Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Frank Zappa

Img_capt = Frank Zappa, Ekeberghallen, Oslo,
January 16, 1977. Photo by Helge Øverås
Img_size =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Frank Vincent Zappa
Alias =
Born = December 21, 1940
Baltimore, Maryland
Died = December 4, 1993 (aged 52)
Los Angeles, California
Instrument = Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, percussions, Synclavier, drums
Genre = Rock, jazz, classical, experimental
Occupation = Composer, Musician, Conductor, Producer
Years_active = 1950s–1993
Label = Verve/MGM, Warner Bros., Bizarre/Straight, DiscReet, Zappa Records, Barking Pumpkin Records, Rykodisc
Associated_acts = The Mothers of Invention
Captain Beefheart
URL = []
Notable_instruments = Gibson ES-5 Switchmaster
Gibson SG
Gibson Les Paul
Fender Stratocaster

Frank Vincent ZappaUntil discovering his birth certificate as an adult, Zappa believed he had been christened "Francis", and he is credited as Francis on some of his early albums. His real name was "Frank", however, never "Francis." Cf. Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 15.] (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, electronic, orchestral, and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed album covers. Zappa produced almost all of the more than 60 albums he released with the band Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.

In his teens, he acquired a taste for percussion-based avant-garde composers like Edgard Varèse, and 1950s rhythm and blues music. He began writing classical music in high school, while at the same time playing drums in rhythm and blues bands—he later switched to electrical guitar. He was an autodidact composer and performer, and his diverse musical influences led him to create music that was often impossible to categorize. His 1966 debut album with the Mothers of Invention, "Freak Out!", combined songs in conventional rock and roll format with collective improvisations and studio-generated sound collages. His later albums shared this eclectic and experimental approach, irrespective of whether the fundamental format was one of rock, jazz or classical. He wrote lyrics to all his songs, which—often humorously—reflected his skeptical view of established political processes, structures and movements. He was a strident critic of mainstream education and organized religion, and a forthright and passionate advocate for freedom of speech and the abolition of censorship.

Zappa was a highly productive and prolific artist and he gained wide-spread critical acclaim. Many of his albums are considered essential in rock history, and he is regarded as one of the most original guitarists and composers of his time; he remains a major influence on musicians and composers. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and was for most of his career able to work as an independent artist. Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Zappa was married to Kathryn J. "Kay" Sherman from 1960 to 1964 (no children), and in 1967, to Adelaide Gail Sloatman, with whom he remained until his death of prostate cancer in 1993. They had four children: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Gail Zappa manages the businesses of her late husband under the name the "Zappa Family Trust".

Childhood and influences: 1940–1955

Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 21, 1940 to Francis Zappa (born in Partinico, Sicily) who was of Greek-Arab descent, and Rose Marie Colimore who was of three quarters Italian and one quarter French descent. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 15.] He was the eldest of four children, and had two brothers and a sister."The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll", 1993.] During Zappa's childhood, the family often moved because his father, a chemist and mathematician, had various jobs in the US defense industry. After a brief period in Florida in the mid-1940s, the family returned to Maryland where Zappa’s father worked at the Edgewood Arsenal chemical warfare facility at the Aberdeen Proving Ground. Due to the home's proximity to the arsenal, which stored mustard gas, gas masks were kept in the house in case of an accident.Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 20–23.] This had a profound effect on the young Zappa: references to germs, germ warfare and other aspects of the defense industry occur throughout his work. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 8–9.]

As a child, Zappa was often sick, suffering from asthma, earaches and sinus problems. A doctor treated the latter by inserting a pellet of radium into each of Zappa's nostrils—little was known at the time about the potential dangers of being subjected to small amounts of therapeutic radiation.Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 10.] Nasal imagery and references appear both in his music and lyrics as well as in the collage album covers created by his long-time visual collaborator, Cal Schenkel.

Many of Zappa's childhood diseases can arise from exposure to mustard gas, and his health was worst when he lived in the Baltimore area. In 1952, his family relocated mainly because of Zappa's health. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 22.] They settled first in Monterey, California, where Zappa’s father taught metallurgy at the Naval Postgraduate School. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Claremont, then to El Cajon before moving to San Diego.

Musical influences

At Mission Bay High School in San Diego, Zappa joined his first band, The Ramblers, in which he played the drums. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 29.] At about the same time his parents bought a record player, which allowed him to develop his interest in music, and to begin building his record collection. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 22.]
R&B singles were early purchases, starting a large collection he kept for the rest of his life. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 36.] He was interested in sounds for their own sake, in particular, the sounds of drums and other percussion instruments. By the age of 12 he had obtained a snare drum, and had started to learn the rudiments of orchestral percussion. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 29.] Zappa's deep engagement with modern classical music began soon after, when he read a "LOOK" magazine story on the Sam Goody record store chain that lauded the store's ability to sell an LP as obscure as "The Complete Works of Edgard Varèse, Volume One".Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 30–33.] The story described Varèse's percussion composition "Ionisation", produced by EMS Recordings, as "a weird jumble of drums and other unpleasant sounds". Zappa became convinced that he should seek out Varèse's music. After searching for over a year, Zappa found a copy (he noticed the LP because of the "mad scientist" looking photo of Varèse on the cover) and, not having enough money with him, persuaded the salesman to sell him the record at a discount. Thus began a lifelong passion for Varèse's music and that of other modern classical composers.quote box|quote=Since I didn't have any kind of formal training, it didn't make any difference to me if I was listening to Lightnin' Slim, or a vocal group called the Jewels ... , or Webern, or Varèse, or Stravinsky. To me it was all good music.|source=—Frank Zappa, 1989 [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 34.] |width=325pxZappa grew up influenced by avant-garde composers such as Varèse, Igor Stravinsky and Anton Webern, R&B and doo-wop groups (particularly local pachuco groups), and modern jazz. His own heterogeneous ethnic background, and the diverse cultural and social mix that existed in and around greater Los Angeles, were crucial in the formation of Zappa as a practitioner of underground music and of his later distrustful and openly critical attitude towards "mainstream" social, political and musical movements. He frequently lampooned musical fads like psychedelia, rock opera and disco. [Watson, 1996, "Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play", p. 13.] [Among his many musical satires are the 1967 songs "Flower Punk" (which parodies the song "Hey Joe") and "Who Needs The Peace Corps?", which are critiques of the late-Sixties commercialization of the hippie phenomenon.] Television also exerted a strong influence, as demonstrated by quotations from show themes and advertising jingles found in his later works.

Youth and beginning of career: 1955–1960

By 1956, the Zappa family had moved to Lancaster, a small aerospace and farming town in the Antelope Valley of the Mojave Desert, close to Edwards Air Force Base, Los Angeles. Zappa's mother encouraged him in his musical interests. Although she disliked Varèse's music, she was indulgent enough to give her son a long distance call to the composer as a 15th birthday present. Unfortunately, Varèse was in Europe at the time, so Zappa spoke to the composer's wife. He later received a letter from Varèse thanking him for his interest, and telling him about a composition he was working on called "Déserts". Living in the desert town of Lancaster, Zappa found this very exciting. Varèse invited him to visit if he ever came to New York. The meeting never took place (Varèse died in 1965), but Zappa framed the letter and kept it on display for the rest of his life.Citation
last = Zappa
first = Frank
title = Edgard Varese: The Idol of My Youth
publisher = Stereo Review
pages = 61–62.
year = 1971
date = June 1971
] [On several of his earlier albums, Zappa paid tribute to Varèse by quoting his: "The present-day composer refuses to die."]

At Antelope Valley High School, Zappa met Don Vliet (who later expanded his name to Van Vliet and adopted the stage name Captain Beefheart). Zappa and Vliet became close friends, sharing an interest in R&B records and influencing each other musically throughout their careers. [Slaven, 2003, "Electric Don Quixote", pp. 29–30.] Around the same time, Zappa started playing drums in a local band, The Blackouts. [Watson, 1996, "Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play", p. 13.] The band was racially mixed, and included Euclid James "Motorhead" Sherwood who later became a member of the Mothers of Invention. Zappa grew more and more interested in the guitar, and in 1957, he was given his first guitar. Among his early influences were Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Howlin' Wolf and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. [citation | year= November 1976 | people = Mike Douglas |title = The Mike Douglas Show |publisher = NBC [TV Show] ] (In the 1970s and 80s, he invited Watson to perform on several albums.) Zappa considered soloing as the equivalent of forming "air sculptures", and developed an eclectic, innovative and personal style.

Zappa's interest in composing and arranging proliferated in his last high-school years. By his final year, he was writing, arranging and conducting avant-garde performance pieces for the school orchestra. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 40.] He graduated from Antelope Valley High School in 1958, and later acknowledged two of his music teachers on the sleeve of the 1966 album "Freak Out!" [Walley, 1980, "No Commercial Potential", p. 23.] Due to his family’s frequent moves, Zappa attended at least six different high schools, and as a student he was often bored and given to distracting the rest of the class with juvenile antics. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 48.] He left community college after one semester, and maintained thereafter a disdain for formal education, taking his children out of school at age 15 and refusing to pay for their college. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 345.]

