The Mothers of Invention / Frank Zappa

Flower Punk

Composed by Frank Zappa

Song Review by

"Flower Punk" is one of a handful of songs appearing on the Mothers of Invention' LP We're Only in It for the Money (including "Who Needs the Peace Corps?" and "Absolutely Free") which criticized the way the hippie lifestyle had become fashionable, and thus was emptied of its sociophilosophical contents in the late '60s. The year is 1968, thus the word "punk" refers to "unexperienced youth." The lyrics of the song feature a series of questions and answers like: "Hey Punk, where you goin' with that button on your shirt?/Well, I'm goin' to a love-in to sit and plays my bongos in the dirt." A handful of flower power clichés are mocked that way over a devilishly fast uneven rhythm pattern (an alternation of 5/8 and 7/8) which echoes the second part of "What's the Ugliest Part of Your Body?" After a while, the vocals are replaced by multiple sped-up voices speaking incoherently, delivering even more clichés -- a freaked-out version of the rap at the end of "Who Needs the Peace Corps?" Frank Zappa explains in the liner notes that the teenager's brains blow up due to drug consumption. There are no records of "Flower Punk" being performed live by any of Zappa's bands, a fate shared by the other hippie-mocking songs in his repertoire.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
We're Only in It for the Money 1968 Zappa Records 3:04
No Image 1969 3:57
We're Only in It for the Money/Lumpy Gravy 1986 Rykodisc 3:04
Threesome, Vol. 1 2002 Rykodisc 3:03
The Lumpy Money Project/Object: An FZ Audio Documentary 2009 Universal / Zappa Records 3:04
blue highlight denotes editor's pick