One of the more important lessons I learned over the years was that it was OK to be a weirdo — that is, that if I wasn’t harming someone else, and if I was willing to accept the consequences of my thoughts and actions, then I shouldn’t worry about what Mrs. Grundy thinks. I learned this from my folks, of course, but also from folks like Jim Bouton and (as I’ve mentioned before) Frank Zappa.
So it is with sadness that I acknowledge the death of Ray Collins, the guy who brought Frank into the Soul Giants, a group that would become the Mothers. Ray sang on the first two Mothers’ albums, and guested on several other projects of Frank’s over the years. Apparently he had fallen on hard times in recent years, reportedly living out of a van and hanging out on benches in Claremont, CA. He joins Motorhead Sherwood, Jimmy Carl Black (the Indian of the group), and Captain Beefheart on the list of Zappa collaborators who have begun the Big Tour in recent years.
Thanks for the music, Ray, and may you find peace.