Tinsel Town Rebellion

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Tinsel Town Rebellion
Zappa Tinseltown Rebellion.jpg
Live album by
ReleasedMay 17, 1981
RecordedOctober 1978 – December 1980
VenueBerkeley Community Theatre; in Carbondale, Illinois; at the NYC Palladium; Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and Odeon Hammersmith, London
Label Barking Pumpkin
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
Joe's Garage
Tinsel Town Rebellion
Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar
Singles from Tinsel Town Rebellion
  1. "Love of My Life"
    Released: 1981

Tinsel Town Rebellion is a double live album released by Frank Zappa in May 1981. The album was conceived by Zappa after he scrapped the planned albums Warts and All and Crush All Boxes, and contains tracks that were intended for those albums.



The lyrical themes varyingly focus on human sexuality, popular culture and other topics. The title track is a satire of the punk rock scene, describing a band that adopts the punk style to get a record deal. The album also contains reworked recordings of older Zappa songs, including "Love of My Life," "I Ain't Got No Heart," "Tell Me You Love Me," "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" and the third release of "Peaches en Regalia" (appropriately titled "Peaches III").


Tinsel Town Rebellion was formed out of two albums - Warts and All and Crush All Boxes - that Zappa originally planned to release following the establishment of his home studio, the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen. Warts and All was intended to be a triple live album, while Crush All Boxes would have consisted largely of studio recordings. [1] As Warts and All reached completion, Zappa found the project to be "unwieldy" due to its length, and scrapped it, later conceiving Crush All Boxes. [2] During the final stages of Crush All Boxes, Zappa decided to salvage the scrapped Warts and All album by releasing a series of albums which used the planned material to emphasize his various talents: You Are What You Is , Tinsel Town Rebellion and two series of live albums, Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar and You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore. [1]

The opening track, "Fine Girl" is a studio recording originally intended for the unreleased album Crush All Boxes, along with an early mix of the live track "Easy Meat". [1] The Tinsel Town Rebellion version of "Easy Meat" featured much heavier studio overdubs than the version prepared for Crush All Boxes. Zappa wrote "Easy Meat" in 1970 and the song was a concert staple of the early 1970s Mothers of Invention line-up featuring ex-members of The Turtles: Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan on lead vocals.

The front cover art for Tinsel Town Rebellion retains the Crush All Boxes title, with the new album title spray painted over it. The sleeve and interior was designed by Cal Schenkel, and contains still images from the film Freaks , directed by Tod Browning.

The majority of Tinsel Town Rebellion consists of overdub-free live recordings from the 1979 and late-1980 concert tours. This album marks the first appearance of three new band members from the 1980 tours: drummer David Logeman, who appeared on the spring and summer tours, and guitarist Steve Vai and vocalist/keyboardist/trumpet player Bob Harris (not to be confused with the musician of the same name who appeared on Fillmore East – June 1971 ), who joined for the fall tour.

Release history

The album was reissued on a single CD by Rykodisc in 1990. (An unauthorized CD had been previously issued by EMI in England in 1987.) Complaints regarding the significantly inferior sound quality (the album was mastered by Bob Stone) led to a remaster by Spencer Chrislu in 1998. Universal Music Group released a new remaster in 2012.

The 1990 release omitted the applause that Zappa had edited onto the endings of "For The Young Sophisticate" and "Pick Me I'm Clean" to end the album sides. The 1998 release restored the applause and included crossfades from the concluding songs of each side to the songs beginning the following side. The 2012 CD release includes the full applause endings with fadeouts as they had occurred on the original vinyl LP.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svgStar empty.svg [3]

Allmusic writer Steve Huey praised the album's instrumental work and the reworked versions of older songs, but described the sexually-themed lyrics as "problematic". [3]

Track listing

All songs written, composed and arranged by Frank Zappa. [4]

No.TitleRecording location and dateLength
1."Fine Girl" UMRK, July-September, 19803:31
2."Easy Meat" Tower Theater, April 29, 1980 (1st half)
Royce Hall, September 18, 1975 (Orchestra)
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, December 11, 1980 (Guitar solo and out-chorus)
3."For the Young Sophisticate" Hammersmith Odeon, February 18, 19792:48
4."Love of My Life" Berkeley Community Theater, December 5, 19802:15
5."I Ain't Got No Heart"Berkeley Community Theater, December 5, 19801:59
6."Panty Rap"Berkeley Community Theater, December 5, 19804:35
7."Tell Me You Love Me"Berkeley Community Theater, December 5, 19802:07
8."Now You See It - Now You Don't" Southern Illinois University, November 15, 19804:54
9."Dance Contest" Palladium, October 27, 19782:58
10."The Blue Light"Berkeley Community Theater, December 5, 1980
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, December 11, 1980
11."Tinsel Town Rebellion"Berkeley Community Theater, December 5, 19804:35
12."Pick Me, I'm Clean"Berkeley Community Theater, December 5, 1980
Dallas Convention Center, October 17, 1980
13."Bamboozled by Love"Hammersmith Odeon, February 19, 19795:46
14."Brown Shoes Don't Make It"Hammersmith Odeon, February 17-19, 19797:14
15."Peaches III"Hammersmith Odeon, February 17-19, 19795:01



Production staff


Album - Billboard (United States)

1981 Billboard 200 66 [5]

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  1. 1 2 3 Neil Slaven (2009). Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story Of Frank Zappa. Music Sales Group. p. 294. ISBN   9780857120434 . Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  2. Lowe, K.F. (2007). The Words and Music of Frank Zappa. University of Nebraska Press. p. 161. ISBN   9780803260054 . Retrieved 2015-08-22.
  3. 1 2 Huey, S. (2011). "Tinseltown Rebellion - Frank Zappa | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  4. "Frank Zappa Official Discography, Tinsel Town Rebellion". Zappa.com.
  5. "Charts and Awards for Tinseltown Rebellion". Allmusic . Retrieved 2008-08-22.