Zappa left home in 1959, and moved into a small apartment in Echo Park, Los Angeles. After meeting Kathryn J. "Kay" Sherman during his short stay at college, they moved in together in Ontario, and were married December 28, 1960. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 58.] Zappa worked for a short period in advertising. His sojourn in the commercial world was brief, but gave him valuable insights into how it works. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 40.] Throughout his career, he took a keen interest in the visual presentation of his work, designing some of his album covers and directing his own films and videos.

Early 1960s: Studio Z

Zappa attempted to earn a living as a musician and composer, and played different nightclub gigs, some with a new version of The Blackouts. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 59.] Financially more rewarding were Zappa's earliest professional recordings, two soundtracks for the low-budget films "The World's Greatest Sinner" (1962) and "Run Home Slow" (1965). The former score was commissioned by actor-producer Timothy Carey and recorded in 1961. It contains many themes that appeared on later Zappa records. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 63.] The latter soundtrack was recorded in 1963 after the film was completed, but it was commissioned by one of Zappa’s former high school teachers in 1959 and Zappa may have worked on it before the film was shot. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 55.] Excerpts from the soundtrack can be heard on the posthumous album "The Lost Episodes" (1996).

During the early 1960s, Zappa wrote and produced songs for other local artists, often working with singer-songwriter Ray Collins and producer Paul Buff. Their "Memories of El Monte" was recorded by The Penguins (although only Cleve Duncan of the original group was featured [Gray, 1984, "Mother!", p. 29.] ). Buff owned the small Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, which included a unique five-track tape recorder he had built. At that time, only a handful of the most sophisticated commercial studios had multi-track facilities; the industry standard for smaller studios was still mono or two-track. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 42.] Although none of the recordings from the period achieved major commercial success, Zappa earned enough money to allow him to stage a concert of his orchestral music in 1963 and to broadcast and record it. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 74.] He appeared on "The Steve Allen Show" the same year, in which he played a bicycle as a musical instrument. [Slaven, 1996, "Electric Don Quixote", pp. 35–36.] With Captain Beefheart, Zappa recorded some songs under the name of The Soots. They were rejected by Dot Records for having no "commercial potential"; a quote Zappa later used on the sleeve of "Freak Out!" [Watson, 1996, "Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play", p. 27.]

In 1964, after his marriage started to break up, he moved into the Pal studio and began routinely working 12 hours or more per day recording and experimenting with overdubbing and audio tape manipulation. This set a work pattern that endured for most of his life. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 43.] Aided by his income from film composing, Zappa took over the studio from Paul Buff, who was now working with Art Laboe at Original Sound. It was renamed Studio Z. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 80–81.] Studio Z was rarely booked for recordings by other musicians. Instead, friends moved in, notably James "Motorhead" Sherwood. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa". pp. 82–83.] Zappa started performing as guitarist with a power trio, The Muthers, in local bars in order to support himself. [Watson, 1996, "Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play", p. 26.]

An article in the local press describing Zappa as "the Movie King of Cucamonga" prompted the local police to suspect that he was making pornographic films.Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 85.] In March 1965, Zappa was approached by a vice squad undercover officer, and accepted an offer of $100 to produce a suggestive audio tape for an alleged stag party. Zappa and a female friend faked an erotic recording. When Zappa was about to hand over the tape, he was arrested, and the police stripped the studio of all recorded material. The press was tipped beforehand, and next day's "The Daily Report" wrote that "Vice Squad investigators stilled the tape recorders of a free-swinging, a-go-go film and recording studio here Friday and arrested a self-styled movie producer". [citation | last= Harp| first= Ted | title = Vice Squad Raids Local Film Studio | newspaper = The Daily Report | place = Ontario, California | date = March, 1965 ] Zappa was charged with "conspiracy to commit pornography". [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 57.] This felony charge was reduced and he was sentenced to six months in jail on a misdemeanor, with all but ten days suspended. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 86–87.] His entrapment and brief imprisonment left a permanent mark, and was key in the formation of his anti-authoritarian stance. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. XV.] Zappa lost several recordings made at Studio Z in the process, as the police only returned 30 out of 80 hours of tape seized. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 87.] Eventually, he could no longer afford to pay the rent on the studio and was evicted. [Slaven, 1996, "Electric Don Quixote", p. 40.] Zappa managed to recover some of his possessions before the studio was torn down in 1966. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 90–91.]

Late 1960s: The Mothers of Invention

In 1965, Zappa was approached by Ray Collins who asked him to join a local R&B band, The Soul Giants, as a guitarist. Zappa accepted, and soon he assumed leadership and the role as co-lead singer (even though he never considered himself a singer). He convinced the other members that they should play his music to increase the chances of getting a record contract. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 65–66.] The band was renamed The Mothers, coincidentally on Mother's Day. [Slaven, 2003, "Electric Don Quixote", p. 42.] The group increased their bookings after beginning an association with manager Herb Cohen, and they gradually gained attention on the burgeoning Los Angeles underground scene. [Walley, 1980, "No Commercial Potential", p. 58.] In early 1966, they were spotted by leading record producer Tom Wilson when playing "Trouble Every Day", a song about the Watts Riots. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 103.] Wilson had earned acclaim as the producer for Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel, and was notable as one of the few blacks working as a major label pop producer at this time. Wilson signed The Mothers to the Verve division of MGM, which had built up a strong reputation for its modern jazz recordings in the 1940s and 1950s, but was attempting to diversify into pop and rock. Verve Records insisted that the band officially re-titled themselves "The Mothers of Invention" because "Mother" was short for "motherfucker"—a term that apart from its profane meanings can denote a skilled musician. [citation
people = Nigel Leigh
title = Interview with Frank Zappa
medium = BBC Late Show
publisher = BBC [TV Show]
location = UMRK, Los Angeles, CA
date = March 1993

Debut album: "Freak Out!"

With Wilson credited as producer, The Mothers of Invention and a studio orchestra recorded the groundbreaking double album "Freak Out!" (1966). It mixed R&B, doo-wop, and experimental sound collages that captured the "freak" subculture of Los Angeles at that time. [Walley, 1980, "No Commercial Potential", pp. 60–61.] The album immediately established Zappa as a radical new voice in rock music, providing an antidote to the "relentless consumer culture of America". [ Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 115.] The sound was raw, but the arrangements were sophisticated. (Some of the session musicians were shocked that they should read from charts with Zappa conducting them, as this was not standard at a rock recording. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 112.] ) The lyrics praised non-conformity, disparaged authorities, and had dadaist elements. Yet, there was a place for seemingly conventional love songs. [Watson, 2005, "Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music", pp. 10–11.] Most compositions are Zappa’s, which set a precedent for the rest of his recording career. He had full control over the arrangements and musical decisions and did most overdubs. Wilson provided the industry clout and connections to get the group the financial resources needed. [ Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 123.]

During the recording of "Freak Out!", Zappa moved into a house in Laurel Canyon with friend Pamela Zarubica, who appeared on the album. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 112.] The house became a meeting (and living) place for many LA musicians and groupies of the time, despite Zappa’s disapproval of their drug use. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 122.] He labeled people on drugs "assholes in action", and he only tried marijuana a few times without any pleasure. [ citation | title = Rolling Stone Interview | date = 1988 | first = Kurt| last = Loden| publisher = Rolling Stones Magazine ] He was a regular cigarette smoker for most of his life, and strongly critical of anti-smoking campaigns. [He considered such campaigns as yuppie inventions and noted that "Some people like garlic ... I like pepper, tobacco and coffee. That's my metabolism". Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 234–235.] After a short promotional tour following the release of "Freak Out!", Zappa met Adelaide Gail Sloatman. He fell in love within "a couple of minutes", and she moved into the house over the summer. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 65–66.] They married in 1967.

Wilson produced the follow-up album "Absolutely Free" (1967), which was recorded in November 1966, and later mixed in New York. It featured extended playing by the Mothers of Invention and focused on songs that defined Zappa’s compositional style of introducing abrupt, rhythmical changes into songs that were built from diverse elements. [Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 5.] Examples are "Plastic People" and "Brown Shoes Don’t Make It", which contained lyrics critical of the hypocrisy and conformity of American society, but also of the counterculture of the 1960s. [Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", pp. 38–43.] As Zappa put it, " [W] e’re satirists, and we are out to satirize everything." [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 135–138.] At the same time, Zappa had recorded material for a self-produced album based on orchestral works to be released under his own name. Due to contractual problems, the recordings were shelved and only made ready for release late in 1967. Zappa took the opportunity to radically restructure the contents, adding newly recorded, improvised dialogue to finalize what became his first solo album (under the name "Francis Vincent Zappa"), "Lumpy Gravy" (1968). [ Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 140–141.] It is an "incredible ambitious musical project", [Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 56.] a "monument to John Cage", [Walley, 1980, "No Commercial Potential", p. 86.] which intertwines orchestral themes, spoken words and electronic noises through radical audio editing techniques. [citation | url= | title=Lumpy Gravy. Review | last= Couture |first = François |publisher= Retrieved on January 2, 2008; Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 56.]

