Weasels Ripped My Flesh is Frank Zappa's final album with the original Mothers of Invention line-up, released in 1970. It is seen as one of his best and most well known records, if not only for the infamous gory album cover. Fan favorites "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama", "Oh No" (as a vocal track, anyway; it had previously been heard as an instrumental on Lumpy Gravy), and "The Orange County Lumber Truck" debuted here.
The album was recut on CD to restore sections of "Didja Get Any Onya?" and "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" that had been cut for time on the original LP edition, including a performance of the Mothers' song "Charles Ives" in the former (this song also serves as the backing music to Captain Beefheart's "The Blimp" on Trout Mask Replica). The 2012 Universal Music edition reverts to the LP mix. The track lengths given below are for the Rykodisc version.
- "Didja Get Any Onya?" (6:52)
- "Directly from My Heart to You" (5:17)
- "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" (3:48)
- "Toads of the Short Forest" (4:48)
- "Get a Little" (2:31)
- "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" (6:53)
- "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" (2:12)
- "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" (3:32)
- "Oh No" (1:46)
- "The Orange County Lumber Truck" (3:21)
- "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" (2:08)
- Frank Zappa: lead guitar, vocals
- Ray Collins: vocals
- Roy Estrada: vocals, bass
- Bunk Gardner: tenor saxophone
- Buzz Gardner: trumpet, flugel horn
- Lowel George: vocals, rhythm guitar
- Jimmy Carl Black & Art Tripp: drums
- Don "Sugarcane" Harris: vocals, electric violin
- Don Preston: organ, electronic effects
- Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood: baritone saxophone, snorks
- Ian Underwood: alto saxophone
Tropes Of The Short Forest:
- All Germans Are Nazis: "Didja Get Any Onya?" has Lowell Fulson talk about Germany in a mock German accent, indirectly referencing Nazi Germany.Years ago in Germany when I was a very small boy, zere was a lot of people standing around on ze corners asking questions: "Why are you standing on ze corner, acting ze way you act, looking like you look? WHY DO YOU LOOK THAT WAY?" And they ask me and I only would say: "I don't ... I don't know, I'm just standing 'round ze corner waiting here ... just in ... in ze evening, and ... and it's so nice outside ... the night is so nice ... why ... are you just asking these questions ...?'
- Answer Song: "Oh No" is a Take That! aimed at the The Beatles song "All You Need Is Love" ridiculing Lennon's call for universal brotherhood as naïve.
- Attack Animal: The album title and cover.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The album cover art was particularly bloody and gory for its day.
- Call-Back and Continuity Nod:
(...) with Romanian thighs, who weasels and lies - "Jewish Princess" from Sheik Yerbouti (1979)..There's an ugly little weasel 'bout three-foot nine" - "Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk", from Broadway the Hard Way (1988).But some little weasel must 'a dropped 'em a note - "Bacon Fat".
- The album title refers to weasels, animals who would reappear a few times in Zappa's lyrics. Interestingly enough Zappa was a fan of the B-monster movie The Killer Shrews about murderous shrews. When the crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000 watched the film they made a reference to the infamous album cover of Zappa's Weasels Ripped My Flesh.
- "Didja Get Any Onya?" has Lowell Fulson talk about Germany in a mock German accent, the first of many instances where Zappa would use Gratuitous German in his lyrics.
- Zappa says "Blow your harmonica, Sam" during "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask", a line that was heard earlier during "Trouble Every Day" from Freak Out and would reappear during "The Radio Is Broken" from The Man From Utopia (1983) and "In France" from Them or Us (1984). "The Radio Is Broken" also has "dwarf nebula" as the final line, a call back to "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Nebula" on this album.
- Gas masks are alluded to during "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask", another object that would reappear often in Zappa's album cover imagery and lyrics.
- The beginning of "Toads of the Short Forest" cites the opening chords of "America Drinks" from Absolutely Free (1967).
- "Toads of the Short Forest" provides the first mention of the Short Forest, a location Zappa would reference again during "It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal" from "Waka/Jawaka" (1973), "Camarillo Brillo" on Over-Nite Sensation (1973), and "The Adventures of Greggery Peccary" on Studio Tan (1978) and Läther (1993).
- During "Toads of the Short Forest" we can hear the phrase "Hands up!".
- "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" would later be performed live on Zappa's The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life (1988).
- "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula" calls up images of sinister dwarfs. "A sinister little midget with a bucket and a mop" would also appear during the Zoot Allures song "The Torture Never Stops".
- "Oh No" was heard earlier in an instrumental version on Lumpy Gravy. It would appear in a different arrangement again on Roxy & Elsewhere. The line "oh no, I don't believe it" would be referenced during "Sy Borg" from Joe's Garage.
