Frank Zappa

Composer, Singer, Guitarist
As a singer, songwriter, rock guitarist, classical composter, recording producer and even occasional film director, Frank Zappa was as difficult to describe as his eclectic music was throughout his 30-year career. Zappa ... Read more »
Born: 12/20/1940 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Filmography

Music (15)

Things We Lost in the Fire 2007 (Movie)

("The Little House I Used To Live In") (Song Performer)

Things We Lost in the Fire 2007 (Movie)

("The Little House I Used To Live In") (Song)

Plaster Caster 2000 (Movie)

(Song Performer)

Duckman 1993 - 1997 (TV Show)

Original Music

Happy Together 1997 (Movie)

("Chunga's Revenge" "I Have Been in You") (Song Performer)

Happy Together 1997 (Movie)

(Song)

Daddy's Dyin'... Who's Got the Will? 1990 (Movie)

("Harder Than Your Husband") (Song)

Outrage at Valdez 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Music

Waiting For the Light 1990 (Movie)

("Memories of El Monte") (Song)

Colors 1988 (Movie)

("Memories of El Monte") (Song)

The Amazing Mr. Bickford 1988 (Movie)

(Music)

More American Graffiti 1979 (Movie)

("Lumpy Gravy") (Song Performer)

Baby Snakes 1978 (Movie)

(Music)

200 Motels 1970 (Movie)

(Song Performer)

200 Motels 1970 (Movie)

songs (Song)
Actor (10)

Derailroaded 2005 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Democracy in Action 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Living in America 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Tom Arnold: The Naked Truth 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Decade 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Funny 1989 (Movie)

Musician/Composer (Actor)

Sex, Violence and Values: Changing Images 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Baby Snakes 1978 (Movie)

(Actor)

Saturday Night Live 1976 (Tv Show)

Actor

Head 1968 (Movie)

Critic (Actor)
Writer (3)

The Amazing Mr. Bickford 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Baby Snakes 1978 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

200 Motels 1970 (Movie)

screenplay collaboration (Screenplay)
Director (3)

The Amazing Mr. Bickford 1988 (Movie)

(Director)

Baby Snakes 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

200 Motels 1970 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (2)

The Amazing Mr. Bickford 1988 (Movie)

(Producer)

Baby Snakes 1978 (Movie)

(Producer)
Editor (1)

Baby Snakes 1978 (Movie)

(Editor)

Biography

As a singer, songwriter, rock guitarist, classical composter, recording producer and even occasional film director, Frank Zappa was as difficult to describe as his eclectic music was throughout his 30-year career. Zappa was without peer, a singular entity who branched out in countless directions, and in the process, became one of the most important and influential musical artists of the latter-20th century. With his most famous band, The Mothers of Invention, he blended rock, jazz, classical, doo-wop, R&B and avant-garde stylings with strange, sexually-tinged lyrics and absurd stage theatrics to create a wholly unique live experience, while in the studio producing outside-the-mainstream albums like Freak Out! (1966), We're Only in it for the Money (1968) and Uncle Meat (1969). Though he fared better in Europe, particularly Germany and Soviet Bloc states, Zappa's influence was felt everywhere, as he branched off into big band jazz fusion on The Grand Wazoo (1972), while producing more conceptual albums with Zoot Allures (1976) and Joe's Garage (1979). Always prone to satirizing hypocrisy in religion, politics and elsewhere, Zappa was cemented as a staunch defender of first amendment rights when he delivered Senate testimony in 1985 against the Parents Music Research Center's idea of labeling records for obscene material. In later years, he shifted away from rock-oriented music toward his classical roots, while waging a battle with pancreatic cancer that he ultimately lost. With his death in 1993, Zappa left behind a legacy that influenced countless musicians and fans.

Relationships

Gail Zappa

Wife
born c. 1955 survived him

Diva Zappa

Daughter
born July 20, 1979 survived him

Moon Zappa

Daughter
born September 28, 1967 survived him enjoyed Top 40 pop hit with the semi-rap song, "Valley Girl", for which her father played guitars engaged to musician Paul Doucette

Ahmet Zappa

Son
born May 15, 1974 survived him

Dweezil Zappa

Son
born September 5, 1969 survived him

Milestones

1992

Final TV appearance on the documentary special, "Democracy in America"

1991

Honored with a special tribute concert series entitled "Frank Zappa's Universe", featuring classical and rock musicians performing some of his large-scale work and rock tunes

1990

Served as a cultural, tourism and trade advisor to the west for Czechoslovakia under Vaclav Havel

1989

Wrote, directed, produced and provided music for the documentary, "The Amazing Mr. Bickford"

1989

Wrote autobiography, "The Real Frank Zappa Book"

1986

Appeared as a drug dealer on the 80s cop show, "Miami Vice"

1985

Testified before a Senate sub-committee on "porn rock"

1980

Formed independent label, Barking Pumpkin

1980

Left Mercury after their refusal to release the single "I Don't Wanna Get Drafted"

1979

Formed the label Zappa Records through Mercury Records

1979

Renamed his group Zappa, released first record with Mercury, "Sheik Yerbouti" which included the hit song "Dancing Fool", a disco parody

1979

Starred, directed, edited and produced the surreal documentary, "Baby Snakes"

1977

Filed a law suit against manager Herb Cohen and ended contract with Reprise

1970

Reformed the Mothers with a new line-up

1970

Co-wrote, directed and supplied songs for the cult feature, "200 Motels"

1968

Disbanded the Mothers of Invention

1968

Moved back to Los Angeles and started two record labels, Straight and Bizarre, distributed through Reprise Records

1968

Feature acting debut, "Head"

1968

Signed seminal rock influences Alice Cooper and Captain Beefheart to his label

1967

Took up residence with The Mothers of Invention at the Garrick Theater in Greenwich Village, New York

1966

Released first record with The Mothers of Invention, "Freak Out"

1966

Signed a contract with Verve Records, renamed the band The Mothers of Invention

1964

Joined the group the Soul Giants, later renamed The Mothers

1950

Moved to Lancaster in Southern California at the age of ten

Served 10 days in jail and three years on probation after a San Bernardino cop commissioned him to record "sexual" sounds, then arrested him on pornography charges

Kicked out of high school marching band for smoking in uniform

Fought a long public battle with cancer

Began writing and recording "B" movie scores with singer Ray Collins in the early 1960s

Formed video production company Honkier Video

Bonus Trivia

.

"I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone's teeth get cleaner?"--Zappa response to the PMRC's accusation that music lyrics can cause anti-social behavior

.

In 1982 Zappa helped popularize Southern California slang with the hit single "Valley Girl", sung by his oldest daughter Moon Unit.

SIMILAR ARTICLES