Talk:Trout Mask Replica

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Hi. Thought I'd have a go at syntaxing the Trout Mask Replica album page to wiki style.

Rather than face 'public humiliation' resulting from drastic editing on the page proper by those more knowledgeable than me, I thought I'd grab a bit of metaphorical 2x4 and shove it falteringly to center stage from the wings for discussion/edits/whatever. (Can you see the join, hear the roar of the greasepaint & smell the crowd?)

Maybe the uncredited players should have gone in notes at the foot, but I thought it relevant to 'clear up' who is actually who in the bandlist asap- identifying ALL the players at the start so that they can be sourced in the wiki (without discovering them later at the foot)?

To keep it wiki I've looped back to FZ interest at the foot with the cross-polinating band members. Probably more internal/external links needed too.

PS: I don't have CD reissue/haven't researched, just repeated album list for now. My page suggestion:(--Tonefish 10:30, 22 May 2008 (PDT))

Your tracklist as well as the rest of the article looks better than the old one ;-)

One question, do you own the LP? If yes, may I suggest you to write the timings printed on the LP cover in the LP column, I can put the actual CD timings in the CD column (see also the remarks after the Talk:Freak Out!#Tracks Timing tab).

Regarding Duncan's comments, I could not find "Beefheart's House" or the "bottleneck style of playing" mentionned in my CD liner notes.

Maroual 13:13, 22 May 2008 (PDT)

1) Yes, have the album. Have already transcribed correct timings as printed on sleeve. If you have the CD we're there!

2) Regarding 'perhaps'...If you look at current page, I simply adjusted 'leader text' that was already there & trying not to step on toes of whoever wrote it originally. I did want to replace it with something said of the album at the time. I will address it.

3) Players list looks good- very neat & tidy. I get the picture now... update it to what is currently known of past events and qualify at foot if necessary.

4) "Beefheart's House"...again, I took this from orig notes on existing page. However, it's theoretically correct as the album was developed in Beefheart's house on Ensenada Drive, Woodland Hills, CA (also referred to as the Magic Band house). None of this is on sleeve notes, but elsewhere-eg the booklets in CDs I'd referred to as source. Leave it with me, I'll tweek.
Is it OK to use daggers† or is this practice considered sloppy††?
†no daggers in the wiki. ††leave 'em well alone.
Also think it's important to use that useful editorial tool the 'square box/parenthesis' to indicate: [editorial 'interference' here, applying/adding a meaning/extra-info/context to the isolated item etc]...

5) Bottleneck. Yep, should be in next section, not Liner. (Thought it pertinent- I was going to fire the link to suitable source)

6) Gary Marker. Was in the house (developing tracks with CB/JF/BH & still in Rising Sons) up to the 'Big Recording' of 26 tracks. He laid down his 2 tracks (about 8 months?) earlier with FZ. Also relevant for overview of/with FZ & Rising Sons appearing in same gigs etc, plus external link opportunities to the Ry Cooder/Beefheart conflicts. I think it (or something similar) needs to be there for 'background',...maybe qualifying No 4 above as well? However, think you're right about the other bit on Magic members going to other page.

7) There ARE already 3 album reviews at foot of current page. Think they're ideal there & should stay. Didn't put them in example here 'cos I took it as read they'd stay, in the same manner that album reviews appear at album footers elsewhere. I assume you think it might all get cluttered? How about just inserting 'tempting tidbits' with links to full reviews & calling section Media Comments?

8) Looked for syntax info on order of listing Players, couldn't find, but assumed it to be Alpha by Last Name with exception of FZ [or Bandleader] at head- (the style I used in listing the Tours/1982 members elsewhere) your thoughts on this?

9) Finally, any chance of a cover photo in thingy-box top right?

This was just a first thrust. I'll have another go with my honer & put a 2nd 'clean' version (without comments) below first- so we can compare in one view & list new comment/s above it. Thanks --Tonefish 08:35, 23 May 2008 (PDT)

Go for the full article page we can always tweak it a bit if needed [Yeah! - Maroual 15:03, 23 May 2008 (PDT)]. Replace reviews (which albums have reviews?) with...

