Frank Zappa

Frankzappa.jpg

Miami Vice Character
Mario Fuente ("Payback")
Born
December 20, 1940, Baltimore, Maryland
Died
December 4, 1993, Los Angeles, California (age 52, prostate cancer)
Active
1958-1993
Spouse(s)/Children
Kathryn Sherman (1960-64)
Gail Sloatman (1967-1993, his death), four children


Frank Vincent Zappa, (December 20, 1940 - December 4, 1993) was a composer, guitarist, producer and director who appeared in the show Miami Vice as Mario Fuente, who dealt in "weasel dust" in his boat offshore, and thought Crockett had $3 million of his money (which was actually taken by DEA Agent Cates) in the episode "Payback".

Career

Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His father worked in the defense industry, including in Baltimore where Zappa encountered numerous childhood diseases, possibly attributed to exposure to mustard gas from the proving ground where his father worked, and several of his later works referenced his childhood life. His father relocated the family to California, mainly due to Zappa's health. In California, Zappa began writing classical music in high school, and began his career writing music for movies, then in 1965 he joined the band The Mothers, which became The Mothers of Invention, and recorded their first album, Freak Out!, in 1966. Zappa had creative control over his projects and album covers, something common throughout his career, both solo and in a group. In 1969, after several mostly successful albums, The Mothers of Invention broke up, then regrouped under The Mothers and brought in three members of The Turtles (including Flo & Eddie), and jazz pianist George Duke. In 1972 Zappa was critically injured when an audience member pushed him off the stage, face first, into a concrete orchestra pit. Due to a crushed larynx, Zappa's singing range was permanently changed and he was off-road for over a year, during which time the group disbanded again, most of them touring with Flo & Eddie. In 1973 Zappa was healed enough to return to the recording studio, and put out several solo albums, including his first Billboard Top 10 album, 1974's Apostrophe ('), featuring the single "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow". He also made a concert movie, Baby Snakes, in 1979. After numerous lawsuits and costly business breakups, Zappa started his own independent recording label, Barking Pumpkin Records, in 1980. In 1982 Zappa (along with his then teen-aged daughter Moon Unit) recorded a song, "Valley Girl", featuring Moon reciting lyrics in "Val-Speak", referring to the teenagers of the San Fernando Valley (such as "Barf Out!, "Gag Me With A Spoon!", "Gnarly!", and "Grody to the Max!"), which became Zappa's only Billboard Top 40 single, peaking at #32. In 1985 Zappa testified before the U.S. Senate regarding censorship in music, calling any ratings system (voluntary or otherwise) "extortion of the music industry". The "Parental Advisory" labels began appearing later in 1985. Zappa won his first Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for his album Jazz from Hell in 1987. One year later, Zappa completed his last tour as a music artist.

Acting

Zappa rarely delved into acting, but did appear in the shows The Monkees and their later movie Head, Faerie Tale Theatre, and a voice role in The Ren & Stimpy Show (Vice was his final TV appearance as an actor).

Personal Life/Death

Zappa married Kathryn Sherman in 1960 until their divorce in 1964. In 1967 he met Abigale "Gail" Sloatman (1945-2015), "fell in love in a couple of minutes", and they married later in the year. They had four children, all of which were musicians: Moon Unit (born 1967), Dweezil (born 1969), Ahmet Emuukha Rodan (born 1974), and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen (born 1979). In 1990 Zappa was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer (which had gone unnoticed for over 10 years) and died on December 4, 1993, at the age of 52). Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and awarded a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 1997.

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