Live album by
ReleasedApril 26, 1988
May 2, 1995
RecordedMarch 31, 1979 – December 18, 1984
Length80:58 (Vinyl)
131:38 (CD)
LabelBarking Pumpkin
ProducerFrank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
The Old Masters Box III
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 1
Singles from Guitar
  1. "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"
    Released: 1988
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Guitar is a 1988 live album by Frank Zappa. It is the follow-up to 1981's Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar; like that album it features Zappa's guitar solos excerpted from live performances, recorded between 1979 and 1984. It garnered Zappa his sixth Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Instrumental Performance".[2]


Guitar was originally intended to be a 3-record box set (like Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar), but Zappa decided, with this release, to start using compact discs as his primary distribution medium rather than records. As such, it was Zappa's first album to be released simultaneously on vinyl and CD. The double CD, released on Rykodisc in the US and Zappa Records in Europe, contained all 32 tracks while the double LP was pared down to 19 tracks and released on Zappa's Barking Pumpkin label (US) and Zappa Records (EU).

Aside from "Watermelon in Easter Hay", "Sexual Harassment In The Workplace" and "Outside Now," all tracks were derived from performances of other songs, as on Shut Up 'n Play Your Guitar. Other solos were excerpted from "The Black Page", "Let's Move to Cleveland", "Drowning Witch", "Zoot Allures", "Whipping Post", "City of Tiny Lites", "Advance Romance", "Hot-Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel", "King Kong", "Easy Meat", "Ride My Face to Chicago", "Sharleena", "A Pound for a Brown on the Bus", and "Inca Roads".

Track names, though unrelated to the actual compositions, make many references to popular culture and world history. "Do Not Pass Go" refers to the Monopoly phrase that appears to prevent players from collecting a monetary bonus; "Jim & Tammy's Upper Room" recalls televangelists Jim Bakker and his wife Tammy Faye Messner; "Were We Ever Really Safe in San Antonio?", "Sunrise Redeemer" and "Hotel Atlanta Incidentals" are references to the locations of the venues in which the pieces were played; "Move It or Park It" is a colloquialism that could express frustration with an apprehensive driver of a motor vehicle; "Orrin Hatch on Skis" refers to Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch; "But Who Was Fulcanelli?" refers to an alias apparently used by a 19th-century French alchemist and author; "For Duane", one of Zappa's many readings of "Whipping Post", references Duane Allman; "GOA" is titled after the region of India; "Do Not Try This at Home" refers to the disclaimer often associated with dangerous or risky feats on television or video.

"Chalk Pie" was Zappa's planned title for a 1982 release of which its tracks eventually appeared on Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch and The Man from Utopia.[3]

"In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky" refers both to Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and 20th-century composer Igor Stravinsky, one of Zappa's influences. During the piece, bassist Scott Thunes plays the well-known motif from "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", while Zappa plays a line from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. "Taps" is also quoted by Thunes.[4]

"Variations on Sinister #3", though derived from a version of "Easy Meat", gained its name from the interpolation of themes from "Theme from the 3rd Movement of Sinister Footwear" from You Are What You Is.

"Canadian Customs" almost certainly refers to the Canada Border Services Agency. Zappa is said to have experienced problems with the CBSA and created a routine around them with Napoleon Murphy Brock and André Lewis circa 1975.[5]

"It Ain't Necessarily the Saint James Infirmary" is a portmanteau of "It Ain't Necessarily So", written by George and Ira Gershwin with libretto by DuBose Heyward for Porgy and Bess and "St. James Infirmary Blues", a composition with no officially recorded writer, famously recorded by Louis Armstrong and later by Cab Calloway. Guitar credits the latter to Joe Primrose, but the song's author is unverified. Both songs are quoted on the track.[6]

The Real Frank Zappa Book, Zappa's autobiography, contains the following statement, which most likely accounts for the track name "Winos Do Not March":[7][8]

I have a theory about beer: Consumption of it leads to pseudo-military behavior. Think about it-winos don't march.

Longer edits of "But Who Was Fulcanelli?" and "For Duane" and a shorter edit of "Things That Look Like Meat" appear on the 1987 compilation The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa. One of its tracks, "A Solo from Heidelberg", derived from "Yo' Mama", was originally intended to appear on Guitar.[citation needed]

Similar albums are Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar, Trance-Fusion, Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute, The Guitar World According to Frank Zappa.

Track listing

All tracks composed by Frank Zappa, except where noted.

