Frank Zappa is an underground. Since he first came to public attention with the Mothers of Invention, Zappa has been the most admired, if least understood, of current crop of musicians. His musical talents, his offbeat (and sometimes in person) stage manner, and his business acumen have contributed to an ever-changing pied piper image.
Mixing satire with progressive musicianship, Zappa has been humorously putting down commercialism (i.e. a recent Mother's album called "We're Only In It For the Money") while racking up sales of over 200,000 units for each of the group's three albums. Their fourth and current Verve/Forecast set, Reuben & the Jets, a satirical but authentic look at 1958 rock & roll groups, is their biggest set to date.
Zappa's newly-formed Bizarre Productions has recently signed distribution deal with Reprise (see story on Pg. 10), with the Mothers themselves set to debut on the label this month.
1974 August 3
Cash Box Profile: Frank Zappa after 10 years - The Man, The Music, the Mystique
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention have been through quite an odyssey in their career which has seen the zany and prolific genius and his cohorts consistently delight avant garde music fans everywhere with no less than 20 wild and wonderful records. Currently represented on th CASH BOX charts with his DisCreet LP, "A'POS!TRO'PHE," Zappa and friends have never ceased to come up with refreshing new material.
One of the most sought after concert acts in pop music both here and abroad, Frank and the Mothers have proven that their inventiveness on record is a direct carry-over from their recording talent and capability. With his new LP proving to be his best seller, Zappa's tenth anniversary is indeed a happy and profitable one.
1982 September 11
On The Cover
When Frank Zappa first started in the music business making the rounds at various record companies, label executives rejected his work, claiming it held absolutely "no commercial potential." What they failed to see was the unique nature of the singer/composer/guitarist's talent, and today, after earning numerous accolades as an innovative creator of classic craziness, bionic funk and other genres of spatial zonery, Zappa (aided by daughter Moon Unit) is reaching a wider audience through the "Valley Girl" single from his latest LP, "Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch."
Over the years Mr. Z. has composed dozens of off-the-wall songs, such as "Muffin Man," "Son Of Suzy Creamcheese," Cosmik Debris," "Illinois Enema Bandit" and "Penguin in Bondage," but none of them ever seemed to have the mass appeal of "Valley Girl," which details teenage lifestyles in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley region and in the weeks since its release, has been placed on hot rotation on several traditionally conservative radio stations.
"I have to finance my own product," Zappa explains. "I then go to Capitol and pay them to press it and ship it. Nobody can tell me what to put on records, or take off. They have nothing to do with the promotion and advertising; in fact there is hardly any advertising at all." (read more)