1993—Chronology Sources, Notes & Comments

The Zappa Family Trust

Glovaroma, Inc., v. Maljack Productions, Inc. [MPI], United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division. September 23, 1999

In April 1993, Frank and Gail Zappa transferred their individual rights to all tangible and intangible property to the [Zappa Family] Trust. The written transfer of ownership includes "any copyrights and all renewals and extensions thereof, [and] any trademarks and service marks, applications and registrations therefor."


Ruth Underwood

Ruth Underwood, interviewed by A.D. Amorosi, "Of Motels And Mallets," Waxpoetics, November 30, 2021

Underwood and I discuss the 1993 sessions that she famously played with Zappa, at his home studio, months before his death in December of that year. There, for four days, Zappa sampled marimba tracks for the music that he was producing despite his frailty. "In fact, when I got there, I was amazed at how wonderful he looked, and how straight he stood, how tall he was," she says.

"I actually started going over to the house, first, to bring him food. Not health food, which he would have immediately rejected, but meals from Casa Vega in the San Fernando Valley on Ventura Boulevard. While we ate, he'd play music and saw how receptive I was. After a lifetime of avoiding and rejecting music theory, he actually asked me to help him with some theory. Should this be a G-flat or an F-sharp, and why. And he was so eager to learn that. By late May, he phoned to ask me to sample my marimbas. I was most shocked as I hadn't played a note of malleted instrumentation for fourteen years. I was not in shape, and when you sample, you're looking for something exact. I asked for time to practice and dust off my mallets and beaters with all of our tour stickers still on them. That's when I heard a tone in his voice. Not the same tone from the past where he wanted everything that he wanted immediately and in full, all the time. But rather an urgency. So there was no time to waste. And once we started, he was as descriptive as always, asking for things like quiet, drum rolls, for example that sounded like two gnats saying hello to each other on the drum head to build a crescendo. Even though sampling was against my religion, I would have done anything for him.

"I would like to believe that I was helping him to finish this remaining work of his, but I really don't know if he had ever done anything with our sessions," Underwood wonders. "Along with having all of my instruments packed away how I had left them when I stopped playing, I had all of these chime-y things and children's percussive instruments around the house, as I was lucky to have two sons late in life. I had it all and I played it all for Frank that May. I can flatter myself and wonder if maybe Frank was looking for an excuse to see me again. I think that is true. Still, he was all business, and I was there to feed it all to him. From snares to marimbas, like always I gave Frank what he wanted."


Adrian Belew

Adrian Belew, interviewed by Gary Marks on March 7, 1994, T'Mershi Duween, August 1994

I had a dream at about six in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep. In the dream, it was simply Frank and I together, having a conversation. We were talking about his music and I told him what I was doing. When I woke up from it, I realized that I had never really genuinely thanked Frank for helping me out and giving me a start, so I sat down at my computer and wrote up a little fax. I then faxed it off to him and he faxed me back saying, "Call me." I called him and we had a great conversation and he said, "That was very sweet of you, Adrian, to say thanks," and that's an unusual word, "sweet," for him to say. It made me feel really great.

[...] I did visit him about three months ago. We sat in his living-room and talked for about half an hour, but he was tired. This was probably only a couple of months before he died: he seemed very weak and fragile. Then he said he wanted to lie down for a while, so I took a tour of his studio with his assistant Mark. Then I left and that was the last time I really saw him.


Margarita Nights

Robert Martin, T'Mershi Duween #52-53, July-August 1996

The last time I saw Frank was shortly before he died. Towards the end, he changed his approach socially a little bit. He became a lot more social and started to have Margarita Nights on Friday nights at his house and just invite people from the band, from the arts and film and we would have these wonderful eclectic conglomerates of people. Frank would be relaxing because he was weakening by then.

Joe Travers

Andrew Greenaway, "Interview With Joe Travers," The Idiot Bastard Son, February 14, 2001

IB: During your short time with the Zappas prior to Frank's death, did you participate in any of the Friday night soirées?

JT: Yes. Memorable moments include watching the newly finished 'Mommy' video with Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, and FZ in the room. Also when Gene Simmons came to visit.

IB: Did you ever get to actually record anything with Frank?

JT: No.

Bryan Beller

Bryan Beller, "Z," BryanBeller.com, c. 2002

It was a Zappa tradition to have "Margarita Night" every Friday night. They'd invite friends of the family up to their house in Laurel Canyon for drinks and conversation. Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet, and youngest sister Diva would all be there, along with Frank, Gail, and some people you've probably heard of. I went for the first time in late September of 1993—in celebration of Diva's birthday—and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous.

The house didn't look big from the outside, but inside it was tremendous—it was, as they say, deep. I found myself in Frank's den, practically clinging to Joe's arm (we went together) as I gazed at the collection of wall-mounted "ZAPPA" and "FZ" license plates he'd been sent from around the country. Going from room to room, I almost walked into a life-sized poster of Mr. Zappa. My knees almost buckled when I realized that the life-sized poster was actually Frank himself. "It's nice to meet you, Bryan." (He said he'd heard good things from Dweezil about me. It was eerily reminiscent of a wedding reception for a mafia don's daughter—and I was the husband.) It was indeed Frank, but he looked much older and grayer than before, and was sporting a long pirate's beard as opposed to his trademark goatee. The most striking thing about being around him was the aura of power. He was a very powerful person, and you felt somehow small next to him. I also felt guilty for having met him, knowing that there were tens of thousands of true Zappa freaks around the world who would have given their left nut to have been in my position.