Disc one
No.TitleTrack sourceLength
1."Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"Fox Theatre, December 12, 19813:42
2."Which One Is It?""Black Page" - Olympiahalle, June 26, 19823:04
3."Republicans""Let's Move to Cleveland" - Tower Theater, November 10, 19845:07
4."Do Not Pass Go""Drowning Witch" - Hammersmith Odeon, June 19, 19823:36
5."Chalk Pie""Zoot Allures" - Terrace Ballroom, December 7, 19814:51
6."In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky""Let's Move to Cleveland" - Atlanta Civic Center, November 25, 19842:50
7."That's Not Really Reggae""Whipping Post" - Hammersmith Odeon, September 25, 19843:17
8."When No One Was No One""Zoot Allures" - Sporthalle, May 21, 19824:48
9."Once Again, without the Net""Let's Move to Cleveland" - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, December 20, 19843:43
10."Outside Now (Original Solo)""City of Tiny Lites" - Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle, March 31, 19795:28
11."Jim & Tammy's Upper Room""Advance Romance" - La Patinoire Municipale, June 1, 19823:11
12."Were We Ever Really Safe in San Antonio?""Drowning Witch" - Majestic Performing Arts Center, December 10, 19842:49
13."That Ol' G Minor Thing Again""City of Tiny Lites" - Hallenstadion, June 24, 19825:02
14."Hotel Atlanta Incidentals""Hot-Plate Heaven at the Green Hotel" - Atlanta Civic Center, November 25, 19842:44
15."That's Not Really a Shuffle""King Kong" - Brøndbyhallen, May 11, 19824:23
16."Move It or Park It""Black Page" - Alte Oper, June 11, 19825:43
17."Sunrise Redeemer""Let's Move to Cleveland" - Sunrise Musical Theatre, November 30, 19843:58
Disc two
No.TitleTrack sourceLength
1."Variations on Sinister #3""Easy Meat" - Oscar Mayer Theater, August 11, 19845:15
2."Orrin Hatch on Skis""Ride My Face to Chicago" - Sunrise Musical Theatre, November 30, 19842:12
3."But Who Was Fulcanelli?""Drowning Witch" - Sporthalle, May 21, 19822:48
4."For Duane""Whipping Post" - Atlanta Civic Center, November 25, 19843:24
5."GOA""Let's Move to Cleveland" - Bismarck Theater, November 23, 19844:51
6."Winos Do Not March""Sharleena" - Orpheum Theater, December 4, 19843:14
7."Swans? What Swans?""Pound for a Brown" - Fox Theatre, December 12, 19814:23
8."Too Ugly for Show Business""King Kong" - Berkeley Community Theatre, December 10, 19814:20
9."Systems of Edges""Inca Roads" - Rhein-Main-Halle, March 27, 19795:32
10."Do Not Try This at Home""Black Page" - Parco Redecesio, July 7, 19823:46
11."Things That Look Like Meat""City of Tiny Lites" - Terrace Ballroom, December 7, 19816:57
12."Watermelon in Easter Hay"Jones Beach Theater, August 16, 19844:02
13."Canadian Customs""Let's Move to Cleveland" - Queen Elizabeth Theatre, December 18, 19843:34
14."Is That All There Is?""Let's Move to Cleveland" - Philipshalle, May 22, 19824:09
15."It Ain't Necessarily the Saint James Infirmary" (Gershwin, Gershwin, Heyward, Primrose)"Pound for a Brown" - Stadio Communale, July 8, 19825:15

Vinyl version

Side one
1."Sexual Harassment in the Workplace"3:42 [9]
3."Do Not Pass Go"3:37
4."That's Not Really Reggae"3:17
5."When No One Was No One"4:41
Side two
6."Once Again, without the Net"3:58
7."Outside Now (Original Solo)"5:29
8."Jim & Tammy's Upper Room"3:11
9."Were We Ever Really Safe in San Antonio?"2:50
10."That Ol' G Minor Thing Again"4:39
Side three
11."Move It or Park It"5:43
12."Sunrise Redeemer"3:53
13."But Who Was Fulcanelli?"2:58
14."For Duane"3:25
Side four
16."Winos Do Not March"3:14
17."Systems of Edges"5:32
18."Things That Look Like Meat"6:55
19."Watermelon in Easter Hay"4:00


See also


  1. ^ Planer, L. (2011). "Guitar - Frank Zappa | AllMusic". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  2. ^ 1989 Grammy Awards at – retrieved on 3 June 2009
  3. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: Chalk Pie
  4. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: In-A-Gadda-Stravinsky
  5. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: Canadian Customs
  6. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: It Ain't Necessarily The Saint James Infirmary (Gershwin/Gershwin/Primrose)
  7. ^ Zappa, Frank and Peter Occhiogrosso. (1989). The Real Frank Zappa Book. New York: Poseidon Press. ISBN 0-671-63870-X
  8. ^ ARF: Notes and Comments: GUITAR: Winos Do Not March
  9. ^ Guitar