2 General Questions

Contents of this section

2.1 I heard that Frank Zappa has passed on. Is this true?

Frank Vincent Zappa, who was born December 21, 1940, died in his Laurel Canyon home shortly before 6 PM PST, on December 4, 1993, after a long battle with prostate cancer. A short time later, his wife Gail announced that Frank had departed for his ``last tour''.

Moon Zappa had this to say: (Originally posted by Mike Fitzmaurice)

You have reached the Zappa Hotline. This is Moon. My mother and my family are asking those of you wishing to send flowers or to commemorate my father in some way, to make a donation in Frank's name to the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, a 501-C tax-exempt organization, reachable by phone at 312-280-4223 or by fax at 312-440-9374, or to the Cousteau society, or GreenPeace, or any favorite environmental cause.

My family is concerned about those of you who would like to express their sympathies, but are financially restricted. Just play his music, if you're a musician, and if you aren't, play his music anyway -- that will be enough for him.

My family hopes to be able to announce a memorial service at some future date.

Lastly, my mother asks that you be kind to your family, and to your friends, and most especially to yourself.

2.2 I just started listening to Zappa. Which albums should I check out?

All of them, of course!

If you already have a Zappa album, and you want something similar to that, take a look at these suggestions by Johannes Labisch <joe@cs.tu-berlin.de>.

I have album X and I like it very much. What are similar albums?

Here's how to find out:

(No. I don't get any money out of it...)

Thanks to everyone who had some input to that.

The annotations describe how ``good'' the contents of that album fit in that class:


All (or at least very much)


Most (more than 3/4)


About half of it


Less then a half, but this stuff is ok.

A plus sign (+) marks ``class leaders''. That does not mean that this album is the best (in that class), just it fits the best in that class. Sometimes there are more than one ``class-leaders''. Don't worry.

For the hardcore-fz-fanatics


60's Satire

Big Band Stuff

Chamber Music


Complex Rock

Flo & Eddie




There are so many live recordings by Frank. So this class is propably not necessary. Anyway: It has no class leader.


I bet there are more albums with that Do-Wop stuff...





The '84 Tour

The '88 Tour

The Roxy Line Up

2.3 I find some of Zappa's lyrics to be offensive. Is Zappa a sexist?

Zappa has written many songs that seem to ``attack'' a particular lifestyle or belief system. Most people will find at least one of these songs to be directed at them personally. The best advice for those offended: Lighten up!. Zappa seems to believe that if you cannot laugh at yourself, then you are taking yourself too seriously.

From The Real Frank Zappa Book, Chapter Am I A 'Sexist' - Or What?

If you were to take all the lyrics I've ever written and analyze how many songs are about `women in demeaning positions,' as opposed to `men in demaning positions' you would find that most of the songs are about stupid men.

The songs I write about women are not gratuitous attacks on them, but statements of fact. The song ``Jewish Princess'' caused the Anti- Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith to complain bitterly and demand an apology. I did not apologize then and refuse to do so now because, unlike `The Unicorn', such creatures do exist - and deserve to be `commemorated' with their own special opus.

The basic function of any ethnic protective PR organization is to do what Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-California) suggested on the `Larry King show' - ``maintain the fiction.'' (He used it in context of protecting the Reagan administration during the Iran-contra scandal, suggesting it was our duty as Americans to support the President by looking the other way.)

Italians have an organization to `maintain the fiction' that no Italians are in the Mafia, nor do they sell drugs while engaging in murder for hire. If you want to believe that, fine - welcome to Fantasy Land. If you want to believe that wrestling is real, go for it - and if you want to believe that women are a wonderful species that: 1 never goes to the toilet; 2 can't possibly do anything wrong; 3 is completely superior to men, then believe it - whatever makes you feel good.

2.4 What are the names of Frank Zappa's kids?

Frank's wife is Gail and his kids are named: Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva Muffin.

Dweezil and Ahmet have a rock 'n roll band named Z.

From The Real Frank Zappa Book:

When Dweezil was born, Gail decided to have `natural child- birth'. At that time, the only hospital in Los Angeles that would allow this process to occur with a Dad in the delivery room was Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital.

When it was time for the Big Delivery, we experienced a slight delay - we had to fill out a mass of papers before they'd let us in, riddled with irrelevant questions like: ``What religion are you?''

