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PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:17 pm 
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Location: Somewhere in time
polydigm wrote:
Trendmauler was out driving with his wife. They were having near collisions almost every time they made a turn. His wife suggested that there might be something wrong with the indicators so they pulled over, she got into the drivers seat while he stood at the back of the car to check the indicators. His wife turned one on asked if it was working and Trendy replied: yes ... no ... yes ... no ... yes ... no ...

LOL... :mrgreen:

PostPosted: Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:58 pm
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Location: Home of The Mondavi Center.
Plook wrote:
polydigm wrote:
Trendmauler was out driving with his wife. They were having near collisions almost every time they made a turn. His wife suggested that there might be something wrong with the indicators so they pulled over, she got into the drivers seat while he stood at the back of the car to check the indicators. His wife turned one on asked if it was working and Trendy replied: yes ... no ... yes ... no ... yes ... no ...

LOL... :mrgreen:

+1 :mrgreen:

I'm getting larger as I walk away.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:21 am 
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To capture his father’s legacy, Dweezil Zappa turns to surround sound

Mike Mettler

Digital Trends
November 5, 2016

“In a very idealistic way, music is the most intriguing art form.”

The mantle of carrying on a great artist’s legacy is no easy feat. Such has been one of Dweezil Zappa’s primary charges for the past decade — to celebrate the ingenuity and inventiveness inherent in his late father Frank Zappa’s deeply rich music catalog. Onstage, he must not only meet exacting expectations of longtime fans, but open the ears of younger generations to a musician and composer many musicologists feel was a man truly ahead of his time.

“That’s the thing that’s so amazing about Frank’s music — that it was so advanced, and the fact that he was so prolific,” Dweezil marveled to Digital Trends. “Sometimes, he made five albums a year. Some bands never even make five albums in their whole career.”

Dweezil’s righteous path to spread the sacred and profane gospel of his father’s music has not been without some controversy. Of late, he’s been at odds with the Zappa Family Trust that’s been overseen by his brother Ahmet, his younger sister Diva, and his mother Gail (up until her death in 2015). Among other things, the ZFT have questioned his usage of Frank’s name and likeness during prior Zappa Plays Zappa tours and for related merchandise.

Undeterred by all the ongoing legal back and forth, Dweezil redubbed his current live run as Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%K He Wants: The Cease and Desist Tour, which runs through mid-November. Its main focus is a celebration of 50 years of Frank Zappa music, as his seminal psychedelia-meets-doo-wop double-album opus Freak Out! was released in June 1966.

Digital Trends sat down with Dweezil in his dressing room at the Beacon Theatre in New York prior to his recent Halloween show — a mostly annual tradition that dates back to Frank’s ’70s heyday — to discuss surround sound mixing, what the first song he asked Frank to teach him was, and Frank’s indelible value as an artist.

Digital Trends: You were on a panel I hosted about the merits of surround sound at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas back in 2005. Is surround sound something you’re still passionate about and would like to do more with?

Dweezil Zappa: I have a project that I’m really excited about in terms of how it’s sounding, but the challenge is whether I’ll get to release it because of what the ZFT is doing. It’s for the tour where we did the entire [1974] Apostrophe (’) album. [Keyboard legend] George Duke performed at that concert, so we have him playing with us on songs that he played on the record, and on some other stuff from that night too.

We did the entire thing in surround sound, but it’s featuring a lot of things that are definitely not the normal mode of operation for surround sound.

Give me an example of what you mean by it being “not the normal mode” for surround.

My goal was that I edited the concert visually. I want people to really understand what it’s like to play this music and to live in this music, so you see what you’re hearing at all times onscreen.

As far as how you hear it in surround sound, it changes from song to song. It doesn’t have a “set” format where maybe it’s stereo, and then there’s only a little something in the center and a little in the surrounds in the back.

So as a listener, am I onstage with you and the band, or am I in the audience? Or both?

There are a few different things. What happens is, you’ll have stereo that goes sideways, from the right front speaker to the back left, or you’ll have something that just goes down the sides.

One of the cool things we did was if there’s a soloist, the soloist will be in the front, and the band will get pulled into the back when the solo starts, and it will adjust back after the solo. So you have this feeling of being enveloped like you’re on the stage and stuff moves around you. You can actually feel the music go past you.

