One of the most confounding musicians ever to grace the rock genre, Frank Zappa had a penchant for taking what essentially amounted to full-blown avant garde compositions and arranging them for rock ensemble playing. His bizarre, conceptual live performances were an astonishing mix of exceptional musicianship, onstage theatrics and pop culture satire. On May 16, 1988 Zappa showcased some of the standout live tracks from various eras of his development by releasing a career-spanning double live album titled 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol 1.'
Frank Zappa is often regarded as one of the most brilliant, idiosyncratic musicians in rock music. But, looking back at his eclectic, monstrous body of work as a composer, guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader, Zappa really wasn't a "rock" musician. That fact is cemented on 'Lumpy Gravy,' Zappa's first official solo album, which was released 45 years ago today (May 13, 1968).
The Zappa Family Trust, headed by Frank Zappa's widow Gail, has announced that select titles from the massive Zappa catalog will be finding their way to vinyl this summer. In June, Zappa's Barking Pumpkin label will put out editions of 1973's 'Over-Nite Sensation' and the 1966 classic 'Freak Out!,' joining the recently released 'Finer Moments,' a collection of live material from the early-'70s.
From the mocking cover art to the orchestral notes that grace the music to the loose thematic ties that link the songs, the Mothers of Invention’s ‘We’re Only in It for the Money’ turns ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ on its head. But it’s not so much the Beatles’ masterpiece -- which was released nine months before the Mothers album -- that Frank Zappa and his band of musical pranksters ruthlessly skewer; it’s the culture that fed and supported it.
Frank Zappa was so eccentric, maybe it was easy for fans to believe strange things about the musician. One of the Top 10 Gruesome Classic Rock Legends says that Zappa once won a gross-out contest on stage (some say with Alice Cooper) after his opponent defecated on stage -- after which Zappa ate the result. Another v
Ray Collins, the singer and co-founder of the Mothers of Invention, died on Monday (Dec. 24) in Pomona, Calif. He had been hospitalized since Dec. 18 after suffering a massive heart attack, and was removed from life support on Saturday. He was 76 years old.
Frank Zappa's live shows, much like his studio albums, were regarded as much for their irreverent playfulness as their technical virtuosity: They were wildly unpredictable, genre-hopping musical sideshows that united freaks and misfits of all varieties. But on Dec. 10, 1971, that chaotic unpredictability turned ugly, when disgruntled fan Trevor Charles Howell pushed Zappa off the stage at London's Rainbow Theatre, inflicting multiple injuries upon the versatile guitarist/composer, ultimately leaving him bound to a wheelchair.