Personalities | Frank Zappa | Sixties | Rock
(Guitar, vocals, 1940–93)
In 1964, Zappa formed The Mothers Of Invention, whose albums resembled pop-Dada aural junk-sculptures made from an eclectic heap that, laced with outright craziness, included 1950s pop, jazz, schmaltz and the pioneering tonalities of Stravinsky, Varèse and Webern. However, Zappa’s intense concern over social issues was never so stifled by burlesque that it could not be taken seriously. 1968’s We’re Only In It For The Money was a chart entry but, too clever for Joe Average, the now greatly augmented Mothers were disbanded in 1970 by Zappa, who then issued Hot Rats, a demonstration of his guitar playing. Later projects drifted towards lavatorial humour, albeit supported by often beautiful melodies. Yet, in the decade before his death in 1993, he went some way towards establishing himself as a ‘serious’ composer in the same league as Varèse and others of his boyhood idols – and as a professional politician, most palpably when the Czech government appointed Zappa its official Trade and Culture Emissary in 1990.
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