Gail looked at me and said ``What do we put?'' I said, ``Musician.''

That was the first thing that upset the admitting nurse. The second thing to spoil her afternoon was when she asked: ``What are you going to name the child?'' Gail said, ``Dweezil.''

Gail's got a funny looking toe which had been the source of family amusement so often that it had aquired a `technical name': it wasn't really a toe - it was a ``Dweezil.'' I thought then and continue to think today, that Dweezil is a nice name. Fuck the nurse if she didn't like it.

The nurse pleaded and pleaded with us not to name the child Dweezil. Labor pains and all, she was going to make Gail stand there unless we gave her another name to put on the form. I couldn't see letting Gail suffer just to argue the point, so I rattled off an assortment of names of guys we knew: IAN (Underwood) DON (van Vliet) CALVIN (Schenkel) EUCLID (James ``Moterhead'' Sherwood) As a result Dweezil's original birth certificate name was Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa. The nurse thought that was okay.

In spite of this harrowing experince, we always called him Dweezil. He was five years old when he discovered the `real names' on his birth certificate.

Dweezil was very upset, and demanded that steps be taken to rectify this tragedy. We hired an attorney and had his name legally changed to Dweezil.

From the April 1993 Playboy Interview:

PLAYBOY: Would they have been different had you named them Sally or John?

ZAPPA: It's the last name that get's them in trouble.


ZAPPA: I'm viewed as being weird. When somebody calls you weird, then anything you touch becomes weird. On the other hand, they like being weird.

2.5 Where can I find Zappa stuff on the net?


The anonymous ftp site ftp.uwp.edu has lots of lyrics and pictures for many different artists. After logging in, type cd zappa.frank and you will end up in the right directory.

Lately this ftp site has been extremely busy, so try these mirror sites first:

Mirror of uwp's lyrics and pictures:

www.wit.com     /music          
ftp.sunet.se    /pub/music      

Mirror of uwp's lyrics:

ftp.informatik.tu-muenchen.de  /pub/rec/music/vocal/lyrics/uwp   

Another good site is at aloysius.ee.tut.fi in the /zappa directory. There is a discography, a GIF directory and some sound files in Macintosh and Sun/NeXT formats.

Guitar Tablatures can be found on ftp.nevada.edu. Look in the /pub/music/tabs/z/frank-zappa directory.

This site is mirrored at these sites:

ftp.uu.net                    /doc/music/guitar        
unix.hensa.ac.uk              /pub/uunet/doc/music/guitar          
ftp.informatik.tu-muenchen.de /pub/rec/music/guitar/songs/nevada   
ftp.uni-stuttgart.de          /pub/misc/guitar                     
ftp.uni-paderborn.de          /doc/guitar                          
ftp.diku.dk                   /pub/music/guitar                    
ftp.cosy.sbg.ac.at            /pub/mirror/guitar                   


The All-Music Guide contains over 200,000 music titles. This contains reviews, ratings (!) and discographies of lots of artists, including Zappa (120K).

Put this in your .gopherrc:

Name=Zappa, Frank [AMG]
Admin=All Music Guide

World Wide Web

Thirteen Zappa pages are listed on Zappa Web Pages . These pages contain lyrics, GIF and JPEG images of the albums covers, photographs of Frank, interviews, articles, MIDI files, audio files, guitar tablatures, movies, and much more.

This page also features links to sites about Captain Beefheart, Rykodisc, Mike Keneally, Vinnie Coliauta, Eric Dolphy and Edgard Varese.

2.6 What are those funny-looking uppercase acronyms I see when people are mentioning Zappa albums?

(This is not really a frequently asked question, but has the vulnerability to become one.) Some of Zappa's album titles are longer than albums that most regular people listen to. To prevent Carpal-Tunnel syndrome in the typing fingers, some readers have abbreviated the album titles.

These are some common acronyms and the full album titles:


Just Another Band From L.A.


One Size Fits All


Ship Arriving Too Late Save A Drowning Witch


Shut Up N' Play Your Guitar


The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life


The Man From Utopia


We're Only In It For The Money


You Are What You Is


You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore

RDNZL looks like an acronym, but is actually the title of a song that originally appeared on the album Studio Tan. On the original Warner Bros. vinyl release, the song was listed as ``Redunzl''. This is one of the albums that Warner Bros. released without Frank's permission, and Zappa filed suit against Warner to obtain the rights to those albums.

