Formed in 1990 for a concert in honor of Zappa's fiftieth birthday, They went on to perform his music as a tribute band, along with some of their own compositions, worldwide. Until his death in 2008, the band often featured guest vocals and percussion by Jimmy Carl Black, former drummer and vocalist from Zappa's Mothers of Invention, with whom they also performed songs by Captain Beefheart.
Since their debut, the Muffin Men have featured no less than seven original Zappa band members, along with original Mothers Of Invention drummer/vocalist Jimmy Carl Black, as well as performing with Don Preston and Bunk Gardner in 1993. In 1994 they played a nine-week European tour with guest vocalist Ike Willis, and again teamed up with Willis in 2003 for a special Zappanale festival show, which also featured Napoleon Murphy Brock. Mike Keneally has also appeared with the band, along with Ray White, and Robert Martin. Denny Walley has performed on several occasions since 2010.
Rather than play pieces note-for-note, the band plays Zappa's material working to the strengths of the current line-up, often giving the music a different slant to the original versions.