With unfettered access to the Zappa family trust and all archival footage, ZAPPA explores the private life behind the mammoth musical career that never shied away from the political turbulence of its time. Alex Winter’s assembly features appearances by Frank’s widow Gail Zappa and several of Frank’s musical collaborators including Mike Keneally, Ian Underwood, Steve Vai, Pamela Des Barres, Bunk Gardner, David Harrington, Scott Thunes, Ruth Underwood, Ray White and others.
Frank Vincent Zappa died in 1993, aged 52. Apart from a fantastic musical oeuvre (more than sixty albums!), four children, a wife, and fans worldwide—with a remarkably large fan base in the Czech Republic—he also left an impressive visual archive comprising performances, interviews, family scenes, and frenetic animations. Alex Winter was given unlimited access to this treasure trove, and he crafted a striking portrait from more than a thousand hours of material, presenting Zappa as the guide to his own eventful history.
The lean, intense figure with the eternal mustache and sardonic expression is brought back to life. In the first place, as the musical giant, who taught himself first to play drums and then guitar, and for whom no music was sacred. But also as a husband who thought monogamy was nonsensical, as a father who had little time for his children, as the uncompromising leader of The Mothers of Invention, and even as a potential presidential candidate. Who knows where his self-deprecating wit, zany humor and brilliant, analytical mind would have taken him had he not become terminally ill.