Frank Zappa tells an interesting story about John and Yoko and their guest appearance at Zappa’s 1971 live album concert at the Fillmore East.
After briefly meeting them through a reporter, Zappa invited John and Yoko to come to the Fillmore that evening to jam with the band. Nervous but buoyed by cocaine, The Lennons played with the Mothers for nearly an hour and performed four songs, including a 5-minute jam. According to Zappa,
“we played for about 40 minutes I guess, and it just so happens that we had made arrangements to record that night…and the whole thing got laid down on tape. And John and I had an agreement that we were going to jointly mix the tape and decide how we were going to put it out because they’re big contract [inaudible] involved in getting the thing out. So it sat around for awhile, I guess about a year, and there was nothing done about releasing it. Finally I got word that John was going to release it, and that some negotiation was going to be worked out. The negotiation never occurred; as a matter of fact, we went in..I sent him a safety copy, 16-track masters, and I guess he went in with Phil Spector and mixed the thing with this ridiculous tape delay echo on it; he turned off Mark [Volman] and Howard [Kaylan]’s voices on the section called Scumbag, and they were the only ones really singing on it. You can’t hear them on their version of the thing. I have a mix of the thing too–you wouldn’t even recognize the two events.
And they did weird things like put in certain applause where it didn’t really occur. They changed the thing around and then the ultimate insult was to take the tune “King Kong” which was obviously an ensemble performance where everybody in the Mothers knew what they were playing, they were playing the melody, it was obviously a song…if it had been a situation where I was mixing the thing I would say ‘that’s obviously a song, what’s the name of that song; who has the writing and publishing on that?’ Well it didn’t occur in their case. They retitled [the song King Kong] ‘Jam Rag’, took the publishing and writing credit and put that on the album [Sometime in New York City] that way. Consequently there were a number of very irate phone calls between our office and Allen Klein…anyway that’s the story of the Filmore album.”
For reasons that aren’t clear, Zappa was unable to release his version of the jam until 1992 (and in this version, Volman and Kaylan make a reappearance). I’ve not found any information about this event from the Lennono perspective, however; is there anyone out there in Hey Dullblog land who can fill in the gaps?