Things Twice

"Flakes", a song on Frank Zappa's Sheik Yerbouti album, contains a
Dylan parody, with guitarist Adrian Belew doing the Dylan "voice".
Zappa asks in the background, "Wanna buy some Mandys, Bob?"

Compiled: November 9, 1996

From: Chris Ullsperger (ullsperg@mendel.berkeley.edu)
Subject: FLAKES
Date: 25 Oct 1993 22:13:00 GMT

Louis Cornelio (lcornel@eis.calstate.edu) writes:
>anyone familiar w/ the Zappa track, Flakes, from
>the Sheik Yerbouti album? I'm told "Dylan's voice" is done by guitarist
>Adrian Belew, a funny little parady complete w/ harmonica...

The transcript of the Dylan lines, if I can remember it:

I asked as nice as I could
If they somehow would be finished by Friday (harp)
Well the whole damn weekend came and went Frankie
(Zappa: "Wanna buy some [mandies], Bob?")
They didn't do nothin'
And they wanted to charge me double for Sunday
Well no matter what you SAY or DO
They gonna cheat and ROB you
And give you a check that'll get your senses reelin' (harp)
And if you do not pay
They got computer collectors that'll send you through the ceiling

The history of this part of the song was that Frank had written the
lyrics and then Adrian recognized that they were rather Dylanesque. The
last 6 lines are especially well-sung (that is, they are a great
over-the-top parody of Bob's singing style).

Also, Zappa sampled some of Dylan's acoustic guitar (at least, it sounds
like it) for his '88 tour. A track containing such samples is on Best
Band You Never Heard In Your Life.


i am a moron and this is my wife
she's frosting a cake with a paper knife

From: Craig Jamieson
Subject: Dylan and Chabad
Date: 17 Aug 1994 16:28:46 GMT

Doug Ritter (dougr@meaddata.com) wrote:
: MAGROSSMAN (magrossman@aol.com) wrote:
: [stuff deleted]
: >     About the same time, letters signed "R.Z., Hibbing, Minn.," appeared
: >in issues of a Lubavitcher religious comic book series, "Mendy and the
: On Frank Zappa's "Sheik Yerbouti" album, there's a song called "Flakes"
: that contains a Dylan parody (pretty good one too, IMO).  During the
: parody, Zappa asks in the background "Wanna buy some Mendys, Bob?"
: Is this what he's refering to there?  I could never figure it out.
: How on earth would Zappa have known about a Lubavitcher comic book?

O.K. Three possibilities here.

1. Lubavitcher religious comic books.

2. Amandas, a shortened version of the female name Amanda.

3. Mandrax, a brand name for one of Dylan's drugs of choice.

Now you must use your own judgement here and decide which has Dylan consumed more of: #1, #2, or is it #3?

Not being a consumer of any of these three I may be hazy on precise descriptions of any of them... But I will have a go anyway. Mandrax was first marketed in Great Britain in 1965 and I believe if you found yourself to be a pop star speeding -- and we are not talking fast cars here ;-) -- through England in 1966 you might think to yourself, "Oh my goodness, I have not slept for an inordinate number of days, maybe I should get some sleep?", at which point you would purchase some black market Mandys as there would be no natural way to reach a sleeping state.

Those of you at home who have kept your child chemistry sets around can make your own mandys, you will need some methaqualone and diphenhydramine hydrochloride. If you are not a pinch of this pinch of that chemical chef simply ask an aging hippy for precise measurements. It is a non-barbituate hypnotic, so you can see the appeal as barbituates were getting a bad name and your average speed freak on a health kick could turn to mandys. ;-)


I'm gonna grow my hair down to my feet so strange
So I look like a walking mountain range
And I'm gonna ride into Omaha on a horse
Out to the country club and the golf course.
Carry the New York Times, shoot a few holes, blow their minds.

Now you're probably wondering by now
Just what this song is all about
What's probably got you baffled more
Is what this thing here is for.
It's nothing
It's something I learned over in England.

From: dougr@meaddata.com (Doug Ritter)
Subject: Dylan and Chabad
Date: 18 Aug 1994 17:52:17 GMT

MAGROSSMAN (magrossman@aol.com) wrote:
>Let's conatct Frank in the spirit world and ask him.
Why not wait for the World to Come and ask him there?

IMO, the drug reference clears it up. FZ was "anti-drug" and didn't miss an opportunity to make fun of those who abused them. I had just never heard of that particular "poison" before, hence the confusion.

What an esoteric bit of knowledge.  Thanks!
Doug Ritter                                     Don't panic!

From: fsall@ix.netcom.com(Frederick Sall)
Subject: Flakes
Date: 1 Nov 1996 22:22:22 GMT

Aaron J. Wexler (wexl7793@kutztown.edu) writes: 
		*	*	*
>That's Adrian Belew doing Dylan, Zappa's other guitarist. Now what I 
>wanna know is, what the hell does Zappa say after "Bob" sings "A whole
>week came & went Frankie..."
Isn't it "Wanna buy some Mandies, Bob?"

Mandies = slang for no longer manufactured British pharmaceutical tablets Mandrax (pronounced "Mandrakes," as in mandrake root and Mandrake the Magician), reputed to have been like English Quaaludes.

