Zappa references cowboys and westerns frequently in his music, but yet he disliked country music and conservative Southern rednecks.
"As for Bob Dylan, 'Highway 61 Revisited' was really good. Then we got 'Blonde on Blonde' and it started to sound like cowboy music, and you know what I think of cowboy music." - Frank Zappa, Playboy-interview (1993)
“I'm not really fond of commercial cowboy music or contemporary country – the "Slick Willie" type of shit.” (FZ in The Mother of All Interviews (Part 1)
- Lonesome Cowboy Burt
- Montana: “And then I might just jump back on and ride like a cowboy into the dawn of Montana”
- Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead: “Meanwhile (...) we have some sort of a cowboy song for you….”
- San Ber'dino: “She’s in love with a boy from the rodeo/who pulls the rope on the chute/when they let those suckers go.”
- He's So Gay: “He’s just a cowboy for a day.”
- No Not Now: “The big ol’ hat/ The cowboy pants (…) the hobby-horse (…) ride that bull”
- Truck Driver Divorce: In the interview Frank Zappa, 82/03 Zappa said about this song: "Truck Driver Divorce" (…) will probably be the end of country and western music. It's like country music on PCP.”
- Rhymin' Man: “Cowboys do that all the time. (…) Cowboys rhyme that with horse manure.”
- Lonesome Cowboy Nando
References to western actors and country singers
- Zappa wrote his first soundtrack for the low-budget western Run Home Slow.
- Zappa once met John Wayne while the actor was drunk.
- John Wayne is listed as an influence in the Freak Out! list
- Country singer Molly Bee is listed as an influence in the Freak Out List.
- When FZ returned to California in 1968, he moved into a large log cabin, once owned by old-time cowboy star Tom Mix.
- Andy: “Andy Devine had a thong rynd.”
- Zappa covered Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire.”
- Johnny Cash is also imitated in “Sunshine Of Your Love”. In the same song Ike Willis references Gabby Hayes.
- He also covered Theme From "Bonanza", introducing it with the words: "Speaking of torture: how about this ugly son of a bitch...?!"
- That Evil Prince: "They're all dead, dear; Zombies, I believe; the "Walking Dead"; Jack Palance did a show on them once."
- Jack Palance, Singing Cowboys and Will Rogers are mentioned in the Them Or Us List.
- The line "Hi-ho, Silver! Away!" is a reference to the cowboy series “The Lone Ranger”.
- Before he became a politician Ronald Reagan starred in a few low-budget western movies.