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!”.
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 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.
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.