Talk:Biography

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Discussion

Just testing whether this is the appropriate place to discuss the Biography page.

Getting started

Obviously, biographical info has been published in several books - not the least, in TRFZB; how do we propose getting this data online here? Is this something that someone must enter into the database? Or does the stuff exist in cyberspace already?

Let's start off modestly

We can always go into greater depth biographically-wise later; I think for now a concise biography would be sufficient.

For that, yes, someone would actually have to type stuff inhere! ;-)

--KillUglyRadio

Starting point

This could be a starting point: http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/chronology/index.html

  • 1940-1964 From Baltimore to Cucamonga
  • 1965-1969 The Mothers of Invention
  • 1970-1972 Hot Rats/Mothers/Wazoo
  • 1973-1975 Discreet
  • 1976-1980 Zappa/Barking Pumpkin
  • 1981-1984 Them Or Us
  • 1985-1993 The Last Tour
  • 1994 et sq. The Zappa Family Trust

- emdebe

Agreed

Agreed, and I'm about to add these subheaders to the biography page.

--KUR

What belongs here?

Should we have musicians and recording session details in the biography when we have pages for all that stuff e.g...

c. August, 1962 PAL Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA: Paul Buff (guitar, organ, drums, saxes), Dave Aerni (bass), Mike Dineri (sax), FZ (comb) - recorded Heavies (Aerni/Buff) (intro heard in Nasal Retentive Calliope Music) on We're Only In It For The Money) and The Cruncher (Aerni/Buff).

Can we check and resolve and/or explain variations in dates etc when adding to the wiki. e.g. The above biography listing gives 1962 but our pages for Heavies/The Cruncher (with no musicians listed) gives 1964.

Dunk 00:48, 11 Jun 2005 (PDT)

"Should we have musicians and recording session details in the biography"... No
"Can we check and resolve and/or explain variations in dates etc"... Yes
The Wiki way of working is not always, er, working... Someone puts something on a page, then someone else picks it up, cleans it up, extends it, and puts everything in the right place... We wish! So, probably we need to do it differently... --Emdebe 08:08, 11 Jun 2005 (PDT)


Resignation

Ok!

I give up!

Perhaps when Emdebe has decided just how he wants this wiki to be we lesser mortals might be able to come back to it and make some contributions but at the moment it is just too much hassle even trying to get some understanding of what he wants where and why.

Dunk 16:27, 11 Jun 2005 (PDT)

Dunk, what's got into you? I understood that you pointed out that the biography section was going the wrong way. I agreed, because it was actually going nowhere. So, I put its current content below ("scratchpad"), so we could restart the biography page from (almost) scratch. Nothing was deleted. Nobody got hurt. What's the problem?

emdebe 16:52, 11 Jun 2005 (PDT)




S C R A T C H P A D

Frank Vincent Zappa was born in Baltimore, Maryland on December 21, 1940. His father was an immigrant from Sicily with Greek/Arab origins. His mother was born in US - her mother was from Sicily and her father from Naples. Baltimore had a large Italian immigrant community and Zappa was not an uncommon name. Indeed it seems to be quite common for Zappa's to be named Frank, Francis, or Vincent.

c. 1941-44 Zappa family lives in the Army housing facility at 15, Dexter Street, Edgewood, Maryland

c. 1944-50 Zappa family moves to Opa-Locka, Florida, then back to Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland


c. November 1951 Zappa's father took a job at the Naval Post-Graduate School in Monterey, California, so the family spent the next couple of weeks driving over 2900 miles across the US in their Henry J.

c. 1951-52 Zappa family moves to Pacific Grove, CA

Summer 1953 Monterey, CA - Keith McKillop's summer percussion school - Mice (first FZ composition)

c. 1953-54 Zappa family moves to Pomona, CA

1954 Zappa family moves to El Cajon, CA - FZ enters Grossmont High School, San Diego, CA

1955 San Diego, CA - The Ramblers: Elwood "Jr." Madeo (guitar), Stuart Congdon (piano), FZ (drums) + others

April, 1955 Grossmont High School, San Diego, CA - While at ninth grade FZ wins county Fire Prevention Week poster contest

c. 1955 FZ enters Mission Bay High School, San Diego, CA

December 21, 1955 FZ talks with Varèse's wife by phone

1956 Zappa family moves to Lancaster, CA - FZ enters Antelope Valley High School

August 12, 1957 Varèse sends a letter to FZ while he's in Baltimore, MD

c. 1957-58 - The Blackouts

1958 William Ballard lets FZ conduct the school orchestra - String Quartet, including: "A Pound For A Brown (On The Bus)", "Sleeping In A Jar"

c. 1958 The Blackouts from The Lost Episodes - Wayne Lyles (voice), Terry Wimberly (voice), Elwood "Jr." Madeo (voice), FZ (voice)

c. 1958 The Blackouts break up

c. 1958 FZ wins California statewide art contest with his painting "Family Room"

