nigey lennon

Nigey Lennon had a personal and professional relationship with Frank Zappa. She contributed to a couple of concerts in 1971 and she also wrote a book on Zappa, called "Being Frank". 

Early 2006, Candy Zappa, joined forces with Ed Palermo, Nigey Lennon, and John Tabacco to present ZAPPA SINGS ZAPPA, a two-hour show featuring Candy's vocal renditions of her brother's songs, along with original compositions in the Zappa spirit, composed by Nigey Lennon and John Tabacco.

In 2007, Nigey Lennon contributed their version of Frank Zappa's 'The Idiot Bastard Son' to "20 Extraordinary Renditions", Andrew Greenaway's project that got released on Cordelia Records. 
The info said:
Recorded by John Tabacco on 30th October 2007. Produced ("if such a simple track is actually 'produced' as opposed to merely recorded") by Nigey Lennon. Lyrics by Nigey Lennon and Eric Weaver.
Personnel: Nigey Lennon (vocal, arrangement, programming); Jay Rozen (tuba); Eric Weaver (cameo vocal); John Tabacco (recording, minimal programming, mixing on Halloween 2007); David Walley (last laugh).

Nigey Lennon contributed a track to the "21 Burnt Weeny Sandwiches" tribute that got released on Cordelia Records in 2010.

In 2013, Nigey released a remastered version of her "Reinventing The Wheel" album. It included a number of bonus tracks.



selected bibliography

  • nigey lennon: being frank
        (1995, book, usa, california classics books)
  • nigey lennon: being frank - new and updated edition
        (2003, book, usa, california classics books)


Nigey passed away on November 14, 2016 due to complications from radiation therapy she received in 1998. She survived the cancer, but not the treatment. She thought she was fighting a virus, but instead she was fighting a battle she couldn't win.

November 14, 2016 Nigey Lennon passed away. She was exceptionally brilliant in her work as a writer, composer, musician, chef, and designer. Nigey was born in Santa Monica, California. Nigey’s death was due to complications from her radiation treatment for cancer in 1998.

Nigey grew up in Manhattan Beach, CA. She rebelled against many things which got her kicked out of high school and her parents kicked her out of the house. At 17 she was hired by Frank Zappa to play guitar and sing with his band on tour. After that she studied music at El Camino College, lived in Arizona and spent a year in Europe. She married Lionel Rolfe in 1975 and they worked together and independently writing books, writing articles, editing, typesetting and publishing for decades. She also kept playing, recording, and composing music.
In 1998 she married Eric Weaver and in 2000 they moved to the North Shore of Long Island. Nigey loved Long Island for the environment, the weather, the seasons, the quality of life, and the easy access to the culture of New York City. She never regretted leaving LA for one instant.
Nigey is survived by her Amazon parrot Hamlet B Green, her cockatiels Sasha and Natasha, and her devoted husband Eric Weaver.



  nigey lennon: reinventing the wheel
    (2000, cd, usa, dinghy records  1001) - feat. candy zappa, mike keneally, denny walley,  incl. 'any way the wind blows' (frank zappa)

  various artists: eyeinhand sampler volume 1
    (2001, cd, spain, vaso music vm 032) - all zappa related artists

  various artists: zappanale 13
    (2003, 3cd, ger, arf society) – incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  various artists: zappanale # 13
    (2003, cd, ger, arf society) – incl. various artists playing frank zappa compositions

  neonfire: neonfire
    (2005, cd, usa, crossfire publications 9502-2) - feat.candy zappa, napoleon murphy brock

  various artists: 20 extraordinary renditions
    (2008, cd, uk, cordelia records) - all compositions by frank zappa

  various artists: 21 burnt weeny sandwiches
    (2010, cd, uk, cordelia records) - all compositions by frank zappa

  nigey lennon: reinventing the wheel reinvented
    (2013, cd, usa, muffin record productions) - feat. candy zappa, mike keneall, denny walley,  incl. 'any way the wind blows' (frank zappa)

nigey_lennon_rtw_2013.jpg (22410 bytes)

  john tabacco & nigey lennon: the miseducation of willie the hill
    (2014, download, --, bandcamp) - incl. various frank zappa compositions / feat. candy zappa, ed palermo, ike willis