New York period

The Mothers of Invention played in New York in late 1966 and were offered a contract at the Garrick Theater during Easter 1967. This proved successful and Herb Cohen extended the booking, which eventually lasted half a year. [James, 2000, "Necessity Is . . . ", pp. 62–69.] As a result, Zappa and his wife, along with the Mothers of Invention, moved to New York. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 140–141.] Their shows became a combination of improvised acts showcasing individual talents of the band as well as tight performances of Zappa’s music. Everything was directed by Zappa’s famous hand signals. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 147.] Guest performers and audience participation became a regular part of the Garrick Theater shows. One evening, Zappa managed to entice some US Marines from the audience onto the stage, where they proceeded to dismember a big baby doll, having been told by Zappa to pretend that it was a "gook baby". [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 94.]

Situated in New York, and only interrupted by the band’s first European tour, the Mothers of Invention recorded the album widely regarded as the peak of the group's late 1960s work, "We're Only in It for the Money" (released 1968). [citation | url = | title = We're Only in It for the Money. Review | last= Huey| first = Steve | publisher = Retrieved on January 2, 2008] It was produced by Zappa, with Wilson credited as executive producer. From then on, Zappa produced all albums released by the Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist. "We're Only in It for the Money" featured some of the most creative audio editing and production yet heard in pop music, and the songs ruthlessly satirized the hippie and flower power phenomena. [Watson, 2005, "Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music", p. 15. Walley, 1980, "No Commercial Potential", p. 90.] The cover photo parodied that of The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".As the legal aspects of using the Sgt Pepper concept were unsettled, the album was released with the cover and back on the inside of the gatefold, while the actual cover and back were a picture of the group in a pose parodying the inside of the Beatles album. Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 151.] The cover art was provided by Cal Schenkel whom Zappa met in New York. This initiated a life-long collaboration in which Schenkel designed covers for numerous Zappa and Mothers albums. [Watson, 1996, "Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play", p. 88.]

Reflecting Zappa’s eclectic approach to music, the next album, "Cruising with Ruben & the Jets" (1968), was very different. It represented a collection of doo-wop songs; listeners and critics were not sure whether the album was a satire or a tribute. [Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 58.] Zappa has noted that the album was conceived in the way Stravinsky’s compositions were in his neo-classical period: "If he could take the forms and clichés of the classical era and pervert them, why not do the same ... to doo-wop in the fifties?" [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 88.] A theme from Stravinsky’s "The Rite of Spring" is heard during one song.

In New York, Zappa increasingly used tape editing as a compositional tool.Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 160.] A prime example is found on the double album "Uncle Meat" (1969), [James, 2000, " Necessity Is . . .", p. 104.] where the track "King Kong" is edited from various studio and live performances. Zappa had begun regularly recording concerts, [In the process, he built up a vast archive of live recordings. In the late 1980s some of these recordings were collected for the 12-CD set "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore".] and because of his insistence on precise tuning and timing, Zappa was able to augment his studio productions with excerpts from live shows, and vice versa.citation
title = We are the Mothers...and This Is What We Sound Like!
author = Chris Michie
publisher =
date = January 2003
url =
. Retrieved on January 4, 2008] Later, he combined recordings of different compositions into new pieces, irrespective of the tempo or meter of the sources. He dubbed this process "xenochrony" (strange synchronizations [Bob Marshall, "Interview with Frank Zappa," October 22, 1988.] )—reflecting the Greek "xeno" (alien or strange) and "chrono" (time). Zappa also evolved a compositional approach which he called "conceptual continuity," meaning that any project or album was part of a larger project. Everything was connected, and musical themes and lyrics reappeared in different form on later albums. Conceptual continuity clues are found throughout Zappa's entire œuvre.For a comprehensive list of the appearance of parts of "old" compositions or quotes from others' music in Zappa's catalogue, see citation | url= |title= FZ Musical Quotes|last= Albertos |first= Román García |series=Information is Not Knowledge | publisher = Retrieved on January 21, 2008]

During the late 1960s, Zappa continued to develop the business sides of his career. He and Herb Cohen formed the Bizarre Records and Straight Records labels, distributed by Warner Bros. Records, as ventures to aid the funding of projects and to increase creative control. Zappa produced the double album "Trout Mask Replica" for Captain Beefheart, and releases by Alice Cooper, Wild Man Fischer, The GTOs as well as Lenny Bruce's last live performance. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 173–175.]

Disbanding the original Mothers of Invention

Zappa and the Mothers of Invention returned to Los Angeles in the summer of 1968, and the Zappas moved into a house on Laurel Canyon Boulevard, only to move to one on Woodrow Wilson Drive in the autumn. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 178.] This became the place Zappa lived until his death. Despite being a success with fans in Europe, the Mothers of Invention were not faring well financially. [Walley, 1980, "No Commercial Potential", p. 116.] Their first records were vocally oriented, but Zappa wrote more instrumental jazz and classical oriented music for the band's concerts, which confused audiences. Zappa felt that audiences failed to appreciate his "electrical chamber music". [Slaven, 2003, "Electric Don Quixote", pp. 119–120.]

In 1969 there were nine band members and Zappa was supporting the group himself from his publishing royalties whether they played or not. [Walley, 1980, "No Commercial Potential", p. 116.] In late 1969, Zappa broke up the band. He often cited the financial strain as the main reason, [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 107.] but also commented on the band members' lack of sufficient effort. [Slaven, 2003, "Electric Don Quixote", p. 120.] Many band members were bitter about Zappa's decision, and some took it as a sign of Zappa's preference for perfection over feelings.Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 185–187.] Others were irritated by "his autocratic ways", [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 123.] which was manifested by the fact that Zappa never stayed at the same hotel as the band members. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 116.] Several members would, however, play for Zappa in years to come. Remaining recordings with the band from this period were collected on "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" and "Burnt Weeny Sandwich" (both released in 1970).

After he disbanded the Mothers of Invention, Zappa released the acclaimed solo album "Hot Rats" (1969). [citation | url = | last = Huey | first = Steve | title = Hot Rats. Review | publisher = Retrieved on January 2, 2008] Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 194.] It features, for the first time on record, Zappa playing extended guitar solos and contains one of his most enduring compositions, "Peaches En Regalia", which reappeared several times on future recordings. It was backed by jazz, blues and R&B session players including violinist Don "Sugarcane" Harris, drummer John Guerin, multi-instrumentalist and previous member of Mothers of Invention Ian Underwood, and bassist Shuggie Otis, along with a guest appearance by Captain Beefheart (providing vocals to the only non-instrumental track, "Willie the Pimp"). It became a popular album in England,Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 109.] and had a major influence on the development of the jazz-rock fusion genre.Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 74.]

1970s: From the Mothers to Zappa

In 1970 Zappa met conductor Zubin Mehta. They arranged a May 1970 concert where Mehta conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic augmented by a rock band. According to Zappa, the music was mostly written in motel rooms while on tour with the Mothers of Invention. Some of it was later featured in the movie "200 Motels". Although the concert was a success, Zappa's experience working with a symphony orchestra was not a happy one. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 88.] His dissatisfaction became a recurring theme throughout his career, where he often felt that the money spent on performances of his classical music rarely matched the final product. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 142–156.]

Rebirth of the Mothers and film making

Later in 1970, Zappa formed a new version of The Mothers (from then on, he mostly dropped the "of Invention"). It included British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, jazz keyboardist George Duke, Ian Underwood, Jeff Simmons (bass, rhythm guitar), and three members of The Turtles: bass player Jim Pons, and singers Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, who, due to persistent legal and contractual problems, adopted the stage name "The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie", or "Flo and Eddie". [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 201.]

This version of the Mothers debuted on Zappa's next solo album "Chunga's Revenge" (1970), [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 205.] which was followed by the double-album soundtrack to the movie "200 Motels" (1971), featuring The Mothers, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Ringo Starr, Theodore Bikel, and Keith Moon. Co-directed by Zappa and Tony Palmer, it was filmed in a week at Pinewood Studios outside London. Tensions between Zappa and several cast and crew members arose before and during shooting;Watson, 1996, "Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play", p. 183.] co-director Palmer tried afterwards to have his name removed from the film. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 213.] The film deals loosely with life on the road as a rock musician. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 207.] It was the first feature film photographed on videotape and transferred to 35 mm film, a process which allowed for novel visual effects. [Starks, 1982, "Cocaine Fiends and Reefer Madness", p. 153.] It was released to mixed reviews. [Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 94.] The score relied extensively on orchestral music, and Zappa's dissatisfaction with the classical music world intensified when a concert, scheduled at the Royal Albert Hall after filming, was canceled because a representative of the venue found some of the lyrics obscene. In 1975, he lost a lawsuit against the Royal Albert Hall for breach of contract. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 119–137.]

After "200 Motels", the band went on tour, which resulted in two live albums, "Fillmore East - June 1971" and "Just Another Band From L.A."; the latter included the 20-minute track "Billy the Mountain", Zappa's satire on rock opera set in Southern California. This track was representative of the band's theatrical performances in which songs were used to build up sketches based on "200 Motels" scenes as well as new situations often portraying the band members' sexual encounters on the road. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 203–204.] [During the June 1971 Fillmore concerts Zappa was joined on stage by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. This performance was recorded, and Lennon released excerpts on his album "Some Time In New York City" in 1972. Zappa later released his version of excerpts from the concert on "Playground Psychotics" in 1992, including the jam track "Scumbag" and an extended avant-garde vocal piece by Ono (originally called "Au"), which Zappa renamed "A Small Eternity with Yoko Ono".]

