We Lost Zappa 19 Years Ago Today
Funny what skimming through Facebook will remind you of. I saw a friend post a picture of Frank Zappa and an R.I.P. and realized it's been 19 years since we lost him on December 4, 1993.
My friend Andy got me into Zappa while we were in high school, playing songs like "Joe's Garage", "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow", "Dynamo Hum", and "Stink Foot". Everything Frank did was so different than anything I'd been exposed to, and honestly, different than anything I've heard in the years since.
I've always been a book guy, wanting to find out more and more about things and people that interest me. Zappa was no exception. I was impressed with everything that he accomplished as an artist, writer, producer, working with feature films, even designing album covers.
It wasn't just a stage persona that was different. He named his kids: Moon Unit (remember the song "Valley Girl"?), Dweezil, Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen! In fact Dweezil is an incredible guitarist in his own rite and has toured for a number of years as "Zappa Plays Zappa", putting together a full show of Frank Zappa music. That show plays Omaha this Sunday by the way!
One of my other favorite trivia facts: Lowell George from Little Feat (past JazzFest performers and one of my all-time favorite live albums "Waiting for Columbus") was in Frank Zappa's Mother's of Invention before forming Little Feat. Just loved the connection between the bands I loved.
Zappa was also outspoken against what he deemed extortion of the music industry by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) formed by Tipper Gore, even going so far as to speak on Capital Hill against music labeling in 1985.
He was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer in 1990 and passed away December 4, 1993. Never fully embraced by the mainstream, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.