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Music / Tinseltown Rebellion

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For the young sophisticate.

Tinseltown Rebellion is a 1981 double Live Album by Frank Zappa, mostly containing older hits, but also some new material, such as "Fine Girl", "Easy Meat", "For The Young Sophisticate", "Bamboozled By Love" and "The Blue Light". The CD version made it one disc again. The album is further notable for marking the first appearance of guitar virtuoso Steve Vai.

In a case of What Could Have Been Zappa was originally planning two albums, "Warts And All", intended as a triple Live Album, and "Crush All Boxes", intended as studio recordings. He eventually found "Warts And All" too long and spread the live tracks over You Are What You Is (1981), Tinseltown Rebellion (1981), Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar (1981) and later the You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore (1988-1992) series. "Crush All Boxes" was renamed "Tinseltown Rebellion" and got some more live recordings added to it.


LP One

Side One
  1. "Fine Girl" (3:31)
  2. "Easy Meat" (9:19)
  3. "For The Young Sophisticate" (2:48)

Side Two

  1. "Love Of My Life" (2:15)
  2. "I Ain't Got No Heart" (1:59)
  3. "Panty Rap" (4:35)
  4. "Tell Me You Love Me" (2:07)
  5. "Now You See It - Now You Don't" (4:54)

LP Two

Side Three
  1. "Dance Contest" (2:58)
  2. "The Blue Light" (5:27)
  3. "Tinseltown Rebellion" (4:35)
  4. "Pick Me, I'm Clean" (5:07)

Side Four

  1. "Bamboozled By Love" (5:46)
  2. "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" (7:14)
  3. "Peaches III" (5:01)

CD reissues are on a single disc.


  • Frank Zappa: vocals, lead guitar
  • Arthur Barrow: vocals, bass
  • Vinnie Colaiuta: drums
  • Warren Cuccurullo: vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Bob Harris: high vocals, keyboards, trumpet
  • David Logeman: drums
  • Ed Mann: percussion
  • Tommy Mars: vocals, keyboards
  • Patrick O'Hearn: bass
  • Steve Vai: vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Denny Walley: vocals, slide guitar
  • Ray White: vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Ike Willis: vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Peter Wolf: keyboards
  • Cal Schenkel: album cover design

