The Duke of Prunes: Frank Zappa (1940-1993)

Frank Zappa surely would have appreciated -- indeed, relished -- the irony ! that his death last week was, as the old show-biz line has it, a shrewd career move. The musical iconoclast, best known for his work with the seminal 1960s rock band the Mothers of Invention, was in many ways the prisoner of his own raffish image: hirsute hippie freak; countercultural sire of prototypical Valley Girl Moon Unit Zappa and her siblings Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva; opinionated crank ("AIDS is a CIA plot"); and First Amendment scourge of Tipper Gore. With his death from prostate cancer, a few days...

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