Playground Psychotics is a two-CD live album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and was originally released in 1992 through his mail order label, Barking Pumpkin, and was re-released in 1995 through Rykodisc. The album features recordings of Zappa and his band, the Mothers of Invention, around the time of the film 200 Motels. The live material on Playground Psychotics is interspersed with excerpts from taped conversations among band members whilst on tour, and the release includes three conceptual sections: A Typical Day on the Road, Part 1, a collage of dialogue which opens the first disc; A Typical Day on the Road, Part 2, which opens the second disc and The True Story of 200 Motels, which appears at the end of disc two. The album also includes a live session with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, an alternate mix of which appears on Lennon’s Some Time In New York City (1972).
As mentioned on previous posts, this era of Zappa and the Mothers has never been my favourite era to listen to. The music is good, but compared to the previous incarnation, and future incarnations, it just seems quite simplistic for the most part. This is one of a few Zappa albums that I’ve never owned, I listened to it on youtube, and I’m glad I never spent money on it but I do think this could have been so much better and it was a bit of a missed opportunity. If it was released just as a concert (akin to Just Another Band From L.A.) and left all the conversations back in the Vault, then it would probably rank higher up the list because the music parts of the cd are enjoyable. I’ve always loved Billy The Mountain and the version here is excellent, it’s also always good to hear them do the 60’s MOI material; and the Lennon/Ono/Mothers jam is pretty rad too. But to get to the music you have to wade through a lot of conversations that aren’t even interesting to listen the first time you play the cd; you’ll be hammering that skip button a lot. Proof that Zappa’s need to record everything (music and conversation) didn’t always pay off. One for completists only. 1.5/5
Composer, Guest Artist
Composer, Guest Artist
Composer, Electronic Sounds, Keyboards
Composer, Keyboards, Sax (Alto)
Arranger, Composer, Guitar, Primary Artist, Producer, Vocals