The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Of Weasels, Hot Rats and Lumpy Gravy: Some Zappa Reissue Questions Answered

with 9 comments

Ever since news broke of Universal’s upcoming series of Frank Zappa reissues, there have been as many questions as answers regarding this hotly-anticipated catalogue campaign.  Although the first thirteen titles, chronologically representing 1966’s Freak Out! through 1971’s Just Another Band From L.A., don’t arrive until July 31, a trickle of information has already been released by Gail Zappa, Frank’s widow and the representative of the Zappa Family Trust.

Gail Zappa has taken to answering some burning questions on the “GZ Sez” area of, and we’re happy to pass on this information to you!  Responding to Bruce White’s email of June 11 inquiring whether the Universal releases would be remastered or otherwise differ from past issues, Gail confirmed that “the digital masters were all re-transferred by the Vaultmeister and about a third of the titles were reMastered [sic] from the original analog source.  So the happy answer is, you betcha!!  Each one is carefully labelled with the information you are looking for.  Watch the skies.”

In response to Jess R. Hernandez’ email, Gail revealed more details including a tantalizing teaser about Hot Rats.  Frank Zappa’s 1969 album was remixed by its artist in 1987, and his remixed edition offered significantly different versions of such compositions as “Willie the Pimp,” “The Gumbo Variations” and “Little Umbrellas.”   Hernandez’ questions and Gail Zappa’s responses follow:

Q: The Hot Rats CD has always been a 1987 re-mix, not the original 1969 mix. Is this new CD the `69 mix, or the `87 re-mix?  I prefer either.

A:  Technically none of the above – this is the 2008 Bernie Grundman re-master – which mostly resembles the original 1969 mix.  You will love it.

Q: Is the packaging faithful to the LPs?

A:  Absolutely.  And even more faithful to the requirements established by the original Barking Pumpkin releases.

Q: Should I sell or junk my `95 Ryko CDs, or keep `em as collector’s items?

A:  I would keep them for the moment – but you decide.  None of the new releases are “sourced” from the Ryko releases and although many represent the digital masters mostly as you have come to understand them, many do not!  Each package will identify the actual source so you will be able to plan your collection accordingly.  We think everything sounds better but I am sure you will let us know.

Here at Second Disc HQ, we’re particularly thrilled that Gail Zappa has twice acknowledged that original source information will be included and clearly marked on each disc.  Hit the jump for more, including the full list of reissues plus pre-order links!

The first wave of Frank Zappa reissues from Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will arrive on July 31.  Current plans call for “another dozen recordings to be released monthly through the end of 2012,” for a total of 60 albums.  Watch this space for more news as it comes, and if you have a question about these new reissues for Gail Zappa, why not drop her a line at  You just might get an answer!

Frank Zappa, 2012 Reissue Campaign (Universal Music Enterprises)

  1. Freak Out! (1966)
  2. Absolutely Free (1967)
  3. Lumpy Gravy (1967)
  4. We’re Only In It For The Money (1968)
  5. Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1968)
  6. Uncle Meat (1969)
  7. Hot Rats (1969)
  8. Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970)
  9. Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970)
  10. Chunga’s Revenge (1970)
  11. Fillmore East – June 1971 (1971)
  12. Just Another Band From LA (1971)

Written by Joe Marchese

June 22, 2012 at 13:10

Posted in Frank Zappa, News, Reissues

9 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Thanks for addressing the “Hot Rats” issue … curious for the 2008 remaster and for the packaging ;-/

    Snaporaz d'Uzine

    June 23, 2012 at 07:26

  2. Since Frank was outspoken about truth in advertising, good for them for being clear about their new masters vs reMasters.


    June 23, 2012 at 14:29

  3. This still doesn’t really tell us anything about “Hot Rats”. Apparently Gail Zappa doesn’t know the difference between a remix or a remaster.. Just which mix did Bernie Grundman remaster? Or is it an entirely new mix? It seems like she is saying that, but her terminology is confusing. And if she has decided not to use the “FZ Approved” ’87 remix, why have a new mix commisioned? Why not take the opportunity to release the original mix that the fans have been clamouring for the past 25 years?
    At least if these are remastered by Bernie Grundman, they should sound pretty good. He’s a great engineer.

    Jason Michael

    June 23, 2012 at 20:39

  4. “Is this new CD the `69 mix, or the `87 re-mix? I prefer either.”

    In other words, Joe, you have NO preference?


    June 24, 2012 at 16:12

    • Hey Shaun, re-read the paragraph right above the Q&A – those are Jess Hernandez’ questions, not mine. (Though I would love an audience with Gail, myself!) From his oddly worded “I prefer either,” I do take that to mean that he likes both of them and has no preference as to which one Gail reissues. 🙂

      Joe Marchese

      June 24, 2012 at 16:56

  5. I cringed when Amazon’s initial links showed 18.98 prices. They came down about a buck a couple of days later, then down to the current 14.98. But lists them at 13.92 and on sale for 9.99 (more for UM of course). Hopefully, ImportCDs prices are closer to the truth.


    June 24, 2012 at 16:41

  6. So how many times we gotta re-buy this stuff, anyway?

    Martin Kasdan Jr

    June 24, 2012 at 23:01

    • What!!! The only CD catalog that was older and moldier was the Beatles. This re-issue collection of Zappa’s catalog is long overdue and sounds like (from zft press releases) that it will fix the audio butchering by Zappa. For any Zappa fan (especially those that do not listen to vinyl) , this promises to be a must have collection.

      joe Ray

      July 25, 2012 at 05:43

  7. I read a lot of negative comments about Frank’s catalogue on various forums and I think the same goes for a lot of deceased artists. We cant all be happy, I shall pick these new CDs off one by one as I seek hi-fidelity in music and in my opinion Mr Zappa is the greatest musician that ever lived.


    June 27, 2012 at 07:23

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: