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Frank Zappa The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh album cover
3.78 | 513 ratings | 31 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Didja Get Any Onya? (Live *)(6:51)
2. Directly From My Heart To You (5:16)
3. Prelude To The Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask (Live $) (3:48)
4. Toad Of The Short Forest (4:48)
5. Get A Little (Live %) (2:31)
6. The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue (6:52)
7. Dwarf Nebula Procession March & Dwarf Nebula (2:12)
8. My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama (3:32)
9. Oh No (1:45)
10. The Orange County Lumber Truck (Live $) (3:21)
11. Weasels Ripped My Flesh (Live Ģ)(2:07)

Total Time: 43:03

* Recorded at Philadelphia Arena
$ Recorded at The Festival Hall , London
% Recorded at The Factory, Bronx NYC
Ģ Recorded in Birmingham, England

Line-up / Musicians

- Frank Zappa / lead guitar, vocals (8), producer
- Don Preston / piano, organ, electronic effects
- Ian Underwood / alto sax
- Bunk Gardner / tenor sax
- Motorhead Sherwood / baritone sax (and 'snorks')
- Buzz Gardner / trumpet, flugelhorn
- Roy Estrada / bass, vocals (3)
- Jimmy Carl Black / drums
- Art Tripp / drums

- Ray Collins / vocals (9)
- Lowell George / rhythm guitar & vocals (1)
- Don "Sugarcane" Harris / electric violin & vocals (2)

Releases information

Artwork: Neon Park

LP Bizarre Records ‎- MS 2028 (1970, US)

CD Rykodisc ‎- RCD 10163 (1990, US) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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FRANK ZAPPA The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh ratings distribution

(513 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

FRANK ZAPPA The Mothers Of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This record is very unequal: pure free jazz (DIDJA GET ANY ONYA), blues (DIRECTLY FROM MY HEART TO YOU). There are very experimental bits which I really do not like (dwarf...)! I like organized and structured compositions like "OH NO"

The doubtful "Prelude To The Afternoon..." is screaming of delirium. Do not like it! Buy it for the catchy and beautiful "OH NO". "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is the perfect example of a song that I deeply hate: what is that monotonous guitar that sounds like a weasel that rips your flesh? ZAPPA has the right to be stupid once in his lifetime!

Review by lor68
3 stars This is the experimental version of his typical jazz progressive material, which will be developed within the album "Jazz from Hell";this latter anyway is characterized by a minor presence of such "explorations", being more accessible than the present one, which however is also one of the most progressive efforts by ZAPPA, despite of being one of the most complex and difficult albums to assimilate as well.


Review by daveconn
3 stars One of more bizarre records to bear the name Bizarre (and a candidate for the shortlist of great album titles), Weasels is just, well, weird. THE MOTHERS are pushing the envelope in all sorts of directions, stretching it past ready comprehension in some cases ("Dwarf Nebula Processional March and Dwarf Nebula", "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask"). In between these islands of confrontational noisemongering couched as art are instrumentals with genuine merit ("Toads of the Short Forest") and actual songs. Given how offputting some of this is to the unprepared listener, history has latched onto the relatively conventional songs like "Directly From My Heart To You" and "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama." However, going in with the idea that the rest of Weasels will sound like these songs is to set yourself up for disappointment. The album is apparently a pastiche of performances dating back a few years, live and in the studio, which is born out by the difference in styles here. Some of the songs are extensions of earlier efforts ("Oh No"), some proved to be artistic dead ends. If I lump Weasels in with Rats and Weeny, it's with a caveat: listening to "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is like having your brain poked with a stick. It won't allow you to marvel at THE MOTHERS' genius, juxtaposing brutal ugliness alongside beauty lest you actually begin to admire or understand them.

So what you're left with is a few classic songs wrapped in standoffishly strange instrumental sections, some quasi-orchestral and some unrepentantly cacophonous. Still, if listening to conventional music has led to unsightly brain stubble, Weasels could offer the close shave you're after.

Review by Man With Hat
COLLABORATOR Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team
5 stars A quick note to begin this review: I had to redo this reveiw, becuase i have realized the injustice I performed by giving this album less then five stars.

Weasels Ripped My Flesh is Zappa at his avant-garde peak. There are many aspects to this album to appreciate: Strange noises, yelling, fractured instrumentataions, and the expectional diveristy. There are songs on this album that have nothing to do with the avant-garde field (such as My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Momma, and Oh No). All those songs, are performed flawlessly and many are Zappa classics (such as The Orange County Lumber Truck and the aforementioned songs). The weakest spot on this album for me is the blues number, Directly From My Heart To You. I've never been a blues fan, however, if you are, i see no reason why you shouldn't like that song. Stand out tracks include: Didja Get Any Onya?, Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask, Toads Of The Short Forest, Dwarf Nebula..., Oh No, and The Orange County Lumber Truck.

All in all, this is one of Zappa strangest, strongest, and most progressive albums in his discography. All Zappa fans should hear this (although this would probably make a bad starting point). Highly Recommended.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my favorite ZAPPA recording along with the "Hot Rats" LP. "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" starts with a jazz piece "Didja Get Any Onya?", which introduces the elements of complex rhythms, free jazz wanderings and atavistic bellowing, which are all strongly present on many tracks of this album. Following blues calms the storm for a while, but soon the music returns to the avant-garde straits. Some fuzz basses here resemble the sound of JOHN WETTON from the KING CRIMSON days, and there are some great emotional moments in the music. Recommended with a caution, as this may bee too strange music for some people! The final title tune predicts the sound of forthcoming grind-core musical movement.
Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Apart from the wonderful double-set, "Uncle Meat", this was the most difficult listening album ever released by the Mothers of Invention. This is basically an compilation, with the majority being recorded live, of various Mothers performances from 67 to 69 which ended up being titled "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" and was actually the last release before the first era of the group disbanded. The music is probably very representative of the weird stage acrobatics the band was known for and the album ranges from free-jazz, chamber rock, tape-collages, blues to pure noise (like the title track, go figure!), a real mixed bag overall. Apart from it's inaccessibility the material here is constantly very strong and even entertaining at times but I can't really recommend this to other than fans of experimental music or fans of this era of the band, save a couple of more "normal" songs that is featured here. Interested anyway? Give it a go. And if the music doesn't fit your taste you always have the hilarious album cover look at!

