FZ chronology

1940-55

December 21, 1940 Frank Vincent Zappa is born in Baltimore, Maryland  
c. 1944 Zappa family moves to Opa-Locka, Florida  
c. 1946-47 Zappa family moves to Edgewood, MD  
December, 1951 Zappa family moves to Monterey, California  
Summer 1953 Monterey, CA
Keith McKillop's summer percussion school
 
c. 1953 Zappa family moves to Pacific Grove, CA  
1953 Zappa family moves to Claremont, CA
FZ enters Claremont High School, Claremont, CA
 
1954 Zappa family moves to El Cajon, CA
FZ enters Grossmont High School, El Cajon, CA
 
c. 1955  
  • Mice (FZ's 2nd composition)
April, 1955

While at 9th grade FZ wins county Fire Prevention Week poster contest

 
1955 Zappa family moves to Clairemont, San Diego, CA
FZ enters Mission Bay High School, San Diego, CA
 
1955 San Diego, CA
The Ramblers:
Elwood Jr Madeo—guitar
Stewart Congdon—piano
FZ—drums
(and others)
 

1956-58

1956 Zappa family moves to Lancaster, CA
FZ enters Antelope Valley High School
 
December 21, 1956 FZ talks with Varèse's wife by phone  
January 1957 FZ talks with Varèse  
June 22, 1957 Shrine Exposition Hall, LA, CA
The Blackouts
(from left to right, standing):
Johnny Franklin—sax
Terry Wimberly—piano
FZ—drums
Joe Adams—host
Carter Franklin—?
Steve Wolfe?—sax
Elwood Jr Madeo—guitar
(seated):
Ernie Thomas—trumpet
Charlie Reid Jr—?
Sonny (Freddy Louis)—guitar
Wayne Lyles—percussion & vocals
Jerry Reutter—baritone sax
The Blackouts
c. 1957 FZ enters Antelope Valley Junior College, Lancaster, CA, for one semester  
August 12, 1957 Varèse sends a letter to FZ while he's in Baltimore, MD  
c. 1957-58 Lancaster, CA
The Blackouts (as seen in the picture, clockwise):
Jerry Reutter—baritone sax
Ernie Thomas—trumpet
Terry Wimberly—piano
Johnny Franklin—tenor sax
FZ—drums
Wayne Lyles—percussion & vocals

The Black-Outs c. 1958

c. 1957-58 Lancaster, CA
The Blackouts (as listed in FZ's book):
Wayne Lyles—percussion & vocals
Terry Wimberly—piano
Wally Salazar—guitar
Fred Salazar—sax 
Johnny Franklin—tenor sax
Carter Franklin
FZ—drums
+
Jim Sherwood—"The Bug" dancer
 
c. 1957-58 Lancaster, CA
The Blackouts (as remembered by Denny Walley):
Henry Strawberry—vocals
Chuck Spencer—vocals
?—vocals
Terry Wimberly—piano
Wally Salazar—guitar
Fred Salazar—baritone sax
FZ—drums
 
1958 William Ballard lets FZ conduct the school orchestra
c. 1958 Wayne Lyles—voice
Terry Wimberly—voice
Elwood Jr Madeo—voice
FZ—voice
c. 1958 The Blackouts break up  
c. 1958 FZ wins California statewide art contest with his painting "Family Room"  
June 13, 1958 FZ graduates from High School  
Summer, 1958 FZ enters Idyllwild School Of Music And The Arts, Idyllwild, CA, for a summer course  

1958-60

December 22, 1958  
c. December 1958-January 1959 Antelope Valley Junior College, Lancaster, CA:
Don Van Vliet—vocals
FZ—guitar
Bobby Zappa—rhythm guitar
Jerry Ullberg—voice*
c. 1958-62 Lancaster, CA
The Omens:
Terry Wimberly—piano
Alex Snouffer—lead guitar
Wally Salazar—guitar
Fred Salazar—sax  
David Grieco—trumpet
Frank Lynch—trombone
Stan Mitchell
Pete Lovio—tenor sax
Gary Burkey—alto sax
Jim Sherwood—baritone sax
Pat Prue—drums
Don Van Vliet—vocals
Sharva Maynard—vocals
 
