MUSIC NEWS- RAY COLLINS, one of the founding members of Mothers of Invention with Frank Zappa, died on Monday, December 24 at age 76. Before Collins starting his music career with Zappa, Collins was doing backup vocals on doo-wop records in the Los Angeles area during the 1950s and 60s. But, in 1964 he joined up with Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada and Frank Zappa to form the cover band The Soul Giants. That band would later become known as Mothers of Invention.
Collins was the lead vocalist on the band’s early albums, including Freak Out!, Absolutely Free and Cruising With Ruben & The Jets. Collins left the band soon after as he clashed with Zappa over creative differences. "I wanted to make beautiful music," Collins told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in 2009. "I was raised on Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole." Regarding the band's outlandish stage shows, Collins said, "I didn't like doing that stuff on stage. Too much comedy, too much making fun of stuff."
He did contribute to a few Zappa projects afterwards throughout the 70s. Later in life, Collins supported himself through social security and songwriting royalties.
The singer was admitted to the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center on December 18 for cardiac arrest.