Accident, attack and their aftermath

In December 1971, there were two serious setbacks. While performing at Casino de Montreux in Switzerland, the Mothers' equipment was destroyed when a flare set off by an audience member started a fire that burned down the casino.Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 112–115.] [Immortalized in Deep Purple's song "Smoke on the Water", the event and immediate aftermath can be heard on the bootleg album "Swiss Cheese/Fire", released legally as part of Zappa's "Beat the Boots II" compilation.] After a week's break, The Mothers played at the Rainbow Theatre, London, with rented gear. During an encore, an audience member pushed Zappa off the stage and into the concrete-floored orchestra pit. The band thought Zappa had been killed—he had suffered serious fractures, head trauma and injuries to his back, leg, and neck, as well as a crushed larynx (which caused his voice to drop a third after healing). This left him wheelchair bound, forcing him off the road for over half a year. Upon his return to the stage in September 1972, he was still wearing a leg brace, had a noticeable limp and could not stand for very long while on stage. Zappa noted that one leg healed "shorter than the other" (a reference later found in the lyrics of songs "Zomby Woof" and "Dancin' Fool"), resulting in chronic back pain. Meanwhile, the Mothers were left in limbo and eventually formed the core of Flo and Eddie's band as they set out on their own.

During 1971–1972 Zappa released two strongly jazz-oriented solo LPs, "Waka/Jawaka" and "The Grand Wazoo", which were recorded during the forced layoff from concert touring, using floating line-ups of session players and Mothers alumni. [ Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 101.] Musically, the albums were close to that of "Hot Rats".Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 225–226.] Zappa began touring again in late 1972. His first effort was a series of concerts in September with a 20-piece big band referred to as the Grand Wazoo. This was followed by a scaled-down version known as the Petit Wazoo that toured the US for five weeks. [Official recordings of these bands did not emerge until more than 30 years later on "Wazoo" (2007) and "Imaginary Diseases" (2006), respectively.]

Top 10 album

Zappa then formed and toured with smaller groups that variously included Ian Underwood (reeds, keyboards), Ruth Underwood (vibes, marimba), Sal Marquez (trumpet, vocals), Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax, flute and vocals), Bruce Fowler (trombone), Tom Fowler (bass), Chester Thompson (drums), Ralph Humphrey (drums), George Duke (keyboards, vocals), and Jean-Luc Ponty (violin).

By 1973 the Bizarre and Straight labels were discontinued. In their place, Zappa and Cohen created DiscReet Records, also distributed by Warner Bros. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 231.] Zappa continued a high rate of production through the first half of the 1970s, including the solo album "Apostrophe (')" (1974), which reached a career-high #10 on the Billboard pop album charts [citation | url = | title= Frank Zappa > Charts and Awards > Billboard Albums | publisher = | Retrieved on January 3, 2008] helped by the chart single "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow". [citation | url = | title= Apostrophe ('). Review | last= Huey| first = Steve | publisher = . Retrieved on January 3, 2008] Other albums from the period are "Over-Nite Sensation" (1973), which contained several future concert favorites, such as "Dinah-Moe Humm" and "Montana", and the albums "Roxy & Elsewhere" (1974) and "One Size Fits All" (1975) which feature ever-changing versions of a band still called the Mothers, and are notable for the tight renditions of highly difficult jazz fusion songs in such pieces as "Inca Roads", "Echidna's Arf (Of You)" and "Be-Bop Tango (Of the Old Jazzmen's Church)".Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", pp. 114–122.] A live recording from 1974, "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 2" (1988), captures "the full spirit and excellence of the 1973–75 band". Zappa released "Bongo Fury" (1975), which featured live recordings from a tour the same year that reunited him with Captain Beefheart for a brief period. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 248.] They later became estranged for a period of years, but were in contact at the end of Zappa’s life. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 372.]

Business break ups and touring

Zappa's relationship with long-time manager Herb Cohen ended in 1976. The breakup was an acrimonious affair in which Zappa sued Cohen for skimming more than he was allocated from DiscReet Records, as well as for signing acts of which Zappa did not approve. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 250.] Cohen filed a lawsuit against Zappa in return, which froze the money Zappa and Cohen had gained from an out-of-court settlement with MGM over the rights of the early Mothers of Invention recordings. It also prevented Zappa access to any of his previously recorded material during the trials. Zappa therefore took his personal master copies of the rock-oriented "Zoot Allures" (1976) directly to Warner Bros., thereby bypassing DiscReet. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 253; pp. 258–259.]

In the mid-1970s Zappa prepared material for "Läther" (pronounced "leather"), a four-LP project. "Läther" encapsulated all the aspects of Zappa's musical styles—rock tunes, orchestral works, complex instrumentals, and Zappa's own trademark distortion-drenched guitar solos. Wary of a quadruple-LP, Warner Bros. Records refused to release it. [Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 131.] Zappa managed to get an agreement with Mercury-Phonogram, and test pressings were made targeted at a Halloween 1977 release, but Warner Bros. prevented the release by claiming rights over the material. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 261.] Zappa responded by appearing on the Pasadena, California radio station KROQ, allowing them to broadcast "Läther" and encouraging listeners to make their own tape recordings. [Slaven, 2003, "Electric Don Quixote", p. 248.] A lawsuit between Zappa and Warner Bros. followed, during which no Zappa material was released for more than a year. Eventually, Warner Bros. issued major parts of "Läther" against Zappa's will as four individual albums with limited promotion. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 267.] "Läther" was released posthumously in 1996. [It remains debated whether Zappa had conceived the material as a 4-LP set from the beginning, or only when approaching Mercury-Phonogram; see, e.g., Watson, 2005, "Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music", p. 49. In the liner notes to the 1996 release, however, Gail Zappa states that "As originally conceived by Frank, "Läther" was always a 4-record box set."]

Although Zappa eventually gained the rights to all his material created under the MGM and Warner Bros. contracts, [Watson, 2005, "Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music", p. 49.] the various lawsuits meant that for a period Zappa's only income came from touring, which he therefore did extensively in 1975–1977 with relatively small, mainly rock-oriented, bands. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 261.] Drummer Terry Bozzio became a regular band member, Napoleon Murphy Brock stayed on for a while, and original Mothers of Invention bassist Roy Estrada joined. Among other musicians were bassist Patrick O'Hearn, singer-guitarist Ray White and keyboardist Eddie Jobson. In December 1976, Zappa appeared as a featured musical guest on the NBC television show "Saturday Night Live". [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 262.] [In 1978, Zappa served both as host and musical act on the show, and as an actor in various sketches.] The performances included an impromptu musical collaboration with cast member John Belushi during the instrumental piece "The Purple Lagoon". Belushi appeared as his Samurai Futaba character playing the tenor sax with Zappa conducting. [Zappa, Frank, 1978, "Zappa in New York", Liner Notes.] Zappa's song, "I'm the Slime", was performed with a voice-over by "SNL" booth announcer Don Pardo.

Zappa's band at the time, with the additions of Ruth Underwood and a horn section (featuring Michael and Randy Brecker), performed during Christmas in New York, recordings of which appear on one of the albums released by Warner Bros., "Zappa in New York" (1978). It mixes intense instrumentals such as "The Black Page" and humorous songs like "Titties and Beer".Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 132.] The former composition, written originally for drum kit but later developed for larger bands, is notorious for its complexity in rhythmic structure, radical changes of tempo and meter, and short, densely arranged passages. [citation| url=|first=Brett|last= Clement|title= Little dots: A study of the melodies of the guitarist / composer Frank Zappa (pdf file)| work= Master Thesis|publisher=The Florida State University, School of Music|pages=25–48|date=2004. Retrieved on December 29, 2007] [citation | url= |first=Richard|last= Hemmings|title= Ever wonder why your daughter looked so sad? Non-danceable beats: getting to grips with rhythmical unpredictability in Project/Object| publisher =|date=2006. Retrieved on July 24, 2008]

"Zappa in New York" featured a song about sex criminal Michael H. Kenyon, "The Illinois Enema Bandit" (with Don Pardo providing the opening narrative). Like many songs on the album it contained numerous sexual references, and many critics objected and were offended. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 261–262; Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 134.] Zappa dismissed the criticism by noting that he was a journalist reporting on life as he saw it. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 234.] Predating his later fight against censorship, he remarked: "What do you make of a society that is so primitive that it clings to the belief that certain words in its language are so powerful that they could corrupt you the moment you hear them?"citation | last = Swenson| first = John | title = Frank Zappa: America's Weirdest Rock Star Comes Clean | date = March 1980 |publisher = High Times]

The remaining albums released by Warner Bros. without Zappa's consent were "Studio Tan" (1978) and "Sleep Dirt" (1979), containing complex suites of instrumentally based tunes (recorded between 1973 and 76), which was overlooked in the midst of the legal problems, [Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 138.] and "Orchestral Favorites" (1979), featuring recordings of a concert with orchestral music from 1975.

