STEVE VAI Comments On Upcoming FRANK ZAPPA Hologram Tour - "I Am Very Happy And Honored That I Was Invited To Contribute"
September 30, 2017, a year ago
Guitar virtuoso Steve Vai has checked in with a tribute to his mentor, the legendary Frank Zappa:
"A day doesn’t pass that I don’t think about Frank. Nothing could, or ever will take his place in the hearts of the fans, his family and the musicians that have toured with him and loved him. Nothing, and we all know that.
When I was invited to contribute to 3-4 shows of a potential Zappa hologram tour I thought… this could be odd, but another part of me felt this could also be pretty special too. To be on the stage playing his music again for the fans with some of his alumni, (many dear friends of mine) and to have his ghostly image residing over the proceedings was interesting and alluring enough for me to commit to helping kick off the tour.
Of course it’s not Frank, and I’m not 20 years old anymore, but I am very happy, and honored that I was invited to contribute to bringing the spirit of Frank and his eternal music, with this new technology, to those fans who connected so deeply with him. I felt the same way when I contributed to the ZPZ tour, and that was a fantastic experience.
I believe that the fans understand it’s just an image and that holographic technology has its limitations, but it is an evolution in technology and with an open mind it could be embraced for a worthwhile experience. I would want to attend this show if I heard about it. If a person can attend the show with their spirit of the love of Frank’s music at the forefront I believe it could be a very touching event for all involved.
It’s an opportunity to engage in a massive “nostalgic hernia” because for many of us, Frank’s “music is the best.”
Shortly after Zappa's son Dweezil Zappa's mother Gail’s passing last year, it came to light that there is a bitter feud between the siblings (Dweezil and Moon on one side, Ahmet and Diva on the other) over who is entitled to use the “Zappa” name and merchandising. In 2006, guitarist Dweezil began touring under the Zappa Plays Zappa banner. He was eventually forced to change the name of the tour to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa, before ultimately going by his own name. Dweezil has checked in via his official website with a lengthy update on the trademark dispute, including his thoughts on the proposed tour featuring a hologram performances of Frank Zappa. Following is an excerpt:
"Happy Hologram day! It’s not a thing yet but I bet it will be soon. Anyway, I thought it might be helpful to provide all of you with some background information about what has been happening between the Zappa Family Trust and me lately and how your support is helping. You might want to grab your favorite beverage and get yourself into a cozy chair because this update is BIG and HUGE and very "UPDATEY"... In other words, it's gonna take a while to read it in its entirety. All set? Buckled up?
Since our mother has passed away, Ahmet and Diva have been exploiting their new roles as trustees of the ZFT. In legal documents they claim the ZFT has the sole right to use our family name in the entertainment industry and that when I use my full legal name, Dweezil Zappa in connection with live musical performances, there is a 'likelihood of confusion' because 'it is likely that consumers will believe that [my] services originate and/or are affiliated with [the Zappa Family Trust].'
I no longer sell sell any merchandise, Frank Zappa or otherwise from the ZFT on my tours. When I promote my tours the ads contain a statement that says 'not endorsed by the Zappa Family Trust.'
The ZFT is attempting to require me to license my own name from them and be forced to sell Official Frank Zappa (ZFT) merchandise at my shows, for which I would be expected to pay 100% percent of that income to the ZFT. They seek to impose this without making any contribution of any kind to my tour expenses, band salaries, tour bus, flights etc. They seek to enrich themselves, all while maintaining a claim that they own my first and last name.
Apparently 'owning' my name isn’t enough for them and they have tried to leverage their roles as trustees by creating a holographic version of our father that they seek to manipulate on stages worldwide. The press release about the tour appears to state that they have communicated with me about being involved with such a tour. Like other fans of my father, I heard about it through social media.
I have never been contacted by the (ZFT) about it in any form nor have I given them consent to use my name. For the record, I am not interested in participating in anything with an artificial version of my Father on stage.
Let’s be realistic, it’s not actually Frank Zappa that will be on stage."
Read the complete update here.
Eyellusion, live music's premier hologram production company, today announced that it will work closely with the Zappa Family Trust to produce hologram performances of Frank Zappa, giving fans an opportunity to experience the prolific, eclectic and critically acclaimed music legend live in concert again. Production for the Zappa shows will kick off in late 2017, with performances announced later in 2018.
"I'm thrilled that Frank Zappa will finally be going back out on tour playing his most well-known music as well as some rare and unheard material," said Ahmet Zappa, co-Trustee of the Zappa Family Trust. "We can't wait to bring his creative work back to the stage with the musicians he loved to play with, