A bit of a curious phenomenon these discs began appearing in the late 1990s (as far as I know – does anyone have a more precise date?). The Zappa discs were made between 1989 and 1995 but I have no information about the Beefheart ones.
They are six inch square single-sided flexi discs. Made of very thin plastic they include one song, which may be edited to fit the disc. The plastic comes in many, often vivid, colours including clear. Each disc may be available in three different colours.
The covers are simple black and white designs which may or may not include something Beefheart-related.
There doesn’t appear to be a pattern to which tracks are being issued.
These are a potential collector’s nightmare if the plan is to release all Beefheart and Beefheart/Zappa recordings! I did see a comment a few years ago from a seller of these that he had 32 different titles.
I found some information about the origins of these discs from a Zappa collector’s point of view –
Just to make things a bit more confusing there are some Polish flexi-postcards that include a few Zappa/Beefheart collaborations. More about them can be found here –
Here are some of the Beefheart ones I have come across. If you know of any others, please let us know, preferably with a scan of the cover.
200 Years Old
Alley Cat (but credited to Frank Zappa)
Beatle Bones n Smokin Stones
Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy
Drink Paint Run Run
Gimme Dat Harp Boy
Man with the Woman Head
Old Fart At Play
Sheriff of Hong Kong
Skeleton Makes Good
Space Age Couple
When Big Joan Sets Up
When It Blows Its Stacks
Willie The Pimp
Yellow Brick Road
If anyone is able to complete or update any of the information above, then please do get in touch.
Perhaps earlier than these flexidiscs, I heard that some music was issued in Soviet Russia on re-cycled X-ray film.
Yes, I’ve heard that too