Album: Over-Nite Sensation (1973)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Songplace
  • The words to this song are just plain silly; dental floss doesn't grow in Montana, or anywhere, but at least "Montana" is totally free of profanity, or any hint of it, something that can't be said for many Zappa songs! So what is the point of it all? Live, the eclectic Mr. Zappa and his equally whacky band performed this with a range of instruments, including percussion, sax, and most of all, with Zappa himself on lead guitar. Although he was no guitar god and saw himself primarily as a composer, Zappa was a very fine guitarist indeed, and here he plays a typically innovative solo. There are several live recordings of this floating around in cyberspace which display both his virtuosity and his off-beat humour in typically Zappa fashion. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • The backup vocals on this song are performed by Tina Turner and the Ikettes. They are also featured on two other songs on this album, "I'm the Slime" and "Dirty Love."
  • The singer mentions his zircon-encrusted tweezers. These also appear in "Dinah-Moe-Humm" earlier on the same album.
  • Zappa released this as the B-side to "I'm the Slime."
  • An audience member once requested "Whipping Post," a song by the Allman Brothers Band. Zappa apologized for not knowing the song and asked the audience member to sing it for him. The audience member sang a bar of the song in a high voice and Zappa thanked him, getting laughs from the audience. Then Zappa sang "Montana," ad-libbing the lyrics "Whipping floss" and "Whipping post" several times in place of the usual lyrics. This can be heard on the album You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joshua - New York, NY
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 15

  • Enigmaguy from SomewhereI think most have missed the lyrical encryption of this song. The song is about smoking weed (i.e., the earlier version of the most string was made from the hemp plant; hence weed.)

    In the early 70's, there was a lot of hemp being grown in Montana until the Gov't started cracking down on the industry (for those of you that are familiar with the 'High Times' magazine, you'll find tons of past articles to validate my claim).

    The lyric "...I'll wax it down" is referring to the common practice of cleaning the buds of seeds to prepare the weed to smoke.

    "Zircon encrusted tweezers" is referring to the common practice of using tweezers to smoke the last part of a joint, better known as the 'roach'.

    Although I can't validate this next claim, it appears this was certainly a very clever way on Zappa's part, to put out a record about weed under the censor radar screen for maximum airplay potential.
  • Barry from Gagetown Nb Canada, -FZ was a total music genius !
    Anyone who can compose songs about dental floss , enemas , catholic girls , slime , AND titties and beer is #1 !!
  • Joe from Grants Pass, OrLike the Bozzios, the Underwoods fit the bill to a "T" !! Lov 'em all !!!!
  • Mike from Matawan, NjI believe Tina Turner and/or the Ikettes also can be heard on 'Cosmic Debris'. "Look here brutha....who you jivin' wit dat Cosmic Debris??"
  • Dave from Sterling, FlI was addicted to Zappas music and had to stop cold turkey so I could listen to other music.
  • Thomas from Somerville, AlZAPPA IS A GOD. He could play a one string guitar and get more sound out of it than most modern musicians can get out of their whole band.
  • Jason from Tampa, FlBen Watson was a pretentious quack. His book was overblown nonsense that was written just to show off his vocabulary.
  • Kate from Burnaby, CanadaXD This makes D/L far more interesting.
  • Billy from Palm Harbor, FlMasterbation?
  • Razor from London, EnglandActually Ruth Underwood played the marimba, Ian Underwood played reed instruments.
    Zappa maintained the song was just an idle fantasy, prompted by discovering a box of dental floss in a hotel bathroom, about "how do they manufacture it? and where?" But Ben Watson (Zappa biographer) reckons the whole song is just an elaborate metaphor for masturbation.
  • Frank from Cambridge, MaWhat I love most about this song is the comedy in the music. It's pure silliness performed like it's a serious topic. His singing is just too sincere and all those parts like the bass line gliss that are just too overplayed. It makes you want to experience the serenity and bliss of riding along the border with your Zercon encrusted tweazers gleaming in the moonlighty night, doesn't it?

    Like he says - "I don't care if you think this is silly folks. I don't care if you think this is silly folks".

    P.S. - Ruth Underwood is a monster player.
  • Nick from Detroit, MiAt the time this song came out, everyone in Southern California had a scheme to go to Montana, buy some land and engage in some sort of outlandish life style or business. This song parodies that prevailing attitude.
  • David from Mesa, AzIn 1985, when rock music was targeted for sexual and violent lyrics and it was suggested that these words affected its young listeners, Zappa referenced this song--"I wrote a song about dental floss, but did anybody's teeth get cleaner?"
  • Alan from City, MiRuth and Ian Underwood did percussions for Zappa at this time. Probably Ruth on the xylophone (might be a marimba).
  • Eddie from Lachine, MiLike many Zappa compositions. . . features a majestic xylophone part. No other artist has ever focused so much attention on the instrument.
see more comments

DevoSongwriter Interviews

Devo founders Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale take us into their world of subversive performance art. They may be right about the De-Evoloution thing.

Guy ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.

Rosanne CashSongwriter Interviews

Rosanne talks about the journey that inspired her songs on her album The River & the Thread, including a stop at the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.

Tom Bailey of Thompson TwinsSongwriter Interviews

Tom stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, in part because of their personal nature: "Hold Me Now" came after an argument with his bandmate/girlfriend Alannah Currie.

Butch VigSongwriter Interviews

The Garbage drummer/songwriter produced the Nirvana album Nevermind, and Smashing Pumpkins' Gish and Siamese Dream.