The Mothers of Invention

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The Mothers of Invention
The Mothers of Invention (1968)
The Mothers of Invention (1968)
General information
Genre (s) Rock , pop music , psychedelic rock , progressive rock , avant-garde
founding 1964, 1970
resolution 1969, 1976
Founding members
Ray Collins
Frank Zappa
Electric guitar
Ray Hunt
Vocals, bass
Roy Estrada (until 1969)
Vocals, drums
Jimmy Carl Black (until 1969)
former members
Don Preston (1966-1969)
Bunk Gardner (1966-1969)
Woodwind instruments
Ian Underwood (1967-1969)
Jim "Motorhead" Sherwood (1967-1969)
Bruce Fowler
Singing, flute , saxophone
Napoleon Murphy Brock
Alto saxophone , keyboard
Ian Underwood
Jean-Luc Ponty
Chester Thompson
George Duke
Ruth Underwood
Art Tripp (1967-1969)
Guitar , vocals
Lowell George (1968-1969)
Henry Vestine (1965)
Peter Wolf
Vaudeville Band (June to December 1970)
Howard Kaylan
Vocals, electric guitar
Frank Zappa
Vocals, electric guitar
Mark Volman
Vocals, bass
Jeff Simmons
Vocals, drums
Aynsley Dunbar
Don Preston

The Mothers of Invention were an American rock band that lasted from 1964 to 1976. They mainly played compositions by Frank Zappa , who directed the band and also produced the released records.


The group was originally called "The Soul Giants" and consisted of drummer Jimmy Carl Black , bassist Roy Estrada , saxophonist Davy Coronado, guitarist Ray Hunt and singer Ray Collins . After a brawl with Collins, Hunt left the group in 1964. Frank Zappa took his place as guitarist and quickly became the band leader. He convinced the group to play their own pieces he wrote in order to be successful. He became the writer and later the producer of the band. Other band members only contributed pieces occasionally.

On Mother's Day 1964, the band changed their name to "The Mothers" (short for "motherfuckers", which at the time meant good musicians in Los Angeles slang ). In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson made a quick visit to a bar where the Mothers were performing and then offered them a contract. The "Mothers" and Wilson spent several months in the studio working on the group's first album, a double LP entitled Freak Out! . Your record company MGM Records insisted on changing the band name to "The Mothers of Invention". The debut album was released in 1966 and the "Mothers of Invention" went on tour in the following period.

The sales of Freak Out! were according to MGM at a "disappointing" 30,000 copies. Despite a subsequent budget cut, the "Mothers of Invention" continued their work and released the albums Absolutely Free (1967) and We're Only in It for the Money (1968) under the direction of Zappa .

In June 1969, Zappa demanded that the Mothers of Invention be disbanded, and on August 18, 1969, the Mothers last performed with the original line-up. Shortly afterwards, on August 20th, Zappa informed the band members that he had decided to dissolve the band and, as manager of the band, would no longer make any further down payments. At that point, he had paid each of the band's ten members $ 200 a week as an advance on expected income from performances and recording deals, and had incurred $ 10,000 in debt. In an interview, Zappa later also cited musical reasons for the separation from the band members: he was frustrated by the audience that was not interested in more demanding music and at the same time the musicians of the Mothers were not able to play the more demanding music he wrote to implement adequately beyond rock music.

1970 Zappa called the band with members Aynsley Dunbar , George Duke , Howard Kaylan ("Eddie") and Mark Volman ("Flo" or "Phlorescent Leech") back to life. This formation, also known as the Vaudeville band, recorded a new album, Chunga's Revenge , on which only Zappa was named as the composer. Two live albums followed ( Fillmore East, June 1971 and Just Another Band from LA ); then the band broke up again after Zappa had to rely on a wheelchair for a year as a result of a stage accident in December 1971.

Between 1973 and 1975 Zappa published his albums partly under his own name, partly under "Frank Zappa / Mothers". Other musicians such as Napoleon Murphy Brock (flute, saxophone, vocals), Ruth Underwood (percussion) and Chester Thompson (drums) contributed to these recordings .

In 1976 Zappa finally dissolved "his" "Mothers". Since 1980, Jimmy Carl Black , Don Preston and Bunk Gardner have occasionally played and released as The Grandmothers .



Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Barry Miles : Zappa . Rogner & Bernhard bei Zweiausendeins, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-8077-1010-8 , p. 217-221 .
  2. Ed Nahara: Frank Zappa vs. The Tooth Fairy . Interview. In: Creem , December 1974, quoted from Billy James: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention . Translated by Kirsten Borchardt, Höfen 2007, ISBN 978-3-85445-279-9 , page 161