The high point of our relationship (according to Rolling Stone -- and aren't they some kind of authority on these matters?) was making the Trout Mask Replica album together in 1969. Don is not technically ...etc The last time I saw Don was 1980 or '81. He stopped by one of our rehearsals. He looked pretty beat. He had gone back and forth with some contracts at Warner Bros., and it just hadn't worked out. I suppose he is still living in Northern California, but not recording anymore. He bought some property up there -- someplace where he could see whales swim by.

-Frank Zappa, The Real Frank Zappa Book

Duncan 12:22, 23 May 2008 (PDT)

Trout Mask Replica

A Side Project in collaboration with FZ as executive producer, Trout Mask Replica is perhaps

  • Comment: we don't do "perhaps" and "seems". It either is or is not. Why is it "incredible"? But we do not need an introductory comment anyway.



Release Notes

(Tracks 1:2, 1:5, 2:5, 3:3 & 4:1 recorded at Beefheart's House, Woodland Hills, CA)

  • Comment: is it actually called Beefheart's House on the cover?

Liner Notes

'Glass finger guitar' suggests the bottlenecketc

  • Comment: "suggests"? Is this an actual Liner Note?

Background Information

  • Comment: Does this have anything to do with the article Trout Mask Replica? Move to Magic Band page.

At the time of recording etc
Other than Captain Beefheart there is a lineage of Magic Band members who have also had a working relationship in FZ bands: Elliot Ingber (aka Winged Eel Fingerling), Art Tripp (aka Artie Tripp III/Ed Marimba/Ted Cactus), Roy Estrada (aka Orejon) & Denny Walley (aka Feelers Reebo).

Conceptual Continuity


Trout Mask Replica Album Reviews

No reviews. If they have anything interesting to add - Interview with Zappa - make a separate article page for them and link back to this page.

Hi. Had already reworked item before your next post popped up. Rather than reworking again I post it here as Trout Page Layout 2, complete with your posted Article added


Few to say ;-)

Every album page should use the standard layout (which means no TOC, players and infobox sections at the very beginning).

I think the comments should be moved to, or right after, the Background Info section.

Maroual 08:58, 24 May 2008 (PDT)

Comments on Version 2

  • Background info duplicates much of the Zappa piece, so could be trimmed, or is not relevant to the TMR article so could be dropped all together.
  • Do you have any references for the Conceptual Continuity section?
  • Versions: was Straight distributed by CBS at that time - I think it says on the sleeve somewhere.
  • Reviews add nothing to the article and should just be an external link to elsewhere.
  • Timings: Easter was on April 6th in 1969. John French says four and a half hours in the studio.

--Duncan 12:37, 24 May 2008 (PDT)

Trout Page Layout 2

Regarding media extracts. I thought, for those only familiar with FZs work, that such extracts (Only on Non-Zappa Album pages) provided 'background' for the reader to get a flavour of the music & artist while giving opportunity to go to external links embedded therein if they wished to follow up. They also promote Zappa's standing from the viewpoint of others & keep the viewer on the page. They're not needed on Zappa's album pages 'cos we (the viewers) know his work. Appreciate it's your call.--Tonefish 12:15, 25 May 2008 (PDT) PS: I've weeded bits out of this page to save space, kept comments, trust I haven't lost the thread.

Getting tight for space here. OK if I move this latest to 'Page Proper' now, tidy this page & continue edit chat here? --Tonefish 20:33, 25 May 2008 (PDT)

Trout Mask Replica

Side Projects
Previous Next
Trout Mask Replica
Released 1969?
See also:
Grow Fins: Rarities 1965-1982
Captain Beefheart Power Station


  • Captain Beefheart [ Don Van Vliet ] - (bass clarinet, tenor sax, soprano sax, simran horn, musette, vocal)
  • Rockette Morton [Mark Boston] - (bass, narration)
  • Antennae Jimmy Semens [Jeff Cotton] - (steel-appendage guitar, flesh horn, vocal on Pena)
  • Zoot Horn Rollo [Bill Harkleroad] - (glass finger guitar, flute)
  • The Mascara Snake [Victor Hayden] - (bass clarinet, vocal)
  • Doug Moon - (guitar on China Pig)


  • Drumbo [ John French ] - (drums, percussion)
  • Gary Marker - (bass guitar on 'Moonlight' & 'Veteran')
  • FZ (comments on The Blimp)


Double LP

Side One

  1. Frownland (1:39)
  2. The Dust Blows Forward 'N The Dust Blows Back (2:04)
  3. Dachau Blues (2:21)
  4. Ella Guru (2:23)
  5. Hair Pie: Bake 1 (4:57)
  6. Moonlight on Vermont (3:55)

Side Two

  1. Pachuco Cadaver (4:37)
  2. Bills Corpse (1:47)
  3. Sweet Sweet Bulbs (2:17)
  4. Neon Meate Dream Of A Octafish (2:25)
  5. China Pig (3:56)
  6. My Human Gets Me Blues (2:42)
  7. Dali's Car (1:25)

Side Three

  1. Hair Pie: Bake 2 (2:23)
  2. Pena (2:31)
  3. Well (2:05)
  4. When Big Joan Sets Up (5:19)
  5. Fallin' Ditch (2:03)
  6. Sugar 'n Spikes (2:29)
  7. Ant Man Bee (3:55)

Side Four

  1. Orange Claw Hammer (3:35)
  2. Wild Life (3:07)
  3. She's Too Much For My Mirror (1:42)
  4. Hobo Chang Ba (2:01)
  5. The Blimp (2:04)
  6. Steal Softly Thru Snow (2:13)
  7. Old Fart At Play (1:54)
  8. Veteran's Day Poppy (4:30)
  1. Frownland (1:41)
  2. The Dust Blows Forward 'N The Dust Blows Back (1:53)
  3. Dachau Blues (2:22)
  4. Ella Guru (2:27)
  5. Hair Pie: Bake 1 (4:59)
  6. Moonlight on Vermont (3:59)
  7. Pachuco Cadaver (4:40)
  8. Bills Corpse (1:49)
  9. Sweet Sweet Bulbs (2:21)
  10. Neon Meate Dream Of A Octafish (2:26)
  11. China Pig (4:02)
  12. My Human Gets Me Blues (2:46)
  13. Dali's Car (1:26)
  14. Hair Pie: Bake 2 (2:23)
  15. Pena (2:34)
  16. Well (2:08)
  17. When Big Joan Sets Up (5:18)
  18. Fallin' Ditch (2:08)
  19. Sugar 'n Spikes (2:30)
  20. Ant Man Bee (3:57)
  21. Orange Claw Hammer (3:35)
  22. Wild Life (3:09)
  23. She's Too Much For My Mirror (1:40)
  24. Hobo Chang Ba (2:02)
  25. The Blimp (2:05)
  26. Steal Softly Thru Snow (2:18)
  27. Old Fart At Play (1:51)
  28. Veteran's Day Poppy (4:32)

Release Notes

The LP;

Recorded at Whitney Studios, Glendale, CA; April 1969
Released 1969 (US Original) on Straight Label (STS 1053)
Produced by Frank Zappa
Arranged by Don van Vliet
Engineered by Dick Kunc
Album design: Cal Schenkel
Photography: Ed Caraeff/Cal Schenkel
Special electronic modifications on Captain Beefheart's band equipment by Dick Kunc
Most recent in a long series of contract negotiations leading to an actual signing: Neil C. Reshen
All songs written by Captain Beefheart [© 1969 Words & music copyrighted for the world by Beefheart Music Co. BMI]

The CD reissue;

As above, with the addition: CD design and restoration: Tom Recchion

Uncredited (for both LP & CD);

