Eagle Rock Entertainment and the Zappa Family Trust have just released “A Token Of His Extreme,” the original program he created in 1974.
This show was recorded at KCET, Southern and Central California’s community television station in Los Angeles. It features the musician with his band, keyboardist George Duke, sax player Napoleon Murphy Brock, percussionist Ruth Underwood; bassist Tom Fowler and Chester Thompson (from Weather Report) on drums.
Zappa, never known for understatement, called the show “one of the finest pieces of video work…ever done.”
“This was put together with my own money and my own time and it’s been done for the TV networks. It’s probably one of the finest pieces of video work that any human being has ever done. I did it myself.” he said.
Zappa really was ahead of his time. The show has the look and feel of early MTV, although the music network wasn’t founded until 1981, seven years after Zappa produced his show.
The program illustrates the chances artists took back then, way more so than today, if you ask me. Zappa also acted and appeared in one of the more memorable episodes of “Miami Vice,” called “Payback” in 1986.
The Eagle Rock tribute is just wondrous; Zappa was far ahead of its time for sure.
Footnote: When The Monkees broke up the first time, Zappa asked drummer Micky Dolenz to join Frank’s band, The Mothers Of Invention. Micky politely declined.