Zappa, Frank

views updated Jun 08 2018

Frank Zappa

Singer, songwriter, guitarist

For the Record

Selected discography


If youre not known as a popular musician, you I dont exist, Frank Zappa told John Rockwell of the New York Times.The audience that receives my music is a pop audience. If you dont appear as a pop musician, they dont even want to know what youre talking about. Ive always assumed that anything I put on records would be bought by everybody in the world. I like my music, from the simplest to the weirdest. And I know that there are people out there who have the same idea of a good time as I have. In the 25 years since Frank Zappa first astonished an audience, he and his group have expanded the horizons of his personal fusion of electronic music.

Born in Baltimore in 1940, Zappa moved with his family to California where he first studied drums and guitar. He learned from the masters, as he told Rockwell: Most musicians learn their trade by listening to records and imitating them. While we were first starting out, all we had was Chuck Berry. Zappa told Guitar Player, in an analytical profile of his own guitar style, that he had collected R&B records by guitar players Gatemouth Brown, Guitar Slim [Eddie Jones], Matt Murphy, and Guitar Watson. After an adolescent rock and roll group, he joined with Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, in the early 1960s. Zappa switched to electric guitar at 21. His earliest pop song was Memories of El Monte, with Ray Collins, which was recorded by the Penguins.

The first of the many variations of Zappas band, the Mothers of Invention, began in 1964 as the Soul Giants. By 1966, when its first recording contract was negotiated, the group included Zappa, Collins, guitarist Elliot Ingber, keyboard player Ian Undrwood, bass guitarist Roy Estrada, and percussionists Billy Mindi and Jimmy Carl Black. Their first albums for Verve, Freak Out! (1966), Absolutely Free (1967), Were Only in it for the Money (1967), and Cruisin with Ruben and the Jets (1968), were satirical, self-conscious records that used tape-montages and over-dubbings. Lumpy Gravy (1967) was Zappas first to use a large orchestra.

It was the live performances that gave the Mothers of Invention their unique reputation and established Zappa as, in the words of Rolling Stone, incontestably the first of the pop freaks whose music had the impact to give his outrage real authority. Rumours spread about incidents in the small theaters in which the Mothers of Invention played, but, as Zappa told David Rensin in Circular (a Warner Brothers press newsletter): we played for whoever would come in and take part in what we were doing. We would involve the audience so that what we did was an extension of the personalities of the people in the group and in the audience instead of a locked-in spectacle type show. It was spontaneous,

For the Record

Full name, Francis Vincent Zappa, Jr.; born December 21, 1940, in Baltimore, Md.; son of Francis Vincent Zappa; married Gail Sloatman, 1969; children: Dweezil, Moon Unit, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, Diva. Education: Attended Chaffey Junior College, 1959.

As a child, studied guitar and drums; played in a rock and roll band as a teenager; in the early sixties, joined with Don Van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart); founded group the Soul Giants, 1964, which later evolved into the Mothers of Invention; has recorded and toured widely; head of several of his own labels (distributed by a number of major record companies), including Bizarre, Straight, DiscReet, and Barking Pumpkin; president of Pumpko Industries Ltd., Los Angeles, Calif.; has also directed films, including 200 Motels, 1971, and Baby Snakes, 1980.

Awards: Named pop musician of the year by down beat magazine, 1970, 1971, and 1972.

Addresses: Office Pumpko Industries Ltd., 7720 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90046.

and our credo was that we werent afraid to do anything as long as the audience was going to get off on it. I do weird things onstage, but nothing involving material discharges from the body or small animals subject to injuries. Weve done some strange things, but we dont hurt people or animals, and it doesnt smell bad. His reminiscences were more specific in a 1968 interview in Rolling Stone: We performed a couple of marriages on stage. We pulled people out of the audience and made them make speeches. One time we brought 30 people up on stage and some of them took out instruments and the rest of them sang Louie, Louie as we left.

A contract with Warner Brothers gave Zappa his own label, DiscReet (originally called Bizarre and Straight), on which he also produced records by Captain Beef-heart and the young Alice Cooper. His solo recordingsBurnt Weeny Sandwich and Weasels Ripped My Flesh (both 1970)were instrumental with more jazz elements than in Mothers of Invention albums. The Mothers of Invention reformed in 1971 as an instrumental backup for Zappas narrativesfew if any of which could be played on the radio. His first hit single, Dont Eat the Yellow Snow, from Overnite Sensation (1973), was probably aired only because its language was incomprehensible. Even the New Grove Dictionary of American Music describes the Mothers of Inventions 1970s cannon as scatological rock.

