Beat The Boots I: The Ark

Release Information

The Ark

—The Ark, Boston, 18-Jul-1968
Length: ~45 min
Label: Bizarre Fydo-768
Sound quality: Soundboard A-

The Ark—back cover

US vs UK versions

Rhino Foo-eee R2 70538 Castle/Essential ESMCD 957
1. Intro 1. Big Leg Emma
0:00-0:56 0:00-0:56
2. Big Leg Emma  
0:00-3:42 0:56-4:32
3. Some Ballet Music 2. Some Ballet Music
0:00- 0:00-7:14
  3. Status Back Baby
-7:16 0:00-0:06
4. Status Back Baby  
0:00-5:48 0:06-5:54
5. Valarie 4. Valarie
0:00-3:30 0:00-3:32
6. My Guitar  
0:00-0:19 3:32-3:53
  5. My Guitar
0:19-6:46 0:00-6:27
7. Uncle Meat/King Kong  
00:00-00:21 6:27-6:49
  6. Uncle Meat/King Kong
00:21-23:49 00:00-23:26


Notes & Comments

The Original Bootleg

Olaf Engel

The Ark ('68) as non-BTB-release has Metal Man has Hornet's Wings, The Story of Electricity, and Agency Man(without Beefheart) on it. It's alright that they where omitted on the BTB-release, because they have nothing to do with the MOI-show.


This four-track soundboard master was STOLEN from Zappa. Very energetic. Actual release date has been suggested as around 1984.

This must have been released after Uncle Meat came out, because the cover shows various creepy pictures of teeth sourrounded by monster-comic style monster heads. "Mothers" is written in dripping monster-comic style letters, too. Back cover imitates (?) a Cal Schenkel montage with some Mothers and some other stuff.

The Fine Print

Daniel Norris

Could someone decipher "The Fine Print" on the back of the booklet of
The Ark? And let me know, please?

Brian Lagerman


Corporate swill:

Publishing controlled by Third Story Music, BMI, (except "Valarie", Fast Music, BMI) All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. But you already knew that.

Package design and execution by Daygojap Studios.

Recording facilities: the ol' 4-track

The Venue

Scott Parker

You're both right on this one . . . the venue for the Ark LP IS the Boston Tea Party! In June 1969 they changed thier name to the Ark . . . which brings up this good point: The LP should read July 1969 and NOT 1968 . . . this performance predated the end of the original MOI as a performing unit by two months.

PS. I DEFY anybody to prove me wrong!!!

Daniel Norris

Maybe somebody could help me with this. I have a poster advertising Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention. The pitcure is a black and white of the Mona Lisa, only with Frank's nose and facial hair painted in. (very funny!) The poster says:

Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention

Boston Tea Party Sunday Oct. 18
15 Lansdowne 536-0915
2 shows 7 & 10 $3.50

Lights: the Forest

Fred Banta

I've been told this is the ad for for The Ark.

Charles Ulrich

I think it must have been 1970, with Flo & Eddie, George Duke, Ian Underwood, Jeff Simmons, and Aynsley Dunbar.

1. 1970 was the only year between 1959 and 1981 in which October 18 fell on a Sunday.

2. In an affz thread on The Ark in February 1997, Scott Parker reported that, contrary to date on the cover, The Ark was recorded in 1969. This is evidenced by the fact that Buzz Gardner is playing trumpet. In the same thread, David Walley reported that he saw the Mothers at the Boston Tea Party the following year (after the Ark), i.e. 1970. (He said the following summer, but perhaps he was mistaken, or perhaps they played there twice that year.)

3. The Mothers are known to have played in Europe in October of 1967 and 1968. They were officially disbanded in October of 1969. They played the Boston Music Hall in October 1971, September 1972, October 1975, and October 1976. They played the Boston Orpheum in October (and November) 1974.

4. Neither Miles's A Visual Documentary nor Jon Naurin's FZShows Version 2.0 lists any Mothers gigs for October 1970, so they could have been anywhere, including the Boston Tea Party.

