Ray Collins Dies; Musician Was 76

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Ray Collins, a musician who invited a guitarist named Frank Zappa to join the band that eventually became the Mothers of Invention, has died aged 76.

R. Collins

Collins was instrumental to Zappa's early career, asking him to join the Soul Giants in 1964. By 1966, the covers band were the Mothers of Invention.

Collins contributed vocals on three albums before he left, disenchanted with their comedic style. Collins passed away five days after a heart attack on Monday.

Mothers of Invention released their first album Freak Out in 1966.

He also recorded vocals on Absolutely Free, released in 1967, Cruising With Ruben and the Jets from 1968, and his last, 1968's We're Only In It For The Money.

Zappa disbanded the Mothers of Invention in 1969 to form a new line-up from 1970 until 1971, when he was injured by an audience member during a concert.

The musician, who died in 1993, formed the Mothers' final line up in 1973, releasing the album Bongo Fury with them as a backing band in 1975, before going solo.

For Collins, aside from a few appearances with Frank Zappa in the mid-1970s, life after the band between then and now involved little music.

Collins was well-known on the streets of Claremont, a college town east of L.A. which he moved to in 1991, and where he spent the last few years living in a van.