The jazz and rock fusion that Zappa had created depended on equal parts of surreal theatricality and expert instrumental playing. In the mid-1970s, critics complained that the Mothers of Invention were presenting just a good if somewhat kinky rock-and-roll show, as Robert Palmer put it in the New York Times.A 1972 concert reviewed by Don Heckman in the Times garnered a more positive response: Zappa gave [the audience] a mixed-bag of jazz-rock-classical music from a 20-musician ensemble. Heckmans list of musical genres evident in Zappas concert ranged from Stravinsky, Shostakovitch, and Milhaud to rock rhythms, and it ended by labeling him the Leonard Bernstein of rock. Chip Stern, writing in the Village Voice in 1984, created a similar list of influences: The appeal for me was Zappas musical scope: anything from affectionate parodies of roots doo-wop to note, rhythm n blues, Chicago-style lead guitar, modern jazz, psychedlia, electronics, opera and 20th century classicism night turn up in his early albumsoftentimes simultaneously.

Zappa had legal problems with a succession of recording companies in the 1970s, ending up with a mailorder label, Barking Pumpkin, which is distributed by CBS. His novelty hit single, Valley Girls, based on the slang of the teenagers in the San Fernando Valley, featured his daughter, Moon Unit. His eldest son, Dweezil, has also become a popular guitarist and rock singer. Zappa has also directed two films with his own scores200 Motels (1971) and Baby Snakes (1980)that have cult followings. He announced in 1988 that he would begin a series of video productions of state of the art weirdness for the home market.

Electronic music is somewhat more acceptable in classical circles, and Zappas instrumental works have been performed in concerts since 1981. He recognizes the influence of Edgar Varese on his works, as famed jazz critic Ralph Gleason noted in BMI Many Worlds of Music, prophecizing that the more a serious music audience develops for Zappas work, the sooner we will have a concert in which he will expand his concepts of electronic music to include a diversification of sounds that should be astonishing. Zappa is also associated with Pierre Boulez Ensemble InterContemporain, which commissioned his The Perfect Stranger in 1984. His music has also been championed by Kent Naganos Berkeley Symphony, which performed his Sinister Footwear (1984), originally commissioned by the Oakland Ballet. Three works, including The Perfect Stranger are included on a album of electronic music in 1984Boulez Conducts Zappa for Angel; the work has been revived by many ensembles, among them, the Juilliard Chamber Orchestra in 1988. Zappa ha experimented with the synclavier and has utilized its sampling ability in albums, such as his Jazz from Hell (Barking Pumpkin, 1988), producing sounds described in the New York Times as having an almost fiendishly brittle, inhuman quality.

For a creative artist who has been described both as the Leonard Bernstein of rock in the Village Voice and as the Orson Welles of rock in the New York Times, Zappa has had a curious career. His music may become a staple in the classical repertory of the future or a document in the oddities of performance. He is, as he told the Times, a composer who deals with materials that are not specifically musical.

Selected discography

Freak Out, Verve, 1966.

Absolutely Free, Verve, 1967.

Were Only in It for the Money, Verve, 1967.

Lumpy Gravy, Verve, 1967.

Cruisin With Ruben and the Jets, Verve, 1967.

Mother Mania, Verve, 1969.

Uncle Meat, Bizarre, 1969.

Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Bizarre, 1970.

Chungas Revenge, Bizarre, 1970.

Hot Rats, Bizarre, 1970.

Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Bizarre, 1970.

Live at Fillmore East, Bizarre, 1971.

200 Motels, (film soundtrack), United Artists, 1971.

Just Another Band from LA, Bizarre, 1972.

The Grand Wazoo, Bizarre, 1972.

Waka Jawaka, Bizarre, 1972.

Overnight Sensation, DiscReet, 1974.

Apostrophe, DiscReet, 1974.

Roxy and Elsewhere, DiscReet, 1974.

One Size Fits All, DiscReet, 1974.

Rock Flashbacks, Verve, 1975.

Bongo Fury, DiscReet, 1975.

Zoot Allures, Warner Bros., 1976.

Mothers Day, Verve, 1977.

In New York, DiscReet, 1978.

Studio Tan, DiscReet, 1978.

Sheik Yerbouti, Zappa, 1979.

