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Check Back Into Frank Zappa’s ‘200 Motels’ With Giant 50th-Anniversary Reissue

Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels is getting a massive 50th-anniversary reissue for the 1971 film soundtrack.

Long out-of-print, the new definitive six-CD box set arrives November 19th packed with the original, newly remastered soundtrack and four discs worth of unreleased demos, studio outtakes, work mixes, alternate takes, radio ads, interviews, and 200 Motels’ “Dialog Protection Reels,” which reconstruct an audio version of Zappa’s cult film; hear the unearthed “Mystery Roach (Dialog Protection Reel)” below:

“During this search and seizure mission, I was able to unearth a multitude of audio treasures from a very large number of tapes,” Zappa archivist Joe Travers writes in the reissue’s 64-page liner notes. “Original demos, session outtakes, alternate mixes and versions, and even dialog reels that captured an edit of the film that predates the final assembly which eventually made it to theaters everywhere in 1971.”

Filmed in 10 days on (then-cutting edge) videotape and a $650,000 budget, Zappa’s surreal story about life on the road as a musician starred his Mothers of Invention alongside a cast that included actor/activist Theodore Bikel, famed groupie Pamela Des Barres, and a pair of legendary drummers: Keith Moon and Ringo Starr, with the latter portraying a “dwarf” who was a Zappa doppelgänger. 

The film’s soundtrack — which has been out of print since a Rykodisc reissue in 1997 — was equally bizarre, mashing together avant-garde pieces, orchestral themes, dialogue from the film, and the occasional rock song by the Mothers of the Invention, who at the time featured the Turtles’ Flo & Eddie.

As Zappa noted in the original liner notes, “This music is not in the same order as in the movie. Some of this music is in the movie. Some of this music is not in the movie. Some of the music that’s in the movie is not in the album. Some of the music that was written for the movie is not in the movie or the album. All of this music was written for the movie, over a period of four years. Most of it (60%) was written in motels while touring.”

Produced by Ahmet Zappa and Travers, the 12×12 deluxe six-CD reissue — available to preorder now — contains a 64-page hardcover book with liner notes written by Pamela Des Barres, Ruth Underwood, and Joe Travers, as well as Patrick Pending’s essay from the 1997 reissue. The set also includes a custom “200 Motels” keychain, a Do-No-Disturb motel door hanger, and a full-size replica of the original movie poster.

The 200 Motels reissue will also be available in two-CD and two-LP formats, the latter including a limited edition red vinyl available exclusively through the official Zappa store.

200 Motels 50th Anniversary Edition Tracklist

CD 1: ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK – REMASTERED
1.   Semi-Fraudulent / Direct-From-Hollywood Overture
2.  Mystery Roach
3.  Dance Of The Rock & Roll Interviewers
4.  This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich (Prologue)
5.  Tuna Fish Promenade
6.  Dance Of The Just Plain Folks
7.   This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich (Reprise)
8.   The Sealed Tuna Bolero
9.    Lonesome Cowboy Burt
10.   Touring Can Make You Crazy
11.   Would You Like A Snack?
12.   Redneck Eats
13.   Centerville
14.   She Painted Up Her Face
15.   Janet’s Big Dance Number
16.   Half A Dozen Provocative Squats
17.   Mysterioso
18.   Shove It Right In
19.   Lucy’s Seduction Of A Bored Violinist & Postlude
20.   I’m Stealing The Towels
21.   Dental Hygiene Dilemma
22.   Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You?
23.   Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
24.   Penis Dimension
25.   What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning

CD 2: ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK – REMASTERED (Cont’d)
1.       A Nun Suit Painted On Some Old Boxes
2.       Magic Fingers
3.       Motorhead’s Midnight Ranch
4.       Dew On The Newts We Got
5.       The Lad Searches The Night For His Newts
6.       The Girl Wants To Fix Him Some Broth
7.       The Girl’s Dream
8.       Little Green Scratchy Sweaters & Courduroy Ponce
9.       Strictly Genteel (The Finale)

