Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Frank Zappa’s legacy saluted anew by Zappa Plays Zappa

Dweezil Zappa performs with Zappa Plays Zappa in Las Vegas in April.

Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of Zappa Plays Zappa, the virtuoso band guitarist Dweezil Zappa formed in 2005 to honor the mind-bending musical legacy of his legendary father, guitarist/composer Frank Zappa. The fact that most Zappa Plays Zappa members are too young to have ever attended a concert by Frank Zappa — who died 22 years ago last week — isn’t beside the point for Dweezil — it is the point.

“The whole purpose of this is to have musicians who had no previous affiliation with Frank,” he said, “and to show that with — dedication and application — you can play this music the way it was meant to be played.”

That is no easy matter.

Zappa, who lived in La Mesa and Pacific Beach for a few of his teenage years, created a dazzling body of work on the 62 albums he made during his lifetime. At least a dozen more posthumous releases have followed.

Like no one before or since, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee drew from a remarkably broad musical palette. It included blues, jazz, rock, country, chamber works, doo-wop, reggae, musique concrète, R&B, electronic music, contemporary classical and more.

Zappa was as comfortable writing orchestral scores as he was leading a jazzy big band or a hard-rocking group. His lyrics could be satirical or abstract one moment, snarky or scatological the next. And his music could, and often did, change course in a split second onstage, with Zappa employing a series of unique hand signals to cue his band.


Frank Zappa is considered to be one of the most influential rock musicians of the late twentieth century. Between the start of his career in the late fifties and his death in 1993 he recorded and rele..

On September 19, 1985, Frank Zappa testified before the United States Senate Commerce, Technology, and Transportation committee, attacking the Parents Music Resource Center or PMRC, a music organizati..

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