June 13, 1958 FZ graduates from High School


Married Kay Sherman December 28, 1960. Moved to G Street, Ontario

c. 1961 FZ audits a course on composition by Karl Kohn at Pomona College, Claremont, CA

c. 1961 FZ rents a white Fender Telecaster from Ontario Music Center, G Street, Ontario.

May, 1961 Ontario, CA - The Boogie Men: FZ - lead guitar, Doug Rost (rhythm guitar), Kenny Burgan (sax), Al Surratt (drums)

mid. 1961 FZ auditions Don Preston for a lounge band

June, 1961 FZ hired to write The World's Greatest Sinner (The Film) soundtrack

c. 1961-62 (during three months) Pomona, CA - Rex Jakabowski (guitar, harmonica, vocals), FZ (guitar), Ronnie Williams (guitar), Joe Perrino (piano), Dwight Bement (tenor sax), Al Surratt (drums)

c. 1961 FZ buys a Fender Jazzmaster

c. 1961 FZ meets Paul Buff and begins to work at PAL Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA - recording of Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance from The Lost Episodes: FZ (guitar), Danny Helferin (piano), Chuck Foster (trumpet), Tony Rodriguez (alto sax), Caronga Ward (bass), Chuck Grove (drums). It's From Kansas from Lumpy Gravy may have been recorded here as well.

November, 1961-early 1962 [ten months] Tommy Sandi's Club Sahara, San Bernardino, CA - Joe Perrino & The Mellotones: Joe Perrino (piano), FZ (guitar), Dwight Bement (sax) + others

November, 1961 Chaffey Junior College, Alta Loma, CA: 8-piece rock'n'roll band including: FZ (guitar), Dwight Bement (various instruments)

Early December, 1961 Chaffey Junior College, Alta Loma, CA: 20-member chamber ensemble

December 17, 1961 Chaffey Junior College, Alta Loma, CA: Pomona Valley Orchestra (55-member) conducted by Fred E. Graff

c. 1961-62 Living Room in Ontario, CA: Ronnie Williams (voice), Kenny Williams (voice), FZ (guitar): recorded Ronnie Sings?, Kenny's Booger Story and Ronnie's Booger Story, all from The Lost Episodes.

1962 - The Masters - PAL Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Paul Buff (probably drums, bass, piano), Ronnie Williams (guitar), FZ (guitar): recorded Breaktime (Williams/Buff/FZ)

1962 The Masters - Sixteen Tons (Travis) / Breaktime (Williams/Buff/FZ) (Emmy E 1008)

c. May, 1962 Don Preston's Garage: Don Preston - keyboards, films, assorted percussion (including a bicycle), Bunk Gardner - woodwinds, Buzz Gardner - trumpet, Vic Mio - bass, Jack Lake - percussion, + FZ - films, percussion

c. August, 1962 PAL Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA: Paul Buff (guitar, organ, drums, saxes), Dave Aerni (bass), Mike Dineri (sax), FZ (comb) - recorded Heavies (Aerni/Buff) (intro heard in Nasal Retentive Calliope Music) on We're Only In It For The Money) and The Cruncher (Aerni/Buff).

September, 1962 Channel 7 - Don Preston, FZ and the rest audition for a TV program

December, 1962 PAL Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA, Produced by Dave Aerni, Engineered by FZ - The Tornadoes: Gerald Sanders (bass), Roly Sanders (guitar), Jesse Sanders (guitar), George White (sax), Leonard Delaney (drums) - recorded Moon Dawg (Weaver), The Inebriated Surfer (Sanders), Shootin' Beavers (Sanders), The Swag (Grant/Wray), Raw-Hide (Grant/Wray), Malagueña (Lecuona), The Tornado (Aerni), Bumble Bee Stomp (Sanders/Delaney/White), Vaquero (Tomsco), Johnny B. Goode (Berry)

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Ray Collins (vocals, falsetto), Paul Buff (piano, sax), FZ (guitar, bass, drums) - recording of "Tell Me" (Williams) and "Love Of My Life" (FZ/Aerni).

