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Music / Just Another Band from L.A.

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Just Another Band from L.A. is a 1972 Live Album by Frank Zappa. It was his last album with the former The Turtles collaborators Mark and Howie, with whom he collaborated on Chunga's Revenge (1970), Fillmore East, June 1971 (1971) and 200 Motels (1971). The album is best remembered for "Billy The Mountain".


Side One
  1. "Billy the Mountain" (24:47)

Side Two

  1. "Call Any Vegetable" (7:22)
  2. "Eddie, Are You Kidding?" (3:10)
  3. "Magdalena" (6:25)
  4. "Dog Breath" (3:39)


  • Frank Zappa (guitar, vocals)
  • Aynsley Dunbar (drums)
  • Howard Kaylan (lead vocals)
  • Jim Pons (bass, vocals)
  • Don Preston (keyboards, minimoog)
  • Ian Underwood (winds, keyboards, vocals)
  • Mark Volman (lead vocals)

Eddie, Are You Troping?

  • All Women Are Lustful: "Billy The Mountain"
    Ethell, like every little woman, she of course was very excited!
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Billy, a mountain who can talk and walk.
  • Artistic License – Engineering: The car on the album cover.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: "Billy The Mountain"
    Cuz when a person gets to be such a hero, folks,
    And marvelous beyond compute,
    You can never really tell about a guy like that
    Whether he's really a nice person
    Or if he just smiles a lot (What?)
  • Broken Aesop/Space Whale Aesop/Spoof Aesop: The moral of "Billy The Mountain" is one or all of these.
    A mountain is something you don't wanna fuck with
  • Bowdlerize: Some bootleg versions of "Call Any Vegetable" in Mark & Howie's live version are more pointed in their criticism of the USA during the "God Bless America" part and have them sing "Sieg heil! Sieg heil! Sieg heil!", while making the Nazi salute.
  • Call-Back and Continuity Nod:
    • The album cover claims that "any similarities between this album cover and the one for Cruising with Ruben & the Jets are purely coincidental".
    • Zappa and the Mothers are seen driving in a car on the cover, which continues car imagery in his conceptual continuity. Their vehicle also drives over what appears to be a sealed tuna sandwich from "This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich" from 200 Motels (1971).
    • "Billy The Mountain" features Billy the Mountain, who would reappear during the song "The Adventures Of Greggery Peccary" from Studio Tan (1978), also available on Läther (1993).
    • A Lincoln car and a Studebaker Hoch are mentioned in "Billy The Mountain", adding to Zappa's car imagery in his lyrics.
    • Billy being happy about "his royalty check coming in", references the line about royalty checks in "Flower Punk" from Zappa's We're Only in It for the Money.
    • The orange county minister mentioned in "Billy The Mountain" brings "The Orange County Lumber Truck" from Zappa's Weasels Ripped My Flesh in mind.
    • The line "are you kidding?" in "Billy The Mountain" is similar to the track "Eddie Are You Kidding?" on the album.
    • In "Billy The Mountain" Studebaker Hoch references the album cover of Zappa's Fillmore East, June 1971 in his phone call
      Ah, listen, by the way, before I go on: did you get those white albums I sent ya with the pencil on the front?
    • Studebaker's question about the wife's hemorrhoids are similar to the track "Latex Solar Beef" from Zappa's Fillmore East, June 1971
    • Ethell wanted for draft evasion shares a theme with "I Don't Wanna Get Drafted" from Zappa's album You Are What You Is (1980).
    • Studebaker Hoch buys some "Aunt Jemima syrup", a shout-out to "Electric Aunt Jemima" from Uncle Meat.
    • Canoga Park would be mentioned as one of the constellations on the album cover of One Size Fits All (1975) and as the location where "the charming Mary comes from" in "Fembot In A Wet T-Shirt Nite" from Joe's Garage (1979).
    • "Call Any Vegetable" is a song from Absolutely Free and "Dog Breath" from Uncle Meat, though performed live and in a different arrangement.
