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Music / Roxy & Elsewhere

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What can I do that will amaze everyone?

Roxy & Elsewhere is a 1974 Live Album by Frank Zappa, well regarded as one of his most amazing records. Much of the material was recorded at Edinboro Stage College, Pennsylvania, Auditorium Theater, Chicago, Illinois and the Roxy in Hollywood, California. Fan favorites include "Penguin In Bondage", "Pygmy Twylyte", "Cheepnis", "Be-Bop Tango" and a magnificent rendition of "Oh No", "The Orange County Lumber Truck" and "Trouble Every Day".


LP One

Side One
  1. "Preamble" (1:24)
  2. "Penguin In Bondage" (5:24)
  3. "Pygmy Twylyte" (3:22)
  4. "Dummy Up" (5:03)

Side Two

  1. "Preamble" (0:54)
  2. "Village Of The Sun" (3:24)
  3. "Echidna's Arf (Of You)" (3:54)
  4. "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?" (9:47)

LP Two

Side Three
  1. "Preamble" (2:10)
  2. "Cheepnis" (4:22)
  3. "Son Of Orange County" (5:55) note 
  4. "More Trouble Every Day" (6:08)

Side Four

  1. "Preamble" (1:25)
  2. "Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen Church)" (15:23)

CD reissues are on one disc.


  • Frank Zappa: vocals, lead guitar
  • Napoleon Murphy Brock: vocals, tenor sax, flute
  • George Duke: vocals, keyboards, synthesizer
  • Jeff Simmons: vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Tom Fowler: bass
  • Bruce Fowler: trombone
  • Walt Fowler: trumpet
  • Ruth Underwood: percussion
  • Ralph Humphrey: drums
  • Chester Thompson: drums
  • Don Preston: synthesizer
  • Debbi, Lynn, Rube, George & Froggy: additional background vocals.

