Frank Zappa’s Whisky A Go Go Series Returns With Episode Four

Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention – Photo: Alice Ochs/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“The Whisky a Go Go” YouTube series diving into the history of Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention has returned with episode four. On this occasion, Vaultmeister Joe Travers and Pamela Des Barres from the legendary GTOs discuss the very first time Zappa and the Mothers performed at the Whisky – only it wasn’t on the club’s stage, but on the floor itself.

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In the new clip – which you can see in full below – Travers explains more about how this came about.

“Johnny Rivers was the house band at the time,” he says. “They went on vacation, but they didn’t shift their gear off the stage, so they made Frank set up right here on the floor in front of this structure beam, which is still here today. We know it’s the same because we have the pictures to prove it.”

Des Barres asks “So they all sat down here in front of the staircase?”

“No, they’re all standing up, but it was so silly,” Travers laughs. “But hey, they got their break. They got to play at the Whisky! This is literally the spot where history was made almost 60 years ago. And here we are all this time later!”

The fascinating, ongoing “Whisky a Go-Go” series is in support of the Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, entitled Whisky a Go Go, 1968, which was released on June 21 via Zappa Records/UMe.

In 1968, an ad from Frank Zappa in the L.A. Free Press read: “The Mothers of Invention cordially invite you to join them on Tuesday, July 23, 1968 when they will be taking over the Whisky a Go Go for 5 full hours of unprecedented merriment, which will be secretly recorded for an upcoming record album. Dress optional. Starting sometime in the evening. R.S.V.D.T.” That album ultimately ended up remaining mostly unheard, until now.

Produced by Ahmet Zappa and Joe Travers, this extensive collection, 55-plus years in the making, compiles everything The Mothers of Invention played across their three sets that night. The album is complete and newly remixed in 2023 from hi-res 24-bit/96kHz digital transfers of the original 1” 8-track analog tapes by Craig Parker Adams at Winslow CT Studios.

A Super Deluxe Edition box set has been released on both 5LP 180-gram black vinyl or 3CD, and feature a booklet with many unseen photos from the night’s events, along with comprehensive liner notes by Vaultmeister Joe Travers, an essay by Pamela Des Barres of the Zappa-signed group The GTO’s who played that evening, and an interview by Ahmet Zappa with the legendary Alice Cooper, whose own band made a momentous splash at the Whisky that night as one of the featured acts.

Buy or stream Whisky A Go Go 1968.

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