Amazon.comBroadway the hard way, indeed. Frank Zappa's mock musical is also one of his most scathing satires, and sure to offend the sensibilities of many who hear it. Those who get past its prickly skin will be pleased to discover an ambitious, hilarious, and catchy look at life and love in the 1980's--with an outlook not so good. Government experimentation on prison inmates leads to the creation of a new race of super beings, The Mammy Nuns, who start their own Broadway musical. Yuppie couple Harry & Rhonda come to the show, unaware that they are more than just part of the audience in this production, and find their own lives under the scrutiny of the Mammy Nun's leader, Thing-Fish, voiced by long-time Zappa cohort Ike Willis. Organized religion, homosexuality, feminism, and racial identity are just some of the subjects Zappa throws onto a groove of tight rock and a sheet of vocal sound. Maybe not one of Zappa's best albums, but certainly one of his most daring. --Andrew Boscardin
From the Label
Originally released as 3 LPs (now on 2 CDs) in 1984, THING-FISH is an outrageous, hilarious savage parody of a Broadway show that was controversial enough to bring FZ more major label trouble (scheduled to be distributed by MCA, they objected to the content, so he contracted with Capitol for distribution). Ike Willis stars in the title role, Terry and Dale Bozzio fill the roles of Harry and Rhonda, the hapless audience members who are abused by the actors on stage, Johnny "Guitar" Watson as Brown Moses, Napoleon Murphy Brock as the Evil Prince.
Never actually staged (but hey, it's never too late), the play draws music from previous Zappa discs (mostly YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS), along with a stack of numbers that weren't heard elsewhere. And the plot? Well, the evil government's trying to weed out the population through the use of a doctored cologne, a race of mutant "Mammy Nuns" develops in response, Terry Bozzio enters as the ultimate whiny white guy; the whole crew pays a visit to the Mudd Club, and Dale Bozzio, in what may be the height of her career to date, does unspeakable things with her briefcase. Critics who objected to Zappa's sexual/scatological humor had a field day with this one. But the cultists rejoiced; and some even took to showing up at Zappa concerts in their own Thing-Fish outfits.