The Mothers of Invention were an American rock band from California that served as the backing musicians for Frank Zappa, a self-taught composer and performer whose diverse musical influences led him to create music that was often impossible to categorize. Their work is marked by the use of sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows.
Originally an R&B band called The Soul Giants, the band's original lineup included Ray Collins, David Coronado, Ray Hunt, Roy Estrada and Jimmy Carl Black. Zappa was asked to take over as the band's guitarist following a fight between Collins and the band's original guitarist. Zappa insisted that the band perform original material, changing their name to The Mothers. Founded in 1964, the band first became popular playing in California's underground music scene in the late 1960s. Under Zappa's leadership, the band signed to Verve Records, releasing a début album, Freak Out! (1966), with a lineup which consisted of Zappa, Collins, Black, Estrada and Elliot Ingber.