random notes

from: vladimir sovetov ( - newsgroups:
subject: nigey lennon revisited

        hiya, friends,
        have you ever heard that nigey lennon, the author of being frank: my time with frank zappa, controversial bio of our uncle frank was married? and very much so!-)) now she's divorced, but for some time enjoyed regular family life with the guy named lionel rolfe. and he happens to be nephew of yehudi menuhin and the writer as well. despite the fact that he never have slept with frank or played with him on stage, rolfe just published the autobiographic book

lionel rolfe, fat man on the left. four decades in the undeground.
california calssic books, la, 1998
isbn 1-879395-01-0
which contain couple of pages that could be interesting for fz fans. of course, they depict former husband view on nigey-frank realtionship. the place in question startes in the middle of page 20.

"it was also during this time i met nigey, my future wife. she was cold, tired and hungry the first time we get together. she was 19 and i had just turned 30, and was living a relatively wild bachelor life in hollywood. i had broken up with dianna, my first   wife and mother of my children, heather and haila. nigey had no permanent place to live and was sleeping on a friend's coach.  a short time before, she had been living in the basement of frank zappa's house on woodrow wilson drive in laurel canyon where she had been a secret lover as well as a guest. but nigey and zappa also had an intense musical reationship. she watched the great musical cynic cry as he played her some bartok, for example."

rolfe mused with the subject at some length like this:
"sometimes nigey's parroting of zappa' musical views irritated me a lot. perhaps my feeling was influenced by the thought that she still made love to him from time to time."
"one night shortly after we started living together, nigey said she wanted to go and make dirty love to capt.beefheart."

then abrupty indulge in 7 pages long and really boring shneersohns and lubavitchis torah-yarmulke stuff intermission, before returning to nigey-frank thingies conclusion, p.31

"when he [zappa]died, though, i think nigey rued that decision. his influence had stayed with her all those years, if not in body   certainly in spirit. i encouraged her to write a piece about him which run in the london independent. from that, she kept writing - day and night for several months - until she finished her book, being frank: my time with frank zappa."

on most hot nigey question, when and where she performed with mothers rolfe's answer is third-party eye-witness account who "saw her perfom on stage with zappa at carnegie hall."

that's all. and as a side note, the guy still seems to be in love with his former wife nigey lennon. believe it or not.

for full story see the book. pp.20-23 and p.31

     from: biffyshrew (
ironically, the carnegie hall show is one concert that lennon herself specifically says she *didn't* play at, or even attend.  zappa did, however, mention her name from the stage.  see chapter 6 of _being frank_.
(details, details: lennon actually says that there were *two* carnegie hall shows, and that the one fz dedicated to her in her absence was the second.  she also says that earlier she had been looking forward to being on stage for this show, because "i'd be able to tell people i appeared at carnegie hall."  i infer from this that she doesn't claim to have performed on the first night either, or she *would* have been able to make the above claim.)

     from: nigey lennon
nigey lennon (reachable via e-mail at spent the '80s and early '90s leading various bands around los angeles (performing on slide guitar and keyboards) and publishing a number of books ("the sagebrush bohemian: mark twain in california" and "alfred jarry: the man with the axe" among them). she is presently recording a solo cd, "reinventing the wheel," which features some of the long lost material from her 'imaginary album'(to have been produced by fz) of 1972, described in her book "being frank: my time with frank zappa." musicians include mike keneally (guitar, vocal) and vocals by frank's sister candy zappa and victoria berding.  lennon plays guitar and keyboards and is co-producing with john tabacco (drums, keyboards, vocals) in los angeles and stony brook, ny.  deluxe package including 100-page book with additional observations and insights into fz and his influence on nl and "rtw", will be released in fall, 1999.  official website:

      from: marc de bruyn (
i've been going through some old diskettes - in order to get rid of them (does anybody remember diskettes in this high-tech world?) - and i found this message text file, dated 97-08-17... don't know how i initially got it and i don't know where it's going... since muffin records is now defunct...

