Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Frank Zappa a difficult act to follow for son Dweezil


Dweezil Zappa had to reinvent his approach to guitar-playing in order to master some of the music he plays onstage. Photograph by: HANDOUT

What: Zappa Plays Zappa

Where: Club 9one9

When: Tuesday, doors 6 p.m.

Tickets: $32 advance ($65 VIP) Ditch Records, Strathcona Hotel, Lyle’s Place

When Zappa Plays Zappa comes to Victoria, the bandleader hopes to put “eyebrows” on it. This is a Frank Zappa expression, said guitarist Dweezil Zappa. Putting eyebrows on music means the difference between a good performance and “absolutely astonishing expert” playing.

Simply put, it’s a higher level of artistry.

“That little extra bit in there is the ‘eyebrows,’ ” Dweezil said recently from his Los Angeles home. “That’s what makes it special and unique.”

Zappa Plays Zappa is Dweezil’s tribute band, bringing his late father’s music to both old fans and new generations of listeners. The players are necessarily tight-flight — Zappa’s adventuresome, often avant-garde music is notoriously difficult to play.

For this tour, Zappa Plays Zappa will perform, in its entirety, one of Frank Zappa’s most popular albums, Roxy & Elsewhere. The 1974 double-live LP is stuffed with challenging instrumentals such as Echidna’s Arf (Of You), Don’t You Ever Wash That Thing and Be-Bop Tango (of the Old Jazzmen’s Church).

Playing any of this music — with its virtuoso melodies and stuttering rhythms — isn’t for the faint of heart. Dweezil said the most difficult piece is Be-Bop Tango. At the same time, it’s a fun composition. Dweezil routinely asks a couple from the audience on stage to do a be-bop dance.

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