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Frank Zappa would have celebrated his 71st birthday today.

The Zappas moved to San Diego in 1954. Thirteen-year-old Frank bought his first record player at Valley Music in El Cajon. He soon began buying used records in a retail vinyl record nook at the Maryland Hotel. One day, he saw a Record Sale sign outside a La Mesa hi-fi store, Alan’s Music Center. In the bins, he found a record that he once read about, in an interview with a record store owner who said he used it as a stereo hi0fi demonstration album, but that it was so weird that he coiuldn’t talk anyone into buying the album.

That album, the Complete Works of Edgard Varese Volume 1, was in the bin at the La Mesa shop. It was priced at $5.95, but Zappa only had $3.80. The store owner sold it to him anyway, and the record would have a huge influence on Zappa’s musical development.

He attended Grossmont (freshman year) and Mission Bay High School (as a sophomore). Along the line, Mission Bay band director Robert Kavelman turned young Zappa on to composer Anton Webern and 12-tone music, another major inspiration. He also drummed for the school R&B band, the Ramblers, but they fired him for using too much cymbal.

The Zappas moved to Lancaster, CA in 1955. Later, Zappa’s band the Mothers of Invention first played San Diego in May 1966, at a club called Jazzville, opening for Little Richard. The Mothers returned to town on June 1, 1968, to play the Community Concourse downtown as part of something called Happening #10.

San Diego guitarist Mike Keneally played in the Zappa band for a number of years. In early 2011, UK’s Mojo Magazine released a Zappa Special Edition in Europe, including a few pages on his days in San Diego.

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Comments
1

Well done. You sent me rummaging through old vinyl. The Varese record mentioned is very rare with numbered copies, i have #156. Anyone wishing to know Zappa's influences should check out Varese and the Dadaists http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dada For some of us Zappa was never strange, but a natural reaction to a weird conformist culture. We miss him.

Dec. 23, 2011

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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