Review: Mother!: The Frank Zappa Story

Mother!: The Frank Zappa Story
Mother!: The Frank Zappa Story by Michael Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of the better Frank Zappa biographies that I’ve read, mainly because it doesn’t take sides; Mr. Gray gives a good amount of viewpoints on many contentious moments in Zappa’s life, and even lays out the known inconsistencies in the stories of various parties involved.

The book covers Zappa’s life right up to his death and the establishment of the Zappa Family Trust and his final concerts in conjunction with the Yellow Shark album, the last he produced while he was alive. Zappa’s home life at various stages is often the main focus of the narrative, showcases many of the weird relationships that were reflected in his early music with the Mothers. It is also interesting to see a third-party view of many of the more litigious events of Zappa’s life, such as his arrest for creating pornography (during a police sting) and his case against the Royal Albert Hall. It also does not hide the fact that as a human being, Zappa could often be a bit of a jerk; To him, musicians were often just faulty instruments, not people (and sometimes not people to be paid properly).

The story is very well-written, given the usual nature of these sorts of things, and there’s a decent discography in the back of the book (though it only consists of titles and record numbers). I’d definitely recommend this one to any Frank Zappa/Mothers fan.

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