Sleep Dirt, DiscReet, 1979.

Orchestral Favourites, DiscReet, 1979.

Joes Garage, Act 1, Zappa, 1980.

Joes Garage, Acts 2 and 3, Zappa, 1980.

Zappa and the Mothers, Verve.

Tinseltown Rebellion, CBS, 1981.

You Are What You Is, CBS, 1981.

Shut Up n Play Yer Guitar, CBS, 1981.

Ship Arriving Too Late, CBS, 1982.

Them or Us, EMI, 1984.

Boulez Plays Zappa, Angel, 1984.

Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention, EMI, 1985.

Jazz from Hell, Barking Pumpkin, 1988.


BMI Many Worlds of Music, spring, 1969.

Circular, December 10, 1973.

Guitar Player, January, 1977.

New York Times, September 24, 1972; November 2, 1976; December 27, 1976; August 28, 1984; September 30, 1984; June 17, 1987; April 13, 1988.

Rolling Stone, July 20, 1968; July 4, 1974.

Village Voice, March 20, 1984.

Barbara Stratyner

Zappa, Frank

views updated Jun 27 2018

Frank Zappa

Singer, songwriter, composer, guitarist

Early Individualism on Display

The End of The Mothers of Invention

Testified before Congress

Diagnosed with Cancer

Selected discography


I dont want to spend my life explaining myself, Frank Zappa once said. You either get it or you dont. Indeed, Zappas fiery social commentary and fiercely uncompromising brand of musicwhich ran the gamut from rock to classical compositionsmade him a figure who garnered large measures of both praise and criticism. Many Americans learned of him only after he emerged as a highly visible and articulate defender of freedom-of-speech issues during the mid- 1980s. But to followers of his career, Zappas outspoken testimony before Congress came as no surprise, for he had often directed outrageous and perceptive volleys at American institutions and their imperfections in his records.

In 1993 Zappa died at the age of 52 from prostate cancer. His death silenced one of the music worlds most unique artists. Zappa left behind a vast catalog of recordings, however, as noted by Entertainment Weekly contributor Tom Sinclair: Esoteric, genre defying, pornographic, scathingly satirical, and often downright bizarre, the late composer-guitarist Zappas oeuvre will be pondered by musicologists and sociologists alike for years to come.

Frank Vincent Zappa, Jr., theoldest of four children, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on December 21, 1940. When he was nine years old, Zappas family moved to Monterey, California. Once there, Zappa made his first tentative explorations of the world of music. Around the age of twelve I started getting interested in the drums, Zappa recalled in his autobiography, The Real Frank Zappa Book. I guess a lot of young boys think the drums are exciting, but it wasnt my idea to be a rockand roll drummer or anything like that, because rock and roll hadnt been invented yet. I was just interested in the sounds of things a person could beat on. By 1956 Zappa was playing in a high school rhythm and blues band called the Ramblers. He discovered the guitar around this time as well and subsequently formed his first band, the Black-Outs.

Early Individualism on Display

Even during high school, Zappas strong sense of individualism was on garish display. He admitted that his classmates found him to be a pretty strange guy. I would refuse to salute the flag; I would wear weird things to school; I would get in trouble all the time, and get thrown out of school. I did things that were pretty notorious, he told Musician writer Dan Forte. They threw me out [of the marching band] because they caught me smoking under the bleachers with my maroon uniform on.

Shortly after graduating from Antelope Valley High School, Zappa met Kay Sherman.I had gone to Antelope Valley Junior College in Lancaster and Chaffey

For the Record

Born Frank Vincent Zappa, Jr., December 21, 1940, in Baltimore, MD; died of prostate cancer, December 4, 1993; married Kay Sherman (divorced); married Adelaide Gail Sloatman, 1969; children: (with Sloatman) Dweezil, Moon Unit, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, Diva. Education: Attended Antelope Valley High School, Antelope Valley Junior College, and Chaffey Junior College, all in California.

Formed first band, the Black-Outs, in high school; recorded soundtrack for The Worlds Greatest Sinner, 1960; founded the Soul Giants, 1964, which soon evolved into the Mothers of Invention (original members included Elliott Ingber, Roy Estrada, Jimmy Carl Black, and Ray Collins); signed with Verve/MGM and released first album, Freak Out!, 1966; formed Bizarre Records, 1968, with manager Herb Cohen; produced film 200 Motels, 1971; 1970s European tour ended after band equipment was destroyed in fire and Zappa was attacked on stage; Dont Eat That Yellow Snow made Billboards Top 100 singles chart, 1974; testified before Congress on censorship issues, 1985.