Tracks 1:6 & 4:8 - recorded & engineered by FZ at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA; c. late 1968
Tracks 1:2, 1:5, 2:5, 3:3 & 4:1 - from recordings made by Beefheart/French on a 5"-reel Uher stereo tape machine at the Magic Band house.
Track 2:5 - produced & engineered by Don Van Vliet
Track 4:1 - produced by Don Van Vliet & engineered by John French
The Blimp - recorded over telephone (vocal) and at Columbia University, New York, 1969

Liner Notes

Beefheart plays two instruments simultaneously on two tracks.
The Tenor & Soprano sax on 'Ant Man Bee' and the Simran Horn & Musette on 'Neon Meate Dream Of A Octafish'.

Background Information

What Zappa said of the album and working with Beefheart;

"...The high point of our relationship (according to Rolling Stone -- and aren't they some kind of authority on these matters?) was making the Trout Mask Replica album together in 1969. Don [van Vliet] is not technically oriented, so, first I had to help him figure out what he wanted to do, and then, from a practical standpoint, how to execute his demands. I wanted to do the album as if it were an anthropological field recording -- in his house. The whole band was living in a small house in the San Fernando Valley (we could use the word cult in here). I was working with Dick Kunc, the recording engineer on Uncle Meat and Cruising With Ruben & The Jets. To make remote recordings in those days, Dick had a Shure eight-channel mixer remounted in a briefcase. He could sit in a corner at a live gig with earphones on and adjust the levels, and have the outputs of the briefcase mixer feeding a Uher portable tape recorder. I had been using that technique with the M.O.I. for road tapes. I thought it would be great to go to Don's house with this portable rig and put the drums in the bedroom, the bass clarinet in the kitchen and the vocals in the bathroom: complete isolation, just like in a studio -- except that the band members probably would feel more at home, since they were at home. We taped a few selections that way, and I thought they sounded terrific, but Don got paranoid, accused me of trying to do the album on the cheap, and demanded to go into a real recording studio. So we moved the whole operation to Glendale, into a place called Whitney, the studio I was using at that time -- owned by the Mormon church. The basic tracks were cut -- now it was time for Don's vocals. Ordinarily a singer goes in the studio, puts earphones on, listens to the track, tries to sing in time with it and away you go. Don couldn't tolerate the earphones. He wanted to stand in the studio and sing as loud as he could -- singing along with the audio leakage coming through the three panes of glass which comprised the control-room window. The chances of him staying in sync were nil -- but that's the way the vocals were done. Usually, when you record a drum set, the cymbals provide part of the 'air' at the top end of the mix. Without a certain amount of this frequency information, mixes tend to sound claustrophobic. Don demanded that the cymbals have pieces of corrugated cardboard mounted on them (like mutes), and that circular pieces of cardboard be laid over the drum heads, so Drumbo [ John French ] wound up flogging stuff that went "thump! boomph! doof!" After it was mixed, I did the editing and assembly in my basement. I finished at approximately 6:00 A.M. on Easter Sunday, 1969. I called them up and said, "Come on over; your album is done." They dressed up like they were going to Easter church and came over. They listened to the record and said they loved it. The last time I saw Don was 1980 or '81. He stopped by one of our rehearsals. He looked pretty beat. He had gone back and forth with some contracts at Warner Bros., and it just hadn't worked out. I suppose he is still living in Northern California, but not recording anymore. He bought some property up there -- someplace where he could see whales swim by.

On this Side Project album the home of Captain Beefheart in Woodland Hills, known as the Magic Band house, became the makeshift 'studio' in which the album was written and rehearsed. Due to both the closeted nature of this living room environment and Beefheart's off-the-wall method of working, there were many fractious moments in this period, details of which can be found collectively in the booklets contained within the Captain Beefheart compilation CDs 'The Dust Blows Forward: An Anthology' & 'Grow Fins: Rarities 1965-1982', both released in 1999. (The latter containing a previously unreleased version of a song taken from this Trout Mask Replica album, Orange Claw Hammer, with FZ on guitar).

