Frank Zappa was no ordinary musician, he was also a filmmaker and an activist. His music was often deemed bizarre by the media but his message was clear and had a big impact on musical freedom. Every peculiar person tends to make more enemies than friends. Zappa survived several attacks and there’s something strange about his death as well.
Frank Vincent Zappa was born in Baltimore on December 21, 1940. His mother Rosemarie was half Italian and half French. His father on the other hand had Italian, Greek and Arab blood. Frank Zappa would be a cosmopolitan by birth. Zappa’s father was a chemist and mathematician who worked for the United States defense program. This is the reason that the family lived near the Aberdeen Proving Ground where the government ran tests with mustard gas.
Musician And Activist
Zappa had an opinion on almost everything and not everyone was happy about this. He never feared a controversialopinion or a heated discussion. The debut of his band featured a song called ‘Who Are The Brain Police?’, a satire on the hippie culture of which Zappa was no big fan. Because of his strong opinions, Zappa was closely watched by the US government.
A first incident took place on December 4, 1971. Zappa and his band The Mothers Of Invention were playing a show at the Montreux Casino. Suddenly someone fired a flare gun into the ceiling. The building caught fire and burned to the ground. All of the band’s equipment burned with it, but Zappa survived the fire. Fun fact: this fire inspired Deep Purple to write ‘Smoke On The Water‘. The band quickly hired some gear to continue their tour and a week later the band played at the Rainbow Theatre in London. During the show, a fan rushed on the stage and pushed Frank Zappa in the concrete-floored orchestra pit. Zappa was nearly killed by this long fall, but survived with some serious fractures. He crushed his larynx which caused his voice to drop a bit. He would never be the same musician he was before the attack. No wonder Zappa was concerned that someone was trying to kill him.
After some time, Zappa regained courage and there would be no more attacks. Frank Zappa died on the 4th of September in 1993, a few weeks before his 53rd birthday. His family announced his death as “composer Frank Zappa left for this final tour just before 6:00 pm on Saturday”. Zappa died after a long battle with prostate cancer and was buried at the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetry in Los Angeles. Not many fans have visited his last resting place because it’s quite hard to find… Zappa was buried in an unmarked grave which led to some alternative theories about his death. Some think that he might have suffered from cancer because of the exposure to mustard gas when he was a child. Not something the government or his family would want to get too much attention.