Frank Zappa: An Iconoclast

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The 1966 album "Freak Out" was Frank Zappa's first record with the Mothers of Invention, and a landmark in rock history. Zappa, who died of prostate cancer in 1993, was savagely critical of the American consumer society and scornful of what he saw as the shallow, posturing sybarites of the 1960s counter-culture.

Though he revered the challenging composers Stravinsky and Varese, it was restless musical invention that elevated Zappa in the eyes of fans in the United States, and especially abroad. Czech president Vaclav Havel once told Zappa that he loved his 1975 album "Bongo Fury," and often listened to it in the dark days before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution.

Barry Miles, the famed chronicler and biographer of the 1960s, knew Zappa well and has just written a biography of the rocker titled "Zappa: A Biography." Of all the labels that fans want to apply to him, says Miles, the hugely troubled, hugely talented Frank Zappa was, above all, an American iconoclast.

Tune in to hear a conversation with biographer Barry Miles about the life and music of rock revolutionary, Frank Zappa.


Barry Miles, veteran British journalist and biographer, and author of the new book, "Zappa: A Biography"

This program aired on December 10, 2004.


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