1959 FZ commissioned to write the Run Home, Slow score  
March, 1959 Zappa family moves back to Claremont, CA  
c. spring, 1959 FZ enters Chaffey Junior College, Alta Loma, CA, and spends six weeks studying harmony  
1960 FZ and Kay Sherman move to Ontario, CA  
c. 1960 Terry Kirkman—various instruments
FZ—guitar
+
Warren Peters—guitar
 
Late 1960 FZ meets Paul Buff and begins to work at Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA  
December 28, 1960 FZ marries Kay Sherman  

1961-62

c. 1961 FZ audits a course on composition by Karl Kohn at Pomona College, Claremont, CA  
c. 1961 FZ rents a white Fender Telecaster  
January, 1961 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA:
FZ—guitar
Danny Helferin—piano*
Chuck Foster—trumpet
Tony Rodriquenz—alto sax*, trumpet
Caronga Ward—bass*
Chuck Glave—drums
May, 1961 Ontario, CA
The Boogie Men:
(from left to right:)
Al Surratt—drums
FZ—lead guitar
Doug Rost—rhythm guitar
Kenny Burgan—sax
+
Terry Kirkman—guitar (not on the picture)
The Boogie Men
May, 1961 The Masters
Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Paul Buff—piano
Ronnie Williams—drums, bass
FZ—lead & rhythm guitar
June, 1961 The Masters Sixteen Tons (Travis) / Breaktime (Williams/Buff/FZ) (7", Emmy E 1008)
mid. 1961 FZ takes Don Preston to an audition for a lounge band
1961 Zappa family (except FZ & Bob) moves to Sarasota, FL  
June, 1961 FZ hired to write The World's Greatest Sinner soundtrack  
c. 1961-62 (during three months) Pomona, CA
The Blackouts?:
Rex Jakabosky—guitar, harmonica, vocals
FZ—guitar
Ronnie Williams—guitar
Joe Perrino—piano
Dwight Bement—tenor sax
Al Surratt—drums
 
c. 1961 FZ buys a Fender Jazzmaster  
c. 1961-62 Lancaster, CA
The Blackouts?:
(from left to right:)
Jim Sherwood—baritone sax
Dwight Bement—tenor sax
Ronnie Williams—guitar
Johnny Franklin—guitar or bass
FZ (or Al Surratt?)—drums
Alex Snouffer—guitar
The Black-Outs
c. 1961-62 Lancaster, CA
The Blackouts?:
(from left to right:)
Ronnie Williams—guitar
FZ—guitar
Rex Jakabosky—guitar
Dwight Bement—tenor sax
Johnny Franklin—baritone sax
Al Surratt—drums
1962 Band
November, 1961-early 1962 [ten months] Tommy Sandi's Club Sahara,
San Bernardino, CA
Joe Perrino & The Mellotones (from left to right):
FZ—guitar
Mike Dineri—sax
Joe Perrino—bass
Tommy Hernandez—drums

Joe Perrino & The Mellotones

November, 1961 Chaffey Junior College, Alta Loma, CA ?:
8-piece rock'n'roll band including:
FZ—guitar
Dwight Bement—various instruments
The World's Greatest Sinner O.S.
Early December, 1961 Chaffey Junior College, Alta Loma, CA:
20-member chamber ensemble
The World's Greatest Sinner O.S.
December 17, 1961 Chaffey Junior College, Alta Loma, CA:
Pomona Valley Orchestra
(55-member) conducted by Fred E. Graff
The World's Greatest Sinner O.S.
c. 1961-62 Living Room in Ontario, CA
Ronnie Williams—voice
Kenny Williams—voice
FZ—guitar
c. May, 1962 Don Preston's Garage:
Don Preston—keyboards, films, assorted percussion (including a bicycle)
Bunk Gardner—woodwinds
Buzz Gardner—trumpet
Vic Mio—bass
Jack Lake—percussion
+
FZ—films, percussion
+
Putter—bass
 
