Joe's Garage: Acts I, II & III

Label
Rykodisc
Release date
2 May 1995
Running length
10 tracks
Running time
67:36

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Tracklist

    Track     Duration Listeners
1 Token of My Extreme 5:29 320
2 Stick It Out 4:34 19,229
3 Sy Borg 8:56 15,905
4 Dong Work For Yuda 5:04 15,981
5 Keep It Greasey 8:21 17,419
6 Outside Now 5:53 18,276
7 He Used To Cut The Grass 8:35 14,209
8 Packard Goose 11:35 14,104
9 Watermelon In Easter Hay 9:09 33,386
10 Little Green Rosetta 0:00 287

About this album

Joe’s Garage: Acts I, II & III is a 1979 rock opera by Frank Zappa, which tells the story of what could possibly happen if music was made illegal. The album features Ike Willis as the voice of “Joe”, a stereotypical garage band youth who unwittingly journeys through the miasma of the music business. Zappa provides the voice of the “Central Scrutinizer” character—a mechanical voice that narrates the story and haunts Joe’s psyche with McCarthyistic 50s-era discouragement and “scrutiny.”

The album was originally issued in two parts, the first part being a single LP of Act I, and the second part being a double-LP set of Acts II & III. All three acts were later issued together as a box set, and on compact disc as a double-CD. The major themes of the story include groupie migration, mockery of Scientology, appliance fetishism, garage bands, and above all censorship of music as an artform.

Joe’s Garage is particularly noteworthy for its extensive use of Zappa’s xenochrony technique, in which guitar solos from older, completely unrelated recordings were extracted and overdubbed onto new songs. With the exception of “Watermelon in Easter Hay” and “Crew Slut”, all Zappa’s solos on the album were constructed in this way.

Act I

The opera begins with the Central Scrutinizer’s introduction. He has no real character, but goes on to explain that his job is to enforce laws which will be passed in the forthcoming illegalization of music.

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