Road Tapes, Venue #3

July 5, 1970—Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MI

Thomas Utne, "Mothers Of Invention—Zappa De Guthrie," Hundred Flowers, July 10, 1970

The concert, last on a three week road tour for the Mothers and their inventive father Frank Zappa, was their second appearance in a year at the Guthrie. [...] The new Mothers, with Ian Underwood the only mainstay, got together just six weeks ago (on Mother's Day, natch).

[...] The Mothers played almost completely different sets in the two shows, and the predominance of old songs during the evening suggests a significant breakthrough on Zappa's part.

Jim Gillespie, "Frank Zappa," Minnesota Daily, July 10, 1970

Guthrie Theatre, July 5, 1970
Photo by Tom Berthiaume

[...] The group did two shows at the Guthrie Theater last Sunday night. I attended the first one and it was one of the most totally relaxed and enjoyable concerts I've ever been to. Eschewing the traditional second-rate warm-up band, the show opened with a trio of acrobats walking on stage and going through some tumbling and balancing routines. They were good and the audience was having a good time. When they finished a magician took over and bedazzled everyone by pulling nine doves out of the air and generally carrying on as magicians are wont to do. Two of the tumblers came back for a brief reprise and then Zappa walked on stage and the real freak show began.

[....] The new group only has one member, reed-man and pianist Ian Underwood, left from the previous band. But the Mothers, like the Byrds, have always been the musical extension of one man and the sound was totally familiar. The singing is much better now. Zappa hired two former members of the Turtles, Mark Volman and Howie Kaylan as featured vocalists and along with Zappa and bassist Jeff Simmons they turned in a flawless performance.

They opened with some excerpts from "King Kong," a long jazz instrumental. The first part was dominated by a light electric piano duet, then Zappa ripped off a lead guitar solo utilizing the wah-wah pedal as only he can. There were only one or two pauses during the concert. Most of the time the group would move directly from one song to another using instrumental bridges to tie them together.

The selections ran the whole gamut of Mothers material from their seven albums. A good deal of it consisted of Zappa's justifiably famous parodies of late 1950's rock love songs like "You Didn't Try to Call Me," and "The Air Escaping from Your Mouth." Volman and Kaylan did an absolutely beautiful job on the falsetto harmony parts.

Other highpoints included selections from the "Concentration Moon" section of We're Only in It for the Money and the vegetable from Absolutely Free.

Besides being great musicians, the Mothers are a gas to watch as they continually goof on stage and hop around like a bunch of speed-freak Easter bunnies. Zappa controls every note played by means of hand signals and body movements. Throughout the concert there was a warm feeling of rapport between the musicians and the audience, finally reaching the point where Zappa would turn to us with a signal and everyone would respond with the noise he wanted. Far out, to say the least. They even came back and did an encore.

Frank Zappa is a genius and despite the personnel changes, the Mothers remain one of America's most important groups.

Angelique Pascual, "Guthrie Theater," Twin Cities Music Highlights, March 9, 2017

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, with Flo and Eddie, performed two shows on July 5, 1970, presented by the Walker. The theater wasn't more than half full.

Guthrie Theatre, July 5, 1970

Guthrie Theatre, July 5, 1970
Photo courtesy Mark Peterson

Guthrie Theatre, July 5, 1970
Photo by Tom Berthiaume

Jim Gillespie of the Star wrote:

It was totally bizarre from the beginning. Instead of handing out programs, the ushers passed out plastic cylinders with 14 air bubbles covering the surface. Upon being squeezed—and all of them were—the bubbles popped. Waiting for the show to begin had the effect of being caught in a fire-fight in Cambodia.

Gillespie wrote that the group had only one horn man now, Ian Underwood, who played electric piano most of the time. Their vocals had improved tremendously, perhaps with the addition of Flo and Eddie, who he did not mention.

Thomas Utne of Hundred Flowers noted that this was the second appearance at the Guthrie for Zappa in a year and the last on a three week road tour. He also noted that the Mothers played almost completely different sets for the two shows that night.