June, 1962 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Paul Buff—guitar, organ, drums
Dave Aerni—bass
Mike Dineri—sax
  • The Cruncher (Aerni/Buff)
June 15-17 Young Musicians Foundation awards, Schoenberg Hall, UCLA
  • unknown composition
c. September, 1962 Channel 7, ABC
Don Preston, FZ and the rest audition for a TV program
 
Late 1962 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced & engineered by FZ

Buddy And The Crickets
  • It's Gonna Work Out Fine (McCoy/McKinney)
  • Jezebel (Shanklin)
Late 1962 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced & engineered by FZ
  • Straight Ahead (unknown) [PBP]
December, 1962 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Dave Aerni
Engineered by FZ

The Tornadoes
  • The Swag (Grant/Wray)
  • Raw-Hide (Grant/Wray)
December, c. 1962 Ontario, CA
Kay—voice
FZ—voice

1963

January, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Dave Aerni
Engineered by FZ

The Tornadoes
  • Moon Dawg (Weaver)
  • The Inebriated Surfer (Sanders)
January, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
FZ—guitar
Doug Moon—acoustic guitar
January, 1963

Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
FZ—guitars, vocals, harmonica

January, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
FZ—guitars, bass, drums
January, 1963 Original Sound Recording Studios, LA, CA
Produced by Art Laboe

The Penguins:
Cleve Duncan—vocals
Walter Saulsberry—vocals
The Viceroys:
James Conwell—vocals
Andrew "Jack" White—vocals
Charles Jones—vocals
Oliver Williams—vocals
Herbert White—vocals
+
FZ—vibes
c. 1963 prob. Ontario, CA
Ray Collins—voice
Al Surratt—voice
FZ—voice
1963  
February 1, 1963 The Hollywood Tornadoes Moon Dawg (Weaver) / The Inebriated Surfer (Sanders) (7", Aertun 45-102)
February 20, 1963 The Penguins Memories of El Monte (FZ/Collins) / Be Mine (Day/Nelson) (7"', OS 27)
Early 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced & engineered by FZ

Mike Dineri—sax*
  • Smoky Night (unknown)* [PBP]
  • Sun Dog (unknown) [PBP]
  • Cucamonga Surf (unknown)* [PBP]
March, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Ray Collins—vocals
Paul Buff—bass, snorks
FZ—guitars, drums, percussion
March, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Ray Collins—vocals
Paul Buff—fuzz bass, bass, percussion, organ
FZ—guitars, drums, vocals
March, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Paul Buff—organ
Allison Buff—vocals
FZ—guitars, drums, bass, percussion
prob. March, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Ray Collins—vocals
Paul Buff—bass, drums, saxes
FZ—guitars, backing vocals
March 14, 1963 (aired March 27) The Steve Allen Show, Channel 5
FZ—bicycle
Steve Allen—bicycle
Johnny Jacobs—poetry
+
Instrumental Ensemble
Pre-recorded Tape
March, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Ray Collins—vocals
Paul Buff—all instruments
April, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
FZ—lead & rhythm guitars
Paul Buff—drums
April, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
FZ—lead vocals, guitars, drums
Paul Buff—bass
Ray Collins—backing vocals
April, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
FZ—guitars, bass, drums
April, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Bob Guy—lead vocals
FZ—guitar, drums, sped-up vocals
Paul Buff—bass, snorks, sped-up vocals, sound effects
April, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Ray Collins—vocals
Paul Buff—piano, drums, fuzz bass, saxes
FZ—guitar
April, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Ray Collins—vocals
Mary Gonzales—vocals
April, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Benny Rodriguez—vocals
Joe Rodriguez—vocals
FZ—lead guitar
Max Uballez—rhythm guitar
Richard Provincio—piano
Armando Mora—tenor sax
Chris Pasqual—bass
Manuel Mosqueda—drums
April 8, 1963 Baby Ray & The Ferns How's Your Bird? / The World's Greatest Sinner (7", Donna 1378)
April 22, 1963 Bob Guy Dear Jeepers / Letter From Jeepers (7", Donna 1380)
April 22, 1963 The Heartbreakers Everytime I See You (FZ/Collins) / Cradle Rock (Gallegos) (7", Donna 1381)
May, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Brian Lord—lead vocals
FZ—lead & rhythm guitars, drums, vocals
Paul Buff—opening vocal, bass, sax, sound effects
Ray Collins—vocals
May, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Ray Collins—lead vocal
FZ—guitar, drums, lead vocal
Paul Buff—piano, organ, bass, sax
May 4, 1963 5th Contemporary Musical Symposium
Mount St. Mary's College, LA
FZ
May 19, 1963 The Experimental Music Of Frank Zappa
Mount St. Mary's College, LA
FZ—conductor, zither
Malcolm McNab—trumpet
Peter Arcaro—trumpet, brass section conductor
Philip Barnett—oboe, English horn
Barry Brisk—woodwinds section conductor
May, 1963 Brian Lord & The Midnighters The Big Surfer / Not Another One (Aerni/Buff) (7", Vigah! V-001)
May 27, 1963 Brian Lord & The Midnighters The Big Surfer / Not Another One (Aerni/Buff) (7", Capitol 4981)
June, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Paul Buff—guitar, drums, saxes
Dave Aerni—bass
June, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
FZ—guitars, bass, drums
Paul Buff—saxes
June, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Dave Aerni
Engineered by FZ

