Gail Zappa was always a wonderfully formidable figure.
Years ago, when I was first introduced to her, she didn't waste any time on pleasantries before launching into a tirade about one of our authors.
"He's selling Frank Zappa press photos and other items on eBay, and I want it stopped," she said. "Just because you're in the press doesn't mean you should make money off of things that are sent to you to help you do your job!"
I don't remember what else was said in that first encounter, and I didn't feel like she was mean or crazy or making a personal attack. She was simply standing up for what she felt was right, and she would not let decorum get in the way of getting her point across loud and clear.
I immediately liked and respected her.
Ever since that moment, I thoroughly enjoyed every single interaction with her — even the ones where she might berate Guitar Player for not being as supportive (or accurate) about her husband's legacy as she felt this guitar magazine should be.
We last talked to Gail in 2014, when she constructed an art tribute to Frank for that year's Gibson GuitarTown on Hollywood's Sunset Strip. Read the story here.
I'll miss her intense drive, her beaming and joyful voice when discussing Frank and his work, and the incredible glow that seemed to accompany her at every twist and turn of her magnificent life. My heart goes out to her children — Dweezil, Ahmet (who is now managing the Zappa Family Trust), Moon Unit, and Diva — as well as to everyone who knew her. She was definitely one of a kind, and a delightful addition to our planet.
Get a sense of Gail's engaging public personality in this Q&A clip from 2010.
See the Trailer for Frank Zappa's Roxy: The Movie