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Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention: In the 1960's

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Critical review of the classic rock band, focusing on the band's musical output in the 1960s. The film features contributions from LA wildman Kim Fowley, biographer Billy James, Zappa academic Ben Watson, music journalist Richie Unterberger, and many others. It also includes archive interviews with members of the band along with rare live performances.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Zappa
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Stereo)
  • Subtitles: None
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Chrome Dreams
  • DVD Release Date: January 20, 2009
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001JL2UXE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,325 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. Baum on February 8, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In 1967 and 1968 (when I was "losing status at the high school") I first heard the Mothers on their brilliant albums "Absolutely Free" and "We're
Only In It for the Money." The words and music of Frank Zappa influenced the way I think more than the Beatles, Bob Dylan or over 18 years of
education (?) So when I read about the release of this DVD, I had to get it immediately! The only thing disappointing about it (though it is not surprising) is that there are only snippets of the MOI onstage. (What I would give for a complete '67 Mothers performance at NY's Garrick Theatre!) But the good news is that those who tell the story of the original Mothers do a very good job, with the contributions of former
Mothers Bunk Gardner, Jimmy Carl Black, Artie Tripp and Don Preston being particularly valuable (too bad they couldn't have gotten Roy Estrada, Ian Underwood, Billy Mundi or Ray Collins.) An in-depth analysis of the Mothers' mid to late-Sixties albums from "Freak Out" to "Uncle Meat" is
very well done, with lots of newly revealed information and anecdotes.
One of the music critics states that this was the best group of musicians that Zappa ever assembled. Well J.C. Black was no Terry Bozzio and Don Preston was no George Duke or Tommy Mars, but, in spirit, maybe they were after all. To this day, I feel that Zappa's most memorable and
iconoclastic music was done with the original Mothers - one critic even suggests that Zappa's music since the late-Sixties was basically a recycling of the ideas he expressed on those great records. That may be going a bit too far, but those first five or six Mothers albums will always be the ones I go back to first. And the members of Frank's band were important components in making the albums and performaces so groundbreaking.
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Format: DVD
The back of the package on this DVD reads "Not authorized by the estate or family of Frank Zappa," so it would be completely understandable for Zappa fans to steer clear of this DVD as fast as possible. Usually, "unauthorized" means that the DVD has no music by the profiled artist but does have plenty of useless interviews with fourth-rate press hacks and other nobodies cobbled together into a tedious and incoherent mess. In this case, however, fans should reconsider. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention in the 1960s is astoundingly good, with contributions from several important members and collaborators from Zappa's original band, the Mothers of Invention. Even more amazingly, the DVD's producers have managed to license many crucial songs from both Zappa and his contemporaries. That this DVD is unauthorized only means there are no interviews with members of Zappa's family, but otherwise, it's of high enough quality to sit comfortably alongside any of Zappa's authorized DVDs.

The high quality of this DVD is matched only by the importance of the story it tells; ...in the 1960s chronicles the early days of Zappa's career and the formation and breakup of his first major band, the Mothers (later known, at their record label's insistence, as the Mothers of Invention). It details the recording of their first six albums: Freak Out! (1966), Absolutely Free, We're Only In It for the Money (both 1967), Lumpy Gravy, Cruising With Ruben & the Jets (both 1968), and Uncle Meat (1969).

Technically, the DVD is decent. The 4:3 full-screen transfer and PCM stereo mix are both decent, getting the job done adequately, even if some of the archival footage is less than great. The main feature is so comprehensive that it's hard to imagine what could be missing.
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Format: DVD
really 4 stars but, i wanted to try to cancel that one star rating. i just watched it for the second time & really enjoyed it. 60's mothers is probably my favorite band. even though i am totally familiar with their story, i did not find this boring (like round things). short clips of howlin wolf, edgard varese, ray collins (w/ hair), beefheart, gto's, wild man fischer, commentary by mothers biographer billy james, zappa biographer ben watson, & mothers jimmy carl black, don preston, bunk gardner & art tripp. bonus materials: extended interviews. if you dig the original mothers or are curious about them, check it out. well done & enjoyable.
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Format: DVD
I remember, a young lad of 16, living in rural Canada, picking up a copy of Absolutely free based entirely on its weird looking cover and....it literally changed my life. Being an outsider myself, I finally found a group of people I could identify with. Musically, Zappa of this period was, yes shocking, but more than that, it was an original work which the beatles' Sgt pepper could only dream of being. I soon recognized that this guy, Zappa, was a serious musician. And...who the Hell is "Edgar varese"? This led me to get into music seriously, eventually studying formally and becoming a music teacher. Absolutely free is where it started for me.

This DVD provides a good overview of the period of these formative albums. particularly interesting were the interviews with Jimmy Carl Black. My only regret is, because it is not an "official release" there were no interviews with Frank himself. Also, it would have been interesting to get Clapton's take on his participation (words) on "We're only in it for the money".

They say one can never go back to one's youth. However, all you who, like me, were turned on by Zappa's brilliance and plain old audacity will have flashbacks of the 'time and space" when viewing this DVD. Pick it up before America Drinks and Goes Home!
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