Sophisticated Tropes

  • Alliterative Title: "Now You See It - Now You Don't".
  • Anti-Love Song: "Bamboozled By Love", despite its title, is about a man who catches his girlfriend giving oral gratification to another man and murders her as a result:
    I ain't the type for beggin'
    I ain't the type to plead
    If she don't change those evil ways
    I'm gonna make her bleed
    She can scream and she can holler
    Bang her head all along the wall
    If she don't give me what I want
    She ain't gonna have no head at all
    (...) And the reason you have not seen her
    She is underneath the lawn
  • Audience Participation: "Panty Rap" has Zappa ask the audience for underpants and brasseries and during "Dance Contest" he asks people to get up on stage to dance.
  • Broken Record: "Fine Girl"
    We need some more like that
    We really need some more like that
    In this kinda town
  • Call-Back and Continuity Nod:
    • "Fine Girl" mentions the girl was "built like a mule with a thong sandal", which ties in with Zappa's conceptual continuity item of footwear. The "thong sandal" is reminscent of the "thong rhine" from "Andy" on One Size Fits All (1975).
    • A different live version of "Tell Me You Love Me" first appeared on Chunga's Revenge (1970).
    • "For The Young Sophisticate" would later appear in a different live version on the posthumous album Läther (1996). The song mentions a "bad aroma", which is a throwback to "Dental Hygiene Dilemma" (200 Motels (1971)), "Dirty Love" (Over-Nite Sensation (1973)), "Jewish Princess" (Sheik Yerbouti (1979)), where aroma is also mentioned. The final line "radiate a Butzis aroma" refers to Officer Butzis, a character from Joe's Garage (1979).
    • "I Ain't Got No Heart" made its debut on Freak Out (1966).
    • "Love Of My Life" debuted on Cruising with Ruben & the Jets (1968).
    • During "Panty Rap" Zappa says they won't play "Cheepnis" note .
    • "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" appeared as a studio track on Absolutely Free (1967) and was announced during a concert, but not actually performed on Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1969).
    • This album features a "Dance Contest". On Roxy & Elsewhere (1973) such a contest was heard for the first time on a Zappa album.
    • "The Blue Light" mentions "brut cologne", mentioned before during "Debra Kadabra" from Bongo Fury as "Avon Cologna". During Thing-Fish it is referenced as "Galoot Cologne".
    • "Tinseltown Rebellion" uses the line "Chop up a line now, snort it up now", which Zappa would re-use to open "Cocaine Decisions" on The Man from Utopia (1983). The song also mentions "leather groups and plastic groups", referencing the conceptual continuity items leather and plastic.
    • "Peaches III" is another live version of "Peaches En Regalia", which appeared earlier in different versions on Hot Rats (1969) and Fillmore East, June 1971 (1971).
  • Distinct Double Album: The original vinyl record was a double album.
  • Doo-wop and Doowop Progression: "Fine Girl" and "Love Of My Life"
  • Face on the Cover: Zappa, as part of a collage is seen in the back of the cover.
  • Groupie Brigade: "Pick Me I'm Clean", about a groupie trying to be picked out by rock members by saying this line.
  • Hairy Girl: The novel in "For The Young Sophisticate" describes a sophisticated youngster rejecting his girl because "she doesn't shave her underarms". Yet the protagonist of the story doesn't mind if her hair grew "all down the side of my kimono (...) if it did not cause you to trip."
  • Heteronormative Crusader: During "Dance Contest" an obviously drunk or a high man in the audience keeps repeating that he is "not queer".
  • "I Am" Song: "Pick Me, I'm Clean".
  • Instrumental: "Now You See It - Now You Don't" and "Peaches III".
  • Intercourse with You:
    • "Fine Girl"
    Oh yeah, she was a fine girl
    She go up in the mornin'
    She go down in the evenin', all the way down
    • "Easy Meat"
    This girl is easy meat
    I seen her on the street
    See-through blouse an' a tiny little dress
    Her manner indiscreet ... I knew she was easy, easy, easy meat
    • "Pick Me, I'm Clean", which was a line Zappa once heard a groupie say.
  • Live Album: All tracks are live.
  • Misogyny Song: "Fine Girl" in which an a woman working in almost slave-like conditions is described as "we need some more like that." "Bamboozled By Love", in which an adulterous woman is killed by her boyfriend. "Easy Meat" where a girl is apparently so easy to get she is compared to "meat".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "For The Young Sophisticate", about a girl crying over a book with a love story about a young sophisticate who falls in love with an "aggressive agitator", but hates her later because she doesn't shave her underarms.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: "The Blue Light"
    You go to Shakey's to get that American kind of pizza
    That has the ugly, waxey, fake yellow kind of cheese on the top
  • One-Woman Song: "Fine Girl"
  • Pun: "The Blue Light"
    The future of your language
    Your meat loaf
    Don't let your meat loaf, huh huh huh!
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "The Blue Light" is basically this.
  • Record Producer: Frank Zappa.
  • Shout-Out:
    Your ethos
    Your pathos
    Your Porthos
    Your Aramis
    • "The Blue Light" also mentions Donovan's song "Atlantis"
    Well, the puddle is rising
    It smells like the ocean
    A body of water to isolate England
    And also Reseda
    The oil in patches
    All over Atlantis, Atlantis
    You remember Atlantis
    Donovan, the guy with the brocade coat
    Used to sing to you about Atlantis
    You loved it, you were so involved then
    • "Tinseltown Rebellion" mentions The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison
    The Tinsel Town aficionados
    Come to see and not to hear
    But then again this system works
    As perfect as a dream
    It works for all those record company pricks
    Who come to skim the cream
    From the cesspools of excitement
    Where Jim Morrison once stood
    It's the Tinsel Town Rebellion
    From downtown Hollywood
  • Singer Name Drop:
    • During "For The Young Sophisticate" Zappa mentions Vinnie Colaiuta's first name a couple of times. Vinnie is mentioned again in "Pick Me I'm Clean" and someone named "Peter".
    • While telling the audience they are collecting underpants Zappa mentions Tommy Mars. Later during the song he also names all the musicians in his band who will perform that night.
    Chicago, if you'll recall, was the town in which we received the very famous Voodoo Butter Underpants … heh, heh … the pants that nearly broke Tommy Mars' neck. As soon as he took a whiff of those, his head went back this far, and he was heard to mutter 'Jeezus.'
  • Spoken Word in Music:
    • "The Blue Light" is sang in a "Sprechstimme" singing voice, where one combines singing with talking. Zappa would make other songs like his on You Are What You Is (1981) and The Man from Utopia (1983).
    • During "Panty Rap" Zappa announces that the audience may hand over underpants and brasseries, for they are making "a quilt of them."
  • Stop and Go: "Easy Meat" has an interlude in the middle, where someone says "There just not gonna stand for it", whereupon the song changes into a guitar solo.
  • Take That!: "Tinsel Town Rebellion" satirizes Punk Rock, the record producers who exploit them and the magazines who promote them.
    They used to play all kinds of stuff
    And some of it was nice
    Some of it was musical
    But then they took some guy's advice
    To get a record deal, he said
    They would have to be more punk
    Forget their chops and play real dumb
    Or else they would be sunk
    So off they go to S.I.R. to learn some stupid riffs
    And practice all their poses
    In between their powder sniffs
    Chop up a line now, snort it up now
    And when they think they've got it
    They launch a new career
    Who gives a fuck if what they play
    Is somewhat insincere?
    • Unflattering references to the media/companies:
      • "Easy Meat"
      She wanna beat me off with a cover of Rolling Stone
      • "The Blue Light"
      You also go to Winchell's Doughnuts (...)
      (...) Sometimes you'll go to a pizza place
      You go to Shakey's to get that American kind of pizza
      That has the ugly, waxey, fake yellow kind of cheese on the top
      Then you go to Straw Hat Pizza
      To get all those artificial ingredients
      That never belonged on a pizza in the first place
  • Title Track: "Tinseltown Rebellion"
    They're a Tinsel Town Rebellion Band
    From downtown Hollywood