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Pays : United States
Genre : Canterbury / Jazz Fusion / RIO
Dates : 1940 - 1993
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Frank Zappa, born Frank Vincent Zappa, 21 December 1940, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, died 4 December 1993, Los Angeles, California, USA. Frank's parents were second-generation Sicilian Greeks; his father played 'strolling crooner' guitar.
At the age of 12 Frank became interested in drums, learning orchestral percussion at summer school in Monterey. By 1956 he was playing drums in a local R&B band called the Ramblers. Early exposure to a record of IONISATION by avant garde classical composer Edgard Varese instilled an interest in advanced rhythmic experimentation that never left him. The electric guitar also became a fascination, and he began collecting R&B records that featured guitar solos: Howlin' Wolf with Hubert Sumlin, Muddy Waters, Johnny "Guitar" Watson and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown were special favourites.
A school-friend, Don Van Vliet (later to become Captain Beefheart), shared his interest. In 1964 Frank joined a local R&B outfit, the Soul Giants (Roy Collins; vocals, Roy Estrada; bass, Jimmy Carl Black; drums), and started writing songs for them. They changed their name to the Mothers ('Of Invention' was added at record company insistence). Produced by Tom Wilson in 1966—the late black producer whose credits included Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane and Bob Dylan—Freak Out! was a stunning debut, a two-record set complete with a whole side of wild percussion, a vitriolic protest song, Trouble Every Day, and the kind of minute detail (sleevenotes, in-jokes, parodies) that generate instant cult appeal. They made great play of their hair and ugliness, becoming the perfect counter-cultural icon. Unlike the east coast band the Fugs, the Mothers were also musically skilled, a refined instrument for Frank's eclectic and imaginative ideas.
Tours and releases followed, including We're Only In It For The Money, (with its brilliant parody of the SGT PEPPER record cover) a scathing satire on hippiedom and the reactions to it in the USA, and a ...
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