Frank Zappa

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Frank Vincent Zappa
Actor, Composer, Film director, Producer, Singer, Songwriter
Los Angeles, Westwood Village Memorial Park

Frank Vincent Zappa (December 21, 1940 – December 4, 1993) was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, 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 The Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.

While in his teens, he acquired a taste for percussion-based avant-garde composers such as 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 electric guitar. He was a self-taught 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 the lyrics to all his songs, which—often humorously—reflected his iconoclastic view of established social and 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, self-education, political participation and the abolition of censorship.

Zappa was a highly productive and prolific artist and gained widespread critical acclaim. He had some commercial success, particularly in Europe, and for most of his career was able to work as an independent artist. He also remains a major influence on musicians and composers. 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. In 1967, he married Adelaide Gail Sloatman, with whom he remained until his death from 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 theZappa Family Trust.

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 great influence in the avant-garde and underground scene in Central 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"). Zappa enthusiastically agreed and began meeting with corporate officials interested in investing in Czechoslovakia. Within a few weeks, however, the U.S. administration put pressure on the Czech government to withdraw the appointment. Havel made Zappa an unofficial cultural attaché instead. Zappa also planned to develop an international consulting enterprise to facilitate trade between the former Eastern Bloc and Western businesses. On June 24, 1991, Zappa took part at the concert "Adieu Soviet Army", organised in Prague, as the farewell to the last soldiers of Soviet Red Army, leaving free Czechoslovakia (the Red Army had occupied Czechoslovakia since the Prague spring). This was probably Zappa's last rock appearance on the stage and it is recorded on the album Adieu C. A. (Soviet Army).

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.

In 1991, Zappa was chosen to be one of four featured composers at the Frankfurt Festival in 1992 (the others were John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Alexander Knaifel).[199] 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. 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. It would become 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". Recordings from the concerts appeared on The Yellow Shark (1993), Zappa's last release during his lifetime, 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, next to the eventual (1996) grave of actor Lew Ayres. On Monday, December 6 his family publicly announced that "Composer Frank Zappa left for his final tour just before 6:00 pm on Saturday".  Cause Of Death: Prostate Cancer 

Albums: 1966 The Mothers Of Invention - Freak Out 1967 The Mothers Of Invention - Absolutley Free 1967 Frank Zappa - Lumpy Gravy 1968 The Mothers Of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money 1968 The Mothers Of Invention - Cruising With Ruben & The Jets 1969 The Mothers Of Invention - Uncle Meat 1969 The Mothers Of Invention - Mothermania 1969 Frank Zappa - Hot Rats 1970 The Mothers Of Invention - Burnt Weeny Sandwich 1970 The Mothers Of Invention - Weasels Ripped My Flesh 1970 Frank Zappa - Chunga's Revenge 1971 The Mothers - Fillmore East, June 1971 1971 Frank Zappa - 200 Motels 1972 The Mothers - Just Another Band From L.A. 1972 Frank Zappa - Waka/Jawaka 1972 Frank Zappa - The Grand Wazoo 1973 Frank Zappa - Over-Nite Sensation 1974 Frank Zappa - Apostrophe 1974 Frank Zappa - Roxy & Elsewhere 1975 Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention - One Size Fits All 1975 Zappa/Beefheart - Bongo Fury 1976 Frank Zappa - Zoot Allures 1978 Frank Zappa - Zappa In New York 1978 Frank Zappa - Studio Tan 1979 Frank Zappa - Sleep Dirt 1979 Frank Zappa - Sheik Yerbouti 1979 Frank Zappa - Orchestral Favorites 1979 Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage Act I 1979 Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage Acts II & III 1981 Frank Zappa - Tinseltown Rebellion 1981 Frank Zappa - Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar 1981 Frank Zappa - Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar Some More 1981 Frank Zappa - Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar 1981 Frank Zappa - You Are What You Is 1982 Frank Zappa - Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch 1983 Frank Zappa - The Man From Utopia 1983 Frank Zappa - Baby Snakes 1983 Frank Zappa - London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. I 1984 Boulez Conducts Zappa - The Perfect Stranger 1984 Frank Zappa - Them Or Us 1984 Frank Zappa - Thing-Fish 1984 Frank Zappa - Francesco Zappa 1985 Frank Zappa - Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention 1986 Frank Zappa - Does Humor Belong In Music? 1986 Frank Zappa - Jazz From Hell 1987 Frank Zappa - London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. II 1988 Frank Zappa - Guitar 1988 Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. I 1988 Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, The Helsinki Tapes, Vol. II 1988 Frank Zappa - Broadway The Hard Way 1989 Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. III 1991 Frank Zappa - The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life 1991 Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. IV 1991 Frank Zappa - Make A Jazz Noise Here 1992 Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. V 1992 Frank Zappa - You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, Vol. VI 1992 Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention - Playground Psychotics 1993 Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention - Ahead Of Their Time 1993 Frank Zappa - The Yellow Shark 1994 Frank Zappa - Civilization Phase III 1996 Frank Zappa - The Lost Episodes 1996 Frank Zappa - Lather 1996 Frank Zappa - Frank Zappa Plays The Music of Frank Zappa: A Memorial Tribute 1997 Frank Zappa - Have I Offended Someone? 1998 Frank Zappa - The Mystery Disc 1999 Frank Zappa - EIHN - Everything Is Healing Nicely 2002 Frank Zappa - FZ:OZ 2003 Frank Zappa - Halloween 2004 Frank Zappa - Joe's Corsage 2004 Frank Zappa - Joe's Domage 2004 Frank Zappa - QuAUDIOPHILIAc

Details: FRANK ZAPPA DEAD AT 52--Musician and composer Frank Zappa, who fused rock, jazz and classical music behind lyrics of scathing, often raunchy satire and social commentary, has died of prostate cancer at 52.    Zappa died Saturday evening at his Los Angeles home, a family friend said. He was buried in Los Angeles in a private ceremony Sunday.



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        Relation nameRelation typeBirth DateDeath dateDescription
        1Gail ZappaGail ZappaWife01.01.194507.10.2015