The Reason Frank Zappa Resented Jethro Tull And Deep Purple

Frank Zappa was a highly creative musician whose work features nonconformity, improvisation, experiments, and satire of American culture. Throughout his music career that spanned over 30 years, Zappa released numerous albums and produced almost all of them. He was an innovative and diverse musician of his era and had music taste difficult to categorize.

When he was playing with Mothers Of Invention, Frank Zappa’s financial status had ups and downs. Although they had successful releases, Mothers Of Invention split in 1969 due to financial strain. During this period, Zappa developed a distaste for Jethro Tull and Deep Purple.

Why Wasn’t Frank Zappa A Fan Of Jethro Tull And Deep Purple?

In 2016, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson gave an interview to BBC Radio 2. During the conversation, he revealed that he had never met Frank Zappa, but he heard Zappa didn’t like Jethro Tull in the 1970s. According to Anderson, Zappa resented that British bands like Jethro Tull and Deep Purple made lots of money while his band was financially struggling.

Following that, Anderson said he was a big Zappa fan, but Zappa spoke about them rather unkindly. He then recalled when one of Zappa’s musicians reached out to him to say Zappa wanted to talk to him. However, Anderson didn’t want to do it because Zappa was in the last weeks of his life, but he felt bad about not calling Zappa after the musician’s passing.

During the interview with BBC Radio 2, Ian Anderson said the following:

“Sadly, I never got to meet Frank Zappa, but we nearly did. And I read that he didn’t like Jethro Tull at all back then in the 70s. He rather resented the fact that us British bands Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, etc. We went over there [United States] and made tons of money. Seemingly while he was struggling to run his band.

So, he was rather unkind to some of us in the press, which was a shame because I was a big Frank Zappa fan. I was in fear of taking up the invitation to call him shortly before he died. I’ve got a message from one of his musicians that I knew, that said ‘Frank wants to speak to you. He wants you to call him.’

He then continued:

“I thought, ‘How do you speak to a dying man? You know, picking up the phone and talking to someone for the very first time in what turned out to be the last weeks of his life. It was something that I couldn’t really do.

So I called three times, and each time I hung up before the phone answered, in fear of just not knowing what to say, and I feel so bad about that today. I would love to have spoken to Frank, Even if it was only to hear his abuse [laughs], raging down the telephone, whatever he might have said.”

So, it appears Frank Zappa didn’t like the fact that the British bands made lots of money after moving to the U.S. while he was in a financial struggle that made him disband his band. Moreover, Zappa wished to speak to Ian Anderson before his passing, but the purpose of his call remains unknown.