Guitarist DWEEZIL ZAPPA Discusses Father And Legend FRANK ZAPPA - "He Was Really A Classical Composer That Used A Rock Band As His Orchestra"
July 22, 2010, 9 years ago
Sea Of Tranquility recently caught up with guitarist DWEEZIL ZAPPA, son of the legendary FRANK ZAPPA. An excerpt from the interview is available below.
SoT: When you started the ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA band did you see it as a long-term project...and that it would become the main focus point of your career?
DZ: "I didn't really think about it like that... my intention for starting it was to re-focus people's attention on Frank's music because I had the feeling that his music had started a decline that it might not come out of. I didn't want to see my father's music disappear in my lifetime because there were plenty of people under 40 if you said the name Frank Zappa their reply would be 'Who?' I think that my Dad's musical contributions are far more valuable than having those generations miss out on his music so my goal was to give people the opportunity to see it in a live situation. There's nothing I can do about getting it on the radio or magazines...there is no mass marketing....so I felt the only thing I could do was to learn the music really well and give people the chance to see it and do a grass roots campaign. In the process I gained so much as a musican and learning the music transformed my playing abilities. I was already a technically proficient guitar player but I graduated far beyond anything that I ever dreamed I could do on a guitar."
SoT: In the early days you spoke of RANDY RHOADS and EDDIE VAN HALEN as being your primary influences as a guitarist so it must have been quite different when you first set out to approach Frank's back catalogue.
DZ: "Well, Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads, that is very technical stuff to play but with Frank's music that requires you to know a lot more about the fundamentals of music and there are a lot more syncopated rhythms that people just don't use. Frank was really a classical composer that used a rock band as his orchestra and to learn some of the things that I wanted to learn...I specifically chose to learn some things on the guitar that were never played on the guitar in any of Frank's bands but were played on marimba or keyboards. I have learned to play parts that even Steve Vai tried to learn when he was in Frank's band and he said that he pulled his hair out because it just wasn't possible...but I made it possible by changing my whole physical and mental approach to playing. So it's been a great journey, a lot of hard work...like constantly training for the Olympics for the past eight years but what it will do to my own music I don't know yet because I haven't had chance to write anything but eventually I will and I'd like to get into film scoring at some point so there is all kinds of evolution ahead."
Go to this location for the complete interview.