Final Frank Zappa album to come out

NEW YORK (AFP) - More than 20 years after his death, the final album is coming out from Frank Zappa - the prolific rocker who was both an icon and scourge of the counterculture.

Zappa's estate announced pre-order sales for Dance Me This, saying it was the 100th and last album from the Los Angeles-based experimental musician who died in 1993 from prostate cancer.

His official website announced the album's release on April Fool's Day - prompting speculation it was a spoof - but the estate confirmed that the album was on sale through direct orders and would be shipped in June.

Zappa had mentioned the album before his death, saying that it would feature the synclavier - a synthesizer and programming system developed in the 1970s - and, true to the work's name, would consist of dance music.

Zappa's estate has been releasing albums from him and his band, The Mothers of Invention, almost annually since his death.

Skilled in guitar, bass and drums, Zappa was often described as a hard rocker but his music was free-flowing with improvisation techniques from jazz and inspiration from contemporary classical composers.

Zappa was popular in the California counterculture but had an uneasy relationship with it, often mocking hippies in his music and steering clear personally of drugs.

He was nonetheless outspoken politically, particularly in his advocacy of absolute free speech.

His fans included the Czech Republic's post-communist leader Vaclav Havel, who gave Zappa an unofficial title of cultural ambassador.

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