We also did a lot with surround sound delays and reverbs, so there’s some really cool panning. Everything is different. It’s a very individual approach for every song.

Is it like the live version of “Zeets” that you produced in 5.1 for the [2003] Frank Zappa Halloween release on DVD-Audio, where drummer Vinnie Colaiuta moves around from channel to channel, sometimes in a clockwise fashion and sometimes diagonally?

(nods) It’s like that — but more. And it’s not just for the sake of being silly. You have these really cool things that make you feel like you could reach out and grab the instrument. With 5.1, you have to use less compression, and there’s more space for the speakers to allow separation. You really have tremendous detail.

Is there one song that you feel you reached the pinnacle of what surround can be?

There are a couple that are really cool — and Inca Roads is one, for sure. (The always adventurous and challenging Inca Roads, originally from 1975’s One Size Fits All, has been a welcome staple in Dweezil’s sets in recent years.) George Duke plays the [synthesizer] solo, and Frank actually plays the guitar solo on it, because we had him on the screen. It’s pretty crazy.

Before we ever went on tour, we did a lot of pre-production to try and emulate as many sounds from the records so we could get them as close as we could. In the post-production, we’re referencing the record to get all the vocal effects, delays, and reverbs so that it’s very close to what you’d have on the studio record, but still maintaining that live context.

When you hear certain kinds of delays or filtered EQs for vocals or other different things, it all shows up in the live performance element of it, and it’s just this very expansive sound. It’s really cool.

The two Frank releases you did in 5.1 at 96kHz/24-bit — Halloween and [2004’s] Quadiophiliac — were both for the DVD-Audio format, but I imagine you’d prefer to put the Apostrophe (’) tour material out on Blu-ray.

Yes. The disc will be Blu-ray, once we get them to the public. The project is essentially finished and there’s just a little left to do with some of the surround sound. It’s pretty much ready to go, but you never know what the Trust will do. We’ll see.

When you did those two releases, it seemed like that was only the beginning of you wanting to do a lot more in surround.

Yeah, for sure. The Quadiophiliac thing was great, and a lot of fun. There is so much within my dad’s music that I think makes it the perfect vehicle for that environment. When people get the chance to experience this particular release, I think they’re going to be excited about it.

One of the things we did with it was test it with this new thing from Waves, the Nx [virtual mix room] where you can make surround sound in a regular pair of headphones. It’s a pretty simple interface where you take something off of the internet and if it’s set up for surround sound, you can hear it that way in the stereo headphones. Everything we had done for a 5.1 speaker setup translated into this pair of headphones.

And that was cool, because it gives one the impression that, in the future, there’s even more opportunity for surround to catch on, because now you could wear a pair of headphones and experience it that way. Many people who have a 5.1 system don’t have it set up right or optimized — and with the sub, they always want to have (pauses), more bass! And then they make it all sound terrible.

We decided to go as wild as we could, to see where it would feel like a gimmick and where the out-of-bounds limit was — but we didn’t actually find any place like that. We never found that. I think a lot of that has to with the fact that the music is full-spectrum in terms of the arrangements and the instrumentation. The more separation you have to localize something, the more it feels like it’s right there where you could just possess it and grab it out of thin air.

When it moves a little bit and you have these things that kind of hover, it becomes so three-dimensional that you find yourself smiling. You go, “This is so cool!” You’re just living in this music. It has nothing to do with the realism of, “Oooh, it sounds exactly like it sounded when I stood in the middle of the venue and watched the show!” It’s not about recreating that experience at all.

Do you have other surround projects in mind? What would you do next?

The thing is, I’m building a studio in my home and once that’s done, it’ll be set-up for surround sound, so I could work on more of my own music in that way. I would really like to.

Oh, man — I’d love to hear you yelling those expletives at John Malkovich from the rear channels on the song Malkovich that’s on your [2015] solo record, Via Zammata’.

That would be great to do — or even projects of other people’s at my studio, once it’s done. I’d like to get into doing some of that stuff.

You can challenge Steven Wilson to be our generation’s surround sound guru. (Dweezil laughs) So let’s get to your wish list. If you could mix any album in surround sound, which one or ones would you do?

