SONG TITLE: JOE'S GARAGE
PERFORMER: FRANK ZAPPA
SONGWRITER: FRANK ZAPPA
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1980
COMMENTS: The title song "Joe's Garage" shows Zappa at his most sentimental. This is an interesting spirit to find him in because he was so adamantly opposed to sentimentality or romanticism. Remember, this is the guy who wrote "Broken Hearts are for Assholes."
Nonetheless, this song fondly recalls the teenage days of long crude band rehearsals in cramped garages. The principal instrumental hook is an ultra crude two note lead guitar riff. After a couple of quarts of beer "the same old chords playing over and over became a symphony." Ah, those were the days. It is a beautifuly fond remembrance when the deep bass black voice comes in doo-wop style with "Guess you only get one chance in life to play a song that goes like..." Frank Zappa never sounded sadder than describing the breakup of the band "and it looks like (ooh, ooh) we will never play again."
The song was supposed to sound like the crude ham-handed performance of a garage band, but of course there was much more going on. Frank was by no means technically unskilled or unsophisticated. For one thing, the basic song structure doesn't follow very closely to the most simple and obvious abacab song structure. He lays out the whole history of the rise and fall and resurrection of the band. There are a couple of bars of go-go bar music. There is the description of the years and musical styles rolling by, the interruptions by the nagging woman and eventually the cacophonous breakdown as the police break it up.
There are also many little weird things going on above, below and in the midst of the record. Check out the recurring heavily treated guitar triplets whenever the nagging woman comes in with the "turn it down" part. The vocal harmonies throughout go through several changes in mood and style. There's a lot going on in a little over four minutes.
This was the title song for what was originally a three (vinyl) album set of purposely cheesy comic sci-fi rock opera. There aren't many of those around, and it's worth checking out. There are a number of interesting ideas about politics and art and culture floating around. It's an interesting concept.
However, there aren't that many truly outstanding songs. The idea of it is interesting, but a lot of the compositions are so-so. It does, however, feature "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?" and the classically offensive "Catholic Girls." Also, the latter part gets into some tasty instrumental stuff where he lets the guitar do the talking. Overall, though, you could stand to just get the single on the outstanding Strictly Commercial compilation unless you are maybe a dozen or so albums into Frankland.
Al's Zappa Page
Music Sustains the Soul
01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12/ 01/02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12 01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12/01/ 02/ 03/ 04/ 05/ 06/ 07/ 08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12/08/ 09/ 10/ 11/ 12/ mariah carey pictures beatles pictures white stripes pictures parliament funkadelic p-funk pictures frank zappa pictures jerry lee lewis pictures richard pryor photos june carter johnny cash pictures vic mackey shield pictures macy gray pictures elvis presley pictures wf dolly parton pictures tori amos pictures