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Forum » Videos » Videos en DVD » Frank Zappa - Baby Snakes (1979) ([DVD-9] {2003 Eagle Rock Issue})
Frank Zappa - Baby Snakes (1979)
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Frank Zappa - Baby Snakes (1979) [DVD-9] {2003 Eagle Rock Issue}
DVD9 -> 7,31 Gb | All Regions | NTSC 4:3 | Dolby AC3, 6 ch / AC3, 2 ch | ~ 166 m | Artwork | ISO Image
© 2003 Eagle Rock | EE 19028
Rock / Experimental Rock

Frank Zappa's 1977 Halloween concert at New York City's Palladium Theater. All the cameras are on-stage, nothing from out front, which is interesting but doesn't give you that audience perspective. Frank Zappa, Terry Bozzio, Roy Estrada, Adrian Belew, Ed Mann, Patrick O'Hearn, Peter Wolf, Tommy Mars, and "New York's Finest Crazy Persons", contains incredible live performances, back-stage and studio antics, and (too much) brain-melting clay-mation. A must for any Zappa fan.

Touted as "a movie about people who do stuff that is not normal," Frank Zappa's Baby Snakes chronicles a late-'70s Halloween stand in New York City (a zany enough proceeding in its own right) with digressions throughout the first half for backstage antics, band interviews, and some outlandish clay animation from Bruce Bickford, with whose work Zappa was obviously smitten. Onstage, Zappa is a live wire, the audience is appropriately rambunctious, and the band--an especially potent incarnation of the famous Mothers of Invention--is tight as could be. The film amounts to a three-hour musical carnival whose participants lack any trace of artistic or personal inhibition. Zappa, who died in 1993, always worked with consummate musicians, and Baby Snakes showcases the cream of the crop: Terry Bozzio (one of the greatest drummers ever to command a kit), bassist Patrick O'Hearn, keyboard wizard Tommy Mars, and even pop chameleon Adrian Belew.

Undeniable are Zappa's intelligence and charisma, which flicker and blaze every second he's on screen. The progressive-leaning rock and jazz music is frequently interrupted for meandering spoken interludes and is certainly not for all tastes. But Frank Zappa was a force to behold, and Baby Snakes offers a unique cultural education for anyone bold enough to give it a spin. "Without deviation," Zappa wrote, "progress is not possible." Baby Snakes is one of Frank's most fervent contributions to progress.

Frank Zappa, New York, Halloween ...... Bozzio, Belew, Bickford ....... how many more reasons could a person need to desire this majorly non-boring round thing????

The DVD release of Baby Snakes is a cause for celebration, both for long time fans and novices who are just discovering FZ - for the latter in particular, who never got the chance to experience the Zappa performance spectacle.

At its core, Baby Snakes is a concert film, but it is also a keen insight into the man's creative mechanism, a free association style that embraced all manner of media in addition to music. A prime example is the generous screentime given to clay animator Bruce Bickford, with whom Zappa had worked with on a video project for PBS around 1975. Bickford creates erotic nightmares in clay and on film while Zappa prods him on in metaphorical abandon, the result complimented by jarring sound design created spontaneously by Zappa and his cohorts in the studio. We also witness FZ rehearsing his bandmates, creating on the spot extraveganzas with Roy Estrada and a gas mask, spying on the backstage cavortings of musicians and crewmates, possibly developing new theories and creative concepts from witnessing the bizarre goings on ......

Ultimately, in the course of its 2.75 hours' length, Baby Snakes evolves into a relentless live assault, a labor of love dedicated to the appreciative crowd of New York's finest crazy persons, who are also afforded ample screen time. We learn the History of the Poodle (God's 3rd mistake), witness a debut performance of "I Have Been In You", observe monster drummer Terry Ted Bozzio in a Speedo transform himself into the devil for the number "(Mammarian Protuberances) 'N' Beer", enjoy featured vocal performances by keyboardist Tommy Mars (Pound for a Brown), guest stunt guitarist Adrian Belew (City of Tiny Lites), and even FZ's bodyguard Big John Smothers (Muffin Man), witness the onstage flogging of unwitting audience members with a real leather whip ("This is Halloween, we don't **** around!!") and of course the recommended diet of Frank's own searing guitar work. A truly priceless moment in the film is Bozzio's drumming/vocal performance on the epic finale "Punky's Whips"; if only they gave Oscars for best supporting musical performance in a documentary.

As for the DVD package itself: It is presented as a case study of People Who Do Things That Are Not Normal, complete with file folder bearing the official seal of the Department of Entertainment Security containing typewritten documents, photographs, trade reviews and other critical evidence. The transfer effort is admirable, though the film does show its age in some sections, graininess and a true live mix (not the "enhanced" type that Zappa favored on many audio releases) which at times loses definition. That's rock 'n roll. Due to compression and encoding issues associated with DVD production, the actual volume level is fairly low; this can of course be resolved by cranking your receiver, but you better be riding the levels when you push that menu button! These are minor quibbles in light of this significant video chronicle of the man Frank Zappa, who wrote, produced, directed, scored (duh) and largely financed the original film into existence back in 1979.

The result the closest we've got to a legacy to a creative mind like few others .... watch him work, watch him play, listen as he has his say ("The important thing about this instrument is the way the air smells as it comes out of these holes"), see the Läther Band onstage, venting Warner Brothers rage ..... and don't forget to vote.

We will never forget you, Frank.

- Frank Zappa – director, keyboards, vocals, producer, main performer, guitar
- Tommy Mars – keyboards, vocals, performer
- Patrick O'Hearn – bass guitar
- Peter Wolf – keyboards, performer
- Ed Mann – performer, percussion
- Terry Bozzio – drums, performer
- Roy Estrada – vocals, voices, performer
- Adrian Belew – vocals, performer, guitar
- and New York's Finest Crazy Persons

01. Baby Snakes Rehearsal (2:11)
02. "This Is The Show They Never See" (5:52)
03. Baby Snakes (2:05)
04. Bruce Bickford/"Disco Outfreakage" (6:16)
05. The Poodle Lecture (5:03)
06. "She Said"/City Of Tiny Lites (10:28)
07. New York's Finest Crazy Persons (1:55)
8. "The Way The Air Smells?" (4:01)
09. Pound - Bass & Kybds Solo (6:37)
10. "In You" Rap/Dedication (6:44)
11. Managua/Police Car/Drum Solo (9:51)
12. Disco Boy (4:00)
13. "Give People Somewhere To Xscape Thru" (6:27)
14. King Kong/Roy's Halloween Gas Mask (9:01)
15. Bobby Brown Goes Down (3:44)
16. Conehead/"All You Need To Know" (5:32)
17. I'm So Cute/"Entertainment All The Way" (5:15)
18. Titties 'N' Beer/"Audience Participation"/The Black Page #2 & "The Dance Contest" (15:47)
19. Jones Crusher (2:58)
20. Broken Hearts Are For Assholes (3:48)
21. Punky's Whips (12:05)
22. "Thank You"/Dinah-Moe Humm (7:26)
23. Camarillo Brillo/Muffin Man (8:25)
24. San Ber'dino (5:02)
25. Black Napkins (8:03)
26. New York's Finest #2 & Credits (4:00)
27. "Good Night" (1:27)
28. Promo Trailer "Body Snakes" #1
29. Promo Trailer "Body Snakes" #2
30. Promo Trailer "Body Snakes" #3


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Forum » Videos » Videos en DVD » Frank Zappa - Baby Snakes (1979) ([DVD-9] {2003 Eagle Rock Issue})
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