Cheepnis Tropes

  • All Men Are Perverts: As soon as Zappa mentions the word "devices" during his preamble to "Penguin In Bondage" some guys in the audience immediately start to shout out their excitement. Zappa even has to calm them down again ("Hèèèèy") and just decides to start off without properly ending his introduction. The same happens when he introduces "Village Of The Sun" and mentions it's in Sun Village, near Palmdale. Some men in the audience immediately start shouting obscene remarks that are inaudible on the record, but Zappa does retort to them: "Oh? Is it very good for other things out there now?" Eventually he asks for one of the engineers to turn the sound of his microphone up, "so they can hear what I'm saying."
  • All Women Are Lustful:
    • During "Be-Bop Tango" Zappa brings some people up stage to dance. The following dialogue exchange then takes place.
    Frank: "Carl, Rick and Jane! Alright, you wanna try..."
    Lana: "I'll do anything you say, Frank."
    Audience: (cracks up and applauds)
    Frank: "OH MY GOD! Awright, your name is Lana, right? Lana, dance!"
    • Subverted by "Penguin In Bondage", about a frigid woman.
    She's just like a Penguin in Bondage, boy
    (...) Aw, you must be careful
    Not to leave her straps TOO LOOSE
    'Cause she just might box yer dog
    She just might box yer doggie
    An' leave you a dried-up dog biscuit...
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: During "Cheepnis" a gigantic poodle dog attacks people.
  • Audience Participation: "Be-Bop Tango" is entirely this. Zappa invites some people from the audience on stage to come up and dance to the scatting of George Duke's voice. He also invites the people in the audience to dance along.
    Ladies and gentlemen, you're probably sitting in your chairs, saying to yourselves: "I could do that!" And of course you can! And now is your big chance, all you have to do, first step is easy, all you gotta do is stand up. Go ahead, just stand up. There you go, you are standing up. Yes, some of you are not standing up, but you won't have as much fun as the ones who are standing up. Okay, turn on the big lights so everybody can see what's going on. Yes, very many of you are standing up. Okay, LINK YOUR MIND WITH THE MIND OF GEORGE DUKE!
  • B-Movie: Subject of "Cheepnis".
  • Call-Back and Continuity Nod:
    • "Penguin In Bondage" brings up dog imagery, while in "Cheepnis" a gigantic poodle is attacking people. Dogs, specifically poodles, have appeared in Zappa's lyrical imagery before. Zappa would perform "Penguin In Bondage" and "More Trouble Every Day" again live on The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life (1991), but targeted televangelist Jimmy Swaggart.
    • "Dummy Up" has Jeff Simmons describing the gym sock as: "The roach of this is really gonna be good, so I'll save it". This is a Call-Back to "Mystery Roach" from 200 Motels. Socks have also been described before in Zappa's work and are part of his conceptual continuity. The Winchell's Donuts mentioned during the song would return in "The Blue Light" from Tinseltown Rebellion (1981).
    • "Echidna's Arf (Of You)" uses Zappa's conceptual coninuity word "Arf!". On the constellation map on the back cover of One Size Fits All (1975) one of the stars is also named "KNARF (uview)". note 
    • "Cheepnis" evokes B-monster movie imagery, a recurring theme in Zappa's lyrics and album art work. The poodle wearing "a rhine-stone collar" references poodles and collars, which appeared earlier in Zappa's lyrics, along with ties note .
    • "Oh No" and "The Orange County Lumber Truck" appeared earlier on Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970) and "Trouble Every Day" on Freak Out (1966).
    • "Son Of Orange County" and "Be-Bop Tango" poke fun at Richard Nixon. The later Zappa song "Dickie's Such An Asshole" from "Broadway The Hard Way" (1988) and "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Volume 3" (1989) would also target him.
    • "Be-Bop Tango" was performed in an orchestral version on The Yellow Shark. During the track Zappa also says: "Bruce has also prepared for you a demonstration of a dance that he hopes will sweep the ocean, right after the Mud Shark did", in reference to the Mudshark from Fillmore East, June 1971 (1971).
  • Comically Missing the Point: "Dummy Up".
    Jeff: You can really get off! Let's try a joint of this.
    Napoleon: A WHAT?!
    Jeff: A joint!
    Napoleon: You mean this kinda joint?
    Jeff: No, man! Where you been in livin'? Reseda?
    Napoleon: No, San José.
  • Distinct Double Album: Released as a double album at the time.
  • Drugs Are Bad: During "Dummy Up" Napoleon Murphy Brock is seduced by Jeff Simmons into smoking a high-school diploma, which makes him "not feel as good as he felt this morning".
  • Dutch Angle: The cover photo is shot this way.
  • Epic Rocking: The 5:03 "Dummy Up", the 9:47 "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?", the 5:55 "Son Of Orange County", the 6:08 "More Trouble Every Day" and the 15:23 "Be-Bop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen's Church)".
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Ruth is heard blowing a small kazoo near the end of "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?". Also, at the start of "Be-Bop Tango" Zappa says:
    The cowbell as a symbol of unbridled passion, ladies and gentlemen.
  • Evil Laugh: Heard near the end of "Dummy Up".
  • Face on the Cover: A shot of Zappa during a concert.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: "Cheepnis"
  • I Am X, Son of Y: "Son Of Orange County".
  • Instrumental: "Echidna's Arf" and "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?" are predominantly instrumental.
  • Jazz: "Be-Bop Tango" mixes be-bop with tango, described by Zappa as a "highly evolved permutated" and "perverted" tango.
    Frank: Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny
  • Koan: "Dummy Up"
    Napoleon: Well, you get nothin', but that's what I want
    Zappa: A true Zen saying: Nothing is what I want... The results of a higher education.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: "Cheepnis"
    I ate a hot dog, it tasted really good
    Then I watched a movie from Hollywood
  • Live Album: Revered as one of Zappa's best.
  • Location Song: "Village Of The Sun", a nostalgic song about Zappa's youth in Palmdale, California.