The Tornadoes
  • Vaquero (Tomsco/Petty)
  • The Tornado (Aerni)
  • Shootin' Beavers (Sanders)
  • Bumble Bee Stomp (Rimsky-Korsakov/Sanders/Delaney/White)
  • Johnny B. Goode (Berry)
  • Malagueña (Dark Eyes) (Trad./Sanders/Lecuona)
June, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Curry & Irvin
Engineers—FZ & Dave Aerni

The Rhythm Surfers
  • 502 (Like Getting Pinched On A 502) (The Rhythm Surfers)
  • Big City Surfer (The Rhythm Surfers)
  • Steel Wheels (Aerni)
June, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Ron Roman—vocals
June, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Mr. Clean—lead vocals, backing vocals, harmonica
Dorothy Berry & The Sweethearts—background vocals**
Paul Buff—fuzz bass, bass, electric piano
FZ—guitars, drums, percussion, vocals
June, 1963 Ned & Nelda Hey, Nelda (FZ/Collins) / Surf Along With Ned & Nelda (FZ/Collins) (7", Vigah! V-002)
July 15, 1963 The Hollywood Persuaders Tijuana (Buff) / Grunion Run (7", OS 39)
July 15, 1963 Mr. Clean Mr. Clean / Jessie Lee (7", OS 40)
July 26, 1963 The Tornadoes Bustin' Surfboards (LP, Josie JOZ 4005)
July 29, 1963 Ron Roman Tell Me (Williams) / Love Of My Life (FZ/Aerni) (7", Daani 101)
c. 1963 Sin City Boys:
Ray Collins—vocals
FZ—guitar
c. 1963 The Troubadour
Loeb & Leopold:
Ray Collins—vocals
FZ—guitar
 
c. summer 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Don Van Vliet—vocals
FZ—guitar
Alex Snouffer—guitar?
Vic Mortensen—drums?
  • Slippin' And Slidin' (Penniman)
c. summer 1963 or c. March, 1964 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Don Van Vliet—vocals
FZ—guitar
Alex Snouffer—guitar?
Vic Mortensen—drums?
  • Cheryl's Canon (?)
  • Evil (Burnett)
  • The Grund (?)
  • Vicious Intentions (?)
c. 1963

Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
FZ—guitar, vocals
Floyd—vocals
?—piano
?—drums

September, 1963 The Rhythm Surfers 502 (Like Getting Pinched On A 502) (The Rhythm Surfers) / Big City Surfer (The Rhythm Surfers) (7", Daytone D-6301)
September 19, 1963 Dot Records reject The Soots' master with "Any Way The Wind Blows" and "Slippin' And Slidin'" among others  
Fall 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Allison Buff—lead vocals
FZ—backing vocals, drums
Paul Buff—bass, piano
October, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Johnny Barakat And The Vestells
FZ—backing vocals
  • Jezebel (Shanklin) [PBP]
December, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Curry & Irvin
Engineer—FZ

Conrad & The Hurricane Strings:
Conrad Couwenberg—guitar
Ed Sigarlaki—guitar
Don Sigarlaki—bass
Patrick Couwenberg—drums
December, 1963 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Curry & Irvin
Engineer—FZ