Highlights here include the beautiful "Oh No" (from the "Lumpy Gravy" days) with great vocals from Ray Collins, "My Guitar Want's to Kill Your Mama" which is one of Zappa's best songs from his early years, and the frantic opening free-jazz exercise "Didja Get Any Onja?" which sets the tone perfectly for what to come. The rest of it is wonderful weirdness in my opinion, and essential experimental music. 4.5/5

Review by Alucard
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In 1969 Zappa decided to disolve the 'Mothers Of Invention' ,mainly due to financial problems and from july to september Zappa recorded his first solo record with Ex-Mother and multinstrumentalist Ian Underwood, Don Sugarcane Harris and guests. Zappa had always recorded a lot for his personal archives and for the rest of the year he compiled 'Mothers' material from 1968 and 1969 for the release of two records : 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich' (released in dec.1969) and 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' (released in Feb 1970). Despite the fact that both records contain older material, the tracks are no leftovers but carefully assembled masterpices, edited often from several source tracks( live and studio) , spiced with the typical Zappa humour. 'BWS' represents more the neo- classical Zappa side, 'WRMF' the Free-Jazz inspired side.

'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' was released in February 1970 with a great Neon Park cover and presents the Free-Jazz/ Experimental side of the first 'Mothers'.

'Didja Get Any Onya?' starts as a Free-Jazz improvisation featuring Ian Underwood on Alto sax, followed by a narration part of Lowell George, where he imitates the German accent as on 'German Lunch' ( YCDTOSA vol.1), followed by a groove part and a small neo- classical woodwind ensemble part followed by 'Directly From My Heart... ' , a blues cover featuring Sugarcane Harris on vocals and electric violin.

'Prelude To The Afternoon...' comes from the famous 'Royal Festival Hall concert' in London (28 oct.1968), that Zappa released in 1993 as 'Ahead Of Their Time', a track mixing free-jazz and vocal experimentations, featuring Roy Estrada on laughing extravaganza.

'Toad Of The Short Forest' mixes studio and live recordings, a first beautiful and light guitar theme played by Zappa and a second 'Prog' section with different time meters (7/8 drums 3/4 alto sax 5/8 bass) announced by Zappa and reminding cirkus music.

'Get A Little' starts with a short 'field recording' (Zappa used to record the musicians talking during the tour) followed by a great Zappa solo over a slow march.

'The Eric Dolphy Memorial... ' the most interesting composition on the record introduces the theme on marimaba, then adding guitar, another 'laughing section' ,and a reprise of the theme on woodwinds ending with a free Jazz section.

'Dwarf Nebula Procession... ' starts with a beautiful neo-classical theme for harpsichord and woodwinds followed by a treated tape section, that reminds the 'Lumpy Gravy' sessions.

'My Guitar Wants To Kill...' a straight forward rocker that would have nicely fitted into 'Freak Out' with Zappa on vocals, some speeded-up overdubs and an acoustic guitar solo.

' Oh No ' a nice theme , featuring Ray Collins on vocals ,that appeared already as an instrumental on 'Lumpy Gravy' and would re-appear on 'Roxy & Elsewhere' segues into 'The Orange County...' another track from the famous 'Royal Festival Hall concert', a beautiful theme for guitar and woodwinds followed by a guitar solo.

The record ends with the title track 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh...' a two minute feedback orgy.

A great testimony of the first ' Mothers' !

Review by Chris H
5 stars "Weasels Ripped My Flesh". Just saying the name of the album brings me joy. How can you not love that name? Everything about this album is avant-garde perfection, from every song to the cover the album. It mixes free-form jazz with comedy and rhythm and blues with classical. Truly one of the greatest works of musical art ever released.

"Didja Get Any Onya?" kicks it into gear with saxophones blowing every this way and that, and some great improvisational percussion. The song hits its climax in the middle when a comedic tale of standing around a corner blasts from the speaker in a pseudo- German accent. Captain Beefheart fans may recognize this from "Trout Mask Replica" and Zappa fans may recognize this from the song "Charles Ives". "Directly From My Heart To You" is the only song on this album not written by Zappa himself. R.W. Penniman penned this song back in the day, and Don "Sugarcane" Harris lends his violin and his vocals to the song. The violin parts are a little over the top (as they were in "Willie The Pimp" just one year before), but this song still makes for an excellent Zappa-esque ballad of sorts. "Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" is the third song, and a tongue-twister in itself. The second of five live tracks on the album, this was born out of a stage act in which Roy Estrada would wear a gas mask. The same atmosphere as "Didja...", this song does feature some rave-ups in the middle, and Roy's screaming and yodeling bring a smile to my face every time. "Toads of The Short Forest" starts out very disappointing, because mainly it seems too, well uhh normal to be on this album of pure musical ecstasy. Around 1:05 in, all assumptions change when a quirky percussion beat kicks in until Jimmy starts to pound away with Ian Underwood flaring up alongside. After it is all said and done, the weakest track to begin with turns live and along with FZ's hilarious dialogue this is one of the finer tracks on the album due mainly to its impressive use of time structure. "Get A Little" begins with some sexual dialogue for a few seconds and then turns into a fine Zappa guitar moment, one of the only real guitar driven sections on the whole album. Although it is only 2:31, I think this may be Frank's greatest "Mothers period" solo.