Zappa as independent artist

Resolving the lawsuits successfully, Zappa ended the 1970s period "stronger than ever",Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 140.] by releasing two of his most successful albums in 1979: his best selling album ever, "Sheik Yerbouti", [Citation
first = Matt
last = Groening
author-link = Matt Groening
first2 = Don
last2 = Menn
editor-last = Menn
editor-first = Don (ed.)
contribution = The Mother of All Interviews. Act II: Matt Groening joins in on the scrutiny of the central decentralizer
title = Zappa! Guitar Player Presents.
year = 1992
page = 61
place = San Francisco, CA
publisher = Miller Freeman
id = ISSN 1063-4533
] and the "bona fide masterpiece","Joe's Garage". [Both albums made it onto the Billboard top 30.citation | url=|title=Frank Zappa > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums | . Retrieved on January 6, 2008] The double album "Sheik Yerbouti" (1979) was the first release on Zappa Records, and contained the Grammy-nominated single "Dancin' Fool" (that reached #45 on the Billboard chartscitation | url= | title = Frank Zappa > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles | Retrieved on January 6, 2008] ), and "Jewish Princess", which received controversial attention when a Jewish lobby group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), tried to prevent the song from getting airplay due to its alleged anti-Semitic lyrics. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 234.] Zappa vehemently denied any anti-Semitic sentiments and disregarded the ADL as a "noisemaking organization that tries to apply pressure on people in order to manufacture a stereotype image of Jews that suits their idea of a good time". [citation | title = He's Only 38 and He Knows How to Nasty |last=Peterson | first=Chris | publisher = Relix Magazine | date= November 1979 ] The album's commercial success was attributable in part to "Bobby Brown". Due to its explicit lyrics about a young man's encounter with a "dyke by the name of Freddie", the song did not get airplay in the US, but it topped the charts in several European countries where English is not the primary language.Watson, 1996, "Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play", p. 351.] The triple LP "Joe's Garage" features lead singer Ike Willis as the voice of "Joe" in a rock opera about the danger of political systems,Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 140.] the suppression of freedom of speech and music—inspired in part by the Islamic revolution that had made music illegal within its jurisdiction at the time [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 277.] —and about the "strange relationship Americans have with sex and sexual frankness". The album contains rock songs like "Catholic Girls" (a riposte to the controversies of "Jewish Princess"), [Watson, 2005, "Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music", p. 59.] "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up", and the title track, as well as extended live-recorded guitar improvisations combined with a studio backup band dominated by drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (with whom Zappa had a particularly good musical rapport) [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 180.] adopting the xenochrony process. The album contains one of Zappa's most famous guitar "signature pieces", "Watermelon in Easter Hay". [Watson, 2005, "Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music", p. 61.] The other signature pieces are "Zoot Allures" and "Black Napkins" from "Zoot Allures". See citation
last = Zappa
first = Dweezil
title= Greetings music lovers, Dweezil here
date = 1996
author = Dweezil Zappa
publisher = Liner Notes, ""
year = 1996

On December 21, 1979, Zappa's movie "Baby Snakes" premiered in New York. The movie's tagline was "A movie about people who do stuff that is not normal". [Baby Snakes, 2003, "DVD cover", Eagle Vision.] The 2 hour and 40 minutes movie was based on footage from concerts in New York around Halloween 1977. It also contained several extraordinary sequences of clay animation by Bruce Bickford who had earlier provided animation sequences to Zappa for a 1974 TV special (which later become available on the video "The Dub Room Special" (1982)).Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 282.] The movie did not do well in theatrical distribution, [citation | url = | title = Baby Snakes – DVD | last = Sohmer | first = Adam | date = June 8, 2005 | publisher = Big Picture Big Sound . Retrieved on January 7, 2008] but won the Premier Grand Prix at the First International Music Festival in Paris in 1981. It became available on DVD in 2003.

1980s: Productive as ever

After spending most of 1980 on the road, Zappa released "Tinsel Town Rebellion" in 1981. It was the first release on his own Barking Pumpkin Records,Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 161.] and it contains songs taken from a 1979 tour, one studio track and material from the 1980 tours. The album is a mixture of complicated instrumentals and Zappa's use of "sprechstimme" (speaking song or voice)—a compositional technique utilized by such composers as Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg—showcasing some of the most accomplished bands Zappa ever had (mostly featuring drummer Vinnie Colaiuta). While some lyrics still raised controversy among critics, in the sense that some found them sexist, [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 284.] the political and sociological satire in songs like the title track and "The Blue Light" have been described as a "hilarious critique of the willingness of the American people to believe anything". [Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 165.] The album is also notable for the presence of guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, who joined Zappa's touring band in the fall of 1980. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 283.]

The same year the double album "You Are What You Is" was released. Most of it was recorded in Zappa's brand new Utility Muffin Research Kitchen (UMRK) studios, which were located at his house, thereby giving him complete freedom to work. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 269.] The album included one complex instrumental, "Theme from the 3rd Movement of Sinister Footwear", but focused mainly on rock songs with Zappa's sardonic social commentary—satirical lyrics targeted at teenagers, the media, and religious and political hypocrisy. [ citation | url= | title = You Are What You Is. Review | last = Huey | first = Steve | publisher = . Retrieved on January 7, 2008] "Dumb All Over" is a tirade on religion, as is "Heavenly Bank Account", wherein Zappa rails against TV evangelists such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for their purported influence on the US administration as well as their use of religion as a means of raising money. Songs like "Society Pages" and "I’m a Beautiful Guy" show Zappa’s dismay with the Reaganite era and its "obscene pursuit of wealth and happiness".Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", pp. 169–175.]

In 1981, Zappa also released three instrumental albums, "Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar", "Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More", and "The Return of the Son of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar", which were initially sold via mail order, but later released through the CBS label due to popular demand. [Citation
last = Zappa
first = Frank
title = Absolutely Frank. First Steps in Odd Meters
publisher = Guitar Player Magazine
page = 116.
year = 1982
date=November 1982
] The albums focus exclusively on Frank Zappa as a guitar soloist, and the tracks are predominantly live recordings from 1979–1980; they highlight Zappa's improvisational skills with "beautiful performances from the backing group as well". [citation | last= Swenson |first = John | publisher = Guitar World | date= November, 1981| title = Frank Zappa: Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar, Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More, The Return of the Son of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar] Another guitar-only album, "Guitar", was released in 1988, and a third, "Trance-Fusion", which Zappa completed shortly before his death, was released in 2006.

From hit single to classical performances

In May 1982, Zappa released "Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch", which featured his biggest selling single ever, the Grammy-nominated "Valley Girl" (topping out at #32 on the "Billboard" charts). In her improvised lyrics to the song, Zappa's daughter Moon Unit satirized the vapid speech of teenage girls from the San Fernando Valley, which popularized many "Valspeak" expressions such as "gag me with a spoon" and "barf out". [ citation | url= | title = Valley Girl. Frank Zappa. Song Review | last = Huey | first = Steve | publisher = . Retrieved on January 7, 2008] Most Americans who only knew Zappa from his few singles successes, now thought of him as a person writing "novelty songs", even though the rest of the album contained highly challenging music.Lowe, 2006, "The Words and Music of Frank Zappa", p. 178.] Zappa was irritated by this, [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 304.] and never played the song live.

In 1983, two different projects were released, beginning with "The Man From Utopia," a rock-oriented work. The album is eclectic, featuring the vocal-led "Dangerous Kitchen" and "The Jazz Discharge Party Hats", both continuations of the "Sprechstimme" excursions on "Tinseltown Rebellion." The second album, "London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. 1" contained orchestral Zappa compositions conducted by Kent Nagano and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. A second record of these sessions, "London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. 2" was released in 1987. The material was recorded under a tight schedule, and with Zappa providing all funding, helped by the commercial success of "Valley Girl".Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 146–156.] This was after Zappa had experienced unsuccessful and financially costly attempts to have orchestral works performed. Zappa was not satisfied with the LSO recordings. One reason is "Strictly Genteel", which was recorded after the trumpet section had been out for drinks on a break. The track took 40 edits to hide out-of-tune notes. Conductor Nagano, who was pleased with the experience, noted that in "fairness to the orchestra, the music is humanly very, very difficult". [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 315.] Some reviews noted that the recordings were the best representation of Zappa’s orchestral work so far. [citation | url= | title = London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. 1. Review| first= William| last= Ruhlmann| . Retrieved on January 7, 2008]


For the remainder of his career, much of Zappa's work was influenced by his use of the Synclavier as a compositional and performance tool. With the complex music he wrote, the Synclavier represented anything he could dream up.Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 172–173.] The Synclavier could be programmed to play almost anything conceivable to perfection: "With the Synclavier, any group of imaginary instruments can be invited to play the most difficult passages ... with "one-millisecond" accuracy—every time". Even though it essentially did away with the need for musicians, [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 319. ] Zappa viewed the Synclavier and real-life musicians as separate. In 1984, he released four albums. "," contains orchestral works commissioned and conducted by world-renowned conductor Pierre Boulez (who was listed as an influence on "Freak Out!") and performed by his Ensemble InterContemporain, juxtaposed with premiere Synclavier pieces. Again, Zappa was not satisfied with the performances of his orchestral works as he found them under-rehearsed, but in the album liner notes he respectfully thanks Boulez' demands for precision. [Watson, 2005, "Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music", p. 73.] The Synclavier pieces stood in contrast to the orchestral works, as the sounds were electronically generated and not, as became possible shortly thereafter, sampled.

