Gene Simmons Names The Frank Zappa Song He Completed After His Death
KISS bassist Gene Simmons revealed in a previous interview on SiriusXM’s Rocktails with Ahmet Zappa that he completed Frank Zappa‘s song ‘Black Tongue’ after his death.
Frank Zappa, who died in 1993, was best known for his innovative and diverse musical style. He produced over 60 albums during his lifetime and left behind a massive music catalog. The musician experimented with rock, pop, blues, jazz, and classical genres. He produced both with his band, the Mothers of Invention, and as a solo artist during his career spanning over 30 years.
Following his death, Zappa’s family wanted to keep his legacy alive and shared some unreleased music from his works in later years. One of them went to KISS’ Gene Simmons while working on his second solo album, ‘A**hole,’ released in 2004. During a previous appearance, the bassist reflected on how he ended up including the song, ‘Black Tongue,’ in his solo album.
Gene Simmons asked Frank Zappa’s son, Ahmet, the song’s name in which all the Zappa family appeared. He guessed it right by saying it was ‘Black Tongue.’ While working on his solo album, Simmons called the Zappa family to ask whether there were any unfinished Zappa songs.
Zappa’s wife sent him a 30-second snippet. Simmons worked on it and created the other parts. In the final version of the song, the bassist used the recording of Zappa playing the initial riff, and the entire Zappa family sang the background vocals on the chorus. Gene Simmons said it was a great moment.
The KISS icon asked Ahmet Zappa the following:
“Tell me the name of the track on a Gene Simmons solo album called ‘A**hole,’ I’m not making it up, that the Zappa family all appeared on; never in the history of the Zappa family did the Zappa family appear on one song. What was the name of that song? It was co-written by Frank Zappa.”
“I want to say it was ‘Black Tongue.'”
“Correct. I was invited by you guys to visit your dad’s home, and he looked fine. I didn’t know how serious it was and everything. It was a thrill for me to be shown the vaults of all these masters downstairs. I was putting together my solo record, so I called you guys, and I said, ‘Are there any unfinished Frank Zappa songs?‘ I’d love to co-write.’ Unfortunately, your dad passed, but your mom sent over a 30-second snippet.
There were barely any chords or anything, but it was ‘Black Tongue.’ No melodies or anything, but I took that and made a little bit of a loop and then created the chords, melody, lyrics, and all that. When I was recording, I said, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t just put Gene all over, it gotta be a Zappa song.’ I remember that one day all of you guys showed up singing in harmony. That was a great day.”
You can listen to the song below.