Sound Advice: Dweezil Zappa (Oct. 15)

Dweezil Zappa plays “whatever the f@%k he wants” at Madison Theater.

Oct 12, 2016 at 10:53 am

Dweezil Zappa - Photo: Erik Kabik
Photo: Erik Kabik
Dweezil Zappa
It would take every page in this issue to attempt to explain the legal and family power outage that has darkened Dweezil Zappa’s nearly perfect tribute project, Zappa Plays Zappa, and forced him to reboot his show, first as “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa” and now as the snarkily appropriate banner of “Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants!”

As you may recall, Dweezil was schooled in the way of guitar through exposure to his father’s stratospheric gifts as well as tutelage under Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. Almost two decades after Frank’s untimely passing, Dweezil set aside his solo endeavors and undertook what he envisioned would be the ultimate tribute to his father’s colossal catalog and creative ethic. In order to exactly match Frank’s technique, Dweezil had to completely relearn guitar and then learn to play the material that comprised not only Frank’s 75-album catalog but also the iconic live versions of those songs that in many cases eclipsed the studio recordings.

When Dweezil began ZPZ in 2006, he had a simple mission statement, which he clarified during an interview on the 2007 tour:

“The thing is, Frank¹s music needs to be heard the way he did it,” he said. “What I¹m doing is sort of a grassroots effort to bring new people to it, but also give fans that have been supporting him forever the opportunity to be around other like-minded individuals and have somewhat of a celebration. It has very little to do with anything but the music. I just want people to know more about what he accomplished in a relatively short period of time — but it will stand the test of time.”

Simple as that. Sadly, the intent of the Zappa Family Trust seems to have been twisted into a pretzel logic knot of ignored contracts, infighting and unnecessary lawyering up. The latest legal salvos in the dispute have led Dweezil to christen his latest circuit The Cease and Desist Tour 2016, which will celebrate half a century of Frank’s brilliant musical contributions, faithfully and lovingly recreated by some of the best musicians on this or any planet. Philosophically, legally, morally, there is nothing wrong with that.

Click here for tickets/more info.