The Cordells
  • Happy Time (Lessard)
  • I Love How You Love Me (Kolber/Mann)

1964

January, 1964 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Curry & Irvin
Engineer—FZ

The Decades
  • Lonely Drummer (Irvin)
  • The Phantom Strikes Back (Irvin)
1964 The Decades Lonely Drummer (Irvin) / The Phantom Strikes Back (Irvin) (7", Daytone D-1306)
January, 1964 Conrad & The Hurricane Strings Hurricane (Sigarlaki) / Sweet Love (Sigarlaki) (7", Daytone 6401)
January, 1964 The Cordells Happy Time (Lessard) / I Love How You Love Me (Kolber/Mann) (7", Daytone 6402)
May 10, 1964 The name of the band is changed officially to Mothers (??)  
May, 1964 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Curry & Irvin
Engineer—FZ

The Woody Waggers
  • The Sahara Hop (Irvin/Irvin)
  • Three Guns (Irvin/Irvin)
June, 1964 Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA
Produced by Curry & Irvin
Engineer—FZ

The Decades
  • Dance Forever More (Davis)
  • Louie The Loop (Irvin)
1964 The Decades Dance Forever More (Davis) / Louie The Loop (Irvin) (7", Daytone D-6403)
1964 The Woody Waggers The Sahara Hop (Irvin/Irvin) / Three Guns (Irvin/Irvin) (7", Daytone D-6407/6408)
c. 1964 Run Home, Slow (OS)
Art Laboe's Original Sound Studios, LA, CA
Engineered by Paul Buff

FZ—guitar
Chuck Foster—trumpet
Ron Myers—trombone
Chick Carter—flute, tenor sax, baritone sax
Don Christlieb—bassoon
Pete Christlieb—tenor sax
Chuck Domanico—bass
John Guerin—drums
1964 FZ moves to Pal Recording Studio, Cucamonga, CA  
August 1, 1964 FZ buys Pal Recording Studio from Paul Buff and renames it as Studio Z  
August 1, 1964 Studio Z, Cucamonga, CA
Don Van Vliet
Laurie Stone
Ray Collins
Jim Sherwood
Bob Narciso
c. September, 1964 FZ sets up the plot & scenery for Captain Beefheart vs. The Grunt People  
c. 1964 Studio Z, Cucamonga, CA
c. 1964 The Saints 'N Sinners, Ontario, CA
The Muthers:
FZ—guitar, vocals
Paul Woods—bass
Les Papp—drums
1964 I Was A Teen-age Malt Shop (Rock Opera)
Studio Z
Cucamonga, CA

FZ—piano, guitar, bass, drums, vocals
Don Van Vliet—vocals
Jim Sherwood—acoustic guitar
Vic Mortensen—drums
c. Halloween, 1964 Studio Z, Cucamonga, CA
(To be aired on KSPC, Pomona College, Claremont, CA)
c. late 1964 Studio Z, Cucamonga, CA
Don Van Vliet—vocals
FZ—guitar
Alex Snouffer—guitar?
Janschi—bass
Vic Mortensen—drums
c. late 1964 Studio Z, Cucamonga, CA
(To be aired on KSPC, Pomona College, Claremont, CA)
December 2, 1964 KNXT (CBS) rejects the I Was A Teen-age Malt Shop outline  

facts are stupid things

live performances

touring bands

studio recordings

album or single release

This project researched & developed by Román García Albertos
http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/
WARNING: This is not a complete list of FZ concerts, as only those of special significance or which are represented in FZ's official output appear in this chronology. If you're looking for an exhaustive list of FZ concerts go to Charles Ulrich's Frank Zappa Gig List, and if you're looking for the complete known setlists go to Oscar Bianco's FZShows, v. 7.1.
Here's a list of main sources & contributions
Release dates taken from Greg Russo, Cosmik Debris: The Collected History And Improvisations Of Frank Zappa (The Son Of Revised), 2003
Concert dates and venues taken from Charles Ulrich's Frank Zappa Gig List
Corrections & additions welcome
This page updated: 2014-04-11