2.7 What are those Frank Zappa CDs/cassettes on Rhino? Are they a ripoff or what?

The ACTUAL, TRUE answer from Dan Rabin <rabin@CS.Yale.Edu>:

They are copies of bootleg recordings that were originally marketed illicitly. Rhino asked Zappa for permission to release them legally. Zappa said yes: Rhino wasn't asking him to do any work, and he would get royalties this way and also help wipe out demand for the illegal products (hence `Beat the Boots') which have always infuriated him.

Rhino made the recordings from the actual records, and took the cover art from the actual bootleg cover art. Naturally, the illegal bootleggers weren't about to cooperate by providing the original tapes, nor were they likely to complain about having their artwork copied.

So there you have it. No one is trying to rip off the Zappa fan, but Rhino and Zappa have conspired to rip off the bootleggers who originally ripped off Zappa.

There *are* interesting tidbits on the bootlegs, such as a version of `Holiday in Berlin' with words actually having to do with a sojourn in Berlin. The sound quality is terrible. This is the exact same tradeoff that potential bootleg-buyers have always faced, except that now they won't be breaking any law by making the purchase. If you weren't offended by the existence of the bootlegs in the first place there's no reason to be offended now.

2.8 What is T'Mershi Duween? What other FZ fanzines are available?

T'Mershi Duween is a Zappa Fanzine published in Britain.

T'Mershi Duween (c/o Fred Tomsett)
P.O.Box 86
S11 8XN

Six (approx) issues of this A5 B+W Zappa Fanzine are released annualy.

UK:     UK pounds 8.00
Europe: UK pounds 9.60
ROTW:   UK pounds 10.00 (surface)
ROTW:   UK pounds 13.00 (air mail)

These prices cover six issues. American (or other) readers can send US$ in which case send $20 (surface) cash ($22 cheque);$25 (air) cash ($27 cheque). Otherwise cash, cheques, POs, giros etc. Please make eurocheques payable to B Tomsett for ease of cashing. Add UK pounds 3.50 if sending Giros from Switzerland. Send cash or bank cheque.

We have a stock of back issues, namely numbers 10, 11, 18-34. Cost singly is UK pounds 1.35 (UK) UK pounds 1.60 (Europe) UK pounds 2.20 (ROTW). Or buy them all for UK pounds 21 (UK); UK pounds 23 (Europe); UK pounds 26 (ROTW).

Other FZ fanzines

From: John Scialli <johnscialli@delphi.com>:

This is per Volume 4 of the TORCHUM NEVER STOPS (reference books)

Piet de Doelder
PO Box 9188
1800 GD Alkmaar
(Transfer Hfl. 30,- to the account of the Dutch Postbank no. 2320206
 at the name of Piet de Doelder)

Rob Samler
PO BOX 395
Deer Park NY  11729-0395

Jean-Marie Orliange
F-19290 Sornac

PO BOX 6443
Bridgeport CT  06606-6443

DEFUNCT MAGAZINE (but maybe there are humans left
with piles of stuff collecting dust)

*Society Pages* (50 issues until '90)
Society Boks
22 Bekkelagshogda
1109 Oslo-11
NORWAY  (but get the mags from the alive
Society Pages in Deer Park, NY (see above})

*Cucamonga* (1980-84)
No address

*Da Werdz* (?)

*Totally Zappa* (?)
No address
USA (13 issues)

*Cosmik Debris* (?)

*Mother's Home Journal* (1972-73)
Graig Pinkus

*Hot Raz Times* (11 issues until '75)(from 1973)
Urban Gwerder

*L'oeil de Zappa* (1980-82, 6 issues)

*Dancin' Fool* (1 issue in 1984)

*Le Petit Zappa Illustre* (5 issues)
1 Rue de Iles
F-06160 Juan-les-Pins

*Absolutely Free* (9 issues until 1984)
(A Newsletter) by Norbert Obermanns
(author of Zappalog)
Postfach 15
D-4048 Grevenbroich-3

Sorry for the inconsistent formatting. My mind
smells like fish.

