Zappa mystique lives on through Dweezil
Son of rock icon Frank Zappa hits Variety Playhouse
By JON WATERHOUSE
Published in Access Atlanta - June 12, 2008
MUSICIAN FRANK ZAPPA broke the boundaries of rock star expectations. The acclaimed guitarist and social commentator juggled genres (classical, jazz, avant garde and more), and wasn't above getting Dr. Demento's stamp of approval. And that's just scratching the surface.
Frank died in 1993. But instead of attempting to duck the shadow of his famous pop, Dweezil Zappa basks in it. Dweezil (a respected ax man in his own right) leads a group of up-and-coming musicians through some of his dad's selections.
Other than DNA and a set list, Frank and Dweezil have other things in common, too.
THE YEAR 1969
• Frank: Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention released the instrumental-heavy, double-album "Uncle Meat" (Zappa Records) on April 21, 1969.
• Dweezil: Frank's wife Gail gave birth to Dweezil on Sept. 5, 1969, in Hollywood.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
• Frank: In the autobiography "The Real Frank Zappa Book" (Fireside), Frank wrote he grew up thinking his birth name was Francis. As an adult, he saw his birth certificate listed him as Frank Vincent Zappa.
• Dweezil: Although his family always referred to him as Dweezil, the guitarist later found out it wasn't his real name. His birth name is Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa, because the hospital had refused to record the name Dweezil. When Dweezil found out, he had his parents legally change his name.
I WANT MY MTV
• Frank: In 1985, he testified before Congress against rock music censorship. In his testimony, Frank addressed the Parents Music Resource Center, a group co-founded by Tipper Gore (wife of former Vice President Al Gore), and its attacks against certain rock lyrics and music videos shown on MTV.
• Dweezil: In the '80s, Dweezil worked as an MTV VJ, hosting blocks of music videos.
• Frank: Provided the voice of the Pope on a 1992 episode of the animated TV series "The Ren & Stimpy Show."
• Dweezil: Provided the voice of Ajax on the '90s animated TV series "Duckman."
• Frank: In 1970, the song "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" appeared on the Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention album "Weasels Ripped My Flesh" (Zappa Records).
• Dweezil: In 1988, Dweezil covered "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama," which appeared on his album of the same name.