The album "Thing-Fish" was an ambitious three-record set in the style of a Broadway play dealing with a dystopian "what-if" scenario involving feminism, homosexuality, manufacturing and distribution of the AIDS virus, and a eugenics program conducted by the United States government. [The musical was eventually produced for the stage in 2003. See citation|url= |title=Thing-Fish - The Return of Frank Zappa|publisher=The British Theatre Guide . Retrieved on December 11, 2007] New vocals were combined with previously released tracks and new Synclavier music; "the work is an extraordinary example of bricolage". [Citation
last = Carr
first = Paul
last2 = Hand
first2 = Richard J.
title = Frank Zappa and musical theatre: ugly ugly o'phan Annie and really deep, intense, thought-provoking Broadway symbolism
journal = Studies in Musical Theatre
volume = 1
issue = 1
pages = pp. 44–51.
date = 2007
year = 2007
url =
id =
Full article available by free login only. Retrieved on July 28, 2008
] Finally, in 1984, Zappa released "Francesco Zappa", a Synclavier rendition of works by 17th century composer, Francesco Zappa (no known relation), and "Them or Us," a two-record set of heavily edited live and session pieces.

enate testimony

On September 19, 1985, Zappa testified before the US Senate Commerce, Technology, and Transportation committee, attacking the Parents Music Resource Center or PMRC, a music organization, co-founded by then-Senator Al Gore's wife Tipper Gore. The PMRC consisted of many wives of politicians, including the wives of five members of the committee, and was founded to address the issue of song lyrics with sexual or satanic content. [Day, 2000, "Censorship", p. 53.] Zappa saw their activities as on a path towards censorship, [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 267.] and called their proposal for voluntary labelling of records with explicit content "extortion" of the music industry. [Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", p. 262.] In his prepared statement, he said:

The PMRC proposal is an ill-conceived piece of nonsense which fails to deliver any real benefits to children, infringes the civil liberties of people who are not children, and promises to keep the courts busy for years dealing with the interpretational and enforcemental problems inherent in the proposal's design. It is my understanding that, in law, First Amendment issues are decided with a preference for the least restrictive alternative. In this context, the PMRC's demands are the equivalent of treating dandruff by decapitation ... The establishment of a rating system, voluntary or otherwise, opens the door to an endless parade of moral quality control programs based on things certain Christians do not like. What if the next bunch of Washington wives demands a large yellow "J" on all material written or performed by Jews, in order to save helpless children from exposure to concealed Zionist doctrine? [ citation| url=
title = Record Labeling. Hearing before the committee on commerce, science and transportation.
publisher = US Government printing office
date = 1985-09-19
. Retrieved on December 31, 2007

Zappa set excerpts from the PMRC hearings to Synclavier music in his composition "Porn Wars" on the 1985 album "Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention." Zappa is heard interacting with Senators Fritz Hollings, Slade Gorton, Al Gore (who admitted to being a Zappa fan), and in an exchange with Florida Senator Paula Hawkins over what toys Zappa's children played with. Zappa went on to argue with PMRC representatives on CNN's "Crossfire" in 1986 and 1987. [citation | year=March 1986 |title = Crossfire with Frank Zappa and John Lofton | publisher=CNN [TV Debate] ] Zappa's passion for American politics was becoming a bigger part of his life. He had always encouraged his fans to register to vote on album covers, and throughout 1988 he had registration booths at his concerts. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 348.] He even considered running for President of the United States. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 365.]

Other TV appearances

Zappa mainly appeared on television as a composer or musician, but occasionally he was on TV in a non-musical role. He was actor or voice artist in episodes of "Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre",citation| url= | title = Frank Zappa | publisher = IMDb - The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on July 30, 2008] "Miami Vice" [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 343.] and "The Ren and Stimpy Show". A voice part in "The Simpsons" never materialized, to creator Matt Groening's disappointment. [citation | url = | title = Homer and Me | last = Eliscu | first =Jenny | work = Rolling Stone |date= November 8, 2002. Retrieved on July 30, 2008]

Digital medium and last tour

Around 1986, Zappa undertook a comprehensive re-release program of his earlier vinyl recordings. [ Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 340.] He personally oversaw the remastering of all his 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s albums for the new digital compact disc medium. [For a comprehensive comparison of vinyl of CD releases, see citation | url = | title = The Frank Zappa Album Versions Guide – Index | series=The Zappa Patio | publisher = Retrieved on January 7, 2008] Certain aspects of these re-issues were, however, criticized by some fans as being unfaithful to the original recordings. [For example, new drum and bass parts were used on the 1960s albums "We're Only in It for the Money" and "Cruising with Ruben & the Jets". See Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 327.] Before CDs came onto the market, Zappa had proposed to replace "phonographic record merchandising" of music by "direct digital-to-digital transfer" through phone or cable TV (with royalty payments and consumer billing automatically built into the accompanying software).Zappa with Occhiogrosso, 1989, "The Real Frank Zappa Book", pp. 337–339.] In 1989, Zappa considered his idea a "miserable flop".

The album "Jazz From Hell," released in 1986, earned Zappa his first Grammy Award in 1987 for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Except for one live guitar solo, the album exclusively featured compositions brought to life by the Synclavier. Although an instrumental album, Meyer Music Markets sold "Jazz from Hell" featuring an "explicit lyrics" sticker—a warning label introduced by the Recording Industry Association of America in an agreement with the PMRC. [citation|url=|title=Censorship Incidents: 1980s|series=Parental Advisory: Music Censorship in America|last=Nuzum|first=Eric|publisher = . Retrieved on July 23, 2007]

Zappa's last tour in a rock band format took place in 1988 with a 12-piece group which had a repertoire of over 100 (mostly Zappa) compositions, but which split under acrimonious circumstances before the tour was completed. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 346–350.] The tour was documented on the albums "Broadway the Hard Way" (new material featuring songs with strong political emphasis), "The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life" (Zappa "standards" and an eclectic collection of cover tunes, ranging from Maurice Ravel's "Boléro" to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"), and "Make a Jazz Noise Here" (mostly instrumental and avant-garde music). Parts are also found on "You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore", volumes 4 and 6.

1990s: Classical music and death

In early 1990, Zappa visited Czechoslovakia at the request of President Václav Havel, and was asked to serve as consultant for the government on trade, cultural matters and tourism. Havel was a lifelong fan of Zappa who had large influence in the avant-garde and underground scene in eastern Europe in the 1970s and 1980s (a Czech rock group that was imprisoned in 1976 took its name from Zappa's 1968 song "Plastic People"). [citation | last=Mitchell|first=Tony|title=Mixing Pop and Politics: Rock Music in Czechoslovakia before and after the Velvet Revolution |journal=Popular Music. A Changing Europe|volume=11 |publisher= Cambridge University Press|date= May, 1992| pages = pp. 187–203] Zappa enthusiastically agreed and began meeting with corporate officials interested in investing in Czechoslovakia. Within a few weeks, however, the US administration put pressure on the Czech government to withdraw the appointment. Havel made Zappa an unofficial cultural attaché instead. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 357–361.] Zappa also planned to develop an international consulting enterprise to facilitate trade between the Eastern Bloc and Western businesses.citation | last = Ouellette
first = Dan
title = Frank Zappa
publisher = Pulse! Magazine
year = 1993
pages = 48–56.
date = August 1993

Most of Zappa's projects came to a halt in 1990, when he was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. The disease had been developing unnoticed for ten years, and was considered inoperable. After his diagnosis, Zappa devoted most of his energy to modern orchestral and Synclavier works. In 1993 he completed "Civilization, Phaze III" shortly before his death. It was a major Synclavier work which he had begun in the 1980s. [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 374–375.] [It brought him a posthumous Grammy Award (with Gail Zappa) for Best Recording Package – Boxed in 1994. citation | url= | title= GRAMMY Winners | publisher= Retrieved on August 18, 2008]

In 1991, Zappa was chosen to be one of four featured composers at the world-acclaimed Frankfurt Festival in 1992 (the others were John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Alexander Knaifel). [Citation
editor-last = Menn
editor-first = Don
contribution = Andreas Mölich-Zebhauser—Preparing the Ensemble Modern for the Frankfurt Festival
title = Zappa! Guitar Player Presents.
year = 1992
pages = 12-13
place = San Francisco, CA
publisher = Miller Freeman
id = ISSN 1063-4533
] Zappa was approached by the German chamber ensemble, Ensemble Modern, which was interested in playing his music for the event. Although ill, Zappa invited them to Los Angeles for rehearsals of new compositions and new arrangements of older material.Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 369.] In addition to being satisfied with the ensemble’s performances of his music, Zappa also got along with the musicians, and the concerts in Germany and Austria were set up for the fall. In September 1992, the concerts went ahead as scheduled, but Zappa could only appear at two in Frankfurt due to illness. At the first concert, he conducted the opening "Overture", and the final "G-Spot Tornado" as well as the theatrical "Food Gathering in Post-Industrial America, 1992" and "Welcome to the United States" (the remainder of the program was conducted by the ensemble’s regular conductor Peter Rundel). Zappa received a 20-minute ovation.Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 371.] It would become his last professional public appearance, as the cancer was spreading to an extent where he was in too much pain to enjoy what he would otherwise call an "exhilarating" event. Recordings from the concerts appeared on "The Yellow Shark" (1993), Zappa’s last release when alive, and some material from studio rehearsals appeared on the posthumous "Everything Is Healing Nicely" (1999).

