Tinsel Town Rebellion

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Tinseltown Rebellion
Live album by Frank Zappa
Released May 17, 1981
Recorded October 1978 - December 1980 at Berkeley Community Theatre; in Carbondale, Illinois; at the NYC Palladium; Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and Odeon Hammersmith, London
Genre Comedy rock, progressive rock, punk rock, reggae, doo-wop
Length 67:19
Label Barking Pumpkin
Producer Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
Joe's Garage Acts II & III
Tinseltown Rebellion
Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar
Singles from Tinseltown Rebellion
  1. "Love of My Life"
    Released: 1981

Tinseltown Rebellion is a double live album released by Frank Zappa in 1981. The album was conceived by Zappa after he scrapped the planned albums Warts and All and Crush All Boxes, and it contains tracks that were intended for those albums.

The lyrical themes varyingly focus on human sexuality, popular culture and other topics. The title track is a satire of the punk rock scene, describing a band that adopts the style to get a record deal. The album also contains reworked recordings of older Zappa songs, including "Love of My Life," "I Ain't Got No Heart," "Tell Me You Love Me," "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" and the third release of "Peaches En Regalia", appropriately titled "Peaches III".


Tinseltown Rebellion was formed out of two albums that Zappa initially planned to release following the establishment of his home studio, the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen, Warts and All and Crush All Boxes. Warts and All was intended to be a triple live album, while Crush All Boxes would have consisted largely of studio recordings.[1] As Warts and All reached completion, Zappa found the project to be "unwieldy" due to its length, and scrapped it, later conceiving Crush All Boxes.[2] During the final stages of Crush All Boxes, Zappa decided to salvage the scrapped Warts and All album by releasing a series of albums which used the planned material to emphasize his multiple talents: You Are What You Is, Tinseltown Rebellion and two series of live albums, Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar and You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore.[1]

The opening track, "Fine Girl" is a studio recording originally intended for the unreleased album Crush All Boxes, along with an early mix of the live track "Easy Meat".[1] The Tinseltown Rebellion version of "Easy Meat" featured much heavier studio overdubs than the version prepared for Crush All Boxes.

The front cover art for Tinseltown Rebellion retains the Crush All Boxes title, with the new album title spray painted over it. The sleeve and interior was designed by Cal Schenkel, and contains still images from the film Freaks, directed by Tod Browning.

The majority of Tinseltown Rebellion consists of overdub-free live recordings from the 1979 and late 1980 concert tours. This album marks the first appearance by guitarist Steve Vai. The album also introduces drummer David Logeman, who played drums from March through July on the 1980 tour, on the tracks "Fine Girl" and "Easy Meat". He would also play drums entirely on the album You Are What You Is.

Release history[edit]

It was reissued on a single CD by Rykodisc in 1990. (An unauthorized CD had been previously issued by EMI in England in 1987.) Complaints regarding the significantly inferior sound quality (mastered by Bob Stone) led to a remaster by Spencer Chrislu in 1998.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[3]

Allmusic writer Steve Huey praised the album's instrumental work and the reworked versions of older songs, but described the sexually-themed lyrics as "problematic".[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written, composed and arranged by Frank Zappa.
No. Title Length
1. "Fine Girl"   3:31
2. "Easy Meat"   9:19
3. "For the Young Sophisticate"   2:48
4. "Love of My Life"   2:15
5. "I Ain't Got No Heart"   1:59
6. "Panty Rap"   4:35
7. "Tell Me You Love Me"   2:07
8. "Now You See It - Now You Don't"   4:54
9. "Dance Contest"   2:58
10. "The Blue Light"   5:27
11. "Tinseltown Rebellion"   4:35
12. "Pick Me, I'm Clean"   5:07
13. "Bamboozled by Love"   5:46
14. "Brown Shoes Don't Make It"   7:14
15. "Peaches III"   5:01



Production staff[edit]

  • Frank Zappa – arranger, producer
  • Joe Chiccarelli – engineer
  • George Douglas – engineer
  • Tommy Fly – engineer
  • Jo Hansch – mastering
  • Thomas Nordegg – everything remote
  • Mark Pinske – engineer
  • Cal Schenkel – cover art
  • Allen Sides – engineer
  • Bob Stone – remixing, remastering, digital remastering (1990 edition)
  • Spencer Chrislu - digital remastering (1996 edition)
  • John Williams – graphics


Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1981 Pop Albums 66[4]