Frank Zappa / Massive reissue campaign kicks of in late July

Frank Zappa / Universal Music Enterprises reissue campaignThe Frank Zappa Family Trust have regained control of his extensive back catalog and have signed a global license/distribution deal with Universal Music Enterprises (UMe)

A catalogue of 60 recordings will be issued, and the roll-out kicks off with 12 albums on 31 July 2012. Another dozen recordings will be released monthly through the end of 2012.

“The ink is not yet dry on The Zappa Family Trust’s worldwide deal with Universal Music Enterprises,” says Gail Zappa (Frank’s widow and the head of the Family Trust). “They made us the offer we couldn’t refuse–for all the right reasons. It is a win-win for all of us, but mostly for Frank Zappa. Long may his baton wave. We are so ready to go.”

The UME deal is for the entire Zappa Catalog as it appeared on Frank Zappa’s own independent label, Barking Pumpkin Records, and the press release talks about ‘many’ of the original analog masters have been re-mastered for this occasion. That statement suggests that unreleased bonus material will not form part of this reissue campaign, although track listings have not been announced.

The initial 12 releases set for 31 July are as follows.

  • 1. Freak Out! (1966)
  • 2. Absolutely Free (1967)
  • 3. Lumpy Gravy (1968)
  • 4. We’re Only In It For The Money (1968)
  • 5. Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (1968)
  • 6. Uncle Meat (1969)
  • 7. Hot Rats (1969)
  • 8. Burnt Weeny Sandwich (1970)
  • 9. Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970)
  • 10. Chunga’s Revenge (1970)
  • 11. Fillmore East, June 1971 (1971)
  • 12. Just Another Band From L.A. (1972)


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Kevin Wollenweber

I bought all of these releases, but I am hoping that the Universal Music Group and the Zappa Family Trust get around to releasing expanded editions of some of these, like the HOT RATS album which now has its original mix as we heard it on vinyl as well as the mix that Frank Zappa himself did before he died. That mix is worthy for the full on jam of “Gumbo Variations”. Sad to say that ABSOLUTELY FREE was recently issued on vinyl only as an expanded edition with a live track or two. I don’t know why CD fans couldn’t get this release, but maybe that will change in the months ahead. Some of the albums here were issued *ONLY* as Zappa had remixed them, like WE’RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY, and this awkward mix also appears on the deluxe treatment of the sessions, known as the LUMPY MONEY project; I much prefer the original 1960’s take on both MONEY and LUMPY GRAVY and, thankfully, they can be gotten as part of this reissue campaign.


Well, Well! Good news for the FZ Family Trust!


Excellent news, though I will probably be holding out at least until _Sheik Yerbouti_ and _Joe’s Garage_ and _Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar_ make it onto the re-issue list. Hoping the remastering is worthwhile, too: some titles certainly need it more than others.