Thing-Fish

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All Music Guide - Fran├žois Couture
Of all of Frank Zappa's discography, Thing-Fish must be his most controversial, misunderstood, overlooked album. Obviously, it is not a masterpiece, but reducing it to a compilation album with a racist plot distorts the reality. First released as a three-LP set (and reissued on two CDs), this album is the "original cast recording" of a never-produced Broadway show. Working-class joes have been mutated into potato-headed, duck-mouthed creatures by a government experiment gone wrong. They put up a Broadway musical in which reality and fiction become one for two members of the audience. The main character, Thing-Fish, is played by Ike Willis. His thick caricatured Negro ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fran├žois Couture
Of all of Frank Zappa's discography, Thing-Fish must be his most controversial, misunderstood, overlooked album. Obviously, it is not a masterpiece, but reducing it to a compilation album with a racist plot distorts the reality. First released as a three-LP set (and reissued on two CDs), this album is the "original cast recording" of a never-produced Broadway show. Working-class joes have been mutated into potato-headed, duck-mouthed creatures by a government experiment gone wrong. They put up a Broadway musical in which reality and fiction become one for two members of the audience. The main character, Thing-Fish, is played by Ike Willis. His thick caricatured Negro accent is directly taken from Amos 'n' Andy's King Fish character. Zappa's intention was not to mock African Americans, but to ridicule the way they are depicted on Broadway, mainly a white male-dominated milieu. Harry and Rhonda, the two audience members drawn into the story by force, are played by Terry Bozzio and Dale Bozzio. Harry will realize he is gay, Rhonda will turn into a briefcase fetishist. Zappa exaggerates the yuppie trends of the mid-'80s (Harry is gay for "career purposes"; Rhonda embodies the ultra-feminist) and slips into the plot concerns about the spread of AIDS being the result of governmental scientific experiments. It's crazy, offensive, barely holding together, but it sure is entertaining. To accommodate the plot, Zappa wrote a couple of new songs and re-recorded a handful of tracks from Zoot Allures, You Are What You Is, Tinsel-Town Rebellion, and Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch with new lyrics. It is definitely for the seasoned fan (the conceptual continuity clues make an integral part of the experience), but more than rehashed material.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/2/1995
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • UPC: 014431054426
  • Catalog Number: 310544

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Frank Zappa Primary Artist, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Synclavier
Steve Vai Guitar
Jay Anderson Bass, String Bass
Ed Mann Percussion
Chad Wackerman Drums, Vocals
Ike Willis Guitar, Vocals, cast
Dale Bozzio Vocals, cast
Arthur Barrow Bass
Terry Bozzio Drums, Vocals, cast
Napoleon Murphy Brock Saxophone, Vocals, cast
Steve DeFuria Synclavier
Bob Harris Keyboards, Vocals, cast
Tommy Mars Keyboards, Vocals
David Ocker Synclavier
David Oker Synclavier
Scott Thunes Synthesizer, Bass, Vocals
Johnny "Guitar" Watson Guitar, Vocals, cast
Ray White Guitar, Vocals, cast
Chuck Wild Piano
Technical Credits
Bob Stone Engineer
Arthur Barrow Contributor
Frank Zappa Arranger, Composer, Director, Producer, Book
Mark Pinske Engineer
Bob Fletcher Costume Design
Ladi Von Jansky Cover Photo
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    More to it than u think.

    Gotta be a masterpiece on the grounds of its its unique ness...no one does owt @ all like zappa did...he was composer/pisstaker/orchestrator/satirist/political commentator all in one....just so much multilayered talent and brilliant witty, interlinked stuff that you get swamped then forget how educated, incisive and foretelling it all was. :-P ....Laffcarl®

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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