Dweezil Zappa will play his dad's music at Joslyn
By NIZ PROSKOCIL - WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
Published in the Omaha World-Herald - June 5, 2008
The way Dweezil Zappa sees it, if your only exposure to his dad's music is "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" or "Valley Girl," you're missing out.
His father, the late Frank Zappa, composed three decades of unconventional and adventurous music ranging from comedic to jazz to experimental rock before dying of cancer in 1993. He was 52.
Since 2006, Dweezil and his seven-member band have toured the world, performing Frank's music under the name Zappa Plays Zappa. The group landed a "best tribute band" nod from Rolling Stone magazine in its recent "Best of Rock 2008" issue.
"This is a good chance to get a really broad exposure to all kinds of Frank's compositions," the 38-year-old guitarist said in a phone interview this week from Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and two young children. "The casual exposure that people get to Frank usually gives people the wrong impression. 'Valley Girl,' 'Yellow Snow' — that barely scratches the surface."
Now in its third year, the Zappa Plays Zappa tour stops Saturday in Omaha. It will be Dweezil's first time in the city, but he will know at least one person in the audience. His father-in-law, who works for ConAgra, is based here. And his keyboardist, Aaron Arntz, lived here for several years. Arntz's first recital was at the Witherspoon Concert Hall, where Saturday's show takes place.
Presenting fans with a wide-ranging look at his father's career, which filled 80 albums, was a painstaking process.
"When I started the whole thing, we did a lot of prep work to make sure it was possible to do it on an annual basis, if people really enjoyed it. There's a lot of work to be done to pull this off. The music is really hard. I studied the music for two years on my own before I put the band together."
Part of the task involved listening to all of his dad's records in chronological order "so I could hear the evolution and arc of his writing style," he said. The songs included in the three-hour concerts are a combination of Dweezil's favorites and picks from musicians in the band, with input from fans.
"Frank's music speaks for itself. We try to give it a chance to be heard."