After the break is announced ("Get A Little" was recorded live), "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" kicks off in a weird, tinkling percussion manner with dual drummers Jimmy Carl Black and Art Tripp once again playing in two different time structures. "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" really is a mouthful to say, so thankfully words cannot describe it. It starts out very structured but then just turns into a random percussion party. Really weird, avant stuff here and it is in the perfect spot on the album.

"My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" is one of the greatest straight-forward head-on rock songs Frank Zappa has ever written, but frankly (hehe, that was a pun. FRANKly?) it just does not belong on this album. It has too much of a rock n' roll approach to be thrown in with these avant, stage-show pieces. Granted there are some electronic effects, they don't do justice to the rest of the album. Still an awesome songs though, just out of place. "Oh No", the shortest song on the album, is quite an enjoyable listen. Just short of two minutes, this song deals with talking about the meaning of love and I especially enjoy Buzz Gardener's "talking" trumpet. "The Orange County Lumber Truck" is another instrumental which starts off with equal involvement from everybody, but then soon turns into another masterful guitar solo crafted by Zappa himself to finish out the last minutes of the song. The is much better than the son that is featured on "Roxy & Elsewhere". "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is the ultimate ending to this album. Two minutes of feedback that is toyed with to make it sound like, well, weasels ripping flesh.

Few people realize the artistic barriers this album knocked down with its jazz fusion and avant-garde rock n' roll, and therefore this a very underrated album. With this 5 star rating and review, I hope people will keep listening to this album and keep trying to find the genius behind the madness. Granted this is a very challenging album and incredibly hard album to get into, just keep listening an you will soon understand.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This album contains material from 1967-1969 that was previously unreleased. And make no mistake the reason these songs were not released wasn't because they weren't good enough, it's just that Frank and THE MOTHERS recorded so much material and some of the best of that was used for this record and "Burnt Weeny Sandwich". On this particular release we have a combination of "live" and studio tracks.

"Didja Get Any Onya ?" was recorded live in Philadelphia. Drums pound as the sax screams out until it's interupted by vocal sounds from Lowell George. Dissonant sax melodies come in as things start to get crazy with vocal melodies and spoken words. Drums and percussion lead the way after 4 minutes until the horns take over late. "Directly From My Heart" is a cover of a Little Richard song. Don "Sugar Cane" Harris not only provides excellent vocals but some amazing violin melodies as well. Just a great tune. "Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" was recorded live in London, and I love the 1 1/2 minute intro. Roy Estrada does the vocal sounds and there is laughing to follow. This is pretty funny. "Toads Of The Short Forest" opens with a nice melody that turns heavy after a minute. There is a funny introduction by Frank of the "times" that the instruments are playing in,and saying that the sax of Ian Underwood is blowing it's nose. This is a brilliant and funny tune.

"Get A Little" was recorded live from New York. It opens with coughing and spoken words. Some great guitar melodies follow and they sound awesome ! The drums pound away. "Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque" is dedicated to the Avant-Jazz player of the same name. Xylophone, drums and bass lead the way before sax arrives 2 minutes in. There is a laughing break before it ends with horns. "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" features acoustic guitar that sounds great as well as some strange sounds later. "My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama" is a classic Zappa tune that is a traditional rock song. Some incredible guitar on this one as well as intelligent yet funny lyrics. "Oh No" has Ray Collins on vocals and they are silly at times as are the lyrics. It blends into "The Orange County Lumber Truck" which has some beautiful guitar on it. Nice rhythm 2 minutes in as well. I love this song as the guitar melodies continue to impress. "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" is a wall of guitar feedback for a minute and a half ! Maybe that is how it feels to have your flesh ripped by weasels. Ouch ! This was recorded live from Birmingham, England. Frank then says "Goodnight boys and girls".

The sound quality is perfect on this recording, and the music is often challenging and a must have. 4 solid stars.

Review by 1800iareyay
4 stars Weasels Ripped My Flesh is the send off of the Mothers of Invention. Frank finally decided to drop the name and go it alone, so he emptied the vaults of unreleased tracks and put out this treasure. Now, the fact that these tracks were left off some of the most avant garde releases of their time, or indeed all time, should be an indicator as to the left-field nature of these tracks. As this is a collection of tracks too out there for the other stuff, this is probably Zappa's most avant garde album, making this a mightily inaccessible record.

Didja Get Any Onya bursts right out of the gate with some mad saxophone at the first second. It's nearly 7 minutes of mad free jazz with strange vocal lines and almost scary saxophones. From there we go into a crunchy, bluesy rendition of Little Richard's Directly From My Heart to You, with some great vocals and some nice violin from Sugarcane Harris. It's one of the more straightforward numbers on the album; perhaps it's the opposite of the other tracks, left off of other albums for not being crazy enough. But don't fret, we're going right back into the Bizarro world with Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask, featuring a demonic build up before leading into some truly funny singing from Roy Estrada. It almost sounds like something Mike Patton recorded.

Toad of the Short Forest has a title that suggests it might be on the latest power metal album, but it's much deeper. It starts with a light, kind of folky (imagine Frank's take on folk) melody before some complex percussion enters the mix and things change for the heavier, complete with Frank trying to explain exactly what is going on. It's a polyrhythmic jumble here, and it's mighty fascinating, if somewhat disorienting. Get a Little is a wonderful, melodic guitar solo that really points to what Frank could and would do with his guitar in his later material. The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque is also a look into the future, with its polyrhythmic xylophone lines before ending in some free jazz that seems to tie two of Frank's styles together.

