Frank Zappa (born December 21st 1940) is one of the most prolific composers/performers ever. He released around 100 albums before his untimely death from prostate cancer on December 4th 1993. For more information, a good starting point would be www.zappa.com although there are many excellent sites on the net.
Zappa was the guy who first signed the Alice Cooper Group to his own label 'Straight' through which they released the first three albums.
"The GTOs were close friends with Frank Zappa. In 1969 Frank Zappa was still a teen hero. He was my teen hero at least, and Zappa really just about supported the GTOs. There wasn't a zanier entourage in existence.Miss Christine was practically his social secretary, and after much begging and cajoling she promised me an audience with Frank. One night Miss Christine took me to a party and Zappa was there sitting on a sofa drinking wine, his mustache bigger than life. The moment we met we hit it off. Zappa had never been a huge commercial success himself. He was regarded unofficially as a drug freak, a nut, but that wasn't the case at all. Zany, maybe, but he never touched drugs and he was the straightest, strictest businessman I ever dealt with. He told me that he was starting his own record company and looking for acts to sign, especially comedy and psychedelic acts that nobody else would take a chance on. I asked if he would come hear us at the Cheetah, but he put me off saying he was too busy, but I didn't take no for an answer. As the party went on and he got drunker, I got more insistent. Finally he said, "All right. Come by in the morning and I'll listen."
I suppose he meant we should bring a tape, or maybe he forgot the next day was Sunday. Miss Christine let us into his house at the break of dawn, and we set up our equipment and lights in his basement and started playing. Zappa came rushing downstairs, naked, holding his ears.
"All right, all right," he shouted, his cock swinging back and forth as he shook his head, "I'll sign you! I'll sign you! Just stop playing!"
Zappa wasn't kidding. Just like that, out of the clear blue sky, he told us to come to his office on Monday and talk to his business manager, Herbie Cohen. Cohen offered us a six-thousand-dollar advance for our first three record albums to be released on Zappa's newly formed Straight-Bizarre label distributed by Warner Brothers. Zappa had already signed Captain Beefheart and the GTOs."
Zappa's business guys took the Cooper's to court over their contract and I think there was a bit of a falling out after that. I think more on Zappa's part-Alice remained a huge fan of course. We tried very hard to get Zappa for Prime Cuts but he was too sick.
(Renfield, August 1995)
From Entertainment Weekly at the time of Frank's Death:
"Zappa never adapted to American culture or wavered from his complex music. You'd think his stuff was all improvised, but his sheet music included every little squeak, bump, howl, and yodel that was played. Unbelievable. Zappa was also the best guitar player I've ever seen. I saw him play one night at a club with Hendrix. Frank got up and did an imitation of him. I'm looking at Hendrix and his mouth was open."