By the way, Scott Parker said:

You're both right on this one . . . the venue for the Ark LP IS the Boston Tea Party!

In June 1969 they changed thier name to the Ark . . . which brings up this good point:

The LP should read July 1969 and NOT 1968 . . . this performance predated the end of the original MOI as a performing unit by two months.

If Scott is correct about the name change, and if I'm right about the 1970 date for the Mona Lisa poster, then they must have changed the name of the club back to the Boston Tea Party sometime between July 1969 and October 1970.

The Date

Charles Ulrich

I have more support for the 1969 date.

1. FZ reads a request for "the following songs from your records", including "Dog Breath". Uncle Meat was released in 1969, as was the single of "Dog Breath". So the song couldn't have been referred to as "from your records" in 1968.

2. FZ says that "My Guitar"/"Valarie" is going to be released this week. The FAQ lists no such single, but several singles with "My Guitar" were released, all in 1969 or 1970. YCDTOSA Volume 5 may be more precise about the date of recording of "My Guitar", but I don't have my copy here. Anyway, it probably doesn't date from 1968.

Michael Zink

A HA!!! MY SUSPICIONS WERE RIGHT!!! I always heard a trumpet on some of "The Ark" and suspected that Buzz played, but I never heard a second guitar, since Lowell George was in the group during the same period as Buzz. AND, sleevenotes on "YCDTOSA 5" mention an Ark gig as July 1969! I was always suspicious about this, and now I totally believe it was recorded in 1969—except for one thing. Will someone explain why I don't hear Lowell George?

David F Lynch

That's an easy one. Lowell was only a member for the SPRING tour, and the MOI played a couple gigs without him later in the year. Presumably including this one.

Charles Ulrich, March 8, 2003

Donna Halper of Emerson College has discovered the correct date of the MOI gig at The Ark in Boston.

It was Tuesday, July 8, 1969.

Mystery solved.

Some Ballet Music

Patrick Neve

I'm sure this is old news for a lot of you, but upon closer listening to Some Ballet Music, the theme from Greggory Peccary jumped out at me. I think that's pretty cool, for being 1969 or whenever. Found myself singing along, "If my tie is wide enough, everyone will know . . . "

John Henley

The intro and certain other parts were played by the Grand Wazoo Orchestra and can be heard on the circulating concert tapes.

Status Back Baby

Olaf Engel

Is it the only recording where Zappa himself sings the lyrics to Status Back Baby?


The Stolen Tapes

Neil Slaven, Electric Don Quixote—The Definitive Story Of Frank Zappa, 2003, p. 121

Also from this period [1969] was a proposed live album, culled from the tapes of the Mothers' July 18 gig at The Ark in Boston. Frank took a set of rough mixes home from TT&G but someone absconded with the master tapes. Some time later, a bootleg album appeared with artwork imitating Cal Schenkel's Uncle Meat dental frenzy. [...] Frank told Black Page, "because the tapes were made on a 4-track machine and they've been stolen from me: so that's the worst kind of bootlegging."

Patrick Neve

BTW, does anybody know the circumstances under which the masters for this were stolen? (I won't tell anybody!)

Bill Lantz

The Ark taped many shows of bands that played there. I don't think that Frank had to even set up recording equipment to have it recorded. The way I heard it was that a 3 mike setup was used to record the show and before Frank could go retrieve the tapes for his own use, they were mysteriously missing. I remember an interview somewhere that FZ talked a little about it and how fried he was that the missing tapes turned up on a bootleg.

User855161 (Scott Parker)

Frank was interviewed in 1984 for a French magazine (as reprinted in Mother People) where he said that the Ark boot was taken from rough mixes he had made of the original tapes—so the original tapes themselves were NOT stolen!! The mixes were spirited away out of TTG studios in Hollywood; when/by whom I don't know.

