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Early Mothers of Invention member Ray Collins dies

CLAREMONT, Calif. — Ray Collins, who invited guitarist Frank Zappa to join the band that eventually became the Mothers of Invention, has died at age 75.

Collins' friend Patrick Brayer tells the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that the musician from Claremont, Calif., died Monday, five days after a heart attack.

Collins brought Zappa to R&B cover band the Soul Giants in 1964. By 1966, they had become the Mothers of Invention, releasing their first album, "Freak Out," on Verve Records.

Collins sang on three albums, then left the Mothers, saying their comedic approach to music didn't suit him.

He pursued little music afterward and spent his last years living in a van, but was a well-known character and conversationalist on the streets of Claremont, a college town east of Los Angeles.

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