-Dr. Memory

From Glenn <cate@brahms.udel.edu>:

I think Mother People is history. If it's up & running again, don't subscribe. The asshole ran off with hundreds of subscribers' $ around '89 sometime.

2.9 Was Zappa's real name ``Frank'' or ``Francis''?

Frank's full, real name was ``Frank Vincent Zappa''. For years, Zappa himself thought his first name was ``Francis'' and had even used it in press releases and album liner notes. He discovered later, when he saw his birth certificate, that his real birth name was ``Frank'', not ``Francis''.

2.10 What is the Zappa hotline?

You can reach the official Zappa hotline by calling (818) PUMPKIN - (that's 818-786-7546). They answer on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific time. All other times you will hear a recorded message. Call this number to find out info for press releases, album releases, interviews, and other Zappa-related info. They also have a merchandising department that sells T-shirts, posters, etc. There is a magazine about Zappa called Society Pages, that can be ordered on the hotline.

The Pumpkin mailing address is:

   P.O. Box 5418
   North Hollywood, CA 91616-5418 USA

The address for Zappa's distributor in London, England is:

Music For Nations / Zappa Records
102 Belsize Lane

From Johannes Labisch <joe@cs.tu-berlin.de>:

In response to some inquiries as to the (European) addresses of the places which sell (Zappa) CD's:

2001 Versand
D -- 60381 Frankfurt/Main
phone +49-69-4208000
fax +49-69-415003 or 415004

The correspondence address for Z (Dweezil and Ahmet's band) is:

c/o Hollywood North
PO Box 5227
N. Hollywood CA 91616

2.11 What other recording acts did Zappa produce or play with?

The following albums contain music that was produced and/or written by Zappa. There is some more detailed info in another FAQ documnet called ``Other Zappa Projects'' If anyone has more data on these recordings please email to me (heederik@wins.uva.nl) and I will add it to the FAQ document.

King Kong                        Jean-Luc Ponty
Trout Mask Replica               Captain Beefheart
Good Singin', Good Playin'       Grand Funk
Flint                            Flint
Lightning Rod Man                Lowell George and The Factory
Touch Me There                   Shankar
Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up    Jeff Simmons
Permanent Damage                 GTO's
An Evening With Wild Man Fischer Wild Man Fischer
For Real                         Ruben and the Jets
Go Boy Wonder                    Burt Ward (single)
Would You Like A Snack?          Jefferson Airplane
Feel                             George Duke

2.12 What role did FZ play in the PMRC ``record-rating'' hearings?

From the interview in Option Magazine, Jan-Feb 1987:

Several months ago, it seemed a refreshing and deliciously ironic moment when Frank Zappa was spotted on television, testifying before a Senate committee. He was dressed in a jacket and tie, much as he was more than two decades ago for an appearance - in which he musically played a bicycle - on the Steve Allen Show. Before the committee, however, with the accumulated notoriety of the intervening years in evidence only as subtext, the talkative, knowledgeable and apparently incensed musician held forth as the most reasonable voice of the afternoon.

Considering the urgent problems you'll find on the front pages of even the lamest paper, the committee was holding hearings on the non-issue of applying ratings to rock records. Zappa had come to Washington to help nip this bit of proto- fascism in the bud. Instigated by the Parents' Music Resource Center, a well-connected group of Washington wives with kids in school and time on their hands, the committee was examining the possibility of a casual link between rock music and drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, Satanism, concert violence and other things which no one could seem to recall having existed before 1956.

Asked how something as trivial as record-rating became the subject of a Senate inquiry, Zappa simply remarked, ``A couple of blow-jobs here and there and Bingo! - you get a hearing.'' He added that Tipper Gore - wife of Senator Albert Gore and a key figure in the PMRC - had recently demanded that MTV president Tom Freston go to Washington to discuss the rating of music videos. While any legislation against the various music media doesn't seem likely at this point, Zappa notes that the current administration is doing what it can to further its own ideology, such as reviewing all documentaries being produced by both National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

(OP)- Within the last year the Parents' Music Resource Center (PMRC) has requested that record companies rate records they produce similar to the current rating of films. You've been involved in this recent controversy. What did the record industry finally agree to?