Dwarf Nebula Processional March starts off sounding like a weird march before suddenly breaking into some crazy sound effects. My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama is probably the most well-known and accessible track here. It's a sort of a rock anthem, what with the desire to get with a girl whose parents do not approve of him because he is a rocker. It's catchy, with some great guitar lines and a straight forward structure. Oh No tears apart the perception of love and the naiveté it breeds. It's short and sweet and it probably could have fit perfectly on Freak Out. The Orange County Lumber Truck is another showcase for Frank's considerable guitar skill, which he was finally beginning to exhibit. Most Mothers albums were about avant-garde R&B/free jazz/noise effects mashups, but this points to the actual musicality Frank was about to unleash with his solo career. The album ends with the title track, a blast of feedback lasting a minute and a half before some live audio of Frank thanking the crowd plays.

All in all, for what is essentially a collection of unreleased tracks, this is right up there with Led Zeppelin's Physical Grafitti on the short list of such albums that are good. It does a nice job of giving you some of the Mothers' most warped material, yet also hinting towards a new sound from Frank. It's by no means perfect, but it's certainly one of the albums that no self respecting Zappa fan can be without.

Grade: B+

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Weasels Ripped My Flesh is the second release from Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention after they disbanded in 1969. The album consist of archive recordings. By the time Weasels Ripped My Flesh came out in 1970 Frank Zappa had already started his solo career but it seems he felt the need to share these recordings and the songs on Burnt Weeny Sandwich with the fans of The Mothers of Invention. For many years this was one of the few Zappa related recordings I didnīt really like. I felt the album was too noisy and not coherent enough. Iīve had the album since the early nineties but never got through the avant garde compositions, so the only songs I really enjoyed was My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama, Oh No and The Orange County Lumber Truck. Songs like Did You Get Any Onya ? and The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue was simply too strange for my virgin ears in those days. Things have changed though and today I can enjoy the more challenging compositions much better than back then. Weasels Ripped My Flesh will probably never be my favorite Mothers of Invention album but at least today I enjoy listening to the album. If not for anything else this is a nostalgic goodbye to one of the most innovative, creative and odd bands of the sixties: The Mothers of Invention.

The album starts with Didja Get Any Onya? which is a live recording. There is lots of free jazz like sax soloing, some avant garde vocal parts and some loose instrumental themes. After a couple of listens this composition became enjoyable to me. I was not impressed the first time i listened to Didja Get Any Onya? I normally donīt like free jazz much but for some reason Zappa almost always makes the most hard musical styles go down smoothly. The man is a genious.

Directly From My Heart to You is a blues with Don "Sugar Cane" Harris singing and playing some mean bluesy violin. Itīs typical for Zappa to go from avant garde music and directly into a pretty straight blues and then back into avant garde territory againg with the next song.

Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask is a strange but typical MOthers of Invention live composition. Zappa was probably conducting this on the spot. Odd vocal parts and more free jazz sax soloing. The song ends with disgusting piggy snorts and coctail jazzy piano playing underneath. what an odd song.

Toad Of The Short Forest starts with a studio part which reminds me a bit about Twenty Small Cigars from Chungaīs Revenge. Great little pleasant part. At the 1 minute mark the song changes into a live avant garde song. Note the part where Zappa tells the audience what time signatures the different instruments play. Zappa loved to involve his audience in music theory. This might seem arrogant to some, but to Zappaīs fans ( at least for me) this was educational and inspiring.

Get A Little is a vehicle for a Zappa Guitar solo. Nice song to calm down to after the strange avant garde hell we have just been witness to.

The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue is one of the arranged compositions on the album. It could easily have fitted into the track list on Uncle Meat and was probably written at about the same time. A band like Henry Cow is probably very influenced by a song like this. There is also a Zeuhl flavor to The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue and Magma seems to have found some influence here too. This is a highlight on Weasels Ripped My Flesh

Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula has a similar sound to some of the songs on Burnt Weeny Sandwich for the first half minute until strange noises kick in.

Straight from the noises of Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula to My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama which is a RīnīB song with nice brass motives and funny lyrics. Pretty basic stuff but listen to that middle section. It could have been taken right out of Uncle Meat. Great song.

Oh No is a beautiful vocal based song. Itīs very short and lasts only for 1:46 minutes but in that time we get some really nice parts. Ray Collins sings with his smooth vocal style. Oh No could easily have been on Uncle Meat. Together with The Orange County Lumber Truck which Oh No seques into the two of them became live classics. The Orange County Lumber Truck is a nice brass theme driven song but it really is just a vehicle for a Zappa guitar solo. Note the uptempo section with the guitar solo. There is some great brass underneath that solo.

The title track ends the album with two minutes of noise from a live concert and the song ends with Zappa saying good night boys and girls and thank you for coming to our concert. What a fitting end to The Mothers of Invention.

The musicianship is astonishing to say the least. The Mothers of Invention will forever stand as one of the most technically challenging groups of the sixties. There are so many examples of their great skill on Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Note that Lowell George ( Little Feat founder and heroin addict extraordinaire, died of a heart attack on the 29th of June 1979) plays rhythm guitar and sings on Did You get Any Onya? Lowell George was as I remember it a member of The Mothers of Invention for a very short time.

The production is really good when you think about when this was recorded. Frank Zappa is an excellent producer and mixer. He makes studio and live sections of songs seque into each other smoothly. You hear the change but it sounds great.