Frank Zappa died on Saturday, December 4, 1993 in his home surrounded by his wife and children. At a private ceremony the following day, Zappa was interred in an unmarked grave at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, Los Angeles. [Watson, 2005, "Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music", p. 552.] [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", pp. 379–380.] On Monday, December 6 his family publicly announced that "Composer Frank Zappa left for his final tour just before 6.00 pm on Saturday". [Slaven, 2003, "Electric Don Quixote", p. 320.]


Acclaim and honors

Zappa earned wide-spread critical acclaim in his lifetime and after his death. The 2004 "Rolling Stone Album Guide" writes: "Frank Zappa dabbled in virtually all kinds of music—and, whether guised as a satirical rocker, jazz-rock fusionist, guitar virtuoso, electronics wizard, or orchestral innovator, his eccentric genius was undeniable". [citation | editor-last=Brackett | editor-first=Nathan | editor2-last =Hoard | editor2-first=Christian | title= The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition |date=2004|place=New York, NY|publisher=Fireside| page = 903|id= ISBN 0-743-20169-8] Even though his work found inspiration from many different genres, Zappa was seen establishing a coherent and personal expression. In 1971, biographer David Walley noted that "The whole structure of his music is unified, not neatly divided by dates or time sequences and it is all building into a composite". [Walley, 1980, "No Commercial Potential", p. 3.] On commenting on Zappa's music, politics and philosophy, Barry Miles noted in 2004 that they cannot be separated: "It was all one; all part of his 'conceptual continuity' ". [Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 383.]

"Guitar Player Magazine" devoted a special issue to Zappa in 1992, and asked on the cover "Is FZ America's Best Kept Musical Secret?" Editor Don Menn remarked that the issue was about "The most important composer to come out of modern popular music". [Citation
first = Don
last = Menn
editor-last = Menn
editor-first = Don
contribution = From the Editor
title = Zappa! Guitar Player Presents.
year = 1992
page = 3
place = San Francisco, CA
publisher = Miller Freeman
id = ISSN 1063-4533
] Among those contributing to the issue was composer and musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky, who conducted premiere performances of works of Ives and Varèse in the 1930s. [citation | last= Kozinn | first = Allan | url= | title = Nicolas Slonimsky, Author of Widely Used Reference Works on Music, Dies at 101 | date= December 27, 1996 |newspaper=The New York Times. Retrieved on August 17, 2008] He became friends with Zappa in the 1980s, [In December 1981, the then 87 year old Slonimsky made a guest appearance on piano at a Zappa concert. Miles, 2004, "Frank Zappa", p. 295–296.] and said "I admire everything Frank does, because he practically created the new musical millennium. He does beautiful, beautiful work ... It has been my luck to have lived to see the emergence of this totally new type of music." [Citation
editor-last = Menn
editor-first = Don
contribution = Nicolas Slonimsky—The Century's Preminent Lexicographer Nails Zappa Down
title = Zappa! Guitar Player Presents.
year = 1992
pages = 6-7
place = San Francisco, CA
publisher = Miller Freeman
id = ISSN 1063-4533
] Conductor Kent Nagano remarked in the same issue that "Frank is a genius. That's a word I don't use often ... In Frank's case it is not too strong ... He is extremely literate musically. I'm not sure if the general public knows that". [Citation
editor-last = Menn
editor-first = Don
contribution = Kent Nagano—Premiering Zappa with the London Symphony Orchestra
title = Zappa! Guitar Player Presents.
year = 1992
pages = 8–11
place = San Francisco, CA
publisher = Miller Freeman
id = ISSN 1063-4533
] Pierre Boulez stated in "Musician Magazine"'s posthumous Zappa tribute article that Zappa "was an exceptional figure because he was part of the worlds of rock and classical music and that both types of his work would survive." [citation | title= Frank Zappa | last=Isler | first = Scott et al. | date = February, 1994 | publisher = Musician Magazine] Many music scholars acknowledge Zappa as one of the most influential composers of his generation. [citation | last = Ashby
first = Arved
title = Frank Zappa and the Anti-Fetishist Orchestra
journal = The Musical Quarterly
volume = 83
year = 1999
pages = pp. 557–606.
publisher = Oxford University Press
] [citation | last= Grier|first= James | title=The Mothers of Invention and "Uncle Meat": Alienation, Anachronism and a Double Variation | journal= Acta Musicologica | volume = 73| pages = pp. 77–95. | date = 2001 |publisher=International Musicological Society ] [Citation
last = Cotter
first = Jim
contribution = Frank Zappa (1940–1993)
title = Music of the Twentieth-century Avant-garde. A Biocritical Sourcebook
year = 2002
page = 597
place = Westfort, CT
publisher = Greenwood Publishing Group
id = ISBN 0-313-29689-8
] As an electric guitarist, he has become highly regarded.He is ranked 45th in citation | title = The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time | url = | date = August 27, 2003 | publisher = Rolling Stone. Retrieved on July 24, 2008] [He is ranked 51st in citation | title = The 100 Wildest Guitar Heroes | date = April 2007 | publisher = Classic Rock Magazine ] In 1994, jazz magazine "Down Beat"'s critics poll placed Zappa in its Hall of Fame. [citation | url = | title= 1994 Down Beat Critics Poll | publisher= Down Beat Magazine. Retrieved on August 12, 2008] Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. There, it was written that "Frank Zappa was rock and roll’s sharpest musical mind and most astute social critic. He was the most prolific composer of his age, and he bridged genres—rock, jazz, classical, avant-garde and even novelty music—with masterful ease". [citation | url= | title = Frank Zappa | publisher = The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc.. Retrieved on August 14, 2008] He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. [citation | url=| LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD| Retrieved on August 14, 2008] In 2005, the US National Recording Preservation Board included "We're Only in It for the Money" in the National Recording Registry as "Frank Zappa’s inventive and iconoclastic album presents a unique political stance, both anti-conservative and anti-counterculture, and features a scathing satire on hippiedom and America’s reactions to it". [citation| url= | title=The National Recording Registry 2005 | date = May 24, 2005 | series=National Recording Preservation Board | publisher = The Library of Congress . Retrieved on August 18, 2008] The same year, "Rolling Stone" magazine ranked him 71 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.citation | title = The Immortals| journal = Rolling Stone Magazine, Issue 972| publisher = Rolling Stone| url = . Retrieved on March 13, 2007]

Artists influenced by Zappa

A number of notable musicians, bands and orchestras from diverse genres have been influenced by Frank Zappa's music. Rock artists like Alice Cooper, [citation | title = Interview with Alice Cooper | last = Quigley| first = Mike | date = September 1969 | publisher = Poppin, Issue #5] Black Sabbath, [citation | url= | publisher = | date = May 1994 | title= Black Sabbath Online: Tony Iommi & Geezer Butler Interview . Retrieved on August 12, 2008] Fee Waybill of The Tubes [citation| last= Randall|first=David | title= Get Ready to ROCK! Interview with singer and frontman of American rock band The Tubes, Fee Waybill | url=| year=2004 | . Retrieved on August 13, 2008] and Billy Bob Thornton [citation|url=,0,4350962.story | title=Don't box Billy Bob Thornton in|last= Choi | first=Jennifer | date = August 14, 2008 | publisher = The Baltimore Sun . Retrieved on August 14, 2008] cite Zappa's influence, as do progressive rock artists like Henry Cow, [citation | url= | title=allmusic ((( Henry Cow > Biography )))|last= Boisen| first= Myles | publisher = | date = . Retrieved on August 13, 2008] Trey Anastasio of Phish, and John Frusciante. [citation | last = Cleveland | first= Barry | url=|date = September 2006 | title= Exclusive Outtakes from GP's Interview with John Frusciante!| publisher = Guitar Player. Retrieved on August 12, 2008] Heavy rock and metal acts like Mike Portnoy, [citation | url = | title = Bio | publisher = . Retrieved on August 12, 2008] Warren DeMartini, [Citation
first =
last =
author-link =
first2 =
last2 =
editor-last = Menn
editor-first = Don
contribution = Warren De Martini—Ratt Guitarist Turns Zappa Stylist
title = Zappa! Guitar Player Presents.
year = 1992
page = 14
place = San Francisco, CA
publisher = Miller Freeman
id = ISSN 1063-4533
] Steve Vai, [citation | url= | title = > All About Steve > Vaiography | publisher = . Retrieved on August 12, 2008] and Clawfinger [citation | url= | title= The official Pages |publisher = . Retrieved on August 12, 2008] all acknowledge Zappa's inspiration. On the classical music scene, Tomas Ulrich, [citation|url=|title= Ayman Fanous and Tomas Ulrich| publisher = Retrieved on August 12, 2008] Meridian Arts Ensemble, [ citation | url = | title=Meridian Arts Ensemble - About Us|publisher = . Retrieved on August 12, 2008] Fireworks Ensemble, [citation | url = | title=ABOUT FIREWORKS | publisher . Retrieved on August 25, 2008.] regularly perform Zappa's compositions and quote his influence. Contemporary jazz musicians and composers Bill Frisell [citation | url = | title=Bill Frisell Biography | publisher = Songline/Tonefield Productions.Retrieved on August 12, 2008] and John Zorn [citation |title=The Penguin Guide To Jazz On CD, Seventh Edition|last= Cook|first=Richard |last2=Morton|first2=Brian|year=2004|place=London|publisher=Penguin Books|page=1721|isbn=0-14101-416-4] are inspired by Zappa, as is funk legend George Clinton. [citation | url= | title=allmusic ((( George Clinton > Biography )))|last= Bush| first= John | publisher = . Retrieved on August 13, 2008] Other artists whose work is affected by Zappa, include new age pianist George Winston, [citation | url = |title= George Winston - Solo Pianist Autumn | publisher = Retrieved on August 12, 2008] electronic composer Bob Gluck, [citation|url=|title=gluckbio.html| Retrieved on September 1, 2008] and parody singer "Weird Al" Yankovic. [citation | url = | title = "Weird Al" Yankovic: Frequently Asked Questions | publisher = . Retrieved on August 12, 2008]

