As a way to show gratitude to his longtime supportive audience, Dweezil Zappa will open himself up this summer on his first spoken word tour, Dweezil Zappa: What’s in a Name? Beginning on July 7 in Chicago (with an early preview show in Napa on February 26), Dweezil will share stories spanning his 30+ year career, take questions, and highlight some of the mind-bending guitar playing of his father, Frank Zappa.
When Frank died in 1993 at the relatively young age of 52, Dweezil dedicated his life to continuing his father’s legacy. “Dweezil takes his job as Frank’s musical ambassador seriously,” writes the LA Times. For over a decade, the guitar maestro has been honoring his father by touring the world with his Grammy-winning project, now named Dweezil Zappa: 50 Years of Frank.
Hitting the U.S. and Europe this year, 50 Years of Frank has been described by David Fricke of Rolling Stone as a “loosely chronological tour of a Great American Songbook: the opening flush of doo-wop and dada from Freak Out!; a stroll forward through Frank’s 1971 cinema lark, 200 Motels; mid-Seventies fan favorites from Over-Nite Sensation; and a heavy chunk of the Eighties opera Joe’s Garage.”
“I look at it what I do like an old-school Italian family business,” says Dweezil. “I want to carry on a tradition in a way that respects my father’s intentions as a composer and his integrity as a person. At the same time, I have my own music to create and share with people. The best way to carry everything forward is to play the music live and share stories.”
Yours truly interviewed Dweezil for my Audiophile column over on our partner site, Digital Trends, last November, wherein we discussed surround sound mixing, what the first song he asked Frank to teach him was, and Frank’s indelible value as an artist. Unpublished portions of that chat, including Dweezil’s plans for future surround-related projects, will be posted here exclusively on HRAC as the 2017 spoken-word tour dates get closer, so stay tuned.
When Dweezil was born, his father Frank Zappa inscribed “musician” on his birth certificate in place of “religion.” At the age of 12, Dweezil released his first single, “My Mother Is a Space Cadet,” produced by Edward Van Halen, in 1982. Shortly after that, at the age of 15, Frank Zappa produced Dweezil’s first complete solo album, 1986’s Havin’ a Bad Day.
“I didn’t hear the radio until I was about 12,” admits Dweezil. “I had only heard my dad’s music, whatever he was writing or working on or what he was listening to recreationally. I heard all kinds of things growing up: Johnny Guitar Watson, Stravinsky, and even the Bulgarian Women’s Choir. So when I actually heard the radio, my first thought was, where’s the rest of it? It felt like what I was hearing didn’t take advantage of all the instrumentation possibilities I had grown accustomed to.”
Tour dates, links, and other events/projects/objects are as follows…
Dweezil Zappa: What’s in a Name? – Tour Dates
Feb 26 Napa, CA Silo’s (Stories Beyond the Spotlight series)
July 7 Chicago, IL City Winery
July 8 Nashville, TN City Winery
July 9 Atlanta, GA City Winery
July 11 New York, NY City Winery
Dweezil Zappa: 50 Years of Frank – Tour Dates
* = Guitar Masterclass available
April 25 Vancouver, BC The Commodore
April 26 Seattle, WA Neptune Theatre *
April 27 Portland, OR Roseland Theatre *
April 28 Stateline, NV Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room
April 29 San Francisco, CA Warfield Theatre *
April 30 Napa, CA The Uptown
May 2 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
May 3 Fresno, CA Tower Theatre
May 4 Solana Beach, CA Belly Up
May 5 Tucson, AZ Rialto Theatre
May 6 Los Angeles, CA Fonda Theatre
Dweezilla Learn and Destroy Music Camp
July 24 through July 27 Big Indian, NY Full Moon Resort
It’s your turn to play with the band! Open to all ages and instruments, with a new focus on ensemble playing (beyond Zappa music). All skill levels welcome.
More info here.
Dweezil Zappa & The Others of Intention
A PledgeMusic Campaign to protect the name Dweezil’s father gave him.
Dweezil is currently in a legal fight with the Zappa Family Trust, against the proposed Federal Trademark of the surname Zappa. Incentives include a new album, limited edition art, t-shirts, and more.
Other ways to follow Dweezil’s doings