The Mothers of Invention - Freak Out

16 February, 2014

By Jesse Hoffman



"If your children ever find out how lame you really are, they'll murder you in your sleep."

- The Mothers of Invention's closing message to the tourists at the Whiskey A-Go-Go, 1965


There were a lot of forerunners in 1960's when it comes to the artistic development of music in

general. Everyone has heard of Sgt. Peppers and the rest of that hippie nonsense and some know of the

1966 Beach Boys masterpiece Pet Sounds and good for those people. But a month after the release of

Pet Sounds followed something much more progressive and psychedelic than anything I have ever heard

to this date. The Mothers of Invention's Freak Out was released in June of '66 and is easily one of the

most under rated and under-appreciated albums in the history of music. It's no doubt not acknowledged

by The Beatles for the title song off Sgt. Pepper and the closing song on Freak Out "The Return of The

Son of the Monster Magnet" drum beats are almost identical. I'm glad I get a chance to defend this

album in its entirety for its one of the most interesting musically and influential in terms of content ,

even though I can't say I'm even qualified to review such an amazing piece of work.


The Mothers of Invention were band with a lot to say mostly from the self-proclaimed "leader

and musical director" of the group, Frank Zappa, A Baltimore born guitar prodigy and composer with a

collection of music that out numbers Duke Ellington. Freak Out was one of first double albums in the

history of rock music and contained, in my opinion, the most interesting music out of everything

released that year. For a bunch of guys who don't touch drugs, they put together the most sick and

droopy pieces of music out there to this date. They just believed in human rights and questioned our

common establishments better than most people could sense it was so direct and blunt. Alongside with

the overall goofiness of the some of the other tracks, I believe it was never taken as seriously as it

should have been. Zappa's wit excels in songs like "Hungry Freaks Daddy", a vicious attack on public

school system, educating yourself and everything in between. A serious number but as Frank put it so

eloquently in the linear notes of the album. "This song has no message. Rise for the flag and solute."


The songs on the album are just a load of fun every time I hear them. A comic and musical

genius at work with songs like "I Ain't Got No Heart", "Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder" and

"Anyway the Wind Blows" are prime examples of the bands excellence. Another thing Frank can say

better than me in the notes "the musical structure of "You Didn't Try to Call Me" is not revolutionary,

but is interesting. You don't care." People always say "the artist is their harshest critic" and that is a

statement that goes for Zappa especially. Songs like "I'm Not Satisfied" and "You're Probably Wondering

Why I'm Here" are coated with satirical takedowns and formal intelligence but are also so far up their

own ass it makes it almost impossible for the general public to take seriously. Side Three of the album

has always been my favorite for the ripping, blistering rock n' roll number called "Trouble Everyday"

which musically, for me, has been one of the most influential guitar parts in history of recording. Also, it

is probably one of the most structured thoughts on a subject in the album, for it is a direct commentary

on Civil Rights and the Watts Riots (no not the Rodney King ones either). Which is filled with such core

cutting statements, which you must keep in mind are being said in 1966, like "You know what people,

I'm not black but there's a whole a times I wish I could say I'm not white" and people seriously cared

that these songs don't have "commercial potential" in comparison to "social reform potential". After

that, comes the unfiltered riot known as "Help I'm a Rock", an 8 minute and 37 second, clusterfuck of

sound to just take over your ears. Following the classical styling of Zappa, It's eventually broken down

into movements of barbershop quartette harmonies. It's definitely a strange tune but one that should

never be blindly ignored. The Last song on the album is a "movement in an unfinished ballet" which is

also twelve minutes of the, for lack of a better word, "trippy-est" collage of music thrown together by a

sober man.


This whole album will always remain in my mind as the most highly under-looked albums ever

made and as one of the greatest art pieces ever conceived. It's a truly wild and politically satirical expose

on the "great American society" as a whole. These songs are some-what dated at this point but the

overall message of all them can be applied to the modern day America. Take listening to this album as

my advice to prepare for darker times to come.






Primary Genre: Rock


Secondary Genre:  Avant-garde


Release Date: 1966


Label: Verve


Like This And You'll Probably Also Like: Frank Zappa, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, The Doors, The Fugs, The Who


Album Highlights:  Hungry Freaks Daddy, Any Way The Wind Blows, Go Cry On Someone Else's Shoulder






 The Mothers of Invention - Hungry Freaks, Daddy







Frank Zappa - Any Way The Wind Blows