Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Real Name:
Frank Vincent Zappa
Profile:
American composer, lyricist, songwriter, guitarist, vocalist, bandleader, conductor, producer, filmmaker.
Born 21 December 1940 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Died 4 December 1993 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Frank Vincent Zappa was of Italian origins, his grandfather having arrived in America from Partinico, Sicily. Frank Zappa grew to be one of the most accomplished composers of the rock era, his music combining an understanding and appreciation for such contemporary classical figures as Igor Stravinsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Edgard Varèse. These influences, coupled with an affection for late '50s doo-wop, rock & roll and skillful guitar-heavy rock, dominated pop in the '70s. However, Zappa was also a keen satirist, whose reserves of scorn and parody seemed bottomless and whose wicked sense of humor and absurdity continued to delight his numerous fans - even when his lyrics crossed the broadest bounds of taste.

Zappa was also a prolific record-maker in his time, astutely producing massive amounts of music on his own labels of Bizarre Records, Straight & Barking Pumpkin Records and through distribution deals with Rykodisc and Rhino Entertainment Company. This after long unhappy associations with industry giants like Warner Bros. Records and the now-defunct MGM. In the '80s, Zappa then gained the rights to his old albums and began to reissue them, first on his own and then through Rykodisc. Throughout his recording career Zappa stayed consistently at the forefront of technology, investing in equipment, home-studio facilities and vault storage that would enable the fullest control over production of his works.

In 1988 his official autobiography emerged and he embarked on a world tour. Sadly, that was the end of his live performing when, in late 1991, it was confirmed that Zappa was seriously ill with cancer. Nevertheless, his schedule of album releases continued to be rapid. The Zappa Family Trust continues to this day with posthumous releases and remasters of the back catalog. His family remain in the industry, his wife Gail Zappa (aka Pumpkin (5)) the figurehead of the ZFT; Dweezil Zappa the force behind "Zappa Plays Zappa" as well as an accomplished guitarist in his own right; Moon Zappa, Diva Zappa and the more reserved Ahmet Zappa.

Inducted into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 (Performer).
Sites:
Aliases:
In Groups:
Variations:

Frank Zappa Discography

Albums

SVLP 9223 Frank Zappa Lumpy Gravy (Album) Verve Records SVLP 9223 UK 1968 Sell This Version
RS 6356 Frank Zappa Hot Rats (Album) Bizarre Records, Reprise Records RS 6356 US 1969 Sell This Version
MS 2030 Frank Zappa Chunga's Revenge (Album) Bizarre Records, Reprise Records MS 2030 France 1970 Sell This Version
UST 9956 F-DP Frank Zappa 200 Motels (Album) United Artists Records UST 9956 F-DP US 1971 Sell This Version
44 209 Frank Zappa And The Mothers Frank Zappa And The Mothers - The Grand Wazoo (Album) Reprise Records 44 209 Netherlands 1972 Sell This Version
114.028 Frank Zappa Waka / Jawaka - Hot Rats (Album) Bizarre Records, Reprise Records 114.028 Uruguay 1972 Sell This Version
41000 Frank Zappa Over-Nite Sensation (Album) WEA Filipacchi Music 41000 France 1973 Sell This Version
DIS 2175-C4 Frank Zappa Apostrophe (') (Album) Discreet DIS 2175-C4 US 1974 Sell This Version
DIS 89200 Zappa* / Mothers* Zappa* / Mothers* - Roxy & Elsewhere (Album) Discreet DIS 89200 Netherlands 1974 Sell This Version
DIS 59207 Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention* Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention* - One Size Fits All (Album) Discreet DIS 59207 Germany 1975 Sell This Version
DIS 59 209 Zappa* / Beefheart* / Mothers* Zappa* / Beefheart* / Mothers* - Bongo Fury (Album) Discreet DIS 59 209 Netherlands 1975 Sell This Version
P-10266W Zappa* Zoot Allures (Album) Warner Bros. Records P-10266W Japan 1976 Sell This Version
DIS 69 204, 2D 2290 Zappa* Zappa In New York (Album) WEA, Discreet DIS 69 204, 2D 2290 Germany 1977 Sell This Version
DIS 59210 Frank Zappa Studio Tan (Album) Discreet DIS 59210 Belgium 1978 Sell This Version
88339, S 83551, S 83559 Frank Zappa Sheik Yerbouti (Album) Zappa Records 88339, S 83551, S 83559 UK 1979 Sell This Version
ZT8-1-1603 Zappa* Joe's Garage Act I (Album) Zappa Records ZT8-1-1603 US 1979 Sell This Version
DSK 2292 Frank Zappa Sleep Dirt (Album) Discreet DSK 2292 US 1979 Sell This Version
59212 Frank Zappa Orchestral Favorites (Album) Reprise Records, Discreet 59212 Greece 1979 Sell This Version
SRZ-2-1502 Frank Zappa Joe's Garage Acts II & III (Album) Zappa Records SRZ-2-1502 US 1979 Sell This Version
S2BP 220239 Frank Zappa Tinsel Town Rebellion (Album) Barking Pumpkin Records S2BP 220239 Australia 1981 Sell This Version
BPR-1111 Frank Zappa Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar (Album) CBS BPR-1111 US 1981 Sell This Version
3860 Frank Zappa You Are What You Is (Album) Barking Pumpkin Records 3860 Europe 1981 Sell This Version
BPR C1113 Frank Zappa Return Of The Son Of Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar(Cass, Album) Barking Pumpkin Records BPR C1113 US 1981 Sell This Version
85804 Zappa* Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch (Album, EP) Barking Pumpkin Records 85804 Portugal 1982 Sell This Version
FW 38820 Zappa* / London Symphony Orchestra* Conducted By Kent Nagano Zappa* / London Symphony Orchestra* Conducted By Kent Nagano - The London Symphony Orchestra - Zappa Vol. 1 (Album) Barking Pumpkin Records FW 38820 US 1983 Sell This Version