    • "Call Any Vegetable" is given new lyrics on this album. During the track Mark starts singing "God Bless America", a song that was covered earlier on Uncle Meat. Howard also asks: "Where can I go to get my poodle clipped in Burbank?", which reference dog and poodle imagery again from Absolutely Free, something Zappa would elaborate more on in Over-Nite Sensation, Apostrophe (') and Roxy & Elsewhere.
    • "Eddie, Are You Kidding?" sings about pants and undergarments, a conceptual continuity item in Zappa's lyrics. The line about "these pants I'm wearing are double knit. They stretch in the right places" is similar to "who cares if you can't afford a pair of mother go-go stretch-o-lastic pants?" from "Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance" from We're Only in It for the Money.
    • "Magdalena" features a teenage daughter in an obscene situation, much like the one in "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" from Absolutely Free. While the one in "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" would be "smothered in chocolate syrup", the one in "Magdalena" will be covered in mayonnaise. The father also claims to make "maple syrup for the pancakes of his land", just like St. Alphonso bakes pancakes in "St. Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast" in Apostrophe (').
  • Cave Mouth: "Billy The Mountain".
  • Conjoined Twins: Kind of. Billy the Mountain has a tree on his shoulder named Ethel, who seems to be either a relative of him or a partner.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Ethel's voice in "Billy The Mountain" and Magdalena's voice in "Magdalena".
  • Death Mountain: "Billy The Mountain".
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    BILLY was a mountain
    ETHELL was a tree growing off of his shoulder
    BILLY was a mountain (BILLY was a mountain!)
    ETHELL was a tree growing off of his shoulder (ETHELL was a tree growing off of his shoulder)
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Cal Schenkel's album cover.
  • Draft Dodging: Billy is persecuted for draft evasion in "Billy The Mountain".
  • Epic Rocking: "Billy The Mountain", a 24:47 minutes long live performance.
  • Fading into the Next Song: All tracks seague into each other.
  • Informed Ability: We know Studebaker Hoch (in "Billy the Mountain") is heroic because the narrator claims he is. He never actually does anything heroic in the song, which is probably the whole point.
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: "Eddie, Are You Kidding?" spoofed Edward Nalbandian and his commercials for Zachary's All Clothing store, familiar on Los Angeles airwaves at the time, the song's title and chorus being a direct quote from one of Nalbandian's commercials.
  • Leitmotif: Billy the Mountain and Ethel the Tree get a joint one, most audibly at the beginning when the Mothers sing the line "Billy was a mountain, Ethel was a tree growing off of his shoulder."
  • Live Album: The album is live.
  • Longest Song Goes First: The side-length piece "Billy the Mountain" opens the album.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: "Billy The Mountain".
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Zappa attacks the American draft system and Red Scare during "Billy The Mountain".
  • Name and Name: Billy the Mountain and Ethel the Tree.
  • National Stereotypes: The Canadian father in "Magdalena" makes, of course, maple syrup.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The album title is never mentioned in any of the songs.
  • One-Woman Song: "Magdalena".
  • Parental Incest: "Magdalena," in which a Montreal man lusts after his titular teenage daughter. Magdalena doesn't reciprocate. Black Comedy ensues.
  • Pep-Talk Song: During "Call Any Vegetable" Zappa says:
    Ah, but it's a great time to be alive, ladies and gentlemen. And that's the theme of our program for tonight. It's so fucking great to be alive! Is what the theme of our show is tonight, boys and girls. And I wanna tell ya, if there is anybody here who doesn't believe that it is fucking great to be alive, I wish they would go now, because this show will bring them down so much.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the moral of "Billy the Mountain", although it's repeated so much that it borders on being a Cluster F-Bomb.
  • Product Placement:
