Ray Collins of the two really great Mothers of Invention albums died on 24 December 2012 at Pomona Valley Hospital in Claremont, California. He left the band because of its increasing commitment to comedy over music. Zappa did have that problem. Unfortunately, the comedy wasn’t that good. And certainly the albums from We’re Only in it for the Money onward are weaker than the first two.
Collins had been living in his van off Social Security and songwriting royalties the last few years. The Associated Press reports that he was a “well-known character and conversationalist on the streets of Claremont.” He was 74.
Here is Go Cry on Somebody Else’s Shoulder, a song that Collins co-wrote with Zappa on the first album, Freak Out!
The other great album (the best of The Mothers, and Collins’ favorite) is Absolutely Free.