The Man from Utopia
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|The Man from Utopia|
Cover art by Tanino Liberatore
|Studio album by|
|Released||March 28, 1983|
|Recorded||October 1980–October 1982|
|Genre||Hard rock, progressive rock, art rock, comedy rock|
|Length||36:34 (original vinyl version) 40:20 (CD)|
|Frank Zappa chronology|
|Singles from The Man from Utopia|
The Man from Utopia is an album by American musician Frank Zappa, released in March 1983 by Barking Pumpkin Records. The album is named after a 1950s song, written by Donald and Doris Woods, which Zappa covers as part of "The Man from Utopia Meets Mary Lou".
"The Dangerous Kitchen", "Mōggio" and "The Jazz Discharge Party Hats" were all prepared for Zappa's unreleased album Chalk Pie.
The sleeve art features the work of Tanino Liberatore. It portrays Zappa on stage trying to kill mosquitoes. That is a reference to a concert held in Italy in 1982, the year before the release of the album, on 7 July at Parco Redecesio (which is also referred in a street sign on the album cover) in Segrate, near Milan. While Zappa was playing, a huge number of mosquitoes began flying on stage and gave the band a hard time. The back cover shows the audience as seen from the stage during the 1982 concert in Palermo, which ended in a riot.
The sleeve art is also a reference to Liberatore's comic character RanXerox.
Music and lyrics
The album's opening track "Cocaine Decisions", with its groove redolent of skiffle washboards, is an attack on drug-influenced businessmen and features a harmonica. "The Dangerous Kitchen" satirizes dirty, unkempt kitchens.
"The Dangerous Kitchen", "The Radio Is Broken", and "The Jazz Discharge Party Hats" all feature Zappa's "meltdown" style of generally pre-written but sometimes improvised singing/speaking. For "Jazz" and "Kitchen", Zappa had guitarist Steve Vai overdub complex guitar parts for the entire length of the songs, which perfectly copied Zappa's every word and syllable. This unique type of overdub was a one-time experiment that Zappa never repeated. Hungarian composer Péter Eötvös said in an interview:
"Dangerous Kitchen", off the album "The Man From Utopia", grew to become a basic piece for me, especially in later years, after I began working on operas. The technique that he uses in this particular song is very interesting: it's this half-sung, half-spoken performing method that's not quite like Sprechgesang, but what makes it so interesting is that he accompanies it with an instrumental solo. I was very surprised to find out that the guitar part was recorded separately. As it seemed so synchronous, I was convinced that Zappa had sung and played at the same time. Nevertheless the technique itself, the idea of "the singing instrument" comes from "Dangerous Kitchen".
The album was originally released on vinyl in 1983. An unauthorized CD of this edition (with the exception of a remixed "Mōggio") was issued by EMI in the UK in 1986. The album was issued (in remixed and resequenced form with one additional track) on CD in 1993 by Barking Pumpkin. The later 1995 Rykodisc edition and the 2012 Universal Music Group release are identical.
All songs written, composed and arranged by Frank Zappa, except where noted.
|2.||"The Dangerous Kitchen"||2:51|
|3.||"Tink Walks Amok"||3:40|
|4.||"The Radio Is Broken"||5:52|
|6.||"The Man from Utopia Meets Mary Lou" (Donald and Doris Woods, Obie Jessie)||3:19|
|9.||"The Jazz Discharge Party Hats"||4:30|
|10.||"We Are Not Alone"||3:31|
|3.||"Tink Walks Amok"||3:39|
|4.||"The Radio Is Broken"||5:51|
|5.||"We Are Not Alone"||3:18|
|6.||"The Dangerous Kitchen"||2:51|
|7.||"The Man from Utopia Meets Mary Lou"||3:22|
|9.||"The Jazz Discharge Party Hats"||4:29|
|10.||"Luigi & the Wise Guys" (bonus track on CD)||3:25|
- Frank Zappa – guitar, vocals, drum machine, ARP 2600
- Steve Vai – guitar, acoustic guitar
- Ray White – guitar, vocals
- Roy Estrada – vocals
- Bob Harris – boy soprano
- Ike Willis – vocals
- Bobby Martin – keyboards, saxophone, vocals
- Tommy Mars – keyboards
- Arthur Barrow – keyboards, bass, micro bass, rhythm guitar
- Ed Mann – percussion
- Scott Thunes – bass
- Chad Wackerman – drums
- Vinnie Colaiuta – drums
- Craig Twister Steward – harmonica
- Dick Fegy – mandolin
- Marty Krystall – saxophone
Album - Billboard (United States)
- AllMusic review
- We share the same background - Peter Eötvös remembers Frank Zappa (zappa.hu)
- "Charts and Awards for The Man from Utopia". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-08-22.