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Ray Collins (vocals), Ronnie Williams (guitar), Paul Buff (bass, guitar, sax?), FZ (drums) - recording of "Deseri" (Collins/Buff) ( later appeared on The Grandmothers' "Looking Up Granny's Dress", 1982).

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Ron Roman (vocals) - recording of "Tell Me" (Williams) and "Love Of My Life" (FZ/Aerni).

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Produced by Art Laboe - The Penguins: Cleve Duncan (vocals), Walter Saulsberry (vocals), The Viceroys: James Conwell (vocals), Andrew "Jack" White (vocals), Charles Jones (vocals), Oliver Williams (vocals), Herbert White (vocals) + FZ (vibes) - recording of "Memories of El Monte" (FZ/Collins).

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Ray Collins (vocals), Paul Buff (snorks, saxes, piano?), Dick Barber (snorks?), FZ (guitars, bass, drums?) - recording of "How's Your Bird?" and "The World's Greatest Sinner".

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Bob Guy (vocals), FZ (probably all instruments and sound effects) - recording of "Dear Jeepers" and "Letter From Jeepers".

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Benny Rodriguez (vocals), Joe Rodriguez (vocals), FZ (lead guitar), Max Uballez (rhythm guitar), Richard Provincio (piano), Armando Mora (tenor sax), Chris Pasqual (bass), Manuel Mosqueda (drums) - recording of "Everytime I See You" (FZ/Collins).

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Produced by FZ & Paul Buff - Brian Lord (vocals), FZ (various instruments & sound effects), Paul Buff (probably various instruments & sound effects too) - recording of "The Big Surfer".

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Ray Collins (vocals), FZ (probably all instruments & backing vocals), ? (sax) - recording of "Hey, Nelda" (FZ/Collins) and "Surf Along" (FZ/Collins).

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Ray Collins (vocals), Paul Buff (fuzz bass), FZ (guitars, bass, keyboards, drums) - recording of "Fountain Of Love" (FZ/Collins) - recording of "Any Way The Wind Blows".

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - FZ (guitars, bass, drums), Paul Buff (saxes?) - recording of "Grunion Run".

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Mr. Clean (lead vocals, harmonica?), Unknown girl (background vocals), Paul Buff (fuzz bass), FZ (most instruments, vocals) - recording of "Mr. Clean" and "Jessie Lee".

March 14, 1963 (aired March 27) - Steve Allen Show, Channel 5 - FZ (bicycle), Steve Allen (bicycle), Johnny Jacobs (poetry) + Instrumental Ensemble Pre-recorded Tape - "Concerto For Two Bicycles".

1963, Ron Roman - "Love Of My Life" (FZ/Aerni) / "Tell Me" (Williams) (Daani 101)

April 8, 1963 - The Penguins - "Memories of El Monte" (FZ/Collins) / "Be Mine" (Day/Nelson) (OS 27)

April 8, 1963 - Baby Ray & The Ferns - "How's Your Bird?" / "The World's Greatest Sinner" (Donna 1378)

April, 1963 - Bob Guy - "Dear Jeepers" / "Letter From Jeepers" (Donna 1380)

April, 1963 - The Heartbreakers - "Everytime I See You" (FZ/Collins) / "Cradle Rock" (Galleger) (Donna 1381)

May 19, 1963 - The Experimental Music of Frank Zappa - Mount St. Mary's College, LA - "Variables II for Orchestra", "Variables I for Any Five Instruments", "Opus 5, for Four Orchestras" (parts on Mount St. Mary's Concert Excerpt), "Rehearsalism", "Three Pieces of Visual Music with Jazz Group".

May, 1963 - Brian Lord & The Midnighters - "The Big Surfer" / "Not Another One" (Aerni/Buff) (Vigah 001)

May 27, 1963 - Brian Lord & The Midnighters - "The Big Surfer" / "Not Another One" (Aerni/Buff) (Capitol 4981)

June, 1963 - Ned & Nelda - "Hey, Nelda" (FZ/Collins) / "Surf Along" (FZ/Collins) (Vigah 002)

July, 1963 - The Hollywood Persuaders - "Tijuana" (Buff) / "Grunion Run" (OS 39)

August, 1963 - Mr. Clean - "Mr. Clean" / "Jessie Lee" (OS 40)