Selected awards Grammy Award, 1988, for Jazz from Hell; posthumous induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 1995.

Junior College in Alta Loma for the express purpose of meeting girls. I had no interest in higher education, but after finishing high school it occurred to me that if I wasnt in school, I wasnt going to meet anyso I reenlisted, Zappa explained in The Real Frank Zap pa Book. He met Sherman at Chaffey, and the couple promptly dropped out of college and got married. (They divorced a few years later.) Zappa then embarked on a series of unlikely jobs that culminated with a grim stint as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, work which he later described as truly wretched.

By the early 1960s Zappa had immersed himself in music, playing at cocktail lounges, scoring music for B movies, and recording Don Van Vliets first Captain Beef heart album. In 1964 he scraped together enough money to buy a five-track recording studio in Cucamon-ga, California, while at the same time shaping a band that came to be known as the Mothers of Invention (originally known simply as the Mothers).

In 1966 noted producer Tom Wilson signed the band to Verve/MGM and the Mothers of Invention released their first album, Freak Out! The first double album in rock history, Freak Out! was a feverish fusion of pop satire, social commentary, and diverse musical styles; the album and accompanying concert tour immediately established the band as one of the most outrageous of this (or any) era. As Zappa indicated in his autobiography: The very first Mothers of Invention tour took place in 1966, at a time when hardly anybody outside of L.A. and San Francisco had long hair. We were all ugly guys with weird clothes and long hair: just what the entertainment world needed. It was around this time that Zappa met Adelaide Gail Sloatman, whom he described in his autobiography as a fascinating little vixen. Gail would eventually become his second wife.

Subsequent releases such as Absolutely Free, Were Only in It for the Money, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, and Weasels Ripped My Flesh, did nothing to diminish the bands eccentric reputation. While Zappas lyrics and the groups outlandish appearance and performances attracted many fans, critics dismissed their songs as tasteless and vulgar. In typical Zappa fashion, the songwriter-guitarist shrugged off the barbs.

The End of The Mothers of Invention

Internal strife and other factors, though, spurred the creation of countless variations of the Mothers of Invention. No matter what the other guys did, and they abused the shit out of me, I wouldnt fire them, he told Creem contributor Ed Naha. I kept on bringing in new people to make the musical end of things more proficient. But the band was always down on me because I was their employer. If Im the guy whos paying the bills, how can I be a human being? Ive had the problem with all of the bands. Its strange. Finally it got to the point where I just said Fit. I want musicians who have the same range of [musical] interest as I have. Those guys didnt want to do ANYTHING.

As the roster of musicians surrounding Zappa changed, he continued to explore different areas of music. His fledgling Bizarre Records and DiscReet labels produced several albums (including works by Tim Buckley and Alice Cooper) during the early 1970s, while his encyclopedic knowledge of music, from rock to classical, continued to grow. He wanted to learn, recalled trombonist Bruce Fowler in Musician. He was the kind of guy who didnt stop learning at the age of 25 like everybody else. One-time Mothers of Invention percussionist Ruth Underwood agreed, remarking that Zappa just devoured music; that was all he thought about. We listened to his music on the bus; we rehearsed it at sound checks; we played it that night; we analyzed it the next day. Ive got some original sketches, pieces he composed for me sitting in an airport waiting to board! Everything was music.

By the late 1970s Zappa was weary of his incessant battles with controversy- averse record company executives who were forever up in arms over his scathing (and often obscene) lyrics. Determined to attain a level of autonomy, Zappa secured the rights to nearly all of his master recordings and decided to extricate himself from his troubled relationship with Warner Bros., his label at the time. (Zappas decision to hang a huge banner reading Warner Bros. Sucks at his concerts made his view of the company fairly clear.)

Once free of Warner Bros., Zappa formed his own record company. (His various business enterprises including albums, videos, T-shirts, and music publishingwere eventually folded into a company that Zappa called Barfko-Swill.) He continued to churn out records at a dizzying pace, and while few of the albums contained any hit singles Dont Eat That Yellow Snow, Dancin Fool, and Valley Girl were probably his biggest hitsZappafans snapped up his new releases as soon as they hit the record bins.