The cover artwork by artist Neon Park is one of the most significant covers in rock history. Itīs pretty disgusting really ( well in a positive way). The cover is based on the cover story from the September 1956 issue of Man's Life, a Men's adventure magazine ( The cover depicts a man standing in water being attacked by weasels, trying to fight them off) and an advertisement for Schick brand electric razor.

Allthough this is not my favorite Frank Zappa album Iīm still much happier about it today than I was 10 - 15 years ago and Iīm a bit undecided if this deserves 3 or 4 stars. Iīll rate it 3 big stars but I might upgrade this to a 4 star album in 10 or 15 years time because this album is a grower for sure.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars Weasels Ripped My Flesh is only an average Zappa record, all told, stronger than most of his post 70s ones, but weaker than a number of those he produced during that decade.

A last hurrah for the Mothers of Invention, this album mostly focuses on improvisational avant-garde music. This is not something easy to deal with for those not into that sort of music, but for an introduction into the Mothers from 70s Zappa, a great idea. Much of the album is dedicated to noodling. Some incredible ideas are tossed around and implemented here, but instead of keeping the album musically solid, Frank decided to play around with some very avant-garde piddling. Conceptually, it's pretty neat, but when you sit down and listen to it, atonal saxophone hoots and incessantly awkward laughter don't really provide the feeling of a well-thought-out record. It seems like the band took their new song ideas and just goofed around for a day with them (which may well be what happened). So, in the end, there is a prevalent sense of humor. This album may feel grating to many listeners, but subsequent listenings really do reveal some unique ideas.

The only songs really worth mentioning as far as songs go are the trio of My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama, Oh No, and The Orange County Lumber Truck. My Guitar is a more conventional Zappa tune, with a good groove and a catchy melody, and it's equipped with Frank's odd sense of humor. Despite the title, there is not much guitar to be found, save a high quality acoustic solo in the middle. The music then jumps into Oh No, which features some nice (and eventually ridiculous) vocal work and a sort of jazzy feel. Oh No, in turn, segues into The Orange County Lumber Truck, a three minute instrumental with wonderful guitar work, the kind of song the whole album has been begging for. This track then becomes the title track with a bit of laughter, but this closing tune is not a tune at all but rather more noise like the earlier parts of the record.

Most of the songs on here are sheer noodling and awkward noise-making, though this seems to be more a product of the Mothers of Invention than anything else. A wonderful transitional album from early Mothers insanity and solo Zappa's focused complexity, Weasels ends up being a difficult one to start with but an indispensable effort for experimental Zappa fans.

Review by tarkus1980
3 stars This, children, is what we call a "weed-out album." Where Sandwich was largely focused on the kind of 'beauty' that The Mothers could create on stage, Weasels is centered (at least, the first half is) around the other side of their performances, the atonal, abrasive jamming that was largely inspired by John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy. Now, I'll be honest; the last time I had heard this album before starting to earnestly go through it was back in high school, and when I listened to the first half for, effectively, the first time, I absolutely hated it and dreaded the thought of ever having to hear it again. All those atonal vocal noises, from "Uhn!" to "Nee!" to whatever (with weird monologues in German accents), coupled with jamming that was a mile away from what I wanted to hear after Sandwich, made me feel deeply unpleasant, to say the least.

Fortunately, I came around to the first half a bit in the end. A BIT, mind you; I still can't shake the sneaky suspicion that people who worship music like this will worship anything that's sufficiently atonal as long as the texture is right (which, frankly, bugs me just as much as people who automatically put prog rock above "normal" rock), and I've long had an instinctive aversion to anything where I've felt like my respect for the object is supposed to occur as an automatic function of the existence of the object. On the other hand, though, there's quite a bit I've been able to fish out of the first half as "quality" material, even in the most abrasive tracks. I've come to love the driving, rhythmic atonal jamming that kicks off the opening "Didja Get Any Onya?," for instance; I can definitely feel the common source material with much of later King Crimson within these sounds. "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" actually does about as good of a job of living up to its title as one could expect, as the various odd vocals certainly remind me of somebody wilting off into unconsciousness through a gas mask, which seems to be pumping aphrodisiacs, laughing gas and ether all at once (and I almost wonder; did Monty Python get their idea for knights who say "NEE!" from the "nee" noises on here?) Plus, it features the sound of what I can only describe as a hungry dog trying to eat the mic, so that's something.

"Toads of the Short Forest" is also rather neat, starting off relatively pleasant before entering a lengthy instrumental passage that features all the instruments playing different time signatures, except for the alto sax which, as Frank points out, "is blowing his nose." Throw in the blues/porno-music cross (I can't help it, that's what the wah-wah's here make me think of) of "Get a Little," and a cover of "Directly From My Heart to You" by Little Richard (featuring marvelously moody violin work from Don "Sugar Cane" Harris, making this the third straight album where he's had a brief starring role), and the first half actually ends up as fairly intriguing. On the whole, that is; far too many moments make me want to be anywhere else when I'm listening to them, but instrumental and stylistic schizophrenia is always a good way to win points with me in aggregate.

The second half is much more "normal," though it's bookended by more rough material. "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" never really picks up steam, if you ask me; it starts off mildly pleasant, but quickly morphs into another "free jazz" romp that doesn't even really have the gritty texture that made me like parts of "Didja." The title track, at the other end, is essentially a minute-and-a-half of noise (followed by applause), which I guess would have been the ideal way for a Mothers show to close, and is thus a fitting end to the album, but it's not gonna be a keeper on my iPod once this review is done, if you get me.

