The Mothers of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh

As lame as this makes me sound, I don’t think I could name a Frank Zappa song to save my life. When I saw this cover I initially thought it was for Blink 182 or a similar band. But this lack of knowledge won’t spot me from talking about this iconic album cover and one of my favorite album titles ever.

Neon Park (real name Martin Muller) was working as a poster artist with the Family Dog, a San Francisco design group (I can’t find any info on these guys), when he got a call from Frank Zappa asking him to come down to Los Angeles. Zappa showed Park a cover of “Man’s Life” from 1956 with the feature article “Weasels ripped my flesh!”.

Man’s Life 1956 Weasels Ripped My Flesh

Zappa asked, “This is it. What can you do that’s worse than this?” to which Park created the parody of a shaving ad you see on the cover.

John Williams is also credited with “Photography & Art Direction” on the cover who seems to have worked on many of Frank’s other albums.

The cover almost didn’t see the light of day. Zappa butted heads with Warner Bros. over its suitability for release. “Evidently,” says Park, “there was quite a confrontation that occurred over this cover. It wasn’t up to their standards.” Even after Warner Bros. finally consented to use it, there were problems. “The printer was greatly offended,” says Park. “The girl who worked for him, his assistant, she wouldn’t touch the painting. She wouldn’t pick it up with her hands.”

Can you imagine how she would have responded to the Cannibal Corpse albums.

Zappa and Park, meanwhile were tickled silly by the brouhaha: “I was greatly amused by the cover, and so was Frank,” says Park. I mean, we giggled a lot.” Source

Alternate cover art was produced for the German release although this was done without the bands knowledge or consent. This cover was designed by Dieter Boé.

The Mothers of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh Rat Trap German Edition

The album was re-issued with Burnt Weeny Sandwich (another album name I love) as a double album. The original covers were used for the inside booklet with new cover art showing a gun squirting toothpaste.

2 Originals of The Mothers of Invention

For a collectors you can get details on every version printed here.

I better download a few albums and brush up on my Zappa knowledge.

The Mothers of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh

The Mothers of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh

As lame as this makes me sound, I don’t think I could name a Frank Zappa song to save my life. When I saw this cover I initially thought it was for Blink 182 or a similar band. But this lack of knowledge won’t spot me from talking about this iconic album cover and one of my favorite album titles ever.

Neon Park (real name Martin Muller) was working as a poster artist with the Family Dog, a San Francisco design group (I can’t find any info on these guys), when he got a call from Frank Zappa asking him to come down to Los Angeles. Zappa showed Park a cover of “Man’s Life” from 1956 with the feature article “Weasels ripped my flesh!”.

Man’s Life 1956 Weasels Ripped My Flesh

Zappa asked, “This is it. What can you do that’s worse than this?” to which Park created the parody of a shaving ad you see on the cover.

John Williams is also credited with “Photography & Art Direction” on the cover who seems to have worked on many of Frank’s other albums.

The cover almost didn’t see the light of day. Zappa butted heads with Warner Bros. over its suitability for release. “Evidently,” says Park, “there was quite a confrontation that occurred over this cover. It wasn’t up to their standards.” Even after Warner Bros. finally consented to use it, there were problems. “The printer was greatly offended,” says Park. “The girl who worked for him, his assistant, she wouldn’t touch the painting. She wouldn’t pick it up with her hands.”

Can you imagine how she would have responded to the Cannibal Corpse albums.

Zappa and Park, meanwhile were tickled silly by the brouhaha: “I was greatly amused by the cover, and so was Frank,” says Park. I mean, we giggled a lot.” Source

Alternate cover art was produced for the German release although this was done without the bands knowledge or consent. This cover was designed by Dieter Boé.

The Mothers of Invention: Weasels Ripped My Flesh Rat Trap German Edition

The album was re-issued with Burnt Weeny Sandwich (another album name I love) as a double album. The original covers were used for the inside booklet with new cover art showing a gun squirting toothpaste.

2 Originals of The Mothers of Invention

For a collectors you can get details on every version printed here.

I better download a few albums and brush up on my Zappa knowledge.





23 Comments

  1. I have seen a few images of Neon Park’s work, but I can’t remember where. He did some paintings of California, Summer, poolside lifestyle, but the bikini girls have ducks heads.

  2. Neon Park did most if not all of the Little Feat album covers.

  3. family dog was also a bar or restaurant that hosted shows. as far as a design group, I’m not too sure about that…

    someone should do a feature on Park and his Little Feat covers! they’re hilarious!