BTW, has anyone else noticed that the BTB1 version of the Ark LP is longer than the original boot? It contains longer raps, though less solo on My Guitar. I wonder how that could be? :-)

Scott Parker.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew

Jesus, he's right! I never realized this. So either there was a differently edited version of The Ark original bootleg out there somewhere, or FZ was lying about ALL the BTB albums being mastered directly from genuine, storebought bootlegs, or somebody lied to FZ . . .

Vaultmeister, "'Holiday In Berliln, Full Blown' Guitar Solo Recorded At The Ark 69?," Zappateers, December 2, 2021

The 1" 8-Track masters were stolen, they are no longer in the Vault. They were most likely stolen from Paramount Studios, as that was the last studio they were used at. FZ did run off mixes of Ark material in 1969 at TTG studios before the recording sessions of Hot Rats. Burnt Weeny Sandwich was being worked on simultaneously while Hot Rats was in session.

FZ, interviewed by Co de Kloet, January 8, 1984, Frank & Co, 2020, p. 97-99

CdK: Do you know a bootleg called The Ark?

FZ: Uhm, no. But The Ark has to be the name a place in Boston that we worked at in 1968.

CdK: [...] The sound of it is really good.

FZ: I know, because the tapes were made on a 4-track machine, and they've been stolen from me. So that's the worst kind of bootleg. Those tapes—those were actual master tapes then.

CdK: Right, and they presented it like a normal album. [...]

FZ: I even know the name of the engineer. His name is Steve Waldman.

CdK: Yeah?

FZ: And the tapes were originally taken to a recording studio called TTG, in Los Angeles.

CdK: Mm-hmm?

FZ: And some rough mixes were made there, and I took those rough mixes home. I still have some of those 2-track rough mixes, but the master tapes disappeared. That means that they vanished out of the vault at TTG.

CdK: Yeah. The nice thing is to hear your conceptual continuity that is in this piece called "Some Ballet Music"— [...]

FZ: And also I think that it will probably contain a preformance of "The Orange County Lumber Truck." [...] Because I remember announcing that to the audience and having a discussion with somebody in the audience about it. [...] Then there's another thing where I was talking to this guy about eating the label. [...] That's from the same show.

"Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention—Rykodisc CDR Of Unreleased '68 Live Concert," Recordmecca, retrieved June 18, 2023

Rykodisc The Ark CDR

1. track [King Kong variation] 11:58
2. Frank talking 3:50
3. track [Valarie] 3:09
4. Frank talking 0:43
5. track [Oh In The Sky] 2:28
6. Dog Breath 3:56
[total: 26:05]

A Rykodisc CDR of 26:00 of a live Mothers concert at the ARK in Boston, Mass in either 1968 or 1969. In the early 70's a friend gave me some unreleased 60's Zappa multi track master tapes of live concerts. These had not and have not ever been bootlegged. I carried these from house to house in my moves, figuring some day I'd return them to Zappa. In the 90's when the BEAT THE BOOTS series came out, I tried to return them to Frank—but he had no interest; he only wanted to bootleg the bootlegs. In the 90's I was I tried again twice to return these, but again it went nowhere. Years later, I called Rykodisc, and told them I had these tapes, and sent a reel for them to listen to. They mixed down the reel I sent them from the 3 track tape, burned this CD, but ultimately returned the tape with word that Gail Zappa wasn't interested in releasing it. It is great live material, but for some reason unexplained to me, the estate just wasn't interested. Tired of dragging these around I donated the tapes to a tape archive where they would be preserved. This CDR is 26 minutes long, and being from the master tape, it's perfect quality. The tracks include an 11 minute instrumental (sounds like a King Kong variation, it may or may not be missing the very beginning—hard to tell), then Zappa talks and introduces 'Valerie,' which they play, then he introduces the rare track 'Oh In The Sky,' which they then play, followed by 'Dog Breath.' This is only one reel of a 3 reel concert, but everything else is long gone.


Additional informants: Tan Mitsugu, Javier Marcote.


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This section formerly maintained by Reverend Neve
This page updated: 2023-12-17