Ahhh, mmm. I don’t know. If you’re talking about classic records… (pauses) I grew up listening to and learning stuff from Ozzy Osbourne’s Diary of a Madman (1981) — all the Randy Rhoads parts. So something like that would be great to do.

You asked your dad to show you how to play one of Randy Rhoads’ songs, right?

Yeah, I asked him to show me the chord progression in Revelation (Mother Earth) [from 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz]. It had all these inversions and things that I had no idea what they were.

Just reminiscing through the childhood days of, “This is what got me into guitar” — I love the layering of the guitars on that record. Especially knowing that most of the solos and the rhythm parts are triple-tracked, that gives you a lot to work with in surround.

Ultimately, the goal for doing all this would be to have new generations discover, “Oh wait — you mean I can just sit and only focus on the music, and not have to look at or do ten other things?”

Finally, there’s an often quoted phrase of Frank’s that comes from the song Packard Goose, from 1979’s Joe’s Garage – Act III: “Music is the BEST!” Do you still subscribe to that philosophy?

It depends on what music you’re talking about, you know? In a very idealistic way, music is the most intriguing art form. If you pick it apart and say it starts in one person’s head — if you’re talking about a single artist who’s doing all the writing — and that idea is extracted so that an audience can hear it, you’re hearing this internalized idea.

When you talk about somebody like my dad, who was a complete auteur in the sense that he could do it all — he knew how to write it, capture it, explain it, perform it — you talk about somebody who has such a unique vision, and he’s just taking those details and creating this thing for you to enjoy. It’s got so many levels, and you could spend so many years listening to this stuff, because it has repeat listening value. I think that’s just really amazing. ... 08678.html

hey punk, where you going with that borscht on your shirt?

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:47 am 
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ZAPPA on ZA@%A, A Conversation with Dweezil Zappa

jeremy morrison January 6, 2017

Frank Zappa’s music is a lot of things. It can be compositionally sophisticated and complex. It can jump between genres and styles. It can be loud. At times raunchy or absurd.

For about 50 years now the late guitarist and band leader’s offerings have graced the catalog of American music. Always living in the deeper waters beneath the mainstream’s veneer of pop, yet cultivating a rabid, multi-generational pool of music listeners hungry for something of more substance.

But a while back, Zappa’s son, Dweezil Zappa, began to notice that a younger generation was less familiar with his father’s music. In an effort to bring that music to a new generation, Dweezil has spent more than a decade performing selections from Frank Zappa’s vast body of work.

In addition to paying homage to his father, Dweezil is also a musician in his own right. He began his career at 12-years-old, with 1982’s “My Mother is a Space Cadet,” (produced by Eddie Van Halen, who also plays on the track) and continues to turn out solo work today. Throughout the years he has also dabbled in acting, lent his voice to the cartoon series “Duckman,” co-hosted the Food Network’s cooking show “Dweezil and Lisa” with then-girlfriend musician Lisa Loeb and has spent the better part of two decades working on an ever-growing 75-minute piece of music entitled “What the Hell Was I Thinking,” which features recordings of some of the most celebrated rock guitarists of the latter 20th century.

Dweezil opens his latest tour — a celebration of the 50th anniversary of his father’s debut album “Freak Out” — this month (January 11) at Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola. Looking forward to getting out on the road again, the musician took a few minutes to talk with SANDSpaper in December.

In addition to discussing his upcoming tour, Dweezil dove into his father’s musical legacy, his family’s current drama (there’s an attempt to trademark the name Zappa) and why pancakes were popular in the Zappa household.

SANDS: Is this another leg of your tour or would this be a continuation of the runs you’ve been doing this past year?

DWEEZIL ZAPPA: It’s a continuation of the tour. You know, we’ll probably add a couple of little new songs into the show at some point, but it’s still a continuation of the celebration of the 50 years of “Freak Out,” and we still have the Cease and Desist element to it.

SANDS: If you can kind of summarize your current show, what can people expect? And maybe even if they’ve seen you before in the last few years, what can they expect with this show?

