Frank Zappa’s Percussionist, Ed Mann, Dead at 70

Frank Zappa‘s longtime percussionist, Ed Mann, has reportedly died at age 70, as revealed on social media by another Zappa collaborator, Chad Wackerman. He posted the sad news on Instagram with a group photo of Zappa and friends.

Videos by American Songwriter

“Rest Easy my old friend Ed Mann. A masterful and brilliant percussionist,” Wackerman wrote. “He could read anything Frank Zappa threw at him and I never once heard him make a mistake. He toured with Frank for 11 years and went on to record with many of the greats. Ed was a creative force and a great teacher and will be missed.”

Mann started seriously studying music in 1972 when he started at Hartt College of Music in Connecticut. He then transferred after a year to California Institute of the Arts, where his talent was honed and Mann was introduced to new styles of percussion.

A fan in the comments of Wackerman’s post wrote that they were at CalArts at the same time as Mann. “I was at CalArts with Ed in John Bergamo’s percussion ensemble for 2-3 years,” the comment reads. “We performed many unique concerts and generally had a riotous time on and off stage. A gifted musician and wonderful guy.”

[RELATED: 4 of the Most Underrated Rock Drummers of All Time]

Longtime Frank Zappa Percussionist Ed Mann Died Age 70

As far as his time with Zappa goes, Ed Mann was first introduced in 1977 by friend and teacher John Bergamo. A few months later, Mann was invited to audition for Zappa’s band. In a 1996 interview, Mann explained how the audition came about.

“It happened at two o’clock in the morning up at his house,” Mann recalled. “and [bass guitarist/keyboardist] Patrick O’Hearn and [guitarist] Adrian Belew were both there. [Zappa] just put some stuff up and asked me to read it which I did as well as I could, and then we improvised and played by ear, then he asked me to join the band.”

Ed Mann eventually went on to spend 11 years with Zappa’s outfit, appearing on more than 30 albums. He left the group in 1988 and went on to play with artists and bands like Mark Isham, Kenny Loggins, Tammy Wynette, Los Lobos, and Don Ellis, as well as with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and composers such as Hans Zimmer, Klaus Badelt, and Harry Gregson Williams, among others.

(Image via X @palermobigband)

Leave a Reply

Chris Stapleton and Morgane Stapleton arrive for the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards at Omni Frisco Hotel at The Star on May 16, 2024 in Frisco, Texas.

Watch Chris Stapleton Sing With His Wife Morgane and Make One Recent Graduate’s Night at Railbird Festival in Lexington, Kentucky

4 of the Best Rock One-Hit Wonder Bands From the 1980s