Zappas passion for classical music became more apparent in the early 1980s as well, and in 1982 he recorded six orchestral compositions with the London Symphony Orchestra. National Public Radio (NPR) news analyst Daniel Schorr recalled in MusicianXhaX when he first met Zappa, they conversed at some length about musical philosophies. Schorr disliked rock music, and he was initially skeptical of Zappas musical knowledge. I began asking him about music and what relationship he thinks his work hasas politely as I could put itto the great tradition of music. As we got into talking about it, I realized this man knew an enormous lot about [German composer Johann Sebastian] Bach, [Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus] Mozart, and the classic tradition.

In the mid-1980s Zappas views on social issuesand his willingness to voice them in his usual blunt fashion-thrust him into the national limelight. I n 1985 the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), a group founded by activist Tipper Gore and other parents concerned about the sexual and violent content of some album lyrics, began to lobby the recording industry and Congress. The PMRC called for the institution of a rating system for records, and as publicity over the issue mushroomed, civil liberties groups, industry executives, parents, educators, and politicians all argued over the issue.

Testified before Congress

For his part, Zappa was horrified at proposed PMRC solutions, and he made several highly visible appearances before national and state congressional committees to protest the efforts of the PMRC. Taken as a whole, the complete list of PMRC demands reads like an instruction manual for some sinister kind of toilet training program to housebreak all composers and performers because of the lyrics of a few, Zappa said in his congressional testimony. Because of the subjective nature of the PMRC ratings, it is impossible to guarantee that some sort of despised concept wont sneakthrough, tucked away in new slang or the overstressed pronunciation of an otherwise innocent word. 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 Dont Like. Later, in a radio interview with KUSC, the radio station of the University of Southern California, Zappa pointed to the basic fear he had of censorship in general: Anytime you see someone seeking to control the arts or commentary, you should get suspicious; history is full of examples of how other people have tried to do this and where it led.

As the 1980s unfolded, Zappa continued to follow his musical muse, turning out classical, rock, and jazz albums with equal facility. (He won a Grammy Award for Jazz from Hell, an instrumental album in which he played all the parts on a Synclavier.) Looking at Zappas vast and sprawling body of work, Harry Sumrall, writing in the San Jose Mercury News, called it the oddest, weirdest, most idiosyncratic and eccentric body of music created in this or any other century. And one of the most inspired.

Ironically, while some of Zappas music was among the most controversial issued in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, his personal life was much more sedate. He and Gail, who had long since emerged as her husbands business partner, had four childrenDweezil, Moon Unit, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, and Diva. Family friend and rock groupee Pamela Des Barresonce governess to two of the Zappa childrenrecalled in Musician that the Zappa household wasnt what youd call normal, but it wasnt what people thought either. It was a very free-form householdloose, but very loving and warm. He was very much a family man. Former Mothers bandmate Mark Volman, meanwhile, noted in Musician that Zappa was such a caring father, and with Gail they gave their kids room to be themselves and to speak their minds. And they are all very articulate and very generous about their love for their father. Volman further commented that Zappas daily routine reflected the value he placed on his family. He didnt care about going out and making the scene. A big night for Frank was a pot of espresso, a pack of cigarettes and a pizzadelivered. And to have his 24-track studio in the house and his family upstairs.

Addressing the issue of parenting, Zappa wrote in The Real Frank Zappa Book: As far as rearing children goes, the basic idea I try to keep in mind is that a child is a person. Just because they happen to be a little shorter than you doesnt mean they are dumber than you. A lot of people make that mistake, and forget how much value there is in raw intuition and theres plenty of that in every child.

Diagnosed with Cancer

In January 1990 Zappa was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Still, he continued to pursue his musical, business, and political interests and later that year traveled to Europe, where he met Czechoslovakian President Vaclev Havel, a big Zappa fan. Once he returned to the United States, Zappa redoubled his efforts to complete the myriad unfinished projects on which he was working. But as Rip Rense wrote in LA Weekly, time and energy were undependable, inadequate allies for Frank; he made do with them, ever stretching their limits through insomniac nights with the only drugs he ever abused: caffeine and nicotine. He would sit, often until dawn working with an urgencythatbecameterribleand poignant as his health declined. Prior to his death, Zappa and his wife began negotiations with Rykodisc to sell his master recordings, and the label subsequently rereleased nearly 30 years worth of Zappa music on 70 CDS.