ZAPPA: What’s different about this show compared to any other tour we’ve done is — we’ll there’s a few things. Number one, we have a few people in the band that are new that haven’t been on the road with us before. So, there’s a great female singer that’s been added, her name is Cian Coey, and then there’s also a guy named David Luther, who plays baritone saxophone, and he’s got a baritone voice as well, so he’s doing the Frank-parts vocally, and playing other instrumental parts. He plays keys, sax, and guitar, so he’s a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. And so with the new dynamics we have much more of an ability to focus in on some of the vocal details from records like “Freak Out,” the early Mothers’ stuff, as well as records like “You Are What You Is,” which has a ton of vocals, and “Joe’s Garage,” so we have more vocal range in the band than we’ve ever had before. Cian adds a great rasp element and can sound like Tina Turner or, you know, she can also have her voice be very sweet and she has a lot of range in terms of her delivery of the material. So, on stage there’s a new energy for sure.
But, besides all of those things, we’re playing a lot of music that we’ve never played before, particularly stuff from the early-Mothers era and, you know, when you play that stuff it’s very different than when you listen to it. You know, there’s a spirit to this music that’s so fun and energetic, but it’s also, when you think about it being 50-years-old, it’s so ahead of it’s time, especially when you compare it to music now. It was then, but it’s still just — it stands in stark relief against modern music. So, there’s just this spirit of anything can happen within the show and within the music.

SANDS: Why do you this? You’ve been doing this for a while now, why do you carry on your dad’s music? Why do you think that’s important and valuable?

ZAPPA: Well, I sort of relate it to the old Italian tradition of any family business, you know? Back in the day, in medieval times, if you were a shoemaker, you would learn the traditions and you would carry it forward. And so I’m proud of what my dad accomplished musically and I feel like it’s worth carrying on the tradition so that future generations can check it out.
So, for example, you know, for me I don’t describe his music as being nostalgia music or music from the past. I describe it as music from the future, because it is still so ahead of it’s time. And you have other legacy artists, like the Beach Boys or Elvis or someone like that, who sold many more records than my dad, but their music isn’t being carried forward by a segment of the population to say, “Hey, this is current, this is modern, we should make more music like this.” It really has been relegated, unfortunately in those instances, to nostalgia music, but for me I feel like my father’s music has been under appreciated or misunderstood and largely undiscovered. So, it is for all intents and purposes brand new music to a generation that’s never heard it. So, that’s the main thing that I want to do is expose people to the music and give them a chance to hear it.
Because the thing I hear over and over and over from people — and have heard for years, ever since I was a kid — is that when people get into my dad’s music, they thank my dad for making the music that he made, and they all say “It changed my life.” And it’s not just because of the notes, it’s because of the intent and the thought behind it. There’s so much on offer in the music. So, when I do these shows, I hear these stories from people over and over about “Thank you so much for keeping this going, you know, this music really did change my life.” And they tell me when they first heard the music and they say how it got them through tough times and all these things, and so to me it’s a valuable thing to do to be able to continue to offer this opportunity for people.

SANDS: You kind of just touched on this, but my next question was where do you see, you know — how is you dad’s music regarded by this current generation of music listeners? And where do you see his influences? What was his contribution?

ZAPPA: Well, there’s a few questions in there, but ultimately what I see with the younger generation that discovers the music is it’s the same as with any generation that’s ever discovered the music. They get into it because there’s this amazing, creative force behind it. And they think to themselves, “How did that happen? How did somebody make this? I want to do something like that. I want to get into it.” You know?
And they become inspired by the musicianship, the compositional qualities that are really unique. And, so, it’s great to see a younger generation pick up on it and adopt it as their own, because so much of modern music is dehumanized in the sense that it’s not really played by people anymore. It’s put through a grid and computerized and there’s so much of it that’s just made and constructed with the same attributes. You know, people are using the same equipment, the same producers, the same everything, so there’s so much of this homogenized thing out there and my dad’s music is exactly the opposite of all of that. It’s real people, playing real music that’s really hard in many cases. And, so, it just shows — it highlights creativity.
So where do I see that in modern music? I don’t see a direct influence of people saying “Oh, you know, Frank Zappa’s my biggest influence and I’m gonna go out there and sound just like him.” I do see it in certain instances where people take risks in their music and they have some interesting rhythms and stuff.
So, one of the artists that has become pretty popular — and rightly so, because she’s really good — is St. Vincent, and I feel like that there’s elements in her music that are Zappa-esque, with some of the rhythms and creative choices that she makes that are definitely not standard. You know?