References in arts and sciences

Scientists from various fields have honored Zappa by naming new discoveries after him. In 1967, paleontologist Leo P. Plas, Jr. identified an extinct mollusc in Nevada and named it "Amaurotoma zappa" with the motivation "The specific name, "zappa", honors Frank Zappa". [citation | last= Plas, Jr. | first= Leo P. | title=Upper Wolfcampian (?) Mollusca from the Arrow Canyon Range, Clark County, Nevada|date=March 1972|journal=Journal of Paleontology,|volume=46|pages=pp. 249–260.|date=March, 1972|publisher=SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology] In the 1980s, biologist Ed Murdy named a genus of gobiid fishes of New Guinea "Zappa Confluentus". [cite journal | last=Murdy |first= E. O. | title=A Taxonomic Revision and Cladistic Analysis of the Oxudercine Gobies (Gobiidae: Oxudercinae) | publisher=Records of the Australian Museum | year=1989 | id = ISBN 0-730-56374-X ] Biologist Ferdinando Boero named in 1987 a Californian jellyfish "Phialella zappai", noting that he had "pleasure in naming this species after the modern music composer". [citation | last= Boero | first= Ferdinando | title=Life cycles of Phialella zappai n. sp., Phialella fragilis and Phialella sp. (Cnidaria, Leptomedusae, Phialellidae) from central California|date=April, 1987|journal=Journal of Natural History|volume=21|pages=pp. 465–480.|date=1994|publisher=Taylor & Francis Groups] Belgian biologists Bosmans and Bosselaers discovered in the early 1980s a Cameroonese spider, which they in 1994 named "Pachygnatha zappa" because "the ventral side of the abdomen of the female of this species strikingly resembles the artist's legendary moustache". [citation | last= Bosmans | first= Robert | last2=Bosselaers | first2=Jan| title=Spiders of the genera "Pachygnatha", "Dyschiriognatha" and "Glenognatha" (Araneae, Tetragnathidae), with a revision of the Afrotropical species|date=October, 1995|journal=Zoologica Scripta|volume=23|pages=pp. 325–352.|date=1994|publisher=The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters] A gene of the bacterium "Proteus mirabilis" that causes urinary tract infecti was in 1995 named "ZapA" by three biologists from Maryland. In their scientific article, they "especially thank the late Frank Zappa for inspiration and assistance with genetic nomenclature". [citation | last= Wassif | first= Christopher | last2=Cheek | first2=Diana| last3=Belas | first3=Robert|title=Molecular Analysis of a Metalloprotease from "Proteus mirabilis"|date=October, 1995|journal=Journal of Bacteriology|volume=177|pages=pp. 5790–5798.|publisher=American Society for Microbiology] In the late 1990s, American paleontologists Marc Salak and Halard L. Lescinsky discovered a metazoan fossil, and named it "Spygori Zappania" to honor "the late Frank Zappa ... whose mission paralleled that of the earliest paleontologists: to challenge conventional and traditional beliefs when such beliefs lacked roots in logic and reason". [citation | title=Spygoria zappania New Genus and Species, a Cloudina-like Biohermal Metazoan from the Lower Cambrian of Central Nevada
last=Salak| first=Marc| last2= Lescinsky|first2= Halard L.
journal = Journal of Paleontology
volume = 73
date = July, 1999
pages = pp. 571–576.
publisher = Paleontological Society

In 1994, lobbying efforts initiated by psychiatrist John Scialli, led the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center to name an asteroid in Zappa's honor: "3834 Zappafrank". [citation | last= Seachrist| first= Lisa | title=Random Samples | journal= Science. New Series | volume=265 | publisher=American Association for the Advancement of Science | date= August 12, 1994| pages = pp. 870–871. ] The asteroid was discovered in 1980 by Czechoslovakian astronomer Ladislav Brozek, and the citation for its naming says that "Zappa was an eclectic, self-trained artist and composer ... Before 1989 he was regarded as a symbol of democracy and freedom by many people in Czechoslovakia". [citation | url=|title=(3834) Zappafrank | publisher=IAU: Minor Planet Center (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) . Retrieved on August 15, 2008]

In 1995, a bust of Zappa by renowned sculptor Konstantinas Bogdanas was installed in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. A replica was in 2008 offered to the city of Baltimore. [citation | url= | title = Zany Lithuanians To Donate Zappa Statue. | last = The Associated Press | date = May 7, 2008 | publisher = CBS News . Retrieved on August 14, 2008] In 2002, a bronze bust was installed in German city Bad Doberan, since 1990 location of the "Zappanale", an annual music festival celebrating Zappa. [citation | url= | title = Zappanale - Startseite | publisher = Retrieved on August 14, 2008] At the initiative of musicians community ORWOhaus, the city of Berlin named a street in the Marzahn district "Frank-Zappa-Straße" in 2007. [citation | url= | title=Berlin Names Street After Frank Zappa| last = The Associated Press | date = July 30, 2007| publisher = The Washington Post. Retrieved on August 15, 2008] The same year, Baltimore's mayor Sheila Dixon proclaimed August 9 as the city's official "Frank Zappa Day" citing Zappa's musical accomplishments as well as his defense of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. [citation | url=|title = > What's New in Baltimore? | publisher = Retrieved on August 15, 2008]




* citation
title = Censorship: Or Freedom of Expression?
first = Nancy
last = Day
location = Minneapolis
publisher = Twenty-First Century Books, Lerner Publications
year = 2001
id = ISBN 0-822-52628-X

editor=DeCurtis, Anthony; Henke, James with Holly George-Warren
others=Jim Miller (Original Editor)
title=The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll
publisher=Random House
location=New York
year= 1992
id = ISBN 0-679-73728-6

* citation
title = Mother! is the Story of Frank Zappa
first = Michael
last = Gray
publisher = Proteus Books
location = London
year = 1984
id = ISBN 0-862-76146-8

* citation
title = Necessity Is . . .: The Early Years of Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention
first = Billy
last = James
publisher = SAF Publishing Ltd.
location = London
year = 2000
id = ISBN 0-946-71951-9

* citation
title = The Words and Music of Frank Zappa
first = Kelly Fisher
last = Lowe
publisher = Praeger Publishers
location = Westport
year = 2006
id = ISBN 0-275-98779-5

* citation
title = Frank Zappa
first = Barry
last = Miles
publisher = Atlantic Books
location = London
year = 2004
id = ISBN 1-843-54092-4

* citation
title = Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story of Frank Zappa | first = Neil
last = Slaven
publisher = Omnibus Press
location = London
year = 2003
id = ISBN 0-711-99436-6

* citation
title = Cocaine Fiends and Reefer Madness: An Illustrated History of Drugs in the Movies
last = Sparks
first = Michael
year = 1982
location = New York
publisher = Cornwall Books
id = ISBN 0-845-34504-4

* citation
title = No Commercial Potential. The Saga of Frank Zappa. Then and Now
first = David
last = Walley
publisher = E. P. Dutton
location = New York
year = 1980
id = ISBN 0-525-93153-8

* citation
title = Frank Zappa: The Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play
first = Ben
last = Watson
year = 1996
publisher = St. Martin's Griffin
location = New York
id = ISBN 0-312-14124-6

* citation
title = Frank Zappa. The Complete Guide to His Music
first = Ben
last = Watson
year = 2005
publisher = Omnibus Press
location = London
id = ISBN 1-844-49865-4

* citation
title = The Real Frank Zappa Book
first = Frank with Occhiogrosso, Peter
last = Zappa
year = 1989
publisher = Poseidon Press
location = New York
id = ISBN 0-671-63870-X

* citation
year = 1993
contribution = Frank Zappa
title = The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll
publisher = Simon & Schuster Inc
place = New York
id= ISBN 0-684-81044-1

External links

* [ The Official Frank Zappa Site]

NAME= Zappa, Frank
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Zappa, Frank Vincent
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Composer, Musician, Bandleader, Conductor, Producer
DATE OF BIRTH= birth date|1940|12|21|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH= Baltimore, Maryland
DATE OF DEATH= death date|1993|12|4|mf=y

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