Before the album release an incident involving Beefheart's replacement of drummer John French resulted in French- much to his chagrin- not being credited on the album. French's input was fundamental in the structure of the tracks, both in his drumming skills and in his ability to transcribe Beefheart's often scribbled ideas into playable pieces for other band members. Much of the album's musical development was captured daily on a domestic tape machine and portions of these recordings by Beefheart and French have been used directly on the album, adding to the musique concrète effect Zappa had envisaged of the project.

Zappa's concept of 'atmospherically' recording 26 of the tracks at the Magic Band house with Dick Kunc caused contention with Beefheart, so a six and a half hour session was booked by FZ at Whitney Studios. The band were so well rehearsed that, according to French, "We actually did the basics in four and a half hours". The two remaining tracks 'Moonlight On Vermont' and 'Veteran's Day Poppy' had been recorded by FZ late in the previous year at Sunset Sound, with Gary Marker standing in for a departed Magic Band bass-player. Marker helped develop these tracks at the house and his involvement came about by virtue of his work in The Rising Sons with Ry Cooder, who had also departed the Magic Band. French says of these two tracks "There is a different sound on those songs which can be attributed to the fact that the studio had recently been refurbished to 'solid state' electronics, and Frank [Zappa] was still a little unfamiliar with the equipment". Neither Marker or the studio gained credit on the album.

What The Media said of the album;

"...Like so many of those around Beefheart, Zappa considers the man to be one of the few great geniuses of our time. Zappa came to Beefheart and told him that he would put out an album on his label, ...and there would be no messing around with layers of electronic bullshit. The result was Trout Mask Replica, an album which this writer considers to be the most astounding and most important work of art ever to appear on a phonograph record... While it has roots in avant-garde jazz and Delta blues, Beefheart has taken his music far beyond these influences. It is a strange cacophonous sound --- fragmented, often irritating, but always natural, penetrating and true... For the first time in his career, Beefheart was entirely satisfied with his album. Zappa had made good his promise to give him the freedom he required and in fact issue the record in a pure and unaltered form...

- extracts from "The Odyssey of Captain Beefheart" by Langdon Winner, Rolling Stone, May 14, 1970

"Trout Mask Replica, his [Beefheart's] fourth album, is perhaps his most celebrated... The music is dense and frenzied: Van Vliet's saxophone wails, and fractious time signatures and demented compositions reveal debts to Ornette Coleman, John Cage and Zappa without ever losing their original, visionary qualities. Some may find the album so disturbing as to be unlistenable, but it is a manifestation of forethought and precision masquerading as anarchy: Van Vliet and his Magic Band knew exactly what to play, where to play it and why it works.

- extracts from the article 'Trout Mask Replica' by Buddy Seigel, Los Angeles Times, March 25, 1983

Conceptual Continuity

'Dali's Car' is a track on the album. During the album's development, according to drummer John French in Grow Fins: Rarities 1965-1982, the band visited Salvador Dali's art exhibition at the LA County Arts Museum, followed by discussions between FZ and French regarding his [French's] transcript of 'Dali's Car' which Beefheart "had just written". In the May 9, 1970 New Musical Express article Zappa – Outrageous Star Allan McDougall writes "...he [Zappa] spends most of his time in the basement, which is worth describing since there can be no other like it in the world. It is about the size of a tennis court. One wall is covered by a painting by Salvadore Dali, of a car on fire..." Salvador Dali is included in the list of names on the cover of Freak Out! and the continuity is furthered with a homage to Dali in the Christopher Mark Brennan painting used for the cover art of Zappa Wazoo, derived from Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire by Salvador Dali, 1940.

