“FRANKLY ZAPPA” is a fascinating and intimate exploration of the remarkable life of Frank Zappa, as recounted by his closest confidant, John “Jay” Sloatman (also known as Dunt). As Jay takes you on a behind-the-scenes adventure through Frank’s unparalleled musical legacy and personal journey, prepare to be captivated. From Jay’s unwavering loyalty on the road to his invaluable role as a surrogate father to the Zappa children, get ready to be immersed in enthralling stories, pivotal moments, and the complex dynamics within the Zappa family. This in-depth, non-fiction biography sheds light on the profound influence of Frank Zappa’s artistic brilliance and the tragic circumstances surrounding his untimely demise. Brace yourself for an unprecedented journey into the extraordinary life of Frank Zappa!”
Jay was utterly devoted to the Zappa family. However, if he ever tried to venture outside the family to pursue his personal relationships or individual aspirations, he was met with complete disapproval and outrage from his sister, Gail. Gail constantly tried to control Jay’s every move and decision, relying on his position as protector of Frank and the Zappa children. Her dysfunctional behavior not only affected the day-to-day life of her immediate family but also extended to the families of her siblings. Gail’s position as the wife of one of music history’s most gifted icons and Frank’s financial stability further fueled her distorted sense of power and importance. This behavior can be traced back to Gail’s childhood as the eldest of seven children raised in a military family.
Jay and his six siblings were raised in a military family. Their father, a Captain in the U.S. Navy, moved the family every two years starting in 1945. For four years, the family lived in London, England, the most extended duty station. Due to the military’s social schedule and frequent moves, the family environment was often chaotic and unstable. As a result, the Sloatman children lacked parental supervision and boundaries. The eldest sibling, Gail, took on an authoritarian role and cared for younger siblings.
In September 1967, Captain Sloatman passed away suddenly at the age of 52, which caused the Sloatman family to fall apart. Meanwhile, Frank’s career was taking off. After the Captain’s death, Jay, who was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps at the time, was sent to Vietnam in February of 1968. He had just turned 18 and served in two combat units as a rifle infantryman. It is worth noting that both Captain Sloatman and his son Jay served in Vietnam. In his military career, Captain Sloatman served in the Pacific and European theaters during World War II and the Korean War.
Gail used Frank’s success to reinforce her superiority and power over the entire family. She exhibited erratic behavior and frequently manipulated and controlled the family. The book portrays several instances where she exploited Frank’s reputation and popularity to satisfy her constant need for control.
Frankly, Zappa is an insightful book that provides a detailed look into the life of Frank Zappa, a highly motivated artist whose passion for music composition was his first love. The book is written by someone close to Frank and offers a front-row seat to the complexities of his personal and professional life. The book covers many aspects of Frank’s life, from intimate conversations over vintage bottles of fine wine on the road to hilarious on-stage performances and off-stage antics. One of these antics even led to Jay’s appearance on the cover of “OVERNITE SENSATION.” The book also explores Frank’s appreciation of his fans, his favorite gift ever received, and his emotional conversation with Jay after his prostate cancer diagnosis. Additionally, the book touches on Gail’s self-proclaimed healing and sorcery practices, such as pouring salt across thresholds in their home to “keep the evil spirits out.” Frankly, Zappa is filled with day-to-day stories and events as they unfold.
The book portrays the author’s experience of being Frank’s confidant on the road and Gail’s brother off the road, which he calls “The Fence Walk”. The author documents Frank’s intricate relationships with other women and the expectation of unwavering loyalty he demanded from Jay not to disclose those relationships to Gall. The book narrates the author’s multiple conflicts in his various roles as confidant, uncle, and brother. The book is filled with raw honesty, where the reader can experience a wide range of emotions – from the wit and wisdom of Frank Zappa’s music to the harsh reality of a life cut short due to Frank’s and Gail’s decision to treat his prostate cancer unconventionally. The book goes into great detail about the unconventional methods of treatments, potions, and healers that were used, and the reader discovers with shock Frank’s fear and denial around his illness. The book also highlights Frank’s desire to continue creating music, coupled with Gail’s unwavering control, ultimately leading to the most tragic outcome.
FRANKLY ZAPPA is a book that provides a detailed account of Frank Zappa’s life on the road, written by the person closest to him. The book also gives factual insight into the Zappa family from an insider’s perspective. It covers everything from Gail’s letter to her sister in August 1966, announcing her love for Frank Zappa, to Frank’s private ceremony and burial just hours after his death. The author has spent over 57 years documenting this journey, and the book is written with brutal honesty, at times both hysterically funny and excruciating. Like Frank himself, it is factual, straightforward, and uninhibited in every sense of the word.
The author refrained from publishing the book for decades due to his mother’s request. She threatened to jump off the Pali Lookout in Hawaii if he released it while she was alive.
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