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A Token of His Extreme

Artist: Frank Zappa

Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Released: June 04, 2013

Reviewed: June 09, 2013

 When it comes to things musical, I sometimes have a “Rain Man’s” memory . . . at least on certain things.  One of those things involves Frank Zappa on (I think) the Mike Douglas Show one afternoon in 1976.  All I really remember is watching a video of Zappa playing the guitar when, suddenly, he turns into a Claymation figure and his hands grow countless fingers as it’s playing the guitar.  I never saw that video again but while watching an interview with Carlos Santana I thought of that Zappa video as he described how he saw his fingers morph into something similar as he was “peaking” on some pharmaceutical concoction. 

Fast forward to now.  As I was watching my review copy of A Token Of His Extreme, Stink Foot is playing. Towards the end of the piece, I swear if I didn't see the same Claymation finger thingy going on that I saw almost forty years ago.

Recorded on August 27, 1974 at KCET in Hollywood, A Token Of His Extremefeatures Frank Zappa with five incredibly talented band members for this extravaganza of live music.  The line-up exists of Frank Zappa—guitar, percussion, vocals; George Duke—keyboards, finger cymbals, tambourine, vocals; Napoleon Murphy Brock—sax, vocals; Ruth Underwood—percussion; Tom Fowler—bass; Chester Thompson—drums.

The Program, as edited and thoroughly tweezed & produced by FZ for Honker Home Video includes these delights: The Dog Breath Variations/ Uncle Meat, Montana, Florentine Pogen, Stink-Foot, Pygmy Twylyte, Room Service, Inca Roads, Oh No, Son Of Orange County, More Trouble Every Day, A Token Of My Extreme.

Stereo Mixes Produced by Frank Zappa with Kerry McNabb at Paramount Studios, 1974.  Mastered by Bob Ludwig, Gateway Mastering, 2009

During the aforementioned Mike Douglas show, the late Mr. Zappa said, “This was put together with my own money and my own time and it’s been offered to television networks and to syndication and it has been steadfastly rejected by the American television industry.  It has been shown in primetime in France and Switzerland, with marvelous results.  It’s probably one of the finest pieces of video work that any human being has ever done.  I did it myself.  And the animation that you’re gonna see in this was done by a guy named Bruce Bickford, and I hope he is watching the show, because it’s probably the first time that a lot of people in America got a chance to see it.”

Because Token has never been commercially released until now, it is one of the most sought after Frank Zappa programs. Zappa fans as well as rock music historians will most definitely want this DVD in their personal library.