Bat Chain Puller on vinyl

I’ve had some enquiries about whether there’s a vinyl version of the recently remastered Bat Chain Puller.

As far as I can make out the Zappa Family Trust will not be releasing one … many Zappa fans have already been upset by the absence of vinyl versions of Mothers and Frank titles so it’s nothing personal towards us Beefheart followers.
Inevitably though, bootleggers have stepped in to fill the gap. So, there is now a (white) vinyl version of Bat Chain Puller available. It’s dubbed from the remastered CD and sporting artwork based on it too. It’s even claiming to be a Vaulternative release … presumably as a single digit salute to Gail.
This vinyl version only has the original 12 tracks and doesn’t include any of the bonus material from the CD.
It’s out there … but I can’t vouch for the quality of the pressing as I’ve not heard it.


  1. i know someone who spoke with Gail about it, and she said a vinyl version was in development. but now that there’s a bootleg out there that purports to be authentic, the incentive to release it now into a confusing marketplace is probably reduced to zero. i’m guessing the Zappa folks would have used a CD source too, but they should have at least had the chance to do it right.

  2. If they did, I could see it being a special vinyl mix. One thing about the ZFT, they can be pretty anal… look at the recent Zappa reissues, they even re-remastered them for itunes.

    Which is a bit naive, IMHO, if you have ear buds in, you cant really be worried about sonic quality.

    But yeah, a bootleg vinyl would definitely discourage Gail from putting one out. Then again, that was the same argument re: Ozit’s DUST SUCKER. So it could still happen. It may take another 36 years, but it could still happen.

  3. Why would anyone knowingly buy an album knowingly mastered from a CD? Why not just play scratchy noise while simultaneously playing the CD? Because playing from vinyl digital master is plainly idiotic and adds nothing exept object fetishism.

    The ZFT would have zero reason to master from CD, seeing as they own the analogue masters.

    BTW anonymous — the point of remastering for iTunes to compensate for what’s lost via earbuds. Not naive.

    1. @Festus von Gunsmoke

      ‘Why would anyone knowingly buy an album knowingly mastered from a CD?’

      It’s business. Most people wont even know or even think about the source. So, bootlegging a CD to vinyl makes perfect sense for the bootleggers. Cheap, easy, maximum profit. The industry doesn’t even care – you can buy them (vinyl boots) from shops and discogs.

      btw. mastering from vinyl is arguably OK if the masters are 24/96 or higher. It’s just mastering vinyl from CD that is a little dumb.

  4. I think the vinyl thing from the digital master is more the pleasurable sensation of playing vinyl itself… sonically it is at best equivalent and at worst scratchy and inferior.

    However vinyl does add a certain sound just by its nature and can produce some overtones that can be deemed more pleasurable to the ear. of course this is an artifact, but can affect ones perception.

  5. This is no great surprise as all the FZ posthumous releases have received the same treatment, on white vinyl, no less, so same culprits here I wd imagine. Think they press about 200 and if you are not part of the network they are hard to secure. I wd think the folks who press these are hardcore enough to buy an official vinyl if ever released.
    Love, the beep

  6. I obtained this via an auction of three records, sometimes the fans talk about releases and very often not long after that it is indeed in the shops.
    I thought it must be a legal release. Generally I dont buy bootlegs because of the bad sound they have. However I think the artists or other copyright owners are to blame themselves. Fans who still like the artist would like to see a good release. So why wait till the tapes have detoriated? If I would have such tapes and the end was going near, I would release them fuck the money…. Whats the point in sitting on material to wait untill the tapes are totally gone?

    I went for a die-cut copy of Mirrorman, original, and got this one cheap as an extra in the auction.
    Have not yet listened to it. Sleeve is nice, better than the Zappa release that has a design wich is no design. Like a bar of soap. Where are the days of Hipgnosis and Carl Schenkel?

  7. I got a vinyl copy of this with another sleeve, looking like a bootleg should, with just stamped titles on cardboard coloured sturdy paper. If Gail is holding back on this, just like she is refusing to offer us 200 Motels, I won’t feel guilty. It is a pretty good sounding record, even if it is taken from cd, I got the feeling, by comparing it at the house of a frind of mine, it is warmer, the voice very real upfront. Anyway, I like to have this masterpiece on vinyl, because I hate the silly little bastards called cd, never bought into that hype.

  8. i got the vinyl Roger Eagle tapes, tapes were sent by Don to the UK, on vinyl 180 grams purple sounds excellent cover art is pretty strange

    1. Author

      There is nothing special about the ‘Roger Eagle Tapes’, it’s just another piece of Ozit hype. The ‘tape’ was one of many distributed by Virgin to promoters, DJs and radio presenters. I have no idea why they did this. The tape wasn’t the finished album – it hadn’t had its final production work completed. But these tapes became the source of all the bootleg versions of BCP (including the Ozit ones), the first was released in the early 1980s. Ozit were a bit late to the party with their release of it as ‘Dust Sucker’ in 2002 which is when the Roger Eagle story first appeared but the source tape used was obviously the same as all the other versions! You would have thought that the Zappa Family release of the remastered album in 2012 would have put an end to any further bootlegs, but no, because they stupidly didn’t release a vinyl version. This led to several vinyl versions appearing, all dubbed from the CD. Then, not long after this Ozit released ‘Son of Dust Sucker’ on CD which has exactly the same claims about the ‘Roger Eagle Tapes’ as the original ‘Dust Sucker’ release yet the sound quality is much better than ‘Dust Sucker’. They had the nerve to copy the remastered version and release as ‘Son of …’. What a bloody cheek! In the process, in typical Ozit style, they managed to make the sound quality worse (although still better than ‘Dust Sucker’). The use of the Roger Eagle story on both of these releases proves it to be rather suspect truth wise. The best sounding version of the ‘Bat Chain Puller’ album is the CD issued by the Zappa Family because that has come from the remastered master tapes – no one else has had access to them. The Ozit release is not what it purports to be. There is a place for bootleg because of the greed, laziness and short-sightedness of record companies but Ozit are a disgrace, they disrespect Don and they desecrate his musical legacy. A pox on Ozit and and all their works!

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