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Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention. Frank Zappa in His Own Words. Retrieved from " https: Webarchive template wayback links Webarchive template webcite links CS1 maint: Views Read Edit View history.
Zappa performing in Ekeberghallen , Oslo , on January 16, We're Only in It for the Money. Weasels Ripped My Flesh. Fillmore East — June Just Another Band from L.
One Size Fits All. Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar. London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. The Old Masters, Box I. Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention.
It represented a collection of doo-wop songs; listeners and critics were not sure whether the album was a satire or a tribute.
During the late s, Zappa continued to develop the business sides of his career. Records , as ventures to aid the funding of projects and to increase creative control.
In and , Zappa made two appearances with the Monkees. After the interview, Zappa destroys a car with a sledgehammer as the song "Mother People" plays.
He later provided a cameo in the Monkees' movie Head where, leading a cow, he tells Davy Jones "the youth of America depends on you to show them the way.
Despite being a success with fans in Europe, the Mothers of Invention were not faring well financially. Zappa felt that audiences failed to appreciate his "electrical chamber music".
In there were nine band members and Zappa was supporting the group himself from his publishing royalties whether they played or not. In late , Zappa broke up the band.
He often cited the financial strain as the main reason, : Remaining recordings with the band from this period were collected on Weasels Ripped My Flesh and Burnt Weeny Sandwich both released in It became a popular album in England, : In Zappa met conductor Zubin Mehta.
They arranged a May 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 Motels. Later in , Zappa formed a new version of the Mothers from then on, he mostly dropped the "of Invention".
This version of the Mothers debuted on Zappa's next solo album Chunga's Revenge , : In , he lost a lawsuit against the Royal Albert Hall for breach of contract.
This track was representative of the band's theatrical performances—which used songs to build sketches based on Motels scenes, as well as new situations that often portrayed the band members' sexual encounters on the road.
On December 4, , Zappa suffered his first of 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.
During the encore, audience member Trevor Howell 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 ultimately caused his voice to drop a third after healing.
This attack resulted in an extended period of wheelchair confinement, making touring impossible for over half a year.
Upon return to the stage in September , Zappa 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.
This was followed by a scaled-down version known as the Petit Wazoo that toured the U. By the Bizarre and Straight labels were discontinued.
Zappa's relationship with long-time manager Herb Cohen ended in 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.
It also prevented Zappa having access to any of his previously recorded material during the trials.
Zappa therefore took his personal master copies of the rock-oriented Zoot Allures directly to Warner Bros. In the mids 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. In , 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'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 Warner Bros.
It mixes complex instrumentals such as " The Black Page " and humorous songs like "Titties and Beer". Zappa in New York featured a song about sex criminal Michael H.
Like many songs on the album, it contained numerous sexual references, : Records without Zappa's consent were Studio Tan in and Sleep Dirt and Orchestral Favorites in , which contained complex suites of instrumentally-based tunes recorded between and , and whose release was overlooked in the midst of the legal problems.
Resolving the lawsuits successfully, Zappa ended the s by releasing two of his most successful albums in 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 U.
The album contains one of Zappa's most famous guitar "signature pieces", "Watermelon in Easter Hay".
The movie's tagline was "A movie about people who do stuff that is not normal". It also contained several extraordinary sequences of clay animation by Bruce Bickford who had earlier provided animation sequences to Zappa for a TV special which became available on the video The Dub Room Special.
Zappa later expanded on his television appearances in a non-musical role. In , Zappa cut his ties with record distributor Phonogram after the label refused to release his song " I Don't Wanna Get Drafted ".
After spending much of on the road, Zappa released Tinsel Town Rebellion in It was the first release on his own Barking Pumpkin Records , : 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.
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 in his work.
The albums focus exclusively on Frank Zappa as a guitar soloist, and the tracks are predominantly live recordings from to ; they highlight Zappa's improvisational skills with "beautiful performances from the backing group as well".
In , 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. A second record of these sessions, London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. II was released in The material was recorded under a tight schedule with Zappa providing all funding, helped by the commercial success of "Valley Girl".
One reason is "Strictly Genteel", which was recorded after the trumpet section had been out for drinks on a break: Conductor Nagano, who was pleased with the experience, noted that "in fairness to the orchestra, the music is humanly very, very difficult".
Although critically acclaimed the work was a financial failure, and only performed twice. It was there Zappa delivered his famous "Bingo!
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.
Even considering the complexity of the music he wrote, the Synclavier could realize anything he could dream up. In , he released four albums. The Perfect Stranger contains orchestral works commissioned and conducted by celebrated conductor, composer and pianist Pierre Boulez who was listed as an influence on Freak Out!
These were juxtaposed with premiere Synclavier pieces. Again, Zappa was not satisfied with the performances of his orchestral works, regarding them as under-rehearsed, but in the album liner notes he respectfully thanks Boulez's demands for precision.
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.
Francesco Zappa , a Synclavier rendition of works by 18th-century composer Francesco Zappa was also released in Around , Zappa undertook a comprehensive re-release program of his earlier vinyl recordings.
Except for one live guitar solo "St. Etienne" , the album exclusively featured compositions brought to life by the Synclavier. Zappa's last tour in a rock and jazz band format took place in with a piece group which had a repertoire of over mostly Zappa compositions, but which split under acrimonious circumstances before the tour was completed.