Zappa died on December 4, 1993, leaving behind a huge and provocative catalog of music. Numerous fans, friends, and fellow musicians weighed in to express their appreciation for the artist and the music he created. Santa Cruz Sentinel columnist Tom Long wrote that Zappa was an original, and originality is prized less and less these days. Still, if anyone believed in the undeniable force and passion of art, and its ability to overcome all obstacles, it was Frank Zappa. Guitarist Steve Vai, one of many musicians who worked with Zappa over the course of his career, commented in Aquarian Weekly: In Frank I saw an artist of uncompromising approach and flawless integrity in his art. One hundred years from now when many popular bands will mean little more than funny names from the past, Frank will be revered and celebrated for the true genius that he is. His daughter Moon Unit, meanwhile, simply called him the truest person I have ever known.

In 1995 Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, an ironic honor considering the recording industrys long history of ambivalence and occasional hostilitytoward the artist during his career.

Selected discography

Freak Out! Verve, 1966.

Absolutely Free, Verve, 1967.

Were Only in It for the Money, Verve, 1967.

Lumpy Gravy, Verve, 1967.

Cruising with Ruben and the Jets, Verve, 1967.

Uncle Meat, Bizarre, 1969.

Hot Rats, Bizarre, 1970.

Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Bizarre, 1970.

Weasels Ripped My Flesh, Bizarre, 1970.

Chungas Revenge, Bizarre, 1970.

Fillmore East, June 1971, Bizarre, 1971.

Just Another Band from L.A., Bizarre, 1972.

Waka/Jawaka, Bizarre, 1972.

The Grand Wazoo, Reprise, 1973.

Over-nite Sensation, DiscReet, 1973.

Apostrophe, DiscReet, 1974.

Roxy & Elsewhere, DiscReet, 1974.

One Size Fits All, DiscReet, 1974.

Bongo Fury, DiscReet, 1975.

Zoot Allures, Warner Bros., 1976.

Zappa in New York, DiscReet, 1978.

Studio Tan, Warner Bros., 1978.

Sleep Dirt, Warner Bros., 1978.

Sheik Yerbouti, Zappa, 1979.

Orchestral Favorites, Warner Bros., 1979.

Joes Garage Acts I, II & III, Zappa, 1980.

Tinsel Town Rebellion, Barking Pumpkin, 1981.

Shut Up n Play Yer Guitar, Barking Pumpkin, 1981.

You Are What You Is, Barking Pumpkin, 1981.

Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, Barking Pumpkin, 1982.

Them or Us, Barking Pumpkin, 1986.

Thing-Fish, Barking Pumpkin, 1986.

Francesco Zappa, Barking Pumpkin, 1986.

FrankZappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention, Barking Pumpkin, 1986.

Jazz from Hell, Barking Pumpkin, 1988.

Guitar, Barking Pumpkin, 1988.

Broadway the Hard Way, Barking Pumpkin, 1988.

You Cant Do That on Stage Anymore (6 vols.), Barking Pumpkin, 1988-92.

The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life, Barking Pumpkin, 1991.

Make a Jazz Noise Here, Barking Pumpkin, 1991.

Playground Psychotics, Barking Pumpkin, 1992.

Ahead of Their Time, Barking Pumpkin, 1993.

The Yellow Shark, Barking Pumpkin, 1993.

Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank Zappa, Rykodisc, 1995.

The Lost Episodes, Rykodisc, 1996.

Lather, Rykodisc, 1996.

Baby Snakes.

BoulezConductsZappa: The Perfect Stranger, Barking Pumpkin.

London Symphony Orchestra, Vols. I and II, Barking Pumpkin.

The Man from Utopia, Barking Pumpkin.



Hardy, Phil, and Dave Laing, Encyclopedia of Rock, Schirmer Books, 1988.

Zappa, Frank, with Peter Occhiogrosso, The Real Frank Zappa Book, Poseidon Press, 1989.


Aquarian Weekly, October 25, 1995.

Billboard, October 29, 1994; May 6, 1995; May 13, 1995.

Creem, December 1974.

Entertainment Weekly, June 9, 1995.

Guitar Player, October 1995, p. 53.

LA Weekly, November 3-9, 1995, p. 30.

Musician, February 1994, p. 18; July 1995; October 1995, p. 59.

San Jose Mercury News, April 23, 1995.

Santa Cruz Sentinel, May 5, 1995.

Schwann Spectrum, falf 1995, p. 7A.

Stereophile, September 1995.

Additional information for this profile was obtained from Rykodisc press material, 1996.

Kevin Hillstrom