    • "Billy The Mountain"
    A man in a checkered double-knit suit drove up in a large El Dorado Cadillac
    Ahhh! there's a HOWARD JOHNSONS! Wanna eat some clams?
    Consider this rumor ("A rumor..."), which was published ("A rumor...") about three weeks ago in ROLLING STONE ("Oh, it's gotta be true!")
    He hit up the RALPH'S on Sunset for some 'AUNT JEMIMA SYRUP', some 'KAISER BROILER FOIL', and a pair of blunt scissors!
    • "Call Any Vegetable" has a mid section where Mark and Howie name several stores in L.A., like Bob & Ray's Swahili restaurant, "Jeans North" and "Jack La Lanne Hamburgers".
    • "Magdalena"
    I saw you standing under the Shell pest strip late last night.
    (...) I wantcha to turn around by the Sparkletts machine.
  • Questioning Title?: "Eddie, Are You Kidding?"
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: All tracks on this album mention many real-life locations in L.A. During "Billy The Mountain" Billy and Ethell travel through the Mojave Desert, a wink to the location where Zappa spent most of his teenage years.
  • Red Scare: Ethell the Tree is thought to be an "active Communist".
  • Self-Deprecation: The album title.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: "Billy The Mountain".
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Billy The Mountain":
      • When Billy receive his royalties "Pomp & Circumstance" from Edward Elgar is musically quoted in the background.
      • When Billy says to Ethell that they are going to New York the theme from The Tonight Show is quoted.
      • As they travel through the Mojave Desert their voices echo through "the canyons of your minds", which is a reference to "Canyons Of Your Mind" by The Bonzo Dog Band.
      • Jerry Lewis is mentioned hosting a Telethon ("Wah wah wah, nice lady!").
      • Billy causes a "Oh Mein Papa" in the Earth's crust, an oblique pun on "fissure," because the song "Oh Mein Papa" was a hit for Eddie Fisher.
      • "Johnny's Theme" by Paul Anka, "Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder" and Stephen Stills' "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" are parodied.
      • The scene where a sand storm comes up, while in the background somebody calls for Toto and Aunty Em references The Wizard of Oz. The song "Over The Rainbow" is quoted too.
      • When Studebaker is mentioned the music quotes "The Star Spangled Banner".
      • Studebaker Hoch is said to resemble Zubin Mehta, a conductor with whom Zappa worked together in the early 1970s. Mehta is also one of the constellations on the album cover art of One Size Fits All.
      • Studebaker is thought to have a son named Pinocchio and be able to sing like Neil Sedaka.
      • A man is described wearing a Dudley Do-Right wristwatch in reference to the mountie character from Rocky and Bullwinkle.
      • Studebaker Hoch is said to be born "underneath Joni Mitchell's autographed picture, right beside Elliot Roberts' big Bank Book, next to the boat where Crosby flushed away all his stash and the cops got him in the boat and drove away to the can where Neil Young slipped another disc."
      • Studebaker Hoch speaks in a very clear, impressive Ron Hubbard-type voice.
    • "Eddie, Are You Kidding?" mentions famous model Twiggy and musically quotes from the Doo-wop hit "Sixteen Candles" by The Crests.
    Our model Twiggy here will demonstrate. I have this lovely little Seersucker.
    • "Magdalena" references a few obscure actors:
    We can walk down the streets by the stars that say Jon Provost and Leo G. Carroll together, baby.
    Can't you see it: Frank Pernell and us, until dark
    My God, I was only following the sexual impulse like I heard on the Johnny Carson Show from a book or something I wrote.
    • Los Lobos named their album "Just Another Band From East L.A." after this album.
  • Singer Name Drop: Aynsley Dunbar is mentioned in "Billy The Mountain" and "Eddie, Are You Kidding?" references
  • Spoken Word in Music: "Billy The Mountain" is a fairy tale set to music.
  • Vacation Episode: In "Billy The Mountain" Billy the Mountain and Ethel the Tree go out on a trip. All tracks on this album mention many real-life locations in L.A.
    Ethell, we're going on a vacation!