The neatest part of the album to my ears, then, is the stretch between those two tracks. "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" (I LOVE these titles) is a bit of a throwaway (one commentator on a prominent site says that this track invented video game music), but the next three are each wonderful. "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" is a marvelous mix of driving 70's Zappa sleaze rock (or least what he'd eventually start making in the 70's) that also has a wonderous mid-section consisting of blotches of synths, sax, acoustic guitar that fits in with the rest of the song in much the same way that, say, the mid- section of "Monkey Man" fits in with the rest of the track. "Oh No" (shown in a longer, instrumental version on Ahead of Our Time) is a great Money throwback, a direct answer to all of the songs that said "All You Need is Love" (uh, I wonder who that could be), and when it suddenly cuts into "The Orange County Lumber Truck," which I've loved since hearing it on Ahead, I'm almost willing to forgive everything that had annoyed me about the album up to that point. That said, I wish each of these three tracks were longer, but oh well.

So the question at hand is, given all my thoughts here, what rating I should give this album. I actually bounced around in a range between a middling *** and a solid **** (that's quite a bit of distance there), because I'm not sure how to resolve all my conflicting feelings about the album. In the plus column, the album effectively showcases a sound that no other band had, throwing in a small number of tracks I really really like, and overall has a lot of odd diversity that needs to be given due credit. In the minus column, well, I don't particularly enjoy listening to several stretches of it. In the end, I'm kinda leaning more to the good side (that *** is a very high one), because I do think it's a very worthwhile album. But man, this is not for the uninitiated. Proceed with caution.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Among Zappa's Mothers early works (Mk I, if you wish), Weasels is a bit of an oddity in its musical directions. Not that it's completely different at all, but it's probably/certainly more serious, the band dropping the silly humour that was hindering the music's progress, and the new-found space profited to the instrumental part of Zappa's compositions and the Mothers' improvisations. Don't get me wrong here; there are plenty of humour and weirdness left (just look at the track titles to see proof of this), but what a frigging relief not to have to put up with Suzy Creamcheese's adventures and other idiotic Maternal Inventions all the way through a Zappa album. We can now profit and hear correctly Francesco's complex and sometimes superb compositions without getting irritating interferences from over-drugged Mothers.

Graced with an absolutely graceless shaving artwork, Weasels was released in February 70, but recorded everywhere but in Frank's LA studio (or so it seems); and maybe that's the album's secrets? the Mothers had to behave a bit more on the road, than if at home. And this is where we see (or hear) their musical abilities as you'll directly understand from the opening "Didja Get Any Onya?" that goes quickly modern and dissonant, but shows Francesco's fascination on XXth century composers mixed with the typical Mothers weirdness; you'll find more of those with . Jazz is also on the Weasel's menu with Dolphy's Barbecue. There are also some straight blues tracks, like Sexually Aroused Gas Mask (preluding the ultra complex and furious Toads Of The Short Forest) or the brassy Mama-Killer Guitar, where the guitar is not pulling an incredible Zappa-esque solo (this comes in Lumber Trucks). Plenty of enjoyable, but not-always easy moments to "get".

Don't get me wrong, not everything on this album is a success and least of all the closing title track that ends with a minute-long distorted dissonant one-chord and one-note finale. But overall, this is the best pre-Rats album from Frank's Mothers.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The second archival release immediately following the demise of the original Mothers of Invention puts a mild focus on the band's jazz-influenced side, just as Burnt Weeny Sandwich tended to focus on the classical influences. In that sense, it can kind of be seen as a companion piece to Hot Rats (it even includes a scrap here and there from the Hot Rats sessions) - whereas Hot Rats put forward one particular vision of how a meld between rock and jazz might work, like other early fusion manifestos like In A Silent Way or Bitches' Brew by Miles Davis or Soft Machine's Third or Volume Two, Weasels Ripped My Flesh is a bit more wide-ranging, presenting a variety of experiments in incorporating different types of jazz into different types of rock (plus there are a few non-fusion tracks, mainly concentrated on the second side). There's a bit more free jazz at play than is typical for most fusion groups, for example, as is showcased on the likes of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask, and Directly From My Heart To You makes a bold attempt to bring jazz improvisation to a blues-rock template.

The scraps of non-fusion tracks are also pretty interesting, being a grab-bag of different styles dabbled in by the Mothers during their lifetime. Dwarf Nebula is another musique concrete experiment and is probably the most dispensable track on the album - it doesn't really go anywhere which wasn't covered to a superior extent by, say, the Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny on We're Only In It For the Money. My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama introduces a bit of crazy soloing into otherwise typical teenage rock and roll.

The best non-fusion song is probably Oh No, which summarises the argument of We're Only In It For the Money in under two minutes; as well as directly challenging the Beatles' famed assertion that All You Need Is Love, the song is a biting critique of the way the hippy movement hijacked the counterculture and replaced valid and urgent political goals with an incoherent pursuit of love, an ideal which sounded pretty but was ultimately toothless and robbed the 1960s youth movement of its ability to effect lasting and positive change. The best fusion track is here probably The Orange County Lumber Truck, which provides a bit more structure than the free jazz workouts elsewhere on the album and, like King Kong from Uncle Meat, points the way to the approach Zappa would take in his jazz-rock works for much of the 1970s.

I don't think Weasels Ripped My Flesh is *quite* as strong as Burnt Weeny Sandwich - two albums in to Zappa's projected 12-album archival series and there's already the sense that the bottom of the barrel is being scraped here and there - but aside from Dwarf Nebula I think the whole album deserved seeing the light of day, and whilst it doesn't quite have the consistency of Uncle Meat or Burnt Weeny it does reach similarly lofty heights. Four stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This album is one of Frank Zappa's most experimental albums. The music is often harsh and wild, but always under Zappa's strick control. The only major problem is that the live pieces are badly recorded.

