Frank Zappa, Glendora mascot?


After my column about the 1975 prank involving Frank Zappa’s image popping up on Bridges Auditorium in Claremont, reader Pat Kelley sent the above image from his 1972 Glendora High yearbook.

“Someone painted him on our gym wall in the dead of night sometime during our senior year,” said Kelley, who graduated in 1972. “They did a pretty good job of it, so it was left up for the entire year.”

Something tells me Zappa wasn’t much of a fitness buff or school-spirit kind of guy. But it is a good likeness.

Kelley adds impishly: “I’m wondering if your ‘vandal’ friend Cameron Munter had anything to do with this. I’m just curious because back then, Claremont and Glendora were big rivals.” Munter hinted during his commencement speech in May at Pomona College that he and his friends had perpetrated the Claremont prank.

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  • DAve

    Zappa was painted on that wall @ GHS at least twice that I can remember. The second time was a lot bigger.

    [That time looks plenty big! — DA]

  • I didnt really appreciate frank until I got older. however, a friend got me into him and he truly is a great guitarist in his own right. Great post keep up the hard work. Check these out IStillGotMyGuitar.

  • Yes, the first painting was smaller. But in my opinion this Zappa’s painting looks better

  • Steve Graves

    Frank’s Zappa’s family lived in Claremont for several years. His younger brother, Bobby, graduated from Claremont in 1961.

    For a time, the family owned the Eat More Cafe on Foothill. This was about ’63-’64 I think. Frank regularly played there with his group the Muthas, the early iteration of the Mothers of Invention. You sat on the floor and had a beer with a dozen other people. No stage.

    He soon moved on to the Broadside on Holt in Pomona. The Broadside was a very popular live music venue with a big dance crowd. Always a line. The group then moved on to a long running gig on Sunset in Hollywood, I think, and was now using the Mothers name. Then on to bigger things.

    Frank was good friends with Captain Beefheart (Van Vliet). Vic Mortensen played drums. In 1958 Vic played football at the then new Montclair HS. I knew Vic and, when managing the Lake Arrowhead Dance Pavillion in the mid ’60’s, Vic asked me to book Beefheart for a weekend gig. I almost got fired for what was termed by the city fathers as unacceptable music and appearance of the band. Needless to say, the kids loved it. Captain Beefheart went on to big things, of course.

    [Steve, thanks for sharing your memories of Zappa’s early days here, especially the Upland cafe. — DA]