The Mothers of Invention were an American band active from 1966 to 1969. Throughout, their output was primarily directed by composer and guitarist, Frank Zappa (1940?1993. Their albums combined a broad span of genres, and utilised diverse instrumentation. Their lyrics were generally humorous, with frequent style-parodies of contemporary pop music (with doo-wop love ballads endlessly lampooned), bountiful surreal imagery, cartoonish vocals and oblique, satirical protest songs.
Their diversity and insincerity makes their classification difficult, but Zappa's increasingly ambitious and avant-garde compositions towards the end of the 1960s share many features of free jazz and 20th century classical music.
Zappa disbanded the original Mothers of Invention line-up in 1970 to create music under his own name, but shortly reformed an entirely new band sometimes known as 'The Mothers'.
The new incarnation had a strong vaudeville style and were much bawdier than before, with new vocalists Flo & Eddie, previously of the Turtles, taking the lead. After Zappa was pushed offstage in the Rainbow Theatre in 1971, he broke up this second band and concentrated on a jazzier style with a short-lived big band called the Grand Wazoo, but returned with a third lineup of the Mothers in 1973. This reformed group retained musical similarities to the previous group and the chamber music of the late 60s Mothers, but with a tighter, funkier sound; George Duke's soulful vocals being perhaps the most memorable addition. Whilst members of the new Mothers frequently appeared on albums credited solely to Zappa, three albums, Overnite Sensation, Roxy & Elsewhere and One Size Fits All display the name Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention.
The Mothers of Invention (1966-1969)
Frank Zappa - Musical director, guitar & vocals
Ray Collins - Lead vocalist, harmonica, tambourine, finger cymbals, bobby pin & tweezers 1966-early 1967, September 1967-August 1968
Jim Black - Drums
Roy Estrada - Bass & guitarron; boy soprano
Elliot Ingber - Alternate lead & rhythm guitar early 1966-September 1966
Jim Fielder - guitar, piano late 1966-February 1967
Don Preston - keyboards November 1966-August 1969
Bunk Gardner - woodwinds November 1966-August 1969
Billy Mundi - Drums November 1966-Decmber 1967
Euclid James Motorhead Sherwood - soprano, tambourine baritone saxophone & Roadie 1966, September 1967-August 1969
Ian Underwood -Woodwinds,Saxophone July 1967-August 1969
Arthur Dyer Tripp III - drums, timpani, vibes, marimba, xylophone, wood blocks, bells, small chimes December 1967-August 1969
Lowell George - Rhythm Guitar November 1968-May 1969
Buzz Gardner November 1968- August 1969