Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My wine-drinking buddy Pat is a true Renaissance Man, being not only a serious oenophile (he’s the immediate past president of the Sommelier Guild of Atlanta, where Denny, Houston Steve and I get together once a month to get our drink on), but a collector of postcards and - surprisingly enough - a Frank Zappa fan.

At least, this is what I infer from seeing his latest post, which shows the cover of the Man’s Life magazine that inspired the infamous album title and jacket design for Zappa’s 1970 jazz-rock album... the last one to be released by the original Mothers of Invention. Here ’tis:

Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Man’s Life, September 1956. Clearly much rougher than Boy’s Life.

Supposedly, Zappa went to artist Neon Park with a copy of the September, 1956 issue of Man’s Life magazine, saying, “This is it. What can you do that’s worse than this?” Of course, Mr. Park had an answer:

Weasels Ripped My Flesh
Weasels Ripped My Flesh, 1970. This cover is familiar to any Frank Zappa fan.

By today’s debased standards, this album cover is pretty tame... but Warner Brothers (Zappa’s distributor at the time) was apparently not happy about it. Shows you how much they knew.

I’d love to get my hands on a copy of that Man’s Life rag. Never mind the cover story, which admittedly has a sort of toothsome appeal as well as historical interest... check out those other stories. “Can Women Justify Their Need for EXTRA-MARITAL RELATIONS?” and “Sin Happy Vacationists Are Overcoming Cape Cod” both sound delightfully breathless... just the kind of overblown shit that people in the mid-fifties would get all in a lather over. I’m surprised there wasn’t a feature story on “Smacking the Crap Out of My Beatnik Neighbor,” or “Ten Easy Ways to Spot a Communist.”

I wonder how many other albums were inspired by tacky magazine covers. Anyone out there know of any?


Kevin Kim said...

I bet Ray Liotta could be convinced to do a CGI-spiced live-action version of that The Mothers of Invention cover.

So if they were The Mothers of Invention... does this mean they were the Necessities?


Joe said...

I do know that "Whipped Cream and Other Delights" by Herb Albert is still the greatest album cover of all time.