The Petit Wazoo Tour

The Petit Wazoo was the nickname of Frank Zappa's band that toured in October, November, and December of 1972. It was not their official name; publicity for the tour billed the concerts as being performed by "Frank Zappa" and/or "The Mothers Of Invention". FZ did not refer to the band as the Petit Wazoo on any of the concert tapes I have heard. However, he did use the name in a 1989 interview.

For many years, no Petit Wazoo recordings were officially released.

Thirty-three years later, the Zappa Family Trust released a Petit Wazoo CD, entitled Imaginary Diseases! And there's also one Petit Wazoo track on One Shot Deal.

Petit, as in petit larceny or petit fours, is from the masculine form of the French adjective meaning "small". It rhymes with "Twisted Sister". Petite is from the feminine form of the French adjective. It rhymes with "nothing to eat".

The earliest known use of the name Petit Wazoo is by Craig Eldon Pinkus in a review of Over-nite Sensation in his zine Mother's Home Journal #7 (October 1973), p. 7:

Anyway, the Grand Wazoo, Petit Wazoo (my name), and current Mothers have meant a lot of music with no vocalist per se except Frank.
(Obviously, this was written before the fall 1973 tour with Napoleon Murphy Brock; "current Mothers" refers to the line-up that toured February-September 1973.) Pinkus is a lawyer, so it would be natural for him to coin the name Petit Wazoo on the model of grand/petit larceny.

Pinkus accompanied The Mothers on tour for two weeks in February-March 1973, as detailed in Mother's Home Journal #6. FZ apparently picked up the name from him and used it occasionally. Based on the one token I've heard, FZ seems to have pronounced it as Petite Wazoo. I have no evidence how he spelled it.

At the late show in Kansas City (12/2/72), an audience member yelled out the request "Shit on stage!" Frank Zappa replied,

a) "No, no. Go see Alice Cooper."
b) "Spend fifteen years learning to play a musical instrument, you come to Kansas City and the guy says 'Shit on stage!'"
c) "The name of this song is 'Cosmik Debris', which is as good as shitting on stage."
d) "I just did shit on stage, and you missed it."
e) all of the above

Table of Contents

The Planet Of My Dreams
1972 Big Band Projects

Hunchentootin' by Charles Ulrich.