  4. I’m not big into Zappa, but Weasels is a great jazz-freakout album. sort of crosses early Mothers wackiness with Zappa’s rare serious jazz side. Worth getting!

  5. Frank Z. has fun with his albums and album art. Anyone recall the stark cover for “Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch,” immortalizing that particular “droodle”?

  6. On a Zappa note, I strongly recommend you feature the cover art to “We’re only in it for the money”. A landmark album that parodied the crusty hippy age. The cover is a loving tribute to Srgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Band. George, Ringo and John loved it. Paul moaned, as usual.

  7. Coming late to this discussion, but the further link, other than Neon Park, between Little Feat and ‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh’ is that it was the only Mothers release that features Lowell George on guitar and strange noises.

  8. You guys should take a look at JamsBio.com

    Great site by the way…

  9. A very disturbing image (but with a sense of humour). You know you’re in for an uncomfortable ride listening to this one.. I think it matched the music perfectly!

  10. Zappa art albom super humore. Zappa asked, “This is it. What can you do that’s worse than this?” to which Park created the parody of a shaving ad you see on the cover. Puppet art- humore Zappa.

  11. ‘Neon Park (real name Martin Muller) was working as a poster artist with the Family Dog, a San Francisco design group (I can’t find any info on these guys.’

    I believe the Family Dog was a ballroom which gave the name to a group of artists such as Stanley mouse, Alton Kelley and Rick Griffin. They were a ‘loose collective’ rather than a formal design studio so you may have to find information about them individually rather than as a group.

  12. First I would like to say I love the site. I love FZ and the MOI. Weasels is one of my favorite album covers. Though Zappa has a few. Overnite sensation, uncle Meat, Mothers live at the Fillmore (which is brilliant for it`s lack of design)check the fine print cover artist Cal Schenkel says he made me do it, and Were only in it for the money. McCartney was actually the one that gave FZ permission to parody Sgt Pepper. Capitol did not like the idea which is why the cover is backwards. The multi faced picture is not the front it is in the gatefold. Overall a great send up. Family dog was a collective of freaks headed up by Chet Helms, I think he discovered Janis Joplin and introduced her to Big Brother. They started up the dance hall scene about the same time as Bill Graham. I think Graham had the first one. You could research Chet Helms.
    As meantioned above Cal Schenkel did a lot of the Mothers covers and is an awesome cover designer.

  13. Family Dog was a collective based in San Francisco in the 1960′s, most generally associated with the late Chet Helms. Under the auspices of The Family Dog, Mr. Helms produced rock shows and was an early competitor to the more financially successful Bill Graham. The Family Dog wound up running the Avalon Ballroom, which was later renamed the Fillmore West when it was taken over by Graham. There were many poster artists working for both Helms and Graham at the time.

  14. FAMILY DOG was a BUSINESS… a relatively BIG BUSINESS in the 1960ishes… THERE WERE “Family Dog” Clubs or Night Spots in different cities. For Instance I first saw FRANK ZAPPY and the Original Mammies at the Family Dog in Denver Colorado where the BEAT the BOOTS was recorded… along with Country Joe and the FISH and Jefferson Airplane…ALL ON THE SAME STAGE that evening.

  15. Here’s a fairly
    fluent Family Dog synopsis ::

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chet_Helms

  16. Park was apparently parodying this shaving ad, printed in the Saturday Evening Post:
    http://bit.ly/arDTud

  17. Good find!

  18. Neon Park, AKA Martin Muller gave an original oil painting to my family in 1962. It is signed, inscribed and dated. I am trying to find a possible buyer…it is NOT in his style as an album artist but in fact is a beautiful monoichromatic tan-toned painting which is strikingly powerful. Can anyone give me insight of collectors of his work? Thank you.

  19. wow do you have a photo of that piece? I'd love to update the post with it

  20. I do have a jpeg (front , back and signature) but am not really sure how to attach it to here; can I somehow attach it directly to you?

  21. Just upload to any photo site and post the link?

  22. I am a techno-dino but will see if someone can help me do that.
    ;-)

  23. Thanks for the history lesson. “Weasels” is my favourite album cover evah! Extra thanks for unearthing Neon Park’s inspiration. When I was younger and single, I used to have Weasels hanging on the wall (angled at a jaunty tilt) behind my stereo system, along with other striking album covers including Peter Tosh’s “No Nuclear War.” I sold off a lot of my album collection when I fled the United States (self-imposed political exile from the Bush Regime) but Zappa is one I kept. Now that I’ve found a haven in a stable country with good used record stores, I’m back to buying old albums, sometimes just for the cover art. I’ll have to bookmark your site — it’s entertaining AND educational!

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