  • Mickey Mousing: During "Trouble Every Day" Zappa's musicians make sounds that illustrate the actions that Zappa describes.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Cheepnis", an awesome and complex song about B-movies.
  • Neologism: The word "Cheepnis" doesn't actually exist. Neither does the word "Antarticulated" in "Penguin In Bondage", which is a pun on "unarticulated" and Antarctica.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The album title doesn't appear in any of the lyrics.
  • Nostalgia Filter: "Village Of The Sun" is a nostalgic song about Zappa's younger years in Cucamonga, California. "Be-Bop Tango" also starts off with Zappa reminscining the days when tango was popular:
    Some of you may know that the tango, which is not a very popular dance anymore, was at one time reputed to be a dance of unbridled passion, back in the old days when it wasn't so easy to get your rocks off, when it was hard to make contact with a member of the ... opposite camp, and you had to resort to things like dancing close together and going hey ... Those were the days. Well, those days are probably gone forever, I don't know, unless Nixon is going to bring them back a little bit later.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: "Penguin In Bondage".
  • Ominous Fog: "Pygmy Twylyte"
    What I'm talkin' about is you've been in this killer fog down here too long
  • Questioning Title?: "Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?"
  • People in Rubber Suits: Zappa describes the monster in It Conquered the World as this.
  • Product Placement:
    • "Penguin In Bondage"
    With some Kleenex wrapped around a coat-hang wire
    • "Pygymy Twylyte"
    Crankin' and a-coke'n in the Winchell's do-nut midnite
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • "Dummy Up" has an "evil dope pusher" cut up a white gym sock, formerly owned by Carl Zappa. Carl was one of Zappa's brothers.
    • "Cheepnis" was inspired by Zappa's love for cheap monster movies. Zappa also owned a dog he named Frunobulax, just like the one described in the song. The people using napalm to destroy the monster was inspired by the American army using this to bomb villages in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
    • "Village Of The Sun" is inspired by the location, Sun Village, where Zappa spent his teenage years. He mentions Johnny Franklin, alto saxophonist and bass player in his old band The Blackouts and who was also listed as one of his influences in the Freak Out list inside the cover.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: "Trouble Every Day", "Oh No" and "The Orange County Lumber Truck" appeared on earlier Zappa albums, namely Freak Out and Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Zappa also wrote a musical called "Hunchentoot" in 1971-1972, but never got around to staging it. Portions of the work did appear on record, though, mostly on Sleep Dirt (1978) and in "Cheepnis". Consequently, the last number of "Hunchentoot" is also called "Cheepnis" and refers to a giant spider too.
  • Scatting: George Duke scats during "Be-Bop A Tango", while people from the audience dance to this.
  • Shout-Out:
    • During "Cheepnis" Zappa references the monster movie It Conquered the World and describes a funny special effects failure scene, which doesn't appear in the actual film, by the way. The song also namedrops "Little Miss Muffet" note  Other shout-outs are the "zipper" from "The Black Lagoon" note  and Kaiju films note 
    • Both "Son Of Orange County" and "Be-Bop Tango" provide a Take That! against Richard Nixon. Coincidentally Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, Orange County, California.
  • Singer Name Drop: Napoleon Murphy Brock and Jeff Simmons are mentioned by Zappa during "Dummy Up". Halfway "Echidna's Arf" he also provides a shout-out to percussionist Ruth Underwood and near the end of "Be-Bop Tango", as the album closes he thanks all the members of his band.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Most tracks have a spoken intro by Zappa, where he gives some explanation about the songs they are about to play. "Dummy Up" is basically a comedic sketch while the music plays in the background and "Be-Bop A Tango" has Zappa and people in the audience engage in some Audience Participation dancing on stage.
  • Stock Sound Effects: During "Trouble Every Day" Zappa's musicians imitate various sounds described in the song, including a police radio signal.
  • Stylistic Suck: A major theme during "Cheepnis" were Zappa glorifies cheap effects in B-monster movies. Also, when "Be-Bop Tango" is being performed Zappa tells an engineer to "turn on the bubble machine", which doesn't seem to deliver the desired effect, as Zappa concludes: "God, is that a cheap bubble machine!"
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Village Of The Sun", even Zappa described it in his autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book as:
    (...) by my admittedly peculiar standards, strikes me as a sentimental lyric- and there aren't many of those in my catalogue.
  • Take That!:
    • "Dummy Up" criticizes higher education, by having Napoleon Murphy Brock smoke up a high school and a college-degree diploma.
    Frank: The results of a higher education, ladies and gentlemen
    • Twice against Richard Nixon. During "Oh No" after the lines "And in your dreams you can see yourself as a prophet saving the world, the words from your lips" Zappa throws in the line "I am not a crook", which was Nixon's failed attempt at trying to convince the world that he was innocent of the Watergate scandal accusations. And during "Be-Bop Tango" Zappa reminsces about the time when tango was popular and melancholically concludes: "Well those days are probably gone forever, I don't know, unless Nixon is going to bring them back a little bit later."
  • Twisted Ankle: Zappa describes this trope while talking about cheap B-movies during the intro to "Cheepnis":
    There is always a girl who falls down and twists her ankle ... heh-hey! Of course there is! You know how they are, the weaker sex and everything, twisting their ankle on behalf of the little ice-cream cone.
  • Unabashed B-Movie Fan: As Zappa explains in his preamble to "Cheepnis": he simply loves monster movies and the cheaper they are, the better they are.