Gail Zappa dies; oversaw Frank’s legacy

Zappa family in vaults

Gail Zappa, left, and son Ahmet with UMe chief Bruce Resnikoff, center.

Gail Zappa, a fierce and creative guardian of the legacy of her husband Frank Zappa, has died. She was 70.

Gail Zappa died “peacefully at her home … surrounded by her children,” the Zappa family said in a statement.

The cause of death reportedly was lung cancer. Frank Zappa died in 1993.

Several months ago, Gail Zappa turned over day-to-day management of the Zappa Family Trust to her son Ahmet.

Her other children with Frank Zappa are Moon Unit, Dweezil and Diva. (Dweezil fronts the acclaimed tribute act Zappa Plays Zappa.)

“Married to Frank Zappa at age 22, Gail was a doe-eyed, barefooted trailblazer, giving equal value to her domestic and professional responsibilities as matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises,” the family’s statement said.

“Gail, self-described as a pagan absurdist, was motivated by love in all aspects of her life, kept her authenticity intact, unbowed and, simply put, was one bad ass in the music business and political world.”

Gail Zappa met Frank when she was a secretary at the Whisky-a-Go-Go club on Sunset Strip. They remained married until the musician’s death.

Gail Zappa oversaw the release and rerelease of dozens of Frank Zappa albums, sometimes clashing with fans over the musical selections and production techniques.

The latest Zappa release was “Dance Me This,” the final album he worked on before his death in 1993. That release was part of a new global licensing deal cut with Universal Music Enterprise over the summer.

“Gail will forever be identified as a key figure in the creative renaissance that is Laurel Canyon,” referring to the rural L.A. neighborhood that was long home to the Zappa family.

“Her searing intelligence, unforgettable smile, wild thicket of hair and trailing black velvets leave a blur in her wake.”


  1. Laurel Marshall says:

    It’s great to read that Frank Zappa had such a creative & devoted partner. He was such an inventive trailblazer for our entire generation of avant-garde rock-n-roll. Frank really pushed the limit & the envelope. It’s good to know that Frank’s wife Gail was so devoted to what he held dear: his music & his family. Of course I’m sad to read that Gail Zappa is gone; it’s the end of an era. But I’m happy to know that she helped from the very beginning to create Frank’s legacy, which will now be held by the present & future generations of the Zappa Family.

  2. Acid Freak says:

    This is sad. But it seemed she was an obstacle for Frank’s music after he died. Suing anything that moved, trademarking everything Frank touched and jacking up the prices on reissues wasn’t very nice, Gail.

Speak Your Mind


Psychedelic Sight via email

Be sure to respond to confirmation message!