"Mandrax" also was the name of the yacht Keith Richards had when he lived in France 1971-72, when the Stones were in tax exile recording _Exile On Main Street_.

Interesting, all this stuff.


Subject: Zappa & Dylan
From: (pxn05667@niftyserve.or.jp)
Date: 1995/04/03

Dear Bobohilics people,
Nabeel S. Kandah wrote:
>  In the Real Frank Zappa Book, FZ mentions a little anecdote
>  about he and Bob Dylan. Bob shows up at FZ's door, in the freezing
>  cold and plays some songs for FZ on the piano, which FZ really
>  liked, and then he asks Frank if he would produce an album for him, I
>  assume his next album or something.. does anyone which album Bob wanted
>  Frank to produce for him.. and when this was?
>  By the way, I am a big dylan fan, and I remember Frank mentioning he 
>  enjoyed Highway 61 (from the Playboy interview)....and I wonder if 
>  anyone else finds the dylan cabaret on the Sheik Yerbouti record 
>  just a teensy weensy bit .... well, tasteless? :) heheh! I kind of 
>  do! but what the fuck!
>  Ciao!
Bob's visit to Zappa was on December 22, 1982. Bob's "NEXT" album was what turned out to be "Infidels". According to Zappa, Bob wore only a shirt in the freezing cold. Dylan & Zappa, it would have been great if it had happened, but Dylan did not get in touch with Zappa after that. "Infidels" was produced by Bob Dylan & Mark Knopfler and released in 1983.

I like the "Bob" and Frank conversation in 'Flakes'. Adian Belew did it. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine interviewed Belew in Tokyo. When he asked Belew if he liked Dylan, Belew said yes and mimed Bob again. He even played harmonica right in front of the interviewer.

from MASATO KATO - Boboholics/Deadhead in Japan

Subject: Dylan & Zappa
From: Ville Lehtinen (vlehtine@zombie.oulu.fi)
Date: 1996/02/20

On 20 Feb 1996, Aaron J. Wexler wrote:

> Got me a copy of Frank Zappa's Sheik Yerbouti, and in the song Flakes, 
> there is a great Dylan imitation compelete with the harmonica.
> Are their any other connections between these two?
The imitation on Sheik Yerbouti was Adrian Belew's idea (who also performed it), but there is a similar kind of thing on The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life (1991), in the song The Torture Never Stops, Part One.

I guess that's all there is, but Zappa has talked about Dylan in a couple of interviews:

Dylan's 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' was a monster record. I heard that thing and I was jumping all over the car. And then when I heard the one after that, 'Like a Rolling Stone', I wanted to quit the music business, because I felt: 'If this wins and it does what it's supposed to do, I don't need to do anything else', but it didn't do anything. It sold; but nobody responded to it the way that they should have. (...) It didn't happen right away, and I was a little disappointed. I figured, 'Well, shit, maybe it needs a little reinforcing.

(Kofsky, Frank: Frank Zappa: The Mothers of Invention. In Rivelli, P. & R. Levin (eds.) Giants of Rock Music. 1970. The interview was conducted in 1967)

In his Playboy-interview (1993) he said:

As for Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited was really good. Then we got Blonde on Blonde and it started to sound like cowboy music, and you know what I think of cowboy music.

Ville Lehtinen

Subject: Flakes
From: dmurph@bham.mindspring.com (David Murphree)
Date: 1996/10/31

Bill Rabara (tewsmoke@msn.com) wrote:

>Has anyone heard the Frank Zappa song entitled 'Flakes'.  It's off 
>the 'Sheik Yerbouti' album. Either a congested, sick Dylan or a bad 
>immitator (sp?) sings for about thirty seconds in the song. I know 
>this is not Dylan singing, but my friend insists it is. Can anyone 
>reply and dispel my brother's claim that that is actually Bob Dylan 
>making fun of himself.
According to _Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play_ by Ben Watson, the Dylan imitation is performed by guitarist Adrian Belew, who had joined Zappa for the _Sheik Yerbouti_ album. The Zappa bio/critique does mention Dylan (especially _Subterranean Homesick Blues_) as having heavily influenced Zappa. The book also talks about Bob showing up at Zappa's home, asking Frank to produce an album. Bob played eleven songs on the piano. Frank suggested that Bob "subcontract out the songs to Giorgio Moroder to do a complete synthesizer track and Dylan should play guitar and harmonica over the top." The songs eventually became _Infidels_.


Subject: Flakes
From: dsage@uoguelph.ca (David Sage)
Date: 1996/11/01

		*	*	*
Here's an excerpt from _Frank Zappa's Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play_ by Ben Watson:

The message of `Flakes' collapses in on itself because it deftly removes the moral core required for the `protest' singer. It starts out protesting at the poor quality of service delivered by West Coast businesses, but when the song is turned over to Adrian Belew as Bob Dylan impersonator, the absurdity of a 60s legend like Bob Dylan (or Frank Zappa) `protesting at lack of customer satisfaction' becomes so towering that it blots out the original idea. The degradation of 60s ideals into commercial transactions becomes a symbol of corporate rock.

Watson is a Marxist BTW. His book is a 600 page dissection of Zappa's ouevre using Adorno's dialectics. Heh heh, wonder what he'd do with Dylan's career.


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