Talk:The Mothers of Invention

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The Mothers beyond Frank Zappa[edit]

I think I read somewhere that the band reformed with past members from each incarnation of the Mothers of Invention, but had to change their name due to legal pressure from Gail Zappa. Grandmothers? Someone verify. --Psycho78m 22:02, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

The Grandmothers formed in 1980 around the nucleus of Jimmy Carl Black, Bunk Gardner & Don Preston. I can't find any evidence that they tried to market themselves under the name, "the Mothers of Invention" at all, although it was no secret that they were former members of the MOI. However, Gail Zappa did sue them over the fact that they were advertised in some clubs as "The Grandmothers of Invention." Rather than go to court the band dropped "of Invention."

  • I'll remove the statement, until evidence is put forth (also the person inserting it, implicitly states that Zappa died in the period 1985-86, which is untrue)HJ 09:12, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

There is no evidence that the Grandmothers ever worked "for 5 years as a children's act," a patently ridiculous statement on the face of it.

Re: Gail Zappa: GZ has sued people in the past for "unauthorized" use of Frank Zappa's music and has engaged in battles with tribute bands. In 2004 she undertook a campaign against a Zappa tribute band called Project/Object, in which she phoned club owners who had booked Project/Object and threatened lawsuits if they let Project/Object play there. As a result Project/Object was deprived of a lot of work.

In my opinion Gail Zappa has done more harm to the Zappa legacy than good. She seems to have spent a considerable amount of money on lawsuits that are borderline frivolous (like her lawsuit against a Canadian furniture company that used a 10 sec. snippet of a Zappa guitar solo in one briefly run ad, a lawsuit that dragged on for years and netted her less than $100,000 by several reports). She also contributed heavily to Al Gore's losing presidential campaign, ironic considering that Frank Zappa's "The Mothers of Prevention" album targets Tipper Gore and the Parents Music Resource Center. (Happydog)

Ray Hunt, the billionaire?[edit]

Frankly, I find it hard to believe that the original guitarist of this band is the same billionaire Ray Hunt who is linked. I am changing the link, if anyone has documentation that I am wrong, please reinstate the link. TheGoblin 19:07, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Who is drummer John Swank?[edit]

Someone has put him in as drummer, and written a brief somewhat strange article about him; John Swank. Is he for real? Or is this just a joke? --HJ 21:46, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

I did a Google search (here), and the only hits I found for a John Swank with any Zappa connection were a few mentions on a MySpace page for some biker/punkabilly type band. Whoever he is, he's been re-inserted into the article. And the explanation on the talk page for the John Swank article is intriguing. Could be for real, could be a joke. (I guess that's always a danger with anything Zappa-related.) MrBook 20:48, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
The page John Swank is suggested for deletion. Even though the story indeed is intriguing, I think such "news out of the blue" require firm proof. I.e., someone gotta get the microfilm out of the library and onto the web for all to see. Otherwise, I am not convinced (also he is no longer called "drummer" here, but "percussive savant"). Let see what happens to the page.--HJ 21:17, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
No more page on "John Swank", so I have fired him from the Mothers in the main article.--HJ 23:05, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

What to include in discography?[edit]

Anonymous user removed several albums without comment from the discography. I have reverted the changes. I think the point of the removals has been to remove those albums which do not explicitly state "The Mothers" on the cover. For example, The Lost Episodes which nevertheless contains many tracks with line-ups that were known as "The Mothers". So a general discussion is in order: Should the discography only include albums where the name "The Mothers" (or "The Mothers of Invention") are explicit, or should it also include Frank Zappa works where line-ups are unmistakenly "The Mothers"?--HJ 06:06, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Here's my idea: it's a bit convoluted, but I think it's most likely to be accurate: any record by a line-up explicitly referred to as "The Mothers" or "The Mothers of Invention" should be considered a Mothers release, in addition to any release which does not explicitly refer to The Mothers by name but nonetheless features a line-up previously or subsequently described as a Mothers of Invention line-up. If that makes sense, heh. --Jacj 21:59, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
In fact, if we wanted to get nitpicky, you could also differentiate between the two types of Mothers release with a symbol or something. --Jacj 22:19, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I had always thought that the discography was constructed as you suggest (e.g., 200 Motels is formally an FZ album, but a band sufficiently close to a Mothers version - except for bassist Martin Lickert- plays on it, so it should be listed here). Adding some symbol signalling "FZ release containing tracks with line-ups usually referred to as The Mothers " should be easy. It it gets an OK, I'll be willing to do it.--HJ 10:31, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Needs some editing and fact-checking here[edit]

In 1970, Zappa created a new incarnation of The Mothers which inlcuded only one other original Mothers member, Don Preston. This 'new' lineup also featured British-born drummer Aynsley Dunbar (ex-John Mayall's Bluesbreakers), multi-instrumentalist Ian Underwood (keyboards, guitar, woodwind, vocals) and Ruth Underwood (marimba, vibes), who had joined the original Mothers for the recording of Uncle Meat in 1969.

There are some problems with this. One - the first 1970 Mothers lineup did not include Don Preston. He didn't tour and perform with this version of the Mothers until 1971. Ian Underwood, on the other hand, WAS an "original" Mother of Invetion (he's on Uncle Meat and toured with the Mothers in 1968-69). Ian also doesn't play guitar on any Zappa / Mothers recordings, and didn't play guitar in concert (is he, in fact, a guitar player at all?) Ruth Underwood played some percussion parts on Uncle Meat and plays drum set with the orchestra in 200 Motels, but she otherwise did not tour / perform with the Mothers until 1972 (Grand Wazoo tour) and didn't record with Zappa / Mothers until 1973 (Overnite Sensation).

George Duke (keyboards, trombone, vocals) first performed with Zappa in 1970 on 200 Motels and subsequently became a key member of the Zappa's mid-70s touring bands. New Mothers members included Jim Pons (bass), Bob Harris (keyboards, vocals), vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman (aka "The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie", former members of '60s pop group The Turtles),

This much is correct, though I would note that Bob Harris didn't get drafted into the Mothers until spring 1971.

and Jeff Simmons (bass, ex-Captain Beefheart), who performed only on 200 Motels.

Simmons was NOT in Beefheart's band - he did have a solo album to his credit, produced by Zappa and released on FZ's Straight Records label and was, prior to being in the Mothers, in a band called Easy Chair in his native Seattle, but he did NOT play with Beefheart. Also, Simmons doesn't even appear or perform on or in 200 Motels. However, he plays bass on a good chunk of the Chunga's Revenge LP (his only album credit with Zappa, IIRC) and does backing vocals on that album as well. Manufactured to Comply 17:05, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Redaction of Trivia section[edit]

I included a trivia section related to the Mothers of Invention with a link to Deep Purple's song Smoke on the Water in which Frank Zappa and The Mothers were referenced. It was redacted the next day. I'm asking why?

Sorry, forgot to sign. Finrod61 02:15, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
The editor who originally removed this stated his reason in the edit summary, "The info is already in the Frank Zappa article (also Trivia sections are discouraged)". I agreed with his reasoning so I removed it two more times. On a side note, when you readded the info the second time, you included the phrase "Beware of edit wars" in your edit summary which might be construed as disruptive. --Bongwarrior 09:55, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

The meaning of the band name[edit]

According to the article, the name "The Mothers" is short for "motherfuckers". The reference cited is Frank Zappa's autobiography. From what I recall, Zappa says in the book that the record company simply THOUGHT that the name was slang for "motherfuckers". I don't think Zappa ever acknowledged that they were correct, but I could be wrong. I suggest redacting this until it can be verified.

--MRP 21:50, 13 April 2008

I can verify, in an interview on youtube he mentions the name standing for motherfuckers which is also a slang term for a person who is good at playing their instrument however as you mentioned the radio had a problem with this and thus necessity gave the mothers of invention , as he put it.

Rock and roll?[edit]

Mothers of Invention wasn't a rock and roll band, at least mainly. It should be put as experimental rock. (talk) 09:59, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

File:The Mothers of Invention.png nominated for speedy Deletion[edit]

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Infobox photo[edit]

The photo in the infobox is of The Grandmothers, a Frank Zappa-Mothers of Invention spin-off, I feel is inappropriate. The article is about the Mothers of Invention, and contains no text sufficient even to move the photo down chronologically. The photos on the Wikipedia are there to reflect and enhance what is being said in the text of the article: WP:IMAGES. --Leahtwosaints (talk) 17:39, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

I was thinking of this very subject recently, but I've found myself faced with even more time constraints than usual (you know, paying business and adventure calling and whatnot). Something tells me that there was someone out there determined to promote The Grandmothers, with no one yet objecting until now. Anyway, it looks like the original infobox photo was the photo of Zappa in Oslo in 1977, which was pulled because it depicted Zappa as a solo artist and not as a member of The Mothers. Looking at the Commons category, the best choices appear to be File:Frank Zappa Mothers of Invention 1971.JPG or File:Mothers of Invention Hoepla 1967.png. In choosing, what kind of swirling shitstorm would you start amongst the contingent who contend that anything following the 1969 breakup is really Zappa and not The Mothers?RadioKAOS (talk) 18:37, 14 October 2012 (UTC)


In fact, Mothers of Invention disbanded in 1976, but not in 1975. Last of the group was as follows: Zappa-Murphy Brock-Estrada-Lewis and Bozzio. Source - FZ Chronology and Book of Neil Slaven.--Mmlov (talk) 20:58, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Eh, the lineup which dropped "Black Napkins"? If so, do we treat that as "The Mothers" or "Frank Zappa"? Or maybe at least acknowledge a transition there? I think this is along the same lines as the discography discussion above. RadioKAOS / Talk to me, Billy / Transmissions 07:51, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
I propose to continue the discussion on this topic.--Mmlov (talk) 19:51, 22 April 2014 (UTC)


Today is April 6, 2016. I am going to clean up this page. There are many thing in the header that belong in the lower section -- below the TOC. If you have any input, please speak up. I will start in this weekend April 9, 2016. meatclerk (talk) 15:20, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

Just curious. By cleaning up, do you mean mostly moving content out of the lead into the article? Or mostly removing content? - DVdm (talk) 17:39, 6 April 2016 (UTC)

Timeline too small[edit]

Excellent to have a Mothers timeline, but at present it's too small and would need a wall-sized screen to be legible. Rothorpe (talk) 04:02, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

We have a timeline "template": <timeline>. It's used at The Beatles#Members. We could either use that, or perhaps enlarge the current jpg, like I just did as a test: [1]. Looks good to me, at least down there in the article. Higher up in the article it would be too large.
@Rothorpe and Pablo.rodas17: what do you think? - DVdm (talk) 08:54, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Yes, that's really good. Thanks! Rothorpe (talk) 14:27, 7 December 2016 (UTC)