The Mark Pinske 1980 files

Posted: December 8, 2015 in folklore, interview, zappa, zappology
Panty Quilt, Emily Alana James, circa 1982, commissioned by Zappa and constructed of ladies' undergarments thrown on stage during the Tinseltown Rebellion tour

Panty Quilt, Emily Alana James, circa 1982, commissioned by Zappa and constructed of ladies’ undergarments thrown on stage during the Tinseltown Rebellion tour


Mark Pinske was a recording engineer for Frank Zappa from 1980 until 1987. Mark is also one of the featured voices on Drafted Again from from You Are What You Is.

On January 2003 Chris Michie interviewed Mark Pinske for Mix magazine: an extensive account on Mark career with a lot of Zappa insights. It is divided in 4 sections and available on line:
The Complete Mark Pinske Interview – Day One
The Complete Mark Pinske Interview – Day Two
The Complete Mark Pinske Interview – Day Three – part 1
The Complete Mark Pinske Interview – Day Three – part 2

In these very days Mike has been really kind to share through his web site two Zappa songs and a Panty Rap from the November 18, 1980 St Paul Civic Arena Bowl concert. A nice treat for Zappadan 2015!

City of Tiny Lights – 10:38

Love of my Life – 2:16

Panty Rap/Band intro – 4:33


He have informed Zappateers of such good news, giving some comments on the two songs.

City of Tiny Lights
A song taken from an FZ show off of my board that has some very interesting live effects like the Ursa Major Space Station and octave divider on Franks Guitar.

Later around 6 minutes Steve Vai and Frank play together and some other thrills like Frank changing to a reggae tempo at around 9 minutes.

The line up was. FZ, Steve Vai, Tommy Mars, Arthur Barrow, Vinnie Colaiuta, Bob Harris, Ray White, Ike Willis. Isn’t that enough?

Love of my Life
Here is the live version of Love of my Life (short song) from the same show that features my dear friend Bob Harris using his wonderful falsetto that he used on the audition for the Tinsel Town Rebellion album and got him a place in Franks music.

I have a whole story that goes with that. (one little feedback screech near the end from the onstage monitor, my apology).



December 30, 2015 update
On December 26 Mark uploaded yet another number from the fall ’80 Colaiuta-drummed tour. Judging fron the file name, it should be from the December 11, 1980 show in Santa Monica, the last date of the fall ’80 tour, actually a two shows deal.

Outside Now!

During the intro rap FZ mentions Sand Diego as a two days ago panty bonanza experience, then at 1:15, after a quite abrupt cut towards the song, Joe starts to sing and lay the foundation for a great Zappa solo!

Again, thank you Mark, I do hope it will be a monthly thing!


February 5, 2016 update
On February 4 Mark uploaded another 1980 file, this time from the Logeman-drummed tour:

Here is a little mix off my board from London Wembley Arena on 06-17-1980 just for fun.

It’s Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?, and features “Ray – Night of the Living Dead – White”!

Thank you Mark, it’s really monthly!


September 17, 2016 update
Yet another Markman upload from the ’80s post-prodution laboratory, a Dub Rum Special mix outtake, just magnificent!

Something funny for today. I found a Beta Hi-Fi work tape from many years ago when I was working on the Dub Room Special with FZ. I did this ridiculous mix for the song StinkFoot and Frank said that he thought it might be a bit over the top. So I said to Frank that we need to make some of these things so they can hold up for the future because 20 years from now everything will be more outrageous. So Frank just started laughing hard and said “I tell you what Markman, you hang on to this work tape and then 20 years from now you can pull it out and see how well it does.” Well it has been more than 20 years so, see what you think. (This was my first headphone stereo Low frequency experiment) Oh yes on Franks guitar solo I used a 5 tap Ursa Major Space station, a Dynamix Flanger and a few Lexicon 240 reverbs.




July 9, 2017 update – Beauty Knows No Pain

I found an early mix that I did for the You Are What Your Is album of Beauty Knows No Pain. I hope you like it.
For the Real Zappa fans, this has Steve Vai, Ike Willis, Ray White, Tommy Mars, Ed Mann, Arthur Barrow, David Logaman, and Jimmy Carl Black doing the snorts along with a young Moon Zappa on the end saying “it doesn’t have that stale after taste” Segway to Charlie’s enormous mouth. Oh and Yes Bob Harris singing up into the ways with that gorgeous high falsetto.


July 10, 2017 update – Teen-Age Wind

Ok, so now here is the deal. The YAWYI (You Are What You Is album was the only 100% studio album that we did at Frank Zappa’s studio, UMRK (Utility Muffin Research Kitchen). I recorded every track from scratch and I also did most of the mixing (with tag team help from a few others like Bob Stone God rest his soul). Special Thanks to John Good of DW drums for his help as always. This was one of the most creative times of Frank’s life and the recording sessions were some of the most unbelievable magic ever caught on tape. So here is a mix I did of Teen-Age Wind featuring Bob Harris as the Kid on vocals and complimented by the whole ensemble of other ZAPPA star vocalist like Ike Willis, Ray White, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Carl Black and others. This mix features the famous Pinske vocal layering and gets interesting with the panorama and the Jimmy Carl Black blow back overdubs that we did for the “Life long Fans”. I apologize for the abrupt cut off on the end, but that is only because FZ whole albums are segue oriented. I hope you enjoy it.


Frank did give me a lot of leeway and sometimes he would go up to bed and tell me to leave the final mix on the two track. The next day we would usually talk and laugh about each approach. He once told me that when he was on stage I had to be the producer because an artist cannot play and produce at the same time. I was very honored to try to do the best I can and I once asked him “Frank, why me” and he said because you are the only one I can trust. I felt truly blessed, another time he just finished over playing on a Guitar solo and came in to the control room and asked me what I thought and I said “Frank, it really sucked”! He just burst out laughing because nobody ever told him that before and then he said, “Yea, it really did suck didn’t it” then he got up and walked back to the multitrack machine and put all his guitar channels into record and erased the whole solo. Then he walked over to the basement and yelled up the stairwell saying “Dweezil come on down I got a solo I want you to play on this song”. If I remember right it was on Stevie’s Spanking. You never knew what Frank would do next, he was totally an original.


July 11, 2017 update – Doreen

So then, I didn’t know if I should do this or not, but in our frenzy during the making of YAWYI, Frank wanted to do a one minute and 30 second version of the song Doreen with a 2 minute totally ridiculous vamp that rocked out with a massive kludge of overlays. So, well ok, that is what I mixed. This features Ray White on the lead vocal. The funny thing is that in the middle of laughing during the vamp, you are actually able to make out some of the intended lyrics that made the whole song a lot of fun to do. We did use a different mix on the album I think that was more sparse, but when I went back to listen to this one I think it somehow fit the more teen age frenzy that Frank had in mind for just a fun wild feel. Oh I almost forgot that about 3 minutes into it Frank said Markman it’s not quite thick enough I think you should put the kitchen sink into it too!


What’s next?


  1. JoSch says:

    Simply mesmerizing facts – always appreciated. Thanks a lot for the effort.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s