Artists: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

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Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention Biography

In 1965, Ray Collins asked Zappa to take over as guitarist in local R&B band the Soul Giants, following a fight between Collins and the group's original guitarist. Zappa accepted, and soon assumed leadership and the role as co-lead singer (even though he never considered himself a singer). He convinced the other members that they should play his music to increase the chances of getting a record contract. The band was renamed the Mothers, coincidentally on Mother's Day.They increased their bookings after beginning an association with manager Herb Cohen, while they gradually gained attention on the burgeoning Los Angeles underground music scene. In early 1966, they were spotted by leading record producer Tom Wilson when playing Trouble Every Day, a song about the Watts riots. Wilson had earned acclaim as the producer for Bob Dylanand Simon & Garfunkel, and was notable as one of the few African-Americans working as a major label pop music producer at this time. Wilson signed the Mothers to the Verve division of MGM, which had built up a strong reputation for its releases of modern jazz recordings in the 1940s and 1950s, but was attempting to diversify into pop and rock audiences. Verve insisted that the band officially rename themselves the Mothers of Invention as Mother was short for motherfucker—a term that, apart from its profane meanings, can denote a skilled musician.

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