SANDS: As a kid, what are your earliest memories of hearing your dad play or seeing a live performance?

ZAPPA: Well, I was pretty young, watching him do work at home or on stage or at the studio, and it all blends together. But there are songs that, as a kid, when you hear a song like “St. Alphonso’s Pancake Breakfast,” you’re like, “Yeah! That’s a great song! A song about pancakes, and then it’s got this crazy music.” And, so, it’s like the pancakes come alive in a way that they wouldn’t otherwise. You know?

SANDS: Uh-huh.

ZAPPA: Pancakes have always been popular in our house.
But, I can remember that my dad had some equipment that he had made for his touring. And they were these loud speakers that were covered in this sort of fuzzy red material. So, on stage you’d have these side fill monitors, and as a kid I would sit on top of some of the side-stage side fills, which were loud speakers that were giving audio to the performers on stage. But I would sit on there and it would vibrate. I remember hearing all sorts of songs that were favorites, such as “Peaches En Regalia,” and stuff like that, but I liked sitting on the vibrating speakers.
And, of course, I always liked the sound of my dad’s guitar and watching him play and, you know, it just always seemed like a magic trick, to watch all the people play this music, because it’s not just standard music, it’s really classical music played by an electric band.
So, if you put it in a perspective this way: how many times in your own life do you find in difficult to get multiple people to come together at the same time on one idea? Such as going to dinner — “Let’s go to dinner. Where should we go? What time should we arrive?” All of the issues of something like that, which is pretty simple, yet you can’t get people to agree or arrive at the same time. Now, try putting that in the perspective of multiple people on stage having to arrive at the same downbeat at the same time. You know, this is like a very concentrated effort to play some tricky and sophisticated rhythms and, you know, this stuff is written for orchestras and even if you had a hundred piece orchestra trying to play that stuff that only multiplies the difficulty of arriving at the same time at the downbeat. So, you know, it’s a really complex thing that my dad was doing.

SANDS: How did it impact you as a musician? What effect did his work have on you, and growing up in that environment?

ZAPPA: Well, initially, of course I was very inspired by his music, but I also knew that it was complicated and hard, so I didn’t find myself saying, “Hey, I’m gonna start with that.” I knew I had to graduate to an understanding to be able to get to that point.
So, initially I was playing mostly rock’n’roll guitar that was inspired by Edward Van Halen and Randy Rhodes. Because I started playing in 1982 and at that time Van Halen was the biggest band in the world.
And so over the years I continued to study music and have appreciation for all different styles of music. All those influences made their way into my playing and when I started doing my dad’s music, the biggest focus for me as a guitarist was to try to be able to do what my dad did so well, which was to be extemporaneous, and the reason that he was so good at it was that he had a very vast vocabulary, rhythmically and harmonically, so he could have as much variation as he wanted at any given time. And so to build that vocabulary takes a lifetime, and so when I wanted to start playing live on stage and play his music and then play within the style that he played, but still have my own voice, you know, that was a challenge.
And, so, I kind of systematically studied what his vocabulary was and what his tendencies were rhythmically and harmonically, and I would go ahead and try to learn some specific things that he plays in songs so that I could have guideposts that would be literal things that he played, but then I would fill in the blanks with my own ideas, but still filtered through this vocabulary of his. So, the point was that I wanted to be able to play in context with the music in a way that he might have played himself and not just take a huge left turn and have the music become something else during the improvisational section.

Z, featuring brothers Dweezil and Ahmet Zappa, 1993

SANDS: So, if we can shift gears here a minute — your family is going through a little bit of a drama right now. Can you explain what’s going on there?