There is quite a bit of Zappa conducting the band in his unique way (you have to see it to understand). Didja Get Any Onya? and Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Sexually Aroused Gas Mask bot feature extensive segments of this. Toads Of The Short Forest ends with a live segment of the band members playing together in different timne signatures (it's too bad that Frank felt he had to announce this to the crowd).

Another great piece is The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue, which begins as a Zappa composition, and melts into a free jazz jam. I think Dolphy would have liked it. Similarly, Dwarf Nebula Procession March & Dwarf Nebula begins as a pseudo-classical march, and turns into something, well, nebulous.

There are some familiar tunes on the album, too. My Guitar wants To Kill Your Mama is a classic. Oh No and The Orange County Lumber Truck are here as well, with more to them than the versions on "Roxy & Elsewhere".

The album ends with the title track, a long blast of noise from the Mothers on stage.

This one isn't for the faint of heart, but if you like your music dangerous, try it.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' is a potpourri of sounds and styles from Frank Zappa and the Mothers, and was the 2nd album from The Mothers released after the band broke up (it is their 7th overall and FZ's 10th overall). The first album released after The Mothers break up was 'Burnt Weiny Sandwich' which consisted of outtakes and other songs that didn't make any album cuts, and was made up of rather structured songs. This one was also made up of outtakes and etc., but this one consists of more free form or improvised tracks, most of which are recorded live. But there are a couple of straightforward tracks too. Because of this, you get quite a sampling of different styles of FZ's music on this album.

FZ said that he wanted to put together a 12 record set of leftover music, but then decided it would cost a quarter of a million dollars, so trashed that idea. He said that 80% of this album is made up of group improvisations where he conducted spontaneous music and that some of those songs that were intended for that huge project. The interesting cover and title of the album was inspired by a magazine cover of 'Man's Life' with the tag line 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh'. FZ saw the magazine and decided it doesn't get any worse than that. The studio didn't want to use the cover illustration which was based on a shaving ad, but released it anyway.

The opening track 'Didja Get Any Onya?' has a reading from Lowell George (who would go on to form 'Little Feat'). This is a person recounting his time as a German boy in Baltimore who's father made poison gas for the government for WWII. The name of the track comes from a Lenny Bruce routine. The track was recorded live at the Philadelphia Arena. The original CD was 3 minutes longer than the LP. The track starts right off with an improvised trumpet and sax with funny vocal sounds. You can hear how tight the band was to the changes that FZ was directing throughout the track. This is what makes it all amazing in the way the band reacts to FZ's direction. Remember, this is all pretty much spontaneous. The Lowell George part comes in quite early and is hard to hear with another band member doing operatic sounds. After some more goofing around, the band breaks into another sax improvisation with a repeating riff in the background. Then it goes into a start/stop style, again as directed by FZ. Since it is improvised, you get a lot of dissonance, but that is what FZ was looking for. It is all based on 20th Century classical styles.

'Directly From My Heart to Yours' is a studio outtake from the 'Hot Rats' session and is a cover of a Little Richard song. It is a straightforward blues/rock track sung by Don Harris who also plays the electric violin in the song. It is a surprising contrast from the previous track, but that is what give the album it's charm. 'Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask' is a sarcastical take on a title from a Debussy composition. Frank based it on a space helmet that he made out of a gas mask and mustard gas container that his father had brought home from work. He opened it with a can opener and rendered it useless, which his father was upset about. But FZ used it as a space helmet. The track is again a group improvisation based on FZ's direction. It has an avant garde feel and also some strange improvised vocals from the band, including laughter and so on. It was recorded live in London and partially in Miami Beach Florida.

'Toads of the Short Forest' was also recorded live in 2 different places, the first half in Glendale, California and the second half in Miami Beach, Florida. It starts out rather straightforward with a nice melody and then suddenly switches to improvisation where nothing is straightforward. In the recording FZ announces all of the different meters the band members are playing in at the same time. Improv continues.

'Get a Little' comes next. This is a short improve featuring FZ's guitar recorded when they were opening for 'Vanilla Fudge'. This was recorded in The Bronx, and apparently the audience wasn't very receptive because FZ said in an interview that a member of the audience said 'You guys stink! Bring on the Fudge!'

Next is another group improvisation called 'The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbeque' recorded in studio. This was titled as homage to Eric Dolphy who was a jazz instrumentalist that died in 1964. The song itself is not anything like Dolphy's music, though it does include a sax improvisation throughout the song, along with improv from the band. FZ admired Dolphy, however and there are credits as to his inspiration on the 'Freak Out!' album. This track changes meter and style several times through it's nearly 7 minute time frame and is very much a free form jazz composition.

'Dwarf Nebula' is based on a piano exercise done by FZ with other instruments added in. This doesn't last long though and soon we get a processed sound collage with FZ using his famous gadget 'The Apostolic Blurch Injector'. After this is a straightforward blues/rock track called 'My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama'. This one is composed, as Frank says, for stupid teenagers and record company executives. This track is used many times in Frank's concerts. Both of the previous tracks were recorded in studio, with the latter one being quite polished, contrasted from the previous track which is improvisation.