August, 1963 - The Rotations - "Heavies" (Aerni/Buff) / "The Cruncher" (Aerni/Buff) (OS 41)

c. 1963 - Sin City Boys - Ray Collins (vocals), FZ (guitar) - recording of "Joe The Puny Greaser" ("Puff The Magic Dragon") and "Streets Of Fontana" ("Streets Of Laredo")

c. 1963 - The Troubadour - Loeb & Leopold: Ray Collins (vocals), FZ (guitar)

c. summer 1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Don Van Vliet (vocals), FZ (guitar), Alex Snouffer (guitar)?, Vic Mortenson (drums)? - recording of "Slippin' And Slidin'" (Penniman)

c. summer 1963 or c. March, 1964, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Don Van Vliet (vocals), FZ (guitar), Alex Snouffer (guitar)?, Vic Mortenson (drums)? - recording of "Cheryl's Canon" (?), "Evil" (Burnett), "The Grund" (?), and "Vicious Intentions" (?)

c. 1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - FZ (all instruments & vocals) - recording of "Charva".

1963, Run Home, Slow (OS) - Art Laboe's Original Sound Studios, LA, CA, Engineered by Paul Buff: "Run Home Slow Theme", "Run Home Cues #2", "Run Home Cues #3", "The original Duke Of Prunes", "Right There", "The Little March".

c. 1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - recording of "Why Don't You Do Me Right?" and "Take Your Clothes Off"?

c. 1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - FZ (guitar), Doug Moon (acoustic guitar) - recording of "Speed-Freak Boogie".

September 19, 1963 - Dot Records reject The Soots' master with "Any Way The Wind Blows" and "Slippin' And Slidin'" among others.

1963, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Produced by Curry & Irvin - Conrad & The Hurricane Strings: Conrad Couwenberg (guitar), Ed Sigarlaki (guitar), Don Sigarlaki (bass), Patrick Couwenberg (drums) - recording of "Hurricane" (Sigarlaki) (intro heard in "Bit of Nostalgia") and "Sweet Love" (Sigarlaki).

December, 1963 - Conrad & The Hurricane Strings - "Hurricane" (Sigarlaki) / "Sweet Love" (Sigarlaki) (Daytone 6401)

c. March, 1964, Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA - Don Van Vliet (vocals), FZ (guitar), Alex Snouffer (guitar)?, Janschi (bass), Vic Mortenson (drums) - recording of "Tiger Roach" (Van Vliet/FZ), "Metal Man Has Won His Wings" (Van Vliet/FZ), and "I'm Your Nasty Shadow" (?).

May 10, 1964 - The name of the band is changed officialy to Mothers

1964 - FZ moves to Pal Studio, Cucamonga, CA

August 1, 1964 - FZ buys Pal Studio from Paul Buff and renames it as Studio Z

August 1, 1964 - Studio Z, Cucamonga, CA - Don Van Vliet, Laurie, Ray Collins, Jim Sherwood, Bob Narciso - recording of "Opening Night At Studio Z"

c. September, 1964 - FZ sets up the plot & scenery for "Captain Beefheart vs. The Grunt People"

c. 1964 - The Saints 'N Sinners, Ontario, CA - The Muthers: FZ (guitar, vocals), Paul Woods (bass), Les Papp (drums) - recording of "Power Trio from 'The Saint & Sinners'"

1964 - "I Was A Teen-age Malt Shop" (Rock Opera) - Studio Z, Cucamonga, CA - FZ (piano, guitar, bass, vocals), Don Van Vliet (vocals), Allison Buff (vocals), Jim Sherwood (acoustic guitar), Vic Mortenson (drums) - recording of "The Birth of Captain Beefheart", "I Was A Teen-age Malt Shop", "Status Back Baby", "Ned The Mumbler", "Ned Has A Brainstorm" (aka "Toads Of The Short Forest").

December 2, 1964 - KNXT rejects the "I Was A Teen-age Malt Shop" outline


Suggestion for the strucure of the biography

Just a sketch, to start thinking about it. Since lots of the guys were not satisfied the way it is now. I think the text should concentrate on the LIFE (the tours, the things happened) than the albums. So this is my skeleton-suggestion:

  • From Baltimore to Varese - the early years
  • Studio Z
  • The Mothers (65-69)
  • The Flo & Eddie show (70-71)
  • Grand Wazoo (72)
  • Napoleon, Duke and other highnesses (73-74)
  • Zoot Allures (75-76)
  • Sheik Yerbouti! (76-78) (a better title?...)
  • Tinseltown Rebellion (78-80)(a better title?...)
  • Wackermanisation (81-84) (a better title?...)
  • From Humor to the Best Band (84-88) (a better title?...)
  • Yellow Shark - The final years
  • Life after FZ

FZ early years

Hi

This edit is probably going to cause waves... As a newcomer reading the bio I thought it was a bit 'empty' in the young Zappa's formative years. How did he get like he was? What were his folks like? Why did he move around so much? Did the mysteries of all the air force bases he lived near add to the 'alien beings' in his work? What were the schools? How did he meet Beefheart? What happened before the Mothers?

