Hey Joe

Act II of Joe’s Garage is perhaps the most eccentric of the trilogy as Frank Zappa becomes entirely captured by the idea of sex with machines and prison rape. Where Joe’s Garage Act I was more about the dangers of music and having an imagination, Act II is focused entirely on the repercussions of the steel fist of government.

Opening with “A Token Of My Extreme,” Zappa becomes L. Ron Hoover at the First Church of Appliantology. Through the scientific revelations that Joe begins to understand, Zappa describes, “Don’t you be tarot-fied, it’s just a token of my extreme. Don’t you never try to look behind my eyes, you don’t wanna know what they have seen.” The instrumentation here is a jam fest with low tuned plucks and snaps on the guitars to give off a funk overlay. The percussion here is sporadic and has hi-hat clasps as the echoed vocals clash with Ike Willis who plays Joe.

Joe’s Garage Act II only adds Patrick O’Hearn as a new instrumentalist as many of the same artists are here featured from Act I. It creates a cosmic connection where each instrument can have character behind it and almost narrate from a point of view.

On the following track, “Stick It Out” lives behind a nearly volksmusik sound with one-two steps and German lyricism that describes, “Fick mich, du miserabler hurensohn, du misterabler hurensohn” Better known as the chorus later exclaiming, “Fuck me, you miserable son of a bitch,” but the track is comedic with a refrain illustrating, “don’t get no jizz up on that sofa, sofa.” Zappa who already was engaged in humorous delivery hammers home the idea that begins on both “Dong Work For Yuda” and “Keep It Greasy.”

The two tracks are essentially following Joe’s time in confinement from killing his robotic lover in the previous track “Sy Borg.” Being unable to pay for the damages, The Central Scrutinizer reports, “Joe was sent to a special prison where they keep all the other criminals from the music business. You know, the ones who get caught. It’s a horrible place painted all green on the inside.” As he continues, “Where musicians and former executives take turns snorting detergent and plooking each other.”

As “Dong Work For Yuda” begins, the lyrics describe, “John’s got a sausage, yeah man. John’s got a sausage, yeah man. John’s got a sausage that will make you fart, John’s got a sausage that will break your heart.” The style of the song is almost sung in a doo-wop fashion with multiple layers of vocals being overlaid as if it was a barbershop quartet that features sluggish, but refined instrumentation.

Zappa continues “Sorry John, sorry better try it again. John’s got a sausage, yeah man. Sorry John, sorry better try it again. He said Dong was Wong, Wong was Kong, Dong was Gong and John was wrong.” The finale with the “bum-bum-bum” lyrics orchestrates a cute hint towards sexual apprehension until Joe is freed from prison with “Outside Now” acting as the last component to Joe’s Garage Act II.

In a drained and confused sounding instrumental, the lyrics are all coming from Willis who is nearly emotionally wrecked. He describes, “And there’s still a long time to go before I’ve paid my debt to society, and all I ever really wanted to do was play the guitar and bend the string like Reent-toont-teent-toont-teent-toont-teennoooeeonoee (imitating guitar notes being played).” While being an entirely fictional representative story that many audiences will never have to face for being persecuted for music creation or listening, Joe’s Garage Act II is mainly comedic but ends on a profusely somber note.

“Outside Now” has Joe illustrating over and over again, “I can’t wait to see what it’s like on the outside now, I can’t wait to see what it’s like on the outside now…” while imaginary guitar solos continue on in his head. He is isolated from and the world around him and forced to sit and ponder before reminiscing on his years before prison.

Through six tracks, Joe’s Garage Act II can continue Joe’s story through mostly jokes but sets up for a final delivery though Joe’s Garage Act III. Zappa is more than halfway done with his tale on illegal music and how being stuck on the inside of green walls can be more daunting than death itself.

Listen To Joe’s Garage Act II Here!!! – Spotify/Amazon/iTunes

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