'Oh No' is another vocal track which acts as a satirical response to The Beatles 'All You Need is Love'. The track isn't as straightforward as the previous track and has some tricky meters. The vocals follow the instrumentals which is quite difficult. This track was actually written as an instrumental during the 'Freak Out!' sessions and the lyrics were added later. It has an extended instrumental section at the end, and even though is is not your average rock song, it is a more structured track. The melody is one of FZ's more familiar melodies as it is used as a basis for individual improvisational numbers. This track goes directly into 'Orange County Lumber Truck' which is the improvised jazz track featuring FZ's guitar . This is cut short all of a sudden with a laugh, and then the title track, which is the last track. All this is, is the band all playing at the same time any random note they wanted at full volume'.2 minutes of straight noise improvisation, which FZ said sounds like your average vacuum cleaner improvisation.

That's all of the tracks on this conglomeration of an album. Yet, with all of this editing and pasting of songs from unreleased Mothers tracks, it is still surprisingly good. The variety of the album only adds to the enjoyment, because you not only get a good sampling of the different types of Zappa music, but you get a fun album too. It's not one of the 5 star Zappa albums, but it is one I enjoy nonetheless. It is full of progressive styles throughout, there is still plenty of humor and plenty of 'serious' music. Hopefully, some of the short explanations of the tracks will help with the understanding as to why it is so varied in it's style, because usually Frank wouldn't mix styles like this so much on a single album. Anyway, each track has it's own story and not only Zappa-philes should appreciate this one, but also your average art rock listener too.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Review #136! A masterpiece. This is one of the albums that make it in my top ten of all time. Every song is equally amazing, unique, crazy, and fun. This, to me, is the peak of anything Frank Zappa ever worked on. It couldn't get much better than this with avant-garde tracks like "Dwa ... (read more)

Report this review (#2950692) | Posted by Boi_da_boi_124 | Monday, September 11, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review #144 (Considering this an album by THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION and not a FRANK ZAPPA album) "Weasels ripped my flesh" is one of those hybrid studio/live albums that have some very good songs gathered together with a bunch of nice but not great improvisations. The album includes songs tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#2636147) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Monday, November 22, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Weasels Ripped My Flesh is overall one of Zappa's more experimental albums, and like some of his other albums mixes both live and studio recordings very well. But while it does contain some notable pieces that are more or less straightforward rock songs (the key one being one of Zappa's best and ... (read more)

Report this review (#1009308) | Posted by Mr. Soot Gremlin | Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is music? well, yes, most of it is. Some of it even would be recognised to the non-prog-listening majority as music. By Joove, most of the music is even of great quality. Zappa really plays a mean guitar on this record, and the other musicians are extremely talented as well, albeit a lit ... (read more)

Report this review (#173827) | Posted by burtonrulez | Friday, June 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is probably one of my least favourite Zappa albums that I have heard and I have heard over 20 Zappa albums. It's not bad. It's just not as tightly structured as music I normally listen to. Still a lot better than Cruising with Ruben and the Jets. The music on this album is pretty varied and ... (read more)

Report this review (#172005) | Posted by PurpleCobra | Friday, May 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Zappa wrote a lot of strange works, some of them are simply crazy. Well, I think this is one of the oddest, of the most dissonant he's ever recorded. Weasels... doesn't stand on his feet, he has a too fragile equilibrium to be listened at any moment. This one needs a perfect concentration, simil ... (read more)

Report this review (#168517) | Posted by paloz | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Definitely one of my favourite Zappa albums. "Weasels Ripped my Flesh" was released in the same year as "Chunga's revenge", and I definitely thing that this is the better album. The album opens with the highly erratic and quirky yet listenable "Didja Get Any Onya?", which shows clear elements of Z ... (read more)

Report this review (#155299) | Posted by cynthiasmallet | Thursday, December 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Frank Zappa, as an artist made strange music. He made his most strangest stuff with The Mothers of Invention. Concidering that, well, perhaps Freak Out! is a strange album. Or maybe We're Only In It For The Money. Those two are strange indeed, or who says what is strange and what isn't. But okay ... (read more)

Report this review (#132856) | Posted by Wutu Banale | Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was my first Zappa album bought when I was 13 years old! This was a typical case of love at first sight and since then I bought every record made by this genius. I am a bit surprised that the solo Get A Little isnīt mentioned that much by other reviewers. I think is a true 2 and a half min ... (read more)

Report this review (#78263) | Posted by Akebono | Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Tsk tsk bow your head in shame Zappa, this album is undeniably mediocre. Random leftovers from the original Mothers of Invention period, mostly jazzy nonsense, sadly this does not a good album make. The tracks are the usual Mothers lunacy only not as entertaining as their previous output, in f ... (read more)

Report this review (#62291) | Posted by | Thursday, December 29, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Mwaaaaaaa! Another 1970 release from Frank in the Mothers' name, Weasels Ripped My Flesh is an excellent, dare I say perfect overview of the Mothers, featuring a lot of live and even studio work that covers a lot of styles. Oh No from Lumpy Gravy is featured here with a vocal section sung by Ray C ... (read more)

Report this review (#38710) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is a masterpiece - no doubt about it. It is hard to believe so many people struggle to come to terms with it. But if you want haunting, off-the-wall improv and just plain strangeness(!) mixed with some avante-garde orchestral influence, some jazz and some edgy Zappa humour - then lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#30054) | Posted by | Monday, May 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I cannot believe people haven't given this 5 stars! This shows Zappa's most avant-garde style and the compositions are amazing and way ahead of its time. I have never heard anything like it. There is definitly a ton of influence of classical composers in this (Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Varese, ... (read more)

Report this review (#30053) | Posted by | Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A very interesting cd. One that any Zappa fan should atleast look into getting. 'My guitar wants to kill Your Mama' is classic. The cd is really just a mix of a few studio songs a some crazy live stuff. Worth looking out for. ... (read more)

Report this review (#30049) | Posted by Hambone | Sunday, May 23, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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