Gary Gimmestad remembers:

"it was "truly one of the greatest rock shows ever. The programs for the show were printed on bubble wrap and the effect of the audience randomly popping them was great! The warm-up was a magician who made birds appear and disappear (a local guy I think) and two springboard acrobats. I don't know if this was Zappa's idea or not but it was brilliant. Zappa's guitar skills were clearly evident (much more so than on recordings) and the band was killer. It ended with "Happy Together"—Flo and Eddie were shirtless with banana peels dangling from their waists.

Another memory that has lasted 50 years: "If I remember correctly, Frank came out picking his nose and flicking boogers at the audience."

Shan Lines tells us: "Portions of this show ended up on the album 'Chunga's Revenge.' The entire performance (both shows) was released in 2016 as part of the Road Tapes series."

Opening Act?

Gillespie gave no name to the opening act, a team of acrobats cavorting around the stage, and a magician who pulled about nine doves out of the air. More acrobats followed. Or maybe this was just part of Zappa's madness.

Informants: Pat Buzby, Javier Marcote, Charles Ulrich

The Recording

Liner notes by Joe Travers, 2016

The master tapes are in excellent shape and were recorded live to stereo 2-track Reel-to Reel. One unfortunate problem, outside of some occasional azimuth adjustments, was dealing with reel one. The master tape was re-used and material was recorded over with the live performance. Unfortunately whenever there is a quiet passage, or the signal to tape isn't loud enough, the old audio is audible . . . and backwards! Thankfully this is only heard during the first 35 minutes or so of the entire program. This explains the constant shift in stereo image, as we had to literally delete the left channel and process the right channel in "Stereo."

Real stereo vs. processed stereo
Track Real Stereo Processed Stereo
1.02. "King Kong" 0:00-2:58  
1.03. "Wonderful Wino" 0:00-4:47  
1.04. "Concentration Moon"   0:00-2:34
1.05. "Mom & Dad"   0:00-3:25
1.06. "The Air"   0:00-3:46
1.07. "Dog Breath" 0:00-2:01  
1.08. "Mother People" 0:00-0:19  
1.09. "You Didn't Try To Call Me"   0:00-2:03
1.10. "Agon—Interlude"   0:00-0:36
1.11. "Call Any Vegetable" 0:00-2:08  


disc 1

6. The Air



12. King Kong/Igor's Boogie


13. It Can't Happen Here

All right, now, the name of this song is "I'm Crying For Sharleena," and uh, it'll probably be released under the pseudonym of The Bognor Regis.


15. The 23rd "Mondellos"

We've been on the road for 23 days.

Charles Ulrich, "Frank Zappa Gig List: 1970," The Planet Of My Dreams, 2012

70/06/12, San Antonio, TX, Municipal Auditorium, CONFIRMED
70/07/05, Minneapolis, MN, Tyrone Guthrie Theater, 2 shows, CONFIRMED

Here we have Larry Mondello . . .


disc 2

10. Call Any Vegetable

FZ: Paul McCartney!


11. Mondello's Revenge

I'll tell you what the Larry Mondello is all about—There is a show that's on television—Leave It To Beaver, you know that show?

Thomas Utne, "Mothers Of Invention—Zappa De Guthrie," Hundred Flowers, July 10, 1970

Larry Mondello, presently a member of the Mothers of Invention, a popular rock group, was in town last week to make a personal appearance for the Bring Back the Beaver movement. [...] Amongst the new Mothers are the two fat guys from the old Turtles, including the one with the incredible voice and the one that used to be on Leave it to Beaver.

"Frank Zappa Speaks," Hundred Flowers, July 10, 1970

HF: Didn't one of [the ex-Turtles] used to be on Leave it to Beaver?

Z: That's the 'Larry Mondello case.' They've been both mistaken for Larry Mondello for six years. It used to be Corky, the fat little kid that took care of Lassie between Jeff and Timmy. At every concert for six years one of them has been mistaken for that kid on Beaver. Their real names are Mark Volman and Howie Kaylan.

Jeff Simmons STS 1057 on bass

The name of this song is "The Clap" . . .

We'd like to dedicate this song to The Red Throbber


12. The Clap (Chunga's Revenge)



Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
This page updated: 2022-11-20