Frank Zappa's Touring Bands

This is an attempt to document every incarnation of Frank Zappa's touring bands. It does not cover studio recordings, rehearsals, or orchestral concerts.

Line-ups are identified by a number and a letter. The number indicates the drummer. Thus, 1 = Jimmy Carl Black, 2 = Aynsley Dunbar, and so on. In two cases, two drummers are grouped together. Ralph Humphrey and Chester Thompson toured together and separately with many of the same band members, so they are both counted as line-up 4. Between Vinnie Colaiuta's tours with FZ, David Logeman toured with a band all of whose other members toured with Colaiuta, so both drummers are counted as line-up 6. In one case, four drummers are grouped together. Art Tripp, Ed Greene, and Aldo Romano each played a handful of shows in 1969 or 1970, so they are counted as line-up 2 along with Aynsley Dunbar.

The letter after the drummer number indicates a particular line-up including that drummer. New letters are not assigned for personnel changes in the middle of what is clearly the same tour. For example, the 1984 band is considered line-up 7b both before and after Napoleon Murphy Brock left the tour. Because the tours of the 1960s were less clearly defined and less well documented, line-up 1 is treated as a whole and not broken into 1a, 1b, etc.

Personnel are listed in the following order: Frank Zappa, defining drummers, band members for the full duration of the line-up, band members joining or leaving mid-tour (including substitutes), and guest musicians. Within a category, musicians are listed chronologically, then alphabetically.

I have not attempted to list all doubles, such as saxophone/flute, trumpet/flügelhorn, or oboe/sarrusophone. But I have listed doubles on unrelated instruments, such as guitar/harmonica, keyboards/trombone, or keyboards/saxophone. Similarly, I have not attempted to credit all band members that contributed backing vocals, but I have attempted to credit anyone that sang lead on at least one song in the regular repertoire of a particular line-up.

Dates are given in American format: month/day/year. Dates enclosed in parentheses are uncertain. For example, "(11/20/74-) 11/23/74 (-11/24/74)" indicates that Mike Urso definitely played bass on 11/23/74, and he may have played as early as 11/20/74 or as late as 11/24/74.

If you have any additions or corrections, please let me know.

Line-ups 1a-1eJimmy Carl Black--alone or with Billy Mundi or Art Tripp1965-August 1969
Line-ups 2a-2dAynsley Dunbar or Art Tripp or Ed Greene or Aldo RomanoNovember 1969-1971
Line-ups 3a-3bJim Gordon1972
Line-ups 4a-4dRalph Humphrey and/or Chester Thompson1973-1974
Line-ups 5a-5dTerry Bozzio1975-April 1978
Line-ups 6a-6cVinnie Colaiuta or David LogemanAugust 1978-1980
Line-ups 7a-7cChad Wackerman1981-1988

Index of Musicians

The Planet Of My Dreams