frank was originally trying to communicate. Porn Wars is fantastic also-n ... (read more)

Report this review (#29725) | Posted by | Tuesday, May 4, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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