Alternate Covers


ZFT # Version # # discs Format Catalog # Release
Artwork Comment
n/a 1
2 LP CBS Straight
2 STS 1053
1969 None   UK edition. Matrix # Side 1: STS 1053 A1 ; Side 2: STS 1053 B1 ; Side 3: STS 1053 C1 ; Side 4: STS 1053 D1 ; all 4 runouts have a 'triangle' of 3 dots opposite/across from matrices & sides 2/3 have, in space between matrices & dots, the mark: ( |
1 8T Warner Reprise
8ST 10532
1969 None    
1 CS Warner Reprise
CST 10532
1969 None    
2 LP Warner / Reprise
2 MS 2027
1972 None   Australian edition.
2 LP Reprise
K 64026
1975 None   UK edition.
1 CD Reprise
927 196-2
1990-10-25? 0075992719629   French edition printed in Germany. Matrix # IFPI 05L3 IFPI L011 759927196-2.4 06/04 V02

I've got Straight STS 1053 (UK stereo issue) (Straight logo/cat no. top right on both front & back).
Gatefold cover. (On back at foot); "CBS is a Trademark of Columbia Broadcasting System Inc. U.S.A."
"Manufactured and distributed by CBS"
"Printed and made by the E.J.Day Group, London and Bedford"
Liners are white, poly-lined, no band text only patent nos/suffocation warning text
Labels: "(all Music and Lyrics by Don Van Vliet)" note cap 'V' for 'van'
"Produced by Frank Zappa" "Cop Con" "P 1969"
Cat no: 2 STS 1053. (Repeated smaller below this is: 2 STS 1053 A) for side 1, with suffixes C, D & E for other three sides.
Matrices: (1) STS 1053 A1 (2) STS 1053 B1 (3) STS 1053 C1 (4) STS 1053 D1 All 4 runouts have a 'triangle' of 3 dots opposite/across from matrices & sides 2/3 have, in space between matrices & dots, the mark: ( |


  1. In typical Beefheart fashion the sleeve notes provide ambiguous names for instruments. One such is 'Glass finger guitar' suggesting the Bottleneck guitar style of playing, brought to prominence by early blues musicians who literally used the neck of a broken bottle on their finger to create sustained sound-effects by oscillating it on the strings. Bill Harkleroad is an exponent of this playing style.
  2. (Can any 'techies' fill in the gaps on this one?)

In late 1968 Zappa had a unique 16-track recorder built for him by T.T.G. Studios in Hollywood. This machine was moved to and from Sunset Sound in Hollywood and Whitney Studios in Glendale as and when needed, primarily for the recording of Hot Rats- released in Oct 69. In this timeframe TMR was produced, 2 tracks at Sunset (late '68), 26 at Whitney (early '69). Over in Hot Rats it's claimed that Hot Rats was 1st release on 16-track... I think it very likely TMR was also put together on this equipment (French's refs to 'unfamiliarity')- released before Rats.

See Also

An FZ-produced TMR single 'In France!'

This may be of interest for inclusion, as it's FZ produced; here's link to my copy of the only single to come off Trout Mask Replica:

"Pachuco Cadaver/Wild Life" - French single

What motivated Frank to punt this into play in that arena is anyone's guess.
My copy & a review at the foot - which may be of interest, to suitably re-write/re-hash & link in this wiki to the existing Actuel Fest & FZ as MC pages?

PS: Any of my UK FZ label scans you're welcome to 'point to' in this site for ref
I just put up a Lenny Bruce 'Berkeley Concert' for UK - exec prods Frank n' Herb.
--Tonefish 09:53, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Hi Tonefish,

Actually, I decided not to spend time on singles since I do not collect them (yep, I only have 1 :-/) and there is so much to do to improve and fix the album pages.

However I will see what I can do with this one ,-)

I have been lazy these days due to this delicious poison called Minecraft.

Maroual 21:34, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Aaaahh So you were a Lego-addicted child, cum wargamer!

The Pachuco single is commanding silly money Pachuco Cadaver = home remortgage

Realized, unless you are registered at Discogs you can't link to pix. I have swathes of Zap labels - most UK - on Discogs & on file - if you need me to punt a pic to a site of choice, let me know.
regards --Tonefish 00:17, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes, you can. It's just a different link when you are not logged in.

You just need to use instead of

Anyway I prefer to link to the main page for the release picture which is

Maroual 16:56, 13 February 2011 (UTC)