Recordings from this tour also appear on the album Trance-Fusion. In , Zappa was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. The disease had been developing unnoticed for ten years and was considered inoperable.
Shortly before his death in he completed Civilization Phaze III , a major Synclavier work which he had begun in the s.
In , Zappa was chosen to be one of four featured composers at the Frankfurt Festival in the others were John Cage , Karlheinz Stockhausen , and Alexander Knaifel.
Although ill, he invited them to Los Angeles for rehearsals of new compositions and new arrangements of older material. In September , 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, " and "Welcome to the United States" the remainder of the program was conducted by the ensemble's regular conductor Peter Rundel.
Zappa received a minute ovation. It was his last professional public appearance as the cancer was spreading to such an extent that he was in too much pain to enjoy an event that he otherwise found "exhilarating".
Zappa died, after his long battle with prostate cancer, on December 4, , 17 days before his 53rd birthday at his home with his wife and children by his side.
At a private ceremony the following day, his body was buried in a grave at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery , in Los Angeles.
The grave is unmarked. The general phases of Zappa's music have been variously categorized under experimental rock ,  jazz ,  classical ,  avant-pop ,  experimental pop ,  comedy rock ,  doo-wop ,   jazz fusion ,  progressive rock ,  proto-prog ,  avant-jazz ,  and psychedelic rock.
His own heterogeneous ethnic background, and the diverse social and cultural mix 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. Zappa's albums make extensive use of segued tracks, breaklessly joining the elements of his albums.
Everything was connected, and musical themes and lyrics reappeared in different form on later albums. Zappa is widely recognized as one of the most significant electric guitar soloists.
In a issue of Guitar World , Jon Swenson declared: A November feature by the editors of Guitar Player magazine wrote: He was further described as using a wide variety of scales and modes, enlivened by "unusual rhythmic combinations".
His left hand was capable of smooth legato technique, while Zappa's right was "one of the fastest pick hands in the business. In New York, Zappa increasingly used tape editing as a compositional tool.
Zappa had begun regularly recording concerts, [nb 11] and because of his insistence on precise tuning and timing, he was able to augment his studio productions with excerpts from live shows, and vice versa.
He dubbed this process " xenochrony " strange synchronizations  —reflecting the Greek "xeno" alien or strange and "chronos" time.
Zappa was married to Kathryn J. In , he married Adelaide Gail Sloatman. Moon , Dweezil , Ahmet and Diva. Following Zappa's death, his widow Gail created the Zappa Family Trust, which owns the rights to Zappa's music and other creative output: Zappa stated that he tried smoking cannabis approximately ten times, but without any pleasure or result beyond sleepiness and sore throat, and "never used LSD, never used cocaine, never used heroin or any of that other stuff".
While he disapproved of drug use, he criticized the War on Drugs , comparing it to alcohol prohibition , and stated that the United States Treasury would benefit from the decriminalization and regulation of drugs.
I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because and only so long as individual citizens give it a 'temporary license to exist'—in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself.
In a democracy, you own the government—it doesn't own you. In a interview, Zappa reported that he was a registered Democrat but added "that might not last long—I'm going to shred that".
Zappa was often characterized as an atheist. He felt disgust towards organized religion Christianity in particular because he believed that it promoted ignorance and anti-intellectualism.
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.
Zappa suggested that record labels were trying to get the bill passed quickly through committees, one of which was chaired by Senator Strom Thurmond, who was also affiliated with the PMRC.
Zappa further pointed out that this committee was being used as a distraction from that bill being passed, which would lead only to the benefit of a select few in the music industry.
Zappa saw their activities as on a path towards censorship, : 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?
Zappa had a controversial critical standing during his lifetime. As Geoffrey Himes noted in after the artist's death, Zappa was hailed as a genius by conductor Kent Nagano and nominated by Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel to the country's cultural ambassadorship, but he was in his lifetime rejected twice for admission into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and been found by critics to lack emotional depth.
But that's where the agreement ends. Some fans find his sophomoric jokes "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" and pop music parodies "Sheik Yerbouti" a crucial counterbalance to the rarefied density of the music; other devotees find the jokes an irrelevant sideshow to music best appreciated in a chamber or orchestral setting.
The critics find the humor's smug iconoclasm a symptom of the essential emptiness of Zappa's intellectual exercises. The Rolling Stone Album Guide writes: In , 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".
He does beautiful, beautiful work It has been my luck to have lived to see the emergence of this totally new type of music. 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.
Frank Zappa is a very dedicated musician. And that comes through in both the quantity and the quality of the music he produces.
And being able to watch him create that music is a real thrill in itself. Vai vond Zappa een genie, die continu bewees een absurd hoog niveau te halen.
Maar zelfs een genie heeft topdagen en deze was in New York. Ik ken dit prachtige instrumentale nummer in vele uitvoeringen, maar deze had zelfs ik nog niet gehoord.
Hier schoten de tranen in mijn ogen! Zo verschrikkelijk mooi en zo verschrikkelijk goed. Jimi Hendrix heeft eveneens een aparte afdeling in mijn muziekkast, maar dit evenaarde hem minimaal.