ZAPPA: Well it’s a bit of a ridiculous situation ultimately, but my mother created a lot of problems when she was the one running the ZFT. So, when I started Zappa Plays Zappa, she filed a trademark for the name, without me ever knowing it, for the name Zappa Plays Zappa. And she also never paid me for the merchandise for the entire time that I had been doing the tour, which was 10 years before she passed.
And so when she passed, she left Ahmet and Diva in charge. And when I said, “Hey, listen, Gail never paid me for this stuff, you know, we need to rectify this.” They said, “No, we’re not going to change it. We’re going to continue to take a hundred percent of the merch and if you want to keep using the name Zappa Plays Zappa we’ll let you have that name for a dollar, but we’re taking a hundred percent of the merch.” And I said, “That’s not acceptable.” So I changed the name — no, before I even changed the name they sent me a cease-and-desist letter that said I couldn’t use the name anymore.
And so I changed the name to Dweezil Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa. And they sent me another cease-and-desist letter, saying that I couldn’t even use the name Frank Zappa in any way to promote anything. Meanwhile, there’s bands all over the world that use his picture and his name in performances nightly, all around the world, but I’m the one getting a cease-and-desist letter.
The other thing about that too was that of course I’m able to use the name Frank Zappa in describing what I’m doing on stage, the same way that a mechanic that owns a garage can say “I fix Volkswagens” or “I fix Mercedes.” That’s the same exact legal right of use. But rather than going down this ridiculous rabbit hole of legal stuff, I said “Fine, I’ll change the name to Dweezil Zappa and I’ll play whatever the f@%k I want.” And I called it the Cease and Desist Tour, Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants” just to shed some light on the absurdity of it all.
But now they have taken it to the point where they’ve filed for a federal trademark to own and control the name Zappa on its own. So, they seek to prevent me from using Zappa as my own last name. In the field of music, entertainment, public speaking, teaching, anything. They wish to prevent me from using the name Zappa to identify myself in all of those areas.
I have launched a Pledge Music campaign today called Dweezil Zappa and the Others of Intention, where I have invited the public to band together with me to raise their voice alongside mine to oppose the trademark.

SANDS: And you’re launching that today?

ZAPPA: Yes, it’s already live on Pledge Music.

SANDS: That’s, you know, wildly unfortunate. And it seems like it hasn’t, obviously, always been the case. You and your family have made music together and so forth. Do you see this being reconciled?

ZAPPA: Uhh, no, because when you’re dealing with unreasonable people this is the outcome.

SANDS: Have y’all talked recently?

ZAPPA: No, it just goes through lawyers. You know? You can imagine — I gave them the opportunity to continue to sell Zappa Family Trust, Frank Zappa merchandise at the show. I said, “Let’s do a 50-50 deal.” And they said, “Nope, we’ll take a hundred percent.” So they cut themselves out of it, you know, stupidly, and they’re not willing to see the error of their ways and they keep digging their heels in to do this kind of stuff, like try to prevent me from using the name Zappa at all.

SANDS: Why — and I know there’s side-drama as well, such as the guitars that are in dispute — but why do you think this is?

ZAPPA: You’d have to ask them. You know, I couldn’t answer — obviously people speculate that it’s greed and jealously, but I don’t know why they would be so incapable of acting in a way that benefits the entire family. It would obviously be more beneficial for the whole family to get along and work together to continue to promote Frank’s great legacy. But they’re doing everything in opposition to Frank’s integrity.
Like, for example, they’re doing all this stuff against me, yet Diva Zappa is able to use the name Frank Zappa any way she wants and put his name and likeness on yoga pants. And the first pair she put out was with Frank’s “We’re Only In It for the Money” album cover, and she didn’t see the irony in doing that.

SANDS: Interesting.
Ok, well, let’s shift again here. What are you doing, I know you have an album out —

ZAPPA: I have a record that’s called “Via Zammata” that came out last year and part of the Pledge campaign is we’re actually doing a special vinyl release of that. But I’m making a new record of instrumental guitar stuff that’s coming out. One track is already available that’s called “Dinosaur,” that’s on Pledge campaign. And then, you know, I’ll be continuing to make my own music over the next several years here.
Pledge Music is a good way to get it out to people because it’s really — the people that get involved with Pledge are real music fans that like to support artists directly, so that’s why I chose Pledge to do this campaign, Dweezil Zappa and the Others of Intention.

SANDS: On your upcoming, your next album, are you releasing it gradually or will it all be released at once? You said one song was out now.

ZAPPA: Well, the one song I’m referring to, “Dinosaur,” that one will be on a more complete record of guitar-instrumental stuff that I will complete later next year, but before that one of the other items that’s on the Pledge campaign is a guitar-solo compilation album that is — I have one in a series that I began a while ago and it’s called “Live in the Moment,” and it’s live guitar solos from the tour. And these are front-of-house recordings, so these are stereo recordings of the band performing live and so the next version of that is something that will come out in the next couple of months. I don’t have the exact release date yet because I’m still finishing putting the album together and getting the artwork going.

