Friday, December 28, 2012

Ray Collins Dies

According to the New York Times, Ray Collins - the guitarist who helped found the Mothers of Invention with Frank Zappa - passed away on Monday after being admitted to the hospital a week earlier for cardiac arrest.  He was in his mid-70s.

While the Mothers of Invention helped pave the way for avant-garde rock, Collins began his music career singing in the R&B cover band the Soul Giants. Collins met Frank Zappa in 1961 after watching him perform at the Sportsman Tavern in his native Pomona; Zappa later joined the group after Collins fired the guitarist Ray Hunt.

It has to be mentioned that in recent years Ray Collins was reportedly living out of a van in Claremont, California, where he was frequently seen on sidewalk benches. He'd worked as a taxi driver in Los Angeles and a dishwasher in Hawaii, receiving Social Security checks and some royalties from "Memories of El Monte," a ballad he and Zappa wrote based on the chords to the Penguins' "Earth Angel."

R.I.P Ray Collins  

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