Frank Zappa’s ‘A Token of His Extreme’ to Finally See Commercial Release
Frank Zappa was a musician either ahead, or completely outside, of his time. His elaborate music and bizarre stage theatrics were so one-of-a-kind that it almost isn’t possible to accurately describe Zappa’s work in words, and that often set him at odds with the mainstream media.
One such instance was ‘A Token of His Extreme,’ an original program Zappa created for television in 1974, but which never aired in North America. The groundbreaking program will see commercial release for the first time ever in June via Eagle Rock Entertainment and the Zappa Family Trust.
Recorded on August 27, 1974 at KCET in Hollywood, ‘A Token of His Extreme’ features Zappa and his band working through a live set of his inimitable compositions, including oddball titles like ‘The Dog Breath Variations/Uncle Meat,’ ‘Stink-Foot,’ ‘Pygmy Twylyte,’ ‘Son of Orange County,’ ‘More Trouble Every Day’ and ‘A Token of My Extreme.’ Zappa oversaw the stereo mixes with Kerry McNabb at Paramount Studios in 1974. Bob Ludwig mastered the project at Gateway in 2009.
In a 1976 appearance on the Mike Douglas Show, Zappa complained about the lack of reception he had found for the piece in the U.S. “This was put together with my own money and my own time, and it’s been offered to television networks and to syndication, and it has been steadfastly rejected by the American television industry,” he stated. “It has been shown in prime time in France and Switzerland, with marvelous results. It’s probably one of the finest pieces of video work that any human being has ever done.”
The animation for the program was created by Bruce Bickford. ‘A Token of My Extreme’ is set for release on DVD on June 4.