Ike Willis

Ike Willis, interviewed by AJ Abrams, Jam Bands, March 2000

The week before he died I had a last meeting with Frank. He told me to keep his music alive however I can. I do it in every way possible that's not illegal, causes lawsuits, or angers the Zappa family.


Orchestral Project with Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio & Ensemble Modern

Dan Ouellette, "Frank Zappa," Pulse!, August 1993

As for future projects, Zappa's slate is full. He continues to dig into his audio archives to issue old material. Just released as the Ahead of Their Time CD of a 1968 Mothers concert in London, where 14 members of the BBC Symphony joined the group to provide the Zappa-composed musical accompaniment to a play the band members acted out. Next year Zappa promises another CD of unreleased studio cuts called Lost Episodes. Then there's a CD of music for modern dance called Dance Me This that he's working on. But what Zappa is most excited about are a couple of projects Andreas Molich-Zebhauser, business manager for Ensemble Modern, talked about during a visit just a couple of days earlier. "Andreas told me about an interview Edgar Varese gave once where he envisioned a film to accompany his piece 'Desert.' I had never heard of that before. Varese said that the images didn't need to relate to the music. Well, the Ensemble is booked for a concert in Cologne, Germany on May 27, 1994. Andreas thought of the extensive data bank of video images I've collected and got the idea to commission me to do a 22-minute film. The other project we discussed was for May 1995 when the Ensemble would perform an evening dedicated to my theatrical works like "Billy the Mountain" and "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" arranged for classical ensemble. I think it will make for an entertaining evening and an entertaining CD."

Steve Vai, interviewed by Adrian Belew, Guitar For The Practicing Musician, January 1994

I've also been working with Frank on a concert that he is putting together with the Ensemble Modern from Germany. I think that's a 30- or 40-piece ensemble with supposedly myself, Terry (Bozzio) and we're looking for a bass player to perform some of Frank's most complex music like "Black Page," "Sinister Footwear," "Mo and Herb's Vacation," "Music For Low Budget Orchestra and Guitar" —all these great pieces. Of course, these things don't happen until they happen.


December 4, 1993

Paul Feldman, "Frank Zappa Dies Of Cancer," Los Angeles Times, December 7, 1993

Rock musician Frank Zappa, who rode to fame in the late 1960's as leader of the eccentric Mothers of Invention, died Saturday evening at his Los Angeles home from the complications of prostate cancer he had been battling for years. He was 52.

A family friend, Jim Nagle, said he was buried in a private ceremony in Los Angeles.

Connie Bruck, "Life Of The Party, The New Yorker, January 25, 1999

When Frank died [...], Gail received a letter from [Bill] Clinton and also one from the Gores. "It was immediate," she recalled, "and I was so moved. Clinton, especially, was recognizing Frank as an artist, and recognizing what he contributed to a free society; which was still struggling with what its version of freedom was." The Gores' letter persuaded Gail that when Gore had expressed his regard for Frank at the hearing—something that, at the time, she and Frank thought might be disingenuous—he had been sincere after all.

Patrice Zappa-Porter, Facebook, December 4, 2022

Dec 4 1993..another day that will live in infamy. i had spent the night at a friends house and that morning, Dec 5, his phone rang and it was my daughter Julie, asking for me. She told me to call my mom as something "was up". Mom told me that Gail called and said that Frank was dead and buried already. i threw the phone down and started to sob. i picked it up and we talked more as she told me that she didn't get to see him, in fact none of us did.


Zappa Hotline Message

Moon Unit, Zappa Hotline Message, as transcribed in Society Pages #12, page 6 (repunctuated by Charles Ulrich)

Thank you for calling. You've reached the Zappa hotline. This is Moon. My family requests that those wishing to send flowers or commemorate my father in some way make a donation in his name either to the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (a 501C tax exempt organization; please phone them at 312-280-4223 or fax them at 312-440-9374) or make a donation in Frank's name to the Cousteau Society, Greenpeace, or any favorite environmental cause. My family is concerned about all those of you who loved Frank and want to do something, but are financially restricted. Just play his music if you're musicians, and otherwise, play his music anyway. That will be enough for him. My family hopes to be able to announce a memorial event at a future date. And lastly, my mother has asked that you be kind to your family and to your friends, and most especially, to yourself.


Frank Zappa's Grave, Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, "Visiting Marilyn Monroe's Grave: Resting Places Of The Rich And Famous," Test Pattern, MSNBC, August 15, 2007

The most famous Westwood Village resident has to be Marilyn Monroe. [...] We were glad we had our Internet map: Some celebrities are buried here in unmarked graves, musicians Roy Orbison and Frank Zappa among them. Our Internet map carefully detailed how to locate the plain patches of grass where both men are buried. (Zappa's blank spot is especially easy to find since he's right next to actor Lew Ayres, who does have a simple marker.)

"Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park And Mortuary," Wikipedia, December 29, 2023

Westwood Village Memorial Park



Research, compilation and maintenance by Román García Albertos
This page updated: 2024-02-24