SANDS: I was reading about something online called the “What the Hell Was I Thinking?” project.

ZAPPA: Right. Uh-huh.

SANDS: Tell me a little bit a bout that. Are you still working on it?

ZAPPA: That one is a record I started more than 20 years ago and the idea began as I wanted to make — I just randomly selected a number, I said, “I want to make a 22 minute song and I want to make it have all these different styles of music and then maybe I’ll have some friends play on it.” So, I created this piece of music and then it just kept growing until it became 75 minutes long and it had all these different styles of music and a lot of very famous guitar players ended up playing on it. So, that piece of music, I’m definitely going to add some things to it because I have some stuff that I do now that’s very different than what I did 20 years ago. And there’s guitar players that I’d still really like to get on there —

SANDS: Who’s recorded thus far?

ZAPPA: Well, I’ve recorded Angus and Malcolm Young from AC/DC, Edward Van Halen, Eric Johnson, Brian May, Steve Vai, Steve Morse, Albert Lee, Warren DeMartini, Steve Lukather, Brian Setzer, Joe Walsh, you know, there’s Yngwie Malmsteen, a bunch of different people, all different styles.

SANDS: Is there recording ongoing? Or is this like a fixed set of recordings that you are working with?

ZAPPA: There’s definitely still more recording that I plan to do. But one of the things that I’m most excited about is I want to mix the whole thing in Surround Sound when it’s done, because really it’s an audio movie and I want it to just be a special movie for your ears.

SANDS: Interesting, interesting.
One last question here and I’ll let you go. I was reading on your Pledge Music campaign link where your father, on your birth certificate where it asked for religion, your father wrote in “musician.”

ZAPPA: Right.

SANDS: What do you think he meant by that?

ZAPPA: Well, my father’s sort of the rock’n’roll Nostradamus, you know, he’s been very well documented as having a vision into the future. So I think he definitely was mocking the system by putting that on there, but he probably could, you know, foresee that I would become a musician, or that might have been a hope of his and, you know, being that that’s on there, of course I want to honor that. And I have been doing that to the best of my ability.

SANDS: Well, we look forward to hearing you when you come to town.

ZAPPA: Appreciate it, thanks. ... zil-zappa/

hey punk, where you going with that borscht on your shirt?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:26 pm 
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The Knoxville Mercury

Zappa Family Dispute Can’t Slow Down Dweezil’s Tribute Tour

In Music Stories by Ryan Reed/January 11, 2017

For more than a decade, Dweezil Zappa has revitalized his father’s music, joyously paying tribute to the near-manic eclecticism and complexity of the Frank Zappa catalog. But his latest tour is traveling beneath a storm cloud. Since the 2015 death of Dweezil’s mother, Gail, the Zappa family has split into two factions of feuding siblings: Dweezil and sister Moon Unit against Ahmet and Diva, chief shareholders of the Zappa Family Trust. The rival camps disagree about most matters of preserving Frank’s legacy, from an upcoming Alex Winter documentary about him to the branding of the Zappa name.

For Dweezil, the matter is even more complicated. Since 2006, the guitarist has toured the world as Zappa Plays Zappa, a logical name for a son extending his father’s music onstage. But Dweezil has twice been issued cease and desist letters from the trust, which was established after Frank’s 1993 death to protect his intellectual property.

As part of a trademark complaint, Dweezil was forced to change the name of his project for the latest trek, but he ultimately did so with an irreverent kiss-off his father may have admired. His current sojourn is called 50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the Fuck He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour. The trust followed by filing for a federal trademark for the surname Zappa, and Dweezil responded with a PledgeMusic campaign to help fund a legal battle to, in a bizarre sense, preserve his own name.

“One of the things they’ve applied for is everything in music and entertainment, so if they were to be able to control the name, they could block me from using my own last name to perform anywhere,” the guitarist says. “I’d need a license or some kind of permission. They’re trying to basically have their thumb over me for anything I ever do. I have to oppose this because it’s ridiculous, but it’s going to cost a ton of money to do it, and it’ll take months and months.

