Frank Zappa

Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station

Composed by Frank Zappa

Song Review by

The opening track on Frank Zappa's 1976 album Zoot Allures, "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station" started things with an attitude more direct than usual: "This here song might offend you some/If it does it's because you're dumb." In a total lack of respect for nuances, the lyrics associate grease-stained and calloused thumbs with an inferior intellect. The whole song is kind of a joke on mechanics, down to the fake German accent (on the importance of German in Zappa's oeuvre, see "Sofa") on the line "Manny de Camper wants to buy some white." Occupying the place it did (as album opener), "Wind Up Workin' in a Gas Station" rang the bell, so to speak. After the complex prog rock-derived pieces on Roxy & Elsewhere and One Size Fits All, it introduced a new Zappa sound, coming back to more song-oriented material, like on Over-nite Sensation but harder rocking. The studio version featured high-pitched sped-up vocals, something impossible to reproduce on-stage. That may be why the song was only performed live for a short time in late 1976 (apart from a couple of pre-album performances as a work-in-progress in January of the same year). At that time, Zappa could count on the back vocals of Bianca Odin, but she stayed with the band only until November 1976. As soon as she left the song was dropped. A live recording is included on You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 6.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Zoot Allures 1976 Rykodisc / Video Arts 2:29
Zappa Picks [Larry LaLonde] 2002 Ryko Distribution / Rykodisc 2:29
FZ:OZ 2002 Dream Catcher Records / Vaulternative 4:14
Philly '76 2009 Vaulter Native / Vaulternative 2:32
blue highlight denotes editor's pick