Reviews Show All 5 Reviews

Add Review

terrysuki

terrysuki

November 9, 2013
Frank Zappa was one of rock music's true originals, and one of the very few geniuses to emerge from that most over hyped of genres.The sheer amount of material this guy was responsible for can be daunting for someone new to his world of musical wonders, so here's a few tips for the "newbies" ! 1.) If you don't have a good sense of humour, then just forget it ! Zappa ain't for you ! 2.) Best to start light, leave the heavier stuff for later ! I'd go for "Apostrophe", "Overnight Sensation" "Hot Rats", or if you fancy being a wee bit adventurous on your first go, the double LP's "You Are What You Is" or "Sheik Yerbouti" would be a good start. 3.) Once you've got a bit of a feel for what he's about, then I'd give The Mothers Of Invention's "We're Only In It For The Money" and "Absolutely Free" a spin. 4.) After all that lot you're fit for "Uncle Meat", "The Grand Wazoo" and "Roxy And Elsewhere" and then you're good to go ! There's a lifetimes worth of musical magic in those Zappa grooves ! So have fun. I did !
swagski

swagski

July 5, 2009
Frank Zappa's work represents a unique duality of uncompromising note-perfect pieces, from serious instrumental and vocal compositions, to the theater of the aurally and visually absurd- in which was usually hidden a serious underlying message, such as "Thing Fish". This duality can firstly be viewed as a presentation of hugely diverse 'straight' works, touching on his influences and inspirations in doo wop, R & B, blues, musique concrete, classical and the theatre. Secondly, as a range of works interspersed with 'bizarre' pieces of acidic sociopolitical parody that go beyond the superficial expression "novelty record" to publicly expose his acute observations of the seamy underbelly of our oft dysfunctional society.

Zappa adroitly used both these forms, right from his first album in 1966 to the end of his life, maintaining the fact that he was an unparalleled artist who moved with the times and consistently pushed the envelope of musical possibility. He never suffered fools gladly and, as a member of his band, artists needed to be both drug-free and on the money with their chops. An astounding array of artists have worked with Zappa through his career and collectors of these alumni should, without doubt, have these performances with the maestro in their files.

