Dweezil Zappa was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Adelaide Gail Sloatman, who worked in business, and musician Frank Zappa. He is the second of four siblings: his older sister, Moon Unit, younger sister Diva and younger brother Ahmet. He is the cousin of actress Lala Sloatman. Zappa’s father was of Sicilian, Greek, Arab and French descent and his mother was of Danish, French, Irish and Portuguese ancestry.
Dweezil’s registered birth name was Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa. The hospital at which he was born refused to register him under the name Dweezil, so Frank listed the names of several musician friends. “Dweezil” was a nickname coined by Frank for an oddly-curled pinky-toe of Gail’s. At five years old, Dweezil learned that his legal name was different, and he insisted on having his nickname become his legal name. Gail and Frank hired an attorney and soon the name Dweezil was official.
In the 1980s, Zappa worked as an MTV VJ and was promptly fired after badmouthing MTV on The Howard Stern Show. He also recorded some solo albums, as well as playing for other artists. Zappa can be heard playing lead guitar on Fat Boys “Wipe Out”(1987) and can be seen in the music video for Don Johnson’s top 40 song, “Heartbeat”. He also played co-lead guitar (along with Reb Beach) on Winger’s cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”. Dweezil has said that Eddie Van Halen was his favorite guitar player, and he began copying Van Halen’s distinctive guitar style. He also had a part in the futuristic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Running Man as Stevie (“Don’t touch that dial!”), and gave his most famous cameo role in John Hughes’s brat-pack movie, Pretty in Pink (starring Molly Ringwald), as Andie’s friend, Simon.
Since the early 1990s, Zappa has been working on a piece of music named “What the Hell Was I Thinking?”, a 75-minute piece featuring guitar solos by dozens of famous guitar players. The project has suffered from numerous difficulties and has been reworked several times since the ’90s. Dweezil said in September 2004: “I started recording it on analog tape almost 13 years ago… There are probably about 35 guest guitar players on it, everybody from Brian May to Edward van Halen, Eric Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young — it’s quite a crazy project. I’m still waiting and hoping to record Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as some of my final guests on there.”
In “Weird Al” Yankovic’s 2003 eleventh studio album Poodle Hat, Zappa performs the opening guitar solo and lends his vocal talents to the track, “Genius in France”. In 2006, Zappa organized the “Zappa Plays Zappa” tour. He assembled a band of young musicians with a view to bring the music of Frank Zappa to a younger audience. The tour also featured guest appearances by Steve Vai, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Terry Bozzio. The tour began in Europe in May with dates in the U.S. from June. After a break it continued in the U.S. on October 18, 2006. The 2007 version of the tour ran from July, finishing in Australia in early December, and featured Ray White as special guest. The shows ended with the promise: “There are so many songs we want to learn to play … see y’all next year …”, and further tours in 2008, 2009 and 2010 have followed. (wikipedia)
On Thursday, December 2, 2010 “Zappa plays Zappa” featuring Dweezil Zappa hit the stage at The Knitting Factory (reno’s #1 club) to a packed house of nearly 700 Frank Zappa fans.
All that everybody talked about was when they saw Frank Zappa in the ’70’s and how his music had changed their lives forever, there was a much more mature audience than most of the rock shows at the Knit that this examiner usually attends. (it was a breath of fresh air). There was no mosh pit along with the pushing and shoving, just everyone singing along and dancing to every song.
This was a special show due to the playing of one of Franks best albums, “Apostrophe”, in it’s entirety, along with many more of Franks songs to boot. At times they showed Frank singing and playing his guitar on a large screen hanging behind the stage as the band played along, it was very cool.
The set lasted around two hours and 19 songs.
The set list went like this,
“Gumbo Variations”, “Yellow Snow”, “Nanook Rubs It’, “St Alfonzo’s Pancake Breakfast”, “Father ‘ Obilvion”, “Cosmilk Debris”, “Exentrifucal”, “Apostrophe”, “Uncle Remus”, “Stinkfoot”, “Pick Me I’m Clean”, “Dynamo Humm”, “Echidna’s Arf”, “Inca Roads”, “I Promise Not To Come In Your Mouth”, “Cruisin’ For Bergers” and three encores, “Baby Snakes”, “Chrissy Puked Twice” and “Muffin Man”.
A good time was had by all ….
After the show Dweezil and his band took photo’s with and signed autographs for his fans. (the KNIT rocks)
Visit Dweezil’s web-site @ http://www.dweezilzappa.com/
To see all upcoming shows at The KNIT go to http://re.knittingfactory.com/
To see all the photo’s from this show and more visit http://rockmephoto.smugmug.com/
ALL PHOTO”S BY JOHN TUCKNESS
Be sure to check out the slideshow below !!!!