 nigey lennon - "reinventing the wheel"
california classics books po box 29756 los angeles ca 90029 213/413-8400 f:213/484-6100 e-mail: for immediate release contact: lionel rolfe, (213) 413-8400. nigey lennon's "reinventing the wheel" to be issued as cd by muffin records. reinventing the wheel,
composer/guitarist/keyboardist nigey lennon's premiere solo cd, will be released by muffin records in 1998. lennon, whose book being frank: my time with frank zappa (california classics books) chronicles her professional and personal relationship with the late musician, will be joined on the cd by vocalist candy zappa, frank's sister. also contributing vocals is victoria berding. (as lennon observes, "having singers like candy and victoria available makes it possible for me to concentrate on what i do best -- twiddling knobs, tuning my guitar, drinking beer, and cursing.") although reinventing the wheel is not specifically a 'concept' cd, it is loosely based on lennon's relationship with frank zappa, and as might be expected,  the material runs the sylistic gamut from rhythm & blues to 20th-century orchestral. lennon explains: "it seemed appropriate for my first cd to assemble a sort of musical journal, with examples of frank's influence on me. i indicate my initial phase of slavish imitation by including earlier pieces i wrote, and then go on to show various stages of my 'fool's progress' until i come to the period when i finally broke free and found my own voice, although still drawing on frank's influence for inspiration."

zappa's unique brand of inspiration can be detected in tracks like messin' in the kitchen, featuring a blistering r&b vocal by candy zappa ("the family seems to be plagued by a fatal attraction to 'jump' records," lennon muses). on the other end of the scale, a complex work such as jupiter's basement -- which lennon originally composed when she was "temporarily housed under the bosendorfer grand piano in frank's basement" during the early '70s -- showcases lennon's ability to compose 'serious' music. the dense orchestral textures on reinventing the wheel are created by lennon using a macintosh power pc computer running cubase score. "in his last years frank invested a lot of time and money on the synclavier," says lennon, "and now i can do almost anything he did on my mac in about ten minutes for under a thousand bucks. "i guess there really is progress after all."  


from: Nigey Lennon
2006 07 03

Hello fans, fiends and friends --

ZAPPA SINGS ZAPPA now has its (their?) own little cubicle on MySpace Music, thanks to another great Belgian, Gina Vodegel! Please feel free to visit, add comments, or even list yourself as a friend of the group, should you feel so inclined. Watch the "Events" category for news on upcoming performances...there may even be a blog, when there's something noteworthy to report.

See you there!


The ZAPPA SINGS ZAPPA East Coast Sub-Assistant Promotion Team


Muffin Records Productions USA, April 2013

It's official: MRP USA and NIGEY LENNON (musician,composer and author of the book "Being Frank") will release a very special and exclusive track by Nigey featuring JIMMY CARL BLACK's VERY LAST RECORDING before he passed away ! "Stolen Cadillac" is a Western Swing which Nigey Lennon and Candy Zappa (Frank Zappa's sister) premiered at Zappanale 13 in 2002 (Lennon/Tabacco/Zappa with Ed Palermo a.o.). The studio recording features Jimmy Carl Black,Vocal - Candy Zappa,vocal. fiddle, and guitar parts - Laura Kass, fiddle - Paul Lacques, guitar - Jay Rozen, tuba & Nigey Lennon, rhythm tracks, programming, mixing.

Also we are also pleased to announce that we gonna offer you Nigey Lennon's album "Reinventing The Wheel" with bonus track. Both - 'RTW' and 'Stolen Cadillac' will be available for download after our website has been redesigned - we keep you posted and more details follow.....

United Mutations Blog - 2013 08 30

If you visit this blog every now and then, you should be familiar with the Zappa Universe. In that case, Nigey Lennon should need no introduction.
If not, let me tell you that Nigey had a personal and professional relationship with Frank Zappa. She contributed to a couple of concerts in 1971 and she also wrote a book on Frank Zappa, entitled "Being  Frank".
In 2000, Nigey Lennon released "Reinventing The Wheel", a fine album that presented original material next to remarkable versions of Frank Zappa's 'Anyway The Wind Blows' and Steely Dan's 'Brain Tap Shuffle'. The disc also featured John Tabacco, Mike Keneally and Candy Zappa, and had contributions by Urban Gwerder and David Walley.
July 2002, Nigey Lennon and John Tabacco took part in the 13th edition of the Zappanale Festival in Bad Doberan, Germany. History will remember it as the MEGA Zappanale as it was the year that the Zappa statue got inaugurated.
In the meantime, Nigey did contribute to a couple of albums that Andrew Greenaway assembled and that got released on Cordelia Records, but other then that, things have been rather quiet.

