Frank Zappa

Cocaine Decisions

Composed by Frank Zappa

Song Review by

The opening track on the 1983 album The Man From Utopia, "Cocaine Decisions" marks the culmination in Frank Zappa's discussion of drugs in the early '80s, after "Charlie's Enormous Mouth" (You Are What You Is, 1981) and "I Come From Nowhere" (Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, 1982). Here he associates coke with the yuppie lifestyle. This particular drug became particularly popular, even "in" among young professionals and executives in the early '80s. Zappa's anti-drug position was not new, but during these years he often reaffirmed it. In some points of the song it seems the composer targets more specific people. Couldn't the lines "But if you are wasted/what you do 'n' what you say/Affects my life in such a way/I learn to hate it every minute!" be aimed at some record company executives and concert promoters? In any case, the message clearly supersedes the music in terms of interest in this straight rock song.

"Cocaine Decisions" premiered on-stage in September 1981, at the beginning of a tour, and lasted until the end of the 1984 series of concerts. It was always followed by "Nig Biz." The concert recording included on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 comes from the last 1982 show in Palermo (Italy). A riot began right during "Cocaine Decisions" (you can hear a teargas grenade explode), hence the illustration at the back of the LP (and CD booklet).

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Man from Utopia 1983 Universal Distribution / Zappa Records 3:54
No Image 1983
No Image 1985 Tangooo
You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 1989 Zappa Records 3:13
Understanding America 2012 Zappa Records 2:52
Zappatite: Frank Zappa's Tastiest Tracks 2016 Frank Zappa Catalog / Universal 3:54
Puttin' On the Ritz Let Them Eat Vinyl
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