If Zappa had a vice, other than a surfeit of cigarettes and a scorched weeny sandwich habit, it was work. Rather than sticking his money up his renowned nose he spent a huge deal of it on his UMRK home & mobile studios, his instrumentation and his special-effects equipment, each adding to his ability to precisely capture the work in hand. From very early on Zappa would individually record his artist's performances on stage, enabling him to cut or mix selected pieces into a final recording. Later works would also reveal his skills in the art of Xenochrony, as a hitherto unrealized compositional tool. Zappa served his apprenticeship in the area of production as early as 1963 at the Pal Recording Studio in Cucamonga, which he eventually purchased and re-named "Studio Z". It was here that much of the thrust of Zappa's musical direction was formulated working alongside Paul Buff, who produced the surf sounds of The Surfaris & The Chantays among others, and where his future creative associations with artists such as the Magic Band, the Gardner brothers, Euclid James Sherwood, Ray Collins and Don Preston were truly forged. Much of this early material can be found on "The Lost Episodes" CD.

An innate humor and mischievousness, both vocal and instrumental, exists in the overview of Zappa's work. There are many reoccurring "project/object" themes to be discovered, often referred to as his "conceptual continuity", in a list that encompasses the subjects of groupies, dogs, religion, cheapness, mud sharks and sex-aids, to name but a few. By having his entire recorded catalog to hand, Zappa has been able to interject or modify such themes as an additional enjoyment for collectors of his work to mythologize over.

Should you ever find yourself twisted enough to be searching the database for artists such as Edgard Varèse, John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Charles Ives, Hubert Sumlin, Baby Ray & The Ferns, Don Van Vliet, Igor Stravinsky, Kurt Weil, Arnold Schoenberg, Conlon Nancarrow, Pierre Boulez, and Nicolas Slonimsky you must also, for the sake of posterity, utter the mantra "And Frank Zappa". An exemplary artist, composer, lyricist, and one of the greatest guitar-players in the history of music, who recorded in excess of 50 albums, and who's work will continue to inspire for generations to come.

Check out a recording in your father's toolshed, on the tour bus, in a closet, or simply on the sofa, today!

January 15, 2006
edited over 10 years ago
A genious composer of music that was litteraly everything and anything. You can't, and will never put a specific stamp on Zappa of what he did at the time of his career. He visited every camp of musical style you can imagine from rock'n roll to funk, soul, jazz, fusion and even Disco. Sometimes he blended styles to give things a more interesting approach and result.
He really took his music seriously from the very beginning when he started his band The Mothers, and had a strong leadership troughout his career to the very end based on strict rules. Like for instance, if you played in his band and used drugs or showed up drunk before a live show, you got fired on the spot. Quite strange and paradoxal in that period around the 60's and 70's were drugs pretty much florished in rock bands at that time.
His live performances was something very unique as well. In the very beginning of the Mothers period it was quite normal to find band-members crawling around on stage and speakers in vivid frenzy DURING the concert, and STILL be able to perform music. And sometimes inviting audience up on stage to sing, talk or do whatever madness they could imagine. These acts are perfectly represented on the 'You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore' Live series. And that stuff never really happens on stage anymore really to be honest. So in a way, Zappa struck a chord with that title.
Frank Zappa also had pretty much control on everything he put his hands on, on stage, in studio and definatly his recordings and licencing rights. After some time, he took complete control over the rights to his recordings.
And when Zappa didn't spend time in the studio, he toured. Music took up every single day of the year non-stop during his most productive period. And get this: Every single live performance he did was recorded. and those recordings are stored in a vault courtesy controled by his wife Gail. So even though Zappa is gone, there are tons of pre-released stuff yet to see the day. Some people has estimated that it would take years to completely go trough the vault of his recordings. It's just up to Gail to decide what to do with everything.
Shame he didn't write a complete autobiography of his career either. He really saw it all, did it all. And he played and collaborated with the best musicians out there. Therefore he rightfully deserve my biggest respect for his music and compositions.
whiteboy

whiteboy

January 30, 2004
God created all men equal. Some men are just a little bit more equal than others. These men are still way behind Frank Zappa. He's an absolute legend for his song writing, stage antics, genius guitar playing, political and social views, humour and beard. For those unlucky souls who have never heard the man do yourselves a favour and take a listen to HotRats, ZootAllures, 200 Motels, Apostrophe or The Yellow Shark.

It's a sin that he died, of prostate cancer, before he could become the president but the world will always be that little bit weirder now that we had him.

Just remember "Don't you eat that yellow snow!"

Lists Add to List

Col by PashSL

Videos (121) Edit