Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gail Zappa dead at 70

Adelaide Gail Zappa (nee Sloatman)
January 1, 1945-October 7, 2015

Gail Zappa, wife and widow of musician Frank Zappa, passed away today in her home. Mrs. Zappa was 70 years old. According to a statement posted by the official Frank Zappa website, Mrs. Zappa was surrounded by her children as she passed away peacefully. As for the cause of death, articles are reporting that Mrs. Zappa health was declining due to her battle with lung cancer.

Mrs. Zappa was born in 1945. Her father was a naval officer, in which he was a nuclear weapons research physicist. In kindergarten, Mrs. Zappa knew future Doors singer Jim Morrison, as his father was a naval officer as well. After graduating from college in New York in the mid 1960's, she hitchhiked to Los Angeles where she became interested in the music scene. Mrs. Zappa met her husband at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, where she was a secretary. The couple married in 1967 and would go on to have four children: Moon, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva. When her husband died in 1993, Mrs. Zappa became in charge of Frank's estate. Mrs. Zappa later created the Zappa Family Trust and was able to release a total of 38 posthumous albums by her husband, as well as reissues of his discography. Earlier this year, ZFT released Dance Me This, the 100th Zappa album released. Before her death, Mrs. Zappa had plans made for future releases- including a documentary and a release of the long lost Mothers' Roxy concert. At the same time, it was also revealed that Ahmet would be taking his mother's place. 

It is very sad to hear of Gail Zappa's passing. I was lucky enough to communicate with her a little in 2011, when she was taking in questions for her "Ask GZ" column on the Zappa site. I asked when the original Bat Chain Puller by Captain Beefheart would come out since I heard her talk about. She said it was coming soon. When I asked if I could share the news on my blog, she replied "Why not?" The album ended up coming out a year. I know there are many people who've said some nasty things about Gail. She was very protective of her husband's work but I think she carried out Frank's legacy quite well.  

Rest in peace, Mrs. Zappa. 

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