Pop: Great covers: 16. The Mothers of Invention: `Weasels Ripped My Flesh'

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The Independent Culture
Neon Park's brushwork appears on a handful of albums, but here is the one that established him in 1970 as the most deeply surreal of illustrators.

Head Mother Frank Zappa presented Park with a magazine cover depicting a man, naked to the waist in water swarming with small bloodthirsty carnivores. The headline read "Weasels Ripped My Flesh". Said Frank, "What can you do that's worse than this?" Clearly Neon Park, the nom de brosse of artist Martin Muller, shared Zappa's provocative take on life. But the band's label considered his painting too extreme and initially refused to handle it. Years later Park was still flummoxed: "By today's standards it's pretty tame. It's not like eating liver in Milwaukee."

Fellow-Mother Lowell George was also impressed and engaged Park to illustrate the albums by his own band Little Feat. For their Down on the Farm, Park drew a voluptuous duck, manicuring herself by the pool, prompting guitarist Paul Barrere to eulogise after Park's death in 1993, "You were what's hip: a duck with lips." ROBERT WEBB

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