"Thing-Fish" by Frank Zappa Is Released

Thing-Fish is a 1984 album by Frank Zappa.

Released as an "original cast recording," it is a concept album with strange characters and a bizarre story revolving around a government plot to kill African Americans and homosexuals by way of an engineered disease. This is told to us by mutant black ex-cons who are performing a musical. All lines between performance and audience are blurred, as it's a play about a play, and about some people who go to see the play, and the story behind the play.

The album's story comprises the soundtrack to an unproduced Broadway musical and contains many references to famous plays. Originally released as a triple-vinyl box set, much of the album's material originates from heavily overdubbed versions of recordings originally released on albums like Tinsel Town Rebellion, Zoot Allures, You Are What You Is, and Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.

In promotion of the album and proposed musical, a layout was prepared for Hustler magazine in 1983. Larry Flynt paid a total of $55,000 for the spread and for the Thing-Fish mask and Ob'Dewlla 'X' doll. Zappa also appeared on Late Night with David Letterman to promote the musical, showing photos of the unfinished mask and doll. In 2001, a group of students performed a section of Thing-Fish as final year project at LIPA in Liverpool. This production took place with the express permission of Gail Zappa (Frank's widow). Three of these students formed the company Stagecraft Entertainment Ltd. and managed to get Zappa's permission to perform an adaptation of the Musical in London in 2003.