A couple of months ago, however, Muffin Record Productions announced that they would be releasing a completely reworked edition of "Reinventing The Wheel".
The album is aptly called "Reinventing The Wheel Reinvented" and it presents remastered versions of the original recordings, a handful of demos, and a couple of bonus tracks.

One of these bonus tracks is 'Stolen Cadillac'. Sung by Candy Zappa and by the late Jimmy Carl Black, it actually is the last recording that Jimmy did before he passed away.
The other one is 'Opus 1', a piece that Nigey wrote and recorded for Frank Zappa in 1971. It's a short piece (way too short), performed on a grand piano. Nice.

By the way, did you notice the new cover? Nigey Lennon by Don Van Vliet. It's great !!
"Reinventing The Wheel Reinvented" is an excellent album. It definitely needs your attention.

Highly recommended and a good reason for  a short chat with Nigey Lennon.

UniMuta : Hi Nigey, congratulations on the new album. It sounds great and the added tracks are a treat.
It's good to see that the album will become available again. This time it will be released on Muffin Record Productions. How did that come about?

Nigey Lennon: Muffin Records originally gave me a contract to do the album in 1998. I was just starting to work on it when I was diagnosed with cancer and had to take quite a few months off for treatment. In the meantime, Muffin went out of business. The CD was released on an indie label, Dinghy Records, in 2000, but distribution was limited. When Muffin reorganized and started up again this year, Reinhard Preuss was happy to get the project back. We added the bonus material, and the rest is history. :)

UniMuta : I love 'Stolen Cadillac'. It's a fine song and Jimmy Carl Black sounds great on it. I noticed that you dedicated the album to Jimmy Carl. Could you share one of your favorite moments with him?

Nigey Lennon : At the Zappanale in Germany in 2002, he and Candy Zappa performed the song together, the first time they had done so. Jimmy came onstage wearing the suede fringed vest he had worn as Lonesome Cowboy Burt in 200 Motels. That vest had some serious history embedded in it -- I took one whiff of it and nearly passed out. :) This moment was captured on video by several German TV crews. The performance was hilarious, by the way, as you can see by my reaction to it in this photo.

UniMuta : The new tracks are a fine addition but it strikes me that, except for 'Stolen Cadillac', you did not add any recent material to the album. What have you been up to, musically? Can we expect another album? Your Facebook page mentioned a possible new release called "Ship In A Bottle"?

Nigey Lennon : I figured the original release stood on its own. Adding new material would have reduced its impact. Except for "Stolen Cadillac", which fits in with the album's overall concept because of Jimmy's vocal, each of the bonus tracks has a direct relation to the other tracks on the album.

"Ship in a Bottle", which I'm working on now, is going to be a 180-degree turn stylistically from "Reinventing the Wheel Reinvented". It will be semi-acoustic, with orchestral instruments such as violin, clarinet, tuba, oboe, English horn -- sort of a cross between chamber music and the sort of raw, often modal music I love so much: sea shanties, fiddle tunes; a nod to my Irish roots. I'm playing guitar, keyboards, mandolin, harp guitar and doing most of the vocals, with John Tabacco and Scott Pettis, the bass player. The general idea of the album will be the sea, as a metaphor. I'll be including my original songs along with recent tunes by other writers, and some 19th-century stuff to balance it out. I'm enjoying the contrast between some of the music and the arrangements. It's like Captain Beefheart, or the Fugs, meeting Erik Satie.

UniMuta : That sounds like something to look forward to. More recently, you were the special guest in Episode 13 of the ZappaCast podcast. Was it fun?

Nigey Lennon : It was a blast! How could I not enjoy sitting down with a vodka-and-black cherry cocktail and three certifiable lunatics like John Tabacco, Scott Parker, and Andrew Greenaway, and free associating for an hour and a half while they laughed at all my jokes? :)

UniMuta : Excellent ! Thank you for your time.

If you want to know more about "Reinventing The Wheel Reinvented", check out Episode 13 of the ZappaCast podcast where Nigey and John Tabacco discuss the album in detail.





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