- The track "The Orange County Lumber Truck" was taken from the legendary 1968 Royal Albert Hall concert, which can be heard unabridged on Zappa's Live Album Ahead of Their Time (1993). During "Billy the Mountain" from Just Another Band from L.A. (1972), mention is made of an "Orange County minister" (though this may be coincidental, as Orange County is close to the band's home of Los Angeles and has long been noted for being politically right-wing, particularly in contrast to Los Angeles).
- Cover Version: "Directly from My Heart to You" by D.A. Pennebaker (aka Little Richard).
- Cruel and Unusual Death:My guitar wants to kill your mamaMy guitar wants to burn your dadI get real mean when it makes me mad
- Cry Laughing: Roy Estrada's moaning during "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" borders between laughing and crying.
- Depraved Dwarf: The sinister instrumental track "Dwarf Nebula Processional March & Dwarf Nebula".
- Design Student's Orgasm: The album cover was drawn by Neon Park in a parody of a shaving advertisement for Shick 20 and the cover of a 1956 "Man's Life" magazine where a man battles several weasels biting his skin. Even the album title weasels ripped my flesh was present on the latter cover.
- Evil Laugh: Near the end of "The Orange County Lumber Truck".
- If It Bleeds, It Leads: The eye-catching album cover.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: During "Toads of the Short Forest" Zappa tells the audience:At this very moment on stage we have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his nose.
- Instrumental: Most tracks are instrumental with occasional stage banter or funny sounds and wailing.
- Intercourse with You:
Yes ... be hot ... and everybody workin' on it ... so I figured I'd rip off her ... her drawers and get a little.
- Motorhead fantasizes about this at the start of "Get a Little".
- The titles of "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" and "Didja Get Any Onya?", though instrumental, also leave nothing to the imagination.
- Last Note Nightmare: The Title Track is a monotone Scare Chord of one dissonant note which closes off the album. Then it is revealed that this piece was performed live, as we hear some people booing, others applauding and Zappa closing off the show.
- The Last of These Is Not Like the Others:At this very moment on stage we have drummer A playing in 7/8, drummer B playing in 3/4, the bass playing in 3/4, the organ playing in 5/8, the tambourine playing in 3/4, and the alto sax blowing his nose.
- Live Album: Most tracks are recorded live (with overdubs), making this mostly a concert album.
- Mama Bear: "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama"You know, your mama and your daddySaying I'm no good to youThey call me dirty from the alleyTill I don't know what to doI get so tired of sneakin' aroundJust to get to your back doorI crawled past the garbage andYour mama jumped out, screamin'"Don't come back no more"
- Mood Whiplash: Roy Estrada's cackling laughter and chilling moaning and weeping during "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask".
- No Animals Were Harmed: Well, a weasel was used as a shaving device on the album cover.
- Nightmare Face: The man on the album cover, bleeding down to his cheeks.
- Questioning Title?: "Didja Get Any Onya?"
- Scare Chord and Sensory Abuse: The title track, consisting of one harsh tone. Near the end the audience is literally stunned. There's some applause, some booing, and Zappa closes the show.
I think you're probably out to lunch.
- "The Eric Dolphy Memorial Barbecue" is a Homage to cult jazz musician Eric Dolphy, who was also listed in Zappa's influences list in the sleeve notes of Freak Out (1966). Zappa also namedrops Dolphy's most famous album Out to Lunch! (1964) in the lyrics of "Oh No".
Crow: Weasels ripped my flesh!
- Some of the music heard during "Did Ya Get Any Onya?" can also be heard as background music during "The Blimp" from Trout Mask Replica
- The title "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Sexually Aroused Gas Mask" is an allusion to "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" by Claude Debussy.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: When the crew reviewed the B-horror movie The Killer Shrews they referenced the album cover during the shrew attack scene. They had a similar exchange during the fight scene in Gamera vs. Guiron and in Werewolf when a character examines a werewolf scratch across his back.
- Silly Love Songs: "Directly from My Heart to You". "Oh No" is a direct attack on the naïvité of such songs.
- Speech Balloon: Two appear on the album cover.
- Spoken Word in Music: Zappa is heard addressing the audience at several points on this album. Most of the lines on this album are spoken, rather than sung, with only the songs "Directly from My Heart to You", "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama", and "Oh No" as exceptions.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Directly from My Heart to You". "Oh No" too, despite its pointed lyrical attack at Silly Love Songs, has a marvelously moving melody that made it a fan favorite.
- Take That!: The lyrics of "Oh No" are a Take That! against The Beatles' song "All You Need Is Love" from Magical Mystery Tour.Oh no, I don't believe itYou say that you think you know the meaning of love.Do you really think it can be told?You say love is all we needYou say with you love you can changeAll of the foolsAll of the hateI think you're probablyOut to lunch.
- Title Track: The closing track shares the album title.
- Uncommon Time: This is to be expected with Zappa. The Lampshade Hanging in "Toads of the Short Forest" provides the page quote for the trope.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Such people are attacked in "Oh No".