200 MOTELS DEMOS, 2ND MOVEMENT – ROCK MUSIC
10.   Road Ladies (Alternate Mix)
11.   What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening
12.   What Kind Of Girl Do You Think We Are?
13.   Bwana Dik
14.   Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
15.   Do You Like My New Car?
16.   Magic Fingers
17.   Phyllis & Aynsley
18.   What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning (Alternate Mix)

200 MOTELS DEMO SESSION OUTTAKES
19.   Tell Me You Love Me (Mix Outtake)
20.   Road Ladies (Alternate Take)
21.   What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening (Studio Outtakes)
22.   What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening (Alternate Take, Incomplete)
23.   “Aynsley Dunbar, Ladies & Gentlemen”
24.   Magic Fingers (Version B, Mix Outtake)
25.   What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning (Mix Outtake)
26.   Tell Me You Love Me (Alternate Take)

CD 3: 200 MOTELS – DIALOG PROTECTION REELS
1. Scene 1-2: Semi-Fraudulent/Direct-From-Hollywood Overture
2. Scene 3: “What’s The Deal?”
3. Mystery Roach
4. Scene 32: “It’s A Good Thing We Get Paid To Do This…”
5. Scene 14: What’s The Name Of Your Group? I
6. Scene 32: “We Haven’t Formed The Group Yet”
7. Scene 15: What’s The Name Of Your Group? II
8. Scene 17: “When Do We Get Paid?”
9. Scene 18: Went On The Road
10.  Scene 19-20: “Special Delivery”
11.   Scene 21: Centerville
12.   Scene 21: Janet & Lucy
13.   Scene 22: This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich
14.   Scene 23-24: Tuna Fish Promenade
15.   Scene 28: The Sealed Tuna Bolero
16.   Scene 29: Lonesome Cowboy Burt
17.   Scene 30: JCB & Rance
18.   Scene 21: Larry The Dwarf
19.   Scene 81: Magic Fingers
20.   Scene 47: Larry The Dwarf In The Hotel Room
21.   Scene 33: The Lad Searches The Night For His Newts
22.   Scene 40-41: The Girl Wants To Fix Him Some Broth
23.   Scene 42: Little Green Scratchy Sweaters & Courduroy Ponce
24.   Scene 45: A Nun Suit Painted On Some Old Boxes
25.   Scene 57: The Perverted Nun
26.   Scene 87: “Penis!”
27.   Scene 58: She Painted Up Her Face
28.   Scene 60: Janet’s Big Dance Number
29.   Scene 61: Half A Dozen Provocative Squats
30.   Scene 62: Lucy’s Seduction Of A Bored Violinist
31.   Scene 63: Shove It Right In
32.   Scene 67: “I Am Bwana Dik!”
33.   Scene 68-69: What Will This Morning Bring Me This Evening
34.   Scene 77: Daddy, Daddy, Daddy

CD 4: 200 MOTELS – DIALOG PROTECTION REELS (Cont’d)
1.       Scene 90: Biff Debris & Jeff
2.       Scene 84-85: Penis Dimension
3.       Scene 32: Mystery Roach (Acoustic) / “Yeah? Well Fine!”
4.       Scene 71: What Will The Evening Bring Me This Morning
5.       Scene 92: Jeff Flips Out / I’m Stealing The Room
6.       Scene 100: Strictly Genteel
7.       Scene 100: 200 Motels Finale

BONUS SWILL, PART I
8   “I Was Gonna Make A Movie One Time…”
9.   200 Motels Movie Ad #1
10.   What’s The Name Of Your Group? (FZ Edit)
11.   200 Motels Movie Ad #2
12.   FZ on Ringo Starr
13.   Ringo Starr on 200 Motels
14.   200 Motels Movie Ad #3
15.   Motorhead’s Midnight Ranch (Mix Outtake)
16.   Looking For Newts
17.   “They Are Only In It For The Money”
18.   200 Motels Movie Ad #4
19.   200 Motels Commercial Session Outtakes
20.   Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You? (Mix Outtake)
21.   “I Shall Ruin All The Tapes”
22.   Janet’s Big Dance Number (Basic Tracks)
23.   Martin Lickert Voice-Over
24.   Touring Can Make You Crazy (Mix Outtake)
25.   Penis Dimension (Instrumental Alternate Take)
26.   Centerville (Mix Outtake)
27.   Mystery Roach (Alternate Master)
28.   Magic Fingers (Mix Outtake)
29.   200 Motels Movie Ad #5