“Their intent and hope is to create Zappa as a brand, like Chanel or something. They want to put ‘Zappa’ on anything. The very first project Diva did was make yoga pants with the We’re Only in It for the Money album cover on it. She didn’t realize the irony of that choice. What’s so crazy is, listen to the lyrics of ‘Cosmik Debris.’ Does that sound like somebody who would want his face on yoga pants?”

Despite the numerous distractions, Zappa is refocusing his attention away from family drama toward the songs that altered his life’s course.

“Frank’s music is very special, so when we get to play it, I’m not thinking about anything else,” he says. “I’m not onstage thinking about any of those other issues. It’s almost like a Zen thing.”

Like the previous 50 Years dates, this two-leg North American tour covers music from Frank’s entire catalog, with a special focus on early albums like 1966’s Freak Out!

“The first 45 minutes is from early Mothers of Invention stuff that we haven’t played on any other tour,” Dweezil says. “It has a certain energy that’s different from other areas of Frank’s music. It’s always been the goal for me to present what I feel are the most underappreciated or misunderstood or least well-represented parts of his career. The issue that occurs with Frank’s music is that he got on the radio sporadically, but not with songs that represented the mentality of his work.

“Some people say, ‘I’ve heard ‘Yellow Snow’ or ‘Valley Girl’ or whatever, yeah, I get it. I know Frank Zappa’s stuff.’ But they really don’t. My goal was to play the music but focus on the underappreciated elements of Frank’s talents as a composer.”

The harmonic and rhythmic sophistication of that music has rubbed off on Dweezil’s own solo material, which has evolved substantially from his early hard-rock electric guitar workouts. His latest album, 2015’s Via Zammata’, is highlighted by a shapeshifting, symphonic-sized prog-fusion jam called “Funky 15” that echoes—but never imitates—Frank’s peak mid-’70s period. Later this year, Dweezil will debut some music onstage with a 100-piece orchestra.

In the meantime, he is concentrating on his dad’s genius, cease and desist letters be damned.

“When we started in 2006, we had no idea if it would go on beyond that year,” Dweezil says. “There’s enough music to explore to keep it going for decades, but the initial people who came out to see that were, at that time, mostly males in their late 50s and 60s. Fast-forward 10 years—we don’t see those exact same people. Demographically, people who are Frank’s core audience from back in the day, they aren’t going to so many shows anymore. Some of them might not even be alive anymore. That’s the importance of carrying the music forward to a new generation.”

Dweezil Zappa’s 50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the Fuck He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour plays at the Bijou Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30. ... bute-tour/

hey punk, where you going with that borscht on your shirt?

PostPosted: Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:06 pm 
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Dweezil Zappa tour to hit Indianapolis in May
Posted: Monday, December 11, 2017 11:00 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — For over a decade, renowned guitarist Dweezil Zappa has been honoring his father by touring the world with his Grammy-winning project, now named Dweezil Zappa.

Zappa’s 12th annual tour is called “Choice Cuts!,” and he has curated an all new show filled with Frank Zappa’s boldest compositions, coming to The Vogue, 6259 N. College Ave., Indianapolis, on Thursday, May 3 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now — $30 for general admission, $50 for general admission with VIP soundcheck party, plus applicable fees — at and The Vogue Theatre box office. The show is for people 21 years old and older.

“Dweezil takes his job as Frank’s musical ambassador seriously,” said the LA Times. While Dweezil has played with a small assortment of his favorite Frank Zappa alumni, he has always been more widely recognized for leading a powerhouse band of his own, filled with insanely talented “fresh” musicians.

“For me,” Zappa said, “it has always been important to carry the music forward for a new generation of fans but with a new generation of musicians.”

Joining Zappa this year are a few new faces, including Adam Minkoff on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, with the rest of the band filled out with core members Ryan Brown (drums), Kurt Morgan (bass), Chris Norton (keys) and the more than slightly amazing multi-instrumentalist Scheila Gonzalez, who has been in Zappa’s band since its inception in 2006.

Zappa and his band whip up doo-wop and dada accented with funk and blues, then scramble back and forth through late ’60s, on through mid-’70s fan-favorites, then pulsate forward into the vortex of Frank Zappa’s classical oeuvre. ... 015bf.html

hey punk, where you going with that borscht on your shirt?

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