Frank Zappa ‘Zappa/Erie’ Box Set Features 3 Concerts From 1974 – 76

The collection boasts over seven hours of unreleased material with three different lineups.

By Nate Todd Apr 12, 2022 11:15 am PDT

A new Frank Zappa box set, Zappa/Erie, is set to arrive on June 3 via Zappa Records/UMe. The collection features three previously unreleased concerts from Erie, Pennsylvania and the surrounding area between 1974 and ‘76 plus bonus material.

Co-produced by Frank’s son Ahmet Zappa and Zappa Vaultmeister Joe Travers, Zappa/Erie boasts over seven hours of unreleased material — only 10 minutes appeared previously on Roxy & Elsewhere — featuring three different lineups during a watershed period for the Maestro. Captured on four track tape by Zappa’s team of engineers Bill Hennigh, Brian Krokus, Davey Moire and Claus Weideman, the recordings are newly mixed by Zappa Trust associate Craig Parker Adams with mastering from John Polito. The box set also contains detailed liner notes from Travers and Erie journalist Dan Schell.

Presented in chronological order, the collection begins with Zappa’s May 8, 1974 concert at Edinboro State College outside of Erie during a month long run of shows celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Frank’s ever-evolving band The Mothers of Invention and following the release of Zappa’s landmark 1974 LP Apostrophe (‘). The lineup consisted of trombonist Bruce Fowler, drummers Chester Thompson and Ralph Humphrey, keyboardists Don Preston and George Duke, guitarist Jeff Simmons, woodwind specialist Napoleon Murphy Brock, bassist Tom Fowler and trumpeter Walt Fowler. The concert boasts Zappa classics like “Cosmik Debris,” “Pygmy Twylyte,” “Montana,” “Cheepnis,” “Inca Roads” and more.

Zappa returned in Fall 1974 to perform in Erie proper at the Gannon Auditorium on November 12, 1974 with a slimmed-down lineup of Thompson, Duke, Brock and Fowler as well as renowned percussionist Ruth Underwood. While Zappa had the flu and dealt with an unruly audience, the Maestro lead the group through “Penguin In Bondage,” “Uncle Meat,” “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” and “Dupree’s Paradise” among others.

Zappa came back to Erie in 1976 for what would ultimately be his final concert there, once again on November 12, stepping up to the Erie County Fieldhouse as his popularity had risen in the past two years. The all-new lineup consisted of keyboardist/violinist Eddie Jobson, bassist Patrick O’Hearn, guitarist Ray White, drummer Terry Bozzio and keyboardist Lady Bianca. Zappa performed material from Apostrophe (‘), 1973’s Over-Nite Sensation and his latest album at the time, 1976’s Zoot Allures. Frank provides some of his signature guitar excursions on “The Torture Never Stops” and “Black Napkins.”

Head here for the Zappa/Erie tracklist.

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