I've tried to pen something that has links throughout, inviting the reader into pages of the wiki. I think the early introduction of family members is important, along with sources for any 'newbie's' queries, as above. I've only replaced the first 2 paras, which I've kept almost 'intacto'. Apart from amending 1st line of 3rd para the rest is 'as was'. Any 'red links' I was proposing to construct informative pages for. (Note, I purposely didn't link 'catholic girls'...enough said)

I could research it to infinity. No doubt there are errors, but I have to offer it up sometime, so here it is.

Hope I haven't trampled over old ground too much or ruffled too many feathers- best of intentions and all that...--Tonefish 07:26, 16 June 2008 (PDT)

PS: Forgot to mention, in the Mothers sections, I don't think birth dates are needed after musicians' names, they should already be on their pages.

Don't get me started! Personally I would delete the whole thing and start again. It was originally cut and pasted from elsewhere with out any regard to what a wiki bio could/should be. At least it is not quite as bad as the dire wikipedia page but suffers from many of it's faults - did Zappa smoke? Who would know from this? Zappa biographies run to pretty chunky books it is pointless to try and recreate one on a single page - particularly when we have a whole wiki full of pages that are his biography. Better individual articles covering all the details with the bio page just a chronological index linking to each article would be a better choice - with a short, snappy half page bio for anyone who had never heard of him. Duncan 09:03, 16 June 2008 (PDT)


Ok. Looks like I have got you started!! Let's all be calm...

I think this wiki, like any good book on FZ, has to have a Bio. We must assume some readers will have no prior knowledge. Folks will arrive and want to know, as briefly as possible in one page, His Life.

When you guys envisaged the wiki (remember, you're fans and understand FZ-speak & Zappanese) you may not have seen this page working in quite the way it now does- with all the other pages falling into place and providing the 'flesh' that this 'skeleton' Bio page can provide links to. Thanks to the vision of you guys I personally found this page useful, easy to follow and uncluttered with FZ-speak. That's why I began fleshing it out a bit more in the same vein, leaving opportunities and clues as links to invite the reader in.

Regarding your comments, I think you're spot-on, with the exception that the 'snappy Bio' should be an assembled 'timeframe' interesting read. e.g. A properly-tuned version of what's there now, that 'teases' with the detail that can be found in-depth on the link; and onwards from that link. In furtherance of your comment I also believe the Bio should begin by stating something like "Editor's Note: Many books & biographies on the life of Zappa have been written, here's a link to this wiki's growing booklist (link). Consequently this Bio is not definitive, but has been culled from many of these books and various articles in order to provide a broad overview of Zappa's life and to provide links to the many pages of interest in this wiki where Zappa's life can then begin to be fully understood..." (or words to this effect).

I also think that 'drawing datelines' thru the existing text could help. e.g. the list in section above (Suggestion for the structure of the biography). However, I would put the dates at the front, followed by the 'FZ-speak' straplines. i.e. '1970-1971: The Flo & Eddie Show'

This would enable the Bio to be expanded, where required, in manageable chunks as the 'back-end' articles grow and any 'new' key Bio info may arrive, or where someone might want to tinker with a word or two without having to do a major re-write.

Whatever. In my opinion this item is a bit like having to worm your dog. It's got to be tackled sometime. Are we the only 2 interested? Anyone out there going to hold down his back legs...? Paws for thoughts...--Tonefish 08:20, 17 June 2008 (PDT)

When Duncan writes (09:03, 16 June 2008): 'Don't get me started! Personally I would delete the whole thing and start again', I fully agree, something that doesn't happen frequently... ;-) Yes, it would be better if individual articles would cover all the details with the bio page just a chronological index linking to each article. Although I would put in some extra words to put everything in context. Refocusing on a better bio pages may also give more guidance to where this wiki is going... --Emdebe 03:34, 21 July 2008 (PDT)

Whats happening here

I like the current biography as much as i have read. Is it still being worked on at the moment/would anybody get angry if i modified anything?

Whats happening here

I really like the current biography as much as i have read.
Is it still being worked on at the moment/would anybody get angry if i modified anything?

Please feel free to jump in and modify as you see fit. I personally do not like it much and will get around to some major editing someday. Duncan 03:31, 25 March 2009 (PDT)