The Mothers "Thing" – Invention

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Teen Scoop, February/March 1968

"Freak Out," say the Mothers of Invention, and all over the country audiences have been doing just that. By popular acclaim this group of madcap satirists has become the unofficial spokesman for the "Flower Power" generation.

Both in words and actions, the "Mothers" express the undercurrent of protest that is so evident among the "Now" youth of today. They ridicule with equal fervor both the feibles and hypocrisy so prevalent in society. To many older people they look funny and sound unintelligible – but to young people, the "Mothers" are what's happening.

Word about them has even spread to England. When they visited there last year, hordes of hippies greeted them with a deluge of flowers and beads. Whether in England or New York's East Village, the "Mothers" have proven that a group can be "far out" and still be popular.

Frank Zappa, head "Mother" and founder of the group, is responsible for its free-wheeling anti-Establishment image. He originates much of its material – composing, writing and arranging. Frank plays lead guitar, piano, vibes and drums. He is addicted to musical experimentation and has been influenced by Stravisky, Kagel, Boulez, Varese and Stockhausen.

Roy Estrada plays bass and guitarron and sings high falsetto harmony. He comes from California and takes great pleasure in building souped-up cars. AFter building one, he gets his kicks cruising along the freeway showing off his carburetors.

Billy Mundi is also a multitalented musician. During an evening's performance he may be seen playing drums, tympani, gongs, castanets, and the tambourine. He's crazy about pickles and chocolate-covered raisins – which led Frank Zappa to observe, "He's just plain crazy." Billy was born in San Francisco and makes his home in West Hollywood.

Bunk Gardner plays the woodwinds for the "Mothers." He likes to save peach pits and will give a dirty look to anyone who might suggest that there's something odd about a peach pit collector.

Jimmy Carl Black is a Frank Zappa fan: "That man's music turns me on," exclaims Jimmy. Like the other "Mothers," he is quite versatile and plays drums, tympani, tambourine and trumpet. He flips out over Mexican food, and can tell the difference between genuine and imitation Mexicali cookery.

Ray Collins sings lead vocal and enjoys communicating with an audience – on a psychic level. Despite a violent demeanor on stage, he is really quite gentle. Ray is a vegetarian because he feels that killing animals is revolting. He digs the blues and the Beatles. When Ray isn't signing, he fills in on the harmonica or tambourine.

The remaining "Mother," Don Preston, plays piano, harpsichord, organ, string bass, gings and chimes. When not playing, he spends his time building instruments. Don is also adhering to a macrobiotic diet. "It's a combination of diet and Oriental philosophy, which leads to peace of mind – and a healthy body," he points out.

With a hybrid crew like this, it's easy to see how the Mothers of Invention put on such zany performances. Their stinging humor and wild, noisy act have made them world-famous – people who have seen them agree – they deserve it!