Mo 'N Herb's Vacation

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared


Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1)



Foggy G, "The Songs That Were Played," We're Only In It For The Touring

1978 Aug-Oct: This is a full band version of the orchestra piece known as "Mo and Herb's Vacation" (at least part of it). Running about 4 minutes in length, this tune sounds like a cross between the "Black Page #1" and the full band version of "Little House I used To Live In." These performances, however, are for bass and drums only- a veritable showcase of Artie's and Vinnie's talents. Sean Gaffney points out that the opening notes to this tune correspond to the notes that Ike sings in "Wet T-Shirt Nite", slightly slowed down for that studio song, for the lines "And it's wettshirttime again...I know you want someone to show you some tit...Big Ones...Wet ones....Big Wet Ones"


Rip Rense, "Frank Zappa—A Would-be Chemist Who Turned To Music," The Valley News, December 1977

He recently completed [...] a new symphonic work called "Wooool" (spelled with slashes through the first and last o's, umlauts over the two middle o's, and a tilde over the L—thus pronounced something like "Woh-ooo-oh-luh," but modern typesetting prohibits such reproduction here.)

"Wooool" is scored for a Mahler-sized orchestra: 60 strings, four flutes, piccolo, all other woodwinds four-deep, eight french horns, four trumpets, three trombones, bass, tuba, six percussionists.

Steve Vai, interviewed by Michael Brenna, Society Pages #10, May 1982

There's a version called "Moe's Vacation," "Herb's Vacation," and "Moe AND Herb's Vacation." The song originally started out when David Ocker, who is a music copyist for Frank, should get a raise, and he said he would rather have Frank write him a song. So Frank wrote him the melody entitled "Moe And Herb's Vacation." The melody is constant throughout all the three pieces. "Moe's Vacation" consists of the melody being played and a written drum part and a written bass part, which varies a little bit between all the three tunes. "Herb's Vacation" is just the bass and drums, "Moe And Herb's Vacation" is the actual orchestral score, which used to be the introduction to a song called "Wøöl," would you know how to pronounce that? [(A quick introduction to Scandinavian lettering from the interviewers.)] But then, what happened was that "Wøöl" was taken out, and the whole piece was called "Moe And Herb's Vacation."

drdork, Zappateers, September 13, 2013

You can hear FZ pronounce the title several times during Titties & Beer, 10/20/77 (late) Boston.

United States Copyright Office

Title: W0oo0l / Frank Zappa.
Description: 81 p.
Note: Orchestral piece.
Claimant: Munchkin Music
Created: 1978
Registered: 10Oct78
Miscellaneous: See also W0oo0l; REG 24Feb81; PAu 303-692
Special Codes: 3/M

Title: W0oo0l. By Frank Zappa.
Claimant: Frank Zappa d.b.a. Munchkin Music
Supplement to Registration: PAu 53-432, 1978
Effective Registration Date: 24Feb81
Title on © Application: Mo 'n' Herb's vacation, 2nd and 3rd movements (a.k.a. W0oo0l)
Special Codes: 3/M

Blow Job

Ed Mann, Facebook, September 2, 2014

the first rendition had no name, then a few of us sight read it and told frank we liked it, so he named it Blow Job, then he changed a few things and renamed it moe and herbs vacation

Charles Ulrich, September 2, 2014

after David Ocker told FZ about a John Bergamo composition for solo bass drum entitled Blow Job.

David Ocker, Zappa Creative, Facebook, c. March 16, 2023

That music started life when I asked [FZ] to write a solo clarinet piece which he wanted to call "Blow Job" (good name for a clarinet piece) but when I told him about John Bergamo's piece with that same name he changed it to Mo's Vacation. Then he added bass and drum parts to make it Mo 'n Herb's Vacation. [...]

Mo 'n Herb became the first movement of the orchestra version. [...] When he decided to make an orchestra version he added a lot of harmony to the lead line—using four clarinets and four bassoons to get his 8-note chords. I learned all four clarinet parts and recorded them at UMRK. I remember the inner lines, created by the harmonies, became wonderful, bizarre melodies of their own. Other than these wind parts, the rest of the movement was lightly scored—for 'only' 6 percussion and low strings.

[...] Doubling lines with mallet instruments was one of Frank's key orchestration moves. But in that movement instead of giving the entire solo line to one marimbe player he divided it up amongst the various mallets in the full orchestra setup. (Which were—I just looked this up—#1 Glock, #2 Chimes, #3 Vibes, #4 Xylophone and #5 Marimba. #6 didn't have any mallets but got to play the Huge Bass Drum. This distribution was used throughout the LSO pieces to prevent every single percussionist from needing to have all six instruments because no stage would have been big enough.)


Conceptual Continuity

Herb Cohen:


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This page updated: 2023-06-19