(FZ)- Well, to quote you from the Associated Press Wire Report, dated November 1, 1985, the basic points of the agreement between the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the PMRC are that ``parents' groups will have no role in determining what is explicit.'' Next, ``the record companies will determine what is explicit.'' When asked, ``What is explicit?,'' Stanley Gortikov (president of the RIAA) replied, ``What's explicit is explicit.'' Third, ``those artists whose contracts give them control over their packaging are free to ignore the understanding.'' Does this sound like something you could enforce?

I think the record industry allowed the ladies to save a little face (by making a formal agreement at all), which just encourages them more. The PMRC has moved to new quarters in Virginia; they are no longer in Washington D.C. They have a new printed fund-raising package which heralds their victory while omitting those parts of the agreement that render it inoperable. The fund-raising package says that if you'll send them money, they will send you more examples of the horrors of these lyrics. They are making an industry out of this thing! Meanwhile, Reverend Jeff Ling, their consultant, has this new slide show that he is taking around.

The night before I testified in the State Senate, I attended a cocktail party that a bunch of legislators were invited to. The bill had already passed in the House of Delegates. My objective in this exercise was to keep the bill from going anyplace in the Senate because if the Senate approves the bill it becomes law. But if you kill the bill in the Senate, it's dead. Delegates and Senators were coming to this cocktail party. Every time somebody would say, ``Here's Delegate So-and-So,'' I would say, ``Which way did you vote?'' And of the ones who voted for the bill, I always asked them, ``Why?'' Most of them were embarrassed that they had. And I would say, ``Would you care to apologize?,'' and hand them a piece of paper to get their apology in writing. I've got slips of paper from at least five delegates who voted for the thing with the most unbelievable quotes. I read the apologies in the Senate the following day. Here's some quotes: ``I was swept away by the rhetoric.'' And ``I had to vote that way because that's the way my district is.'' That guy came from a district where he might have had his legs badly mutilated if he hadn't done it.

(See also ``How can I get a copy of the congressional hearings on record labeling?''.)

How can I get a copy of the congressional hearings on record labelling?

From Jeff Rocca <jjr@mozart.att.com>:

To obtain a printed copy of the congressional record label hearing, send a check for $5 payable to ``superintendent of documents'' to
    superintendent of documents
    congressional sales office
    washington, dc 20402
and request a copy of the printed hearing on record labeling from september 19, 1985 (reference gpo stock number 052-070-06101-4).

From Sky Raider <72607.612@compuserve.com>:

The Government Printing Office no longer sells GPO #052-070- 06101-4. The item is available from Federal Depository Libraries, however. Contact your local, state, or state university library for information about the nearest Federal Depository Library. You will not be able to buy the transcript, but you will be able to make your own copy.

2.13 Why isn't 200 Motels available on CD?

United Artists owns the rights to it. Zappa probably had to sign away the soundtrack rights in order to get the film made and released by United Artists. United Artists was absorbed by MCA some time ago.

However, there is a bootleg CD of 200 Motels.

2.14 What were Zappa's favourite records?

From David Manno <dmanno@hsc.usc.edu>:

KCRW in Santa Monica aired a tribute to Frank Zappa which included comments by Nicolas Slonimsky, Zappa music, and a re-broadcast of a 1989 program called Castaway's Choice, hosted by John McNally. This program contained interesting dialogue between Zappa and McNally, interspersed with excerpts from Frank's ten records he'd take to a desert island, and his reasons why. Frank said ``Back in the days when I had recreational listening time these are the things I would actually listen to.''

  1. Octandre by Edgard Varese
  2. The Royal March from L'Histoire du Soldat by Igor Stravinsky
  3. The Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
  4. Third Piano Concerto, first movement by Bela Bartok. Zappa: ``I think it is one of the most beautiful melodies ever written.''
  5. Stolen Moments by Oliver Nelson
  6. Three Hours Past Midnight by Johnny Guitar Watson
  7. Can I Come Over Tonight by The Velours
  8. Bagatelles for String Quartet by Anton Webern
  9. The Anton Webern Symphony, Opus 21 by Anton Webern
  10. Piano Concerto in G by Maurice Ravel

When asked if he could only keep one of the above, FZ chose Three Hours Past Midnight.

Incidentally, I recall that Frank was once a guest on the Dick Cavett Show in 1980 (or thereabouts) and in terms of contemporary popular music, Frank stated that he was particularly fond of Lucky Number by Lene Lovich.

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