CD 5: 200 MOTELS – ALTERNATES AND OUTTAKES
1.       What Is 200 Motels?
2.       Theodore Bikel Voice-Over (Alternate Take)
3.       Semi-Fraudulent/Direct-From-Hollywood Overture (Mix Outtake)
4.       What’s The Name Of Your Group? (Complete Sequence, Part I)
5.       What’s The Name Of Your Group? (Complete Sequence, Part II)
6.       What’s The Name Of Your Group? (Complete Sequence, Part III)
7.       Can I Help You With This Dummy?
8.       Pianos For The Pleated Gazelle
9.       Synth Tracks I
10.   Would You Like A Snack? (Alternate Take)
11.   Howard Kaylan/Mark Volman Voice-Over
12.   Centerville (Rough Mix)
13.   This Town Is A Sealed Tuna Sandwich (Prologue, Mix Outtake)
14.   Tuna Fish Promenade (Mix Outtake)
15.   The Sealed Tuna Bolero (Alternate Take)
16.   Lonesome Cowboy Burt (Mix Outtake)
17.   Naval Aviation In Art?
18.   Redneck Eats/The Restaurant Scene (Basic Tracks)
19.   Mystery Roach (Basic Tracks)
20.   I Have Seen The Pleated Gazelle
21.   Dew On The Newts We Got (Rough Mix)
22.   The Lad Searches The Night For His Newts (Rough Mix)
23.   Motorhead’s Midnight Ranch (Rough Mix)
24.   The Girl Wants To Fix Him Some Broth (Rough Mix, Alternate Ending)
25.   The Girl’s Dream (Rough Mix)
26.   Little Green Scratchy Sweaters And Courduroy Ponce
27.   Scene 43: A Cardboard Box
28.   Scene 44
29.   A Nun Suit Painted On Some Old Boxes (Rough Mix)
30.   She Painted Up Her Face (Compressed Mix)
31.   The Secret Stare
32.   Half A Dozen Provocative Squats (Compressed Mix)
33.   Lucy’s Seduction Of A Bored Violinist (Basic Tracks)
34.   Shove It Right In (Compressed Mix)
35.   Postlude (Basic Tracks)
36.   What Will This Evening Bring Me This Morning (Mix Outtake)

CD 6: 200 MOTELS – ALTERNATES AND OUTTAKES
1.       Daddy, Daddy, Daddy (Alternate Take)
2.       Magic Fingers (Alternate Take)
3.       Penis Dimension (Basic Tracks)
4.       Scene 86
5.       Scene 87 (Alternate Take)
6.       Synth Tracks II
7.       I’m Stealing The Towels (Basic Tracks, Alternate Take)
8.       Scene 94: “He’s Always Watching Me”
9.       Dental Hygiene Dilemma (Part I, Basic Tracks)
10.   Does This Kind Of Life Look Interesting To You? (Mix Outtake)
11.   Dental Hygiene Dilemma (Part II, Basic Tracks)
12.   Strictly Genteel (Basic Tracks)
13.   200 Motels Finale (Alternate Take)
14.   200 Motels Finale (Basic Tracks, Unedited Ending)

BONUS SWILL, PART II
15.   Movie Theater Skit (Commercial Session Outtake)
16.   200 Motels Album Ad #1
17.   Script Rehearsal Trim
18.   Lonesome Cowboy Burt (In Rehearsal 1969)
19.   Lonesome Cowboy Burt (In Rehearsal 1970)
20.   200 Motels Album Ad #2
21.   Penis Dimension Jingle Music
22.   TV Hype (Commercial Session Outtake)
23.   200 Motels Movie Ad # 6

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