Some Time In New York City
John Lennon: vocals, electric guitar
Yoko Ono: vocals
Frank Zappa: vocals, electric guitar
Mark Volman: vocals
Howard Kaylan: vocals
Ian Underwood: vocals, woodwind, keyboards
Bob Harris: vocals, keyboards
Jim Pons: vocals, bass guitar
Don Preston: Minimoog
Aynsley Dunbar: drums
Recorded with Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention in 1971, ‘Scumbag’ was a live improvisation included on the ‘Live Jam’ disc of the Some Time In New York City album.
The Mothers’ concert at the Fillmore East in New York was recorded for their Live At The Fillmore album. John Lennon and Yoko Ono joined the band for a four-song encore which also included ‘Well (Baby Please Don’t Go)’, ‘Jamrag’, and ‘Aü’.
I thought he [Lennon] had a pretty good sense of humour, so I invited him to come down and jam with us at the Fillmore East. We had already book in a recording truck because we were making the Live At The Fillmore album at the time. After they had sat in with us, an arrangement was made that we would both have access to the tapes. He wanted to release it with his mix and I had the right to release it with my mix – so that’s how that one section came out.
Lennon and Ono adapted the artwork for Live At The Fillmore for the inner sleeve of Some Time In New York City, with Lennon’s handwritten notes scrawled over the Mothers’ information.
‘Scumbag’ was an improvised song with the title sung repeatedly. Midway through Frank Zappa encouraged the audience to join in.
Hey listen. I don’t know whether you can tell what the words are to this song but there’s only two of them and I’d like to have you sing along, ’cause it’s real easy. Anybody who comes to the Fillmore East can sing this song. The name of this song is ‘Scumbag’, OK? And all you gotta do is sing ‘Scumbag’. Right on, brothers and sisters, let’s hear it for the Scumbag…
A remixed version of the Fillmore East encore was included on Zappa’s 1992 compilation Playground Psychotics. ‘Scumbag’ was listed as being composed by Lennon, Ono, Howard Kaylan, and Zappa.