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Ensemble Dark Horse / Frank Zappa

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With such a catalogue and with all the talent that passed though Frank’s band, there were bound to be some standouts.

Zappa Personnel

  • Among the Mothers, despite only being in the group for its last year, Art Tripp tends to be remembered more than his predecessor Billy Mundi (His work with Captain Beefheart helps in this regard).
  • Jimmy Carl Black, the Indian of the Group.
  • Wind player and keyboardist Ian Underwood, particularly for his role in Hot Rats
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  • Violinist Don "Sugarcane" Harris for his show-stealing solos despite never being a full member of Frank’s band.
  • George Duke, who went from just the keyboardist to one of the focal points of Frank's music within two years.
  • Early seventies drummer Aynsley Dunbar is well regarded even by fans who dislike the Flo And Eddie period. His work with other bands doesn't hurt either.
  • Percussionist Ruth Underwood is held in high esteem among Zappa fans for her percussion virtuosity and Adorkable personality, remaining the gold standard for Zappa percussionists.
  • Terry Bozzio is held in high esteem for his musicianship and Large Ham persona.
  • Adrian Belew. The guy began what is arguably one of the most insane musical careers in rock history by joining what he called "the Frank Zappa School of Rock", and Sheik Yerbouti would not be the same without him.
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  • Despite only playing with Frank for a year, Bozzio's replacement Vinnie Colaiuta is often acclaimed as Frank's most technically accomplished drummer.
  • Bassist Scott Thunes is well liked for his bass tone and stage presence, even amongst people who aren't fans of Frank's eighties work.
  • Mike Keneally is very popular for his versatility despite never appearing on any studio albums.
  • One-Scene Wonder Lady Bianca Odin has started gaining steam in recent years since the release of Philly 76, and more than a few have wished she stayed longer in Frank's band.
  • Frank's bodyguard Papa John Smothers is also quite popular with fans thanks to the frequent references to him in song.



  • Fillmore East, June 1971 has developed a cult status over the years, with novelist Anne Enright as a notable fan.
  • Though not traditionally held as a classic, You Are What You Is has gained some popularity among fans, with some arguing it as the last great/good rock album.
  • "Billy The Mountain" has proven to be the most lasting track from the Flo And Eddie Era.
  • Despite its parent album's reputation as middling at best, "Drowning Witch" is held in warm regard by fans.
  • "Dupree's Paradise", though never making a proper album, is held in high regard by fans.