Libertarian Zappa dies
By David F. Nolan
Frank Zappa, an innovative and controversial musician whose career spanned nearly three decades, died at his home in Los Angeles on Saturday, Dec. 4, 1993. His death, caused by prostate cancer, came less than three weeks before he would have marked his 53rd birthday.
Zappa achieved his greatest prominence in the 1960s, as leader of the rock group Mothers of Invention, an iconoclastic and irreverent band that lampooned virtually every facet of American culture. Zappa's zany antics sometimes obscured his very real musical talents; in the course of his career, he recorded nearly 50 albums of music, including jazz and orchestral compositions as well as rock.
Of most interest to libertarians, however, is that Zappa was staunchly pro-freedom, and even seriously considered running for president on the LP ticket in 1988. His two pet peeves were censorship and the income tax. He was a leading figure in the battle against "Tipper" Gore's crusade to censor the recording industry, and described himself as a "devout capitalist".
My own limited contact with Zappa began in 1968, when I sent in $3 to join the Mothers of Invention fan club, United Mutations. Eventually, I received my membership kit. It included the usual stuff: photos and bios of the band members, a membership card . . . and copies of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights!
It sounds like a cliche, but Frank Zappa truly was "one of a kind"-a wild individualist who embodied the rebellious spirit of the late '60s and early '70s. Many of his antics, such as issuing a poster of himself seated on a toilet, pants down around his ankles, could fairly be called tasteless. And his music certainly wasn't for everyone. But there is no question that he was a highly creative individual who valued that creativity and stood tall in the fight against the Leviathan State.
We'll miss you, Frank.