Ten years after his death, Frank Zappa continues to influence popular culture. With almost one hundred recordings still in print, Frank Zappa remains a classic American icon. Scores of bands have been influenced by (and have shamelessly imitated) Zappa's music, and a talented roster of musicians passed through Zappa's bands, including Captain Beefheart, Jean-Luc Ponty, George Duke, Lowell George, and Steve Vai. Now comes the definitive biography of Zappa by author Barry Miles, who knew Zappa personally and was present at the recording of some of his most important albums.
Miles follows Zappa from his sickly Italian-American childhood in the 1940s (his father worked for the military and was used to test how effective new biological warfare agents were) to his youthful pursuit of what was a lifelong dream: becoming a classical composer. Zappa brings the many different personalities of this music legend together for the first time: the self-taught musician and composer who gained fame with the "rock" band the Mothers of Invention; the political antagonist who mocked presidents while being invited by Vaclav Havel to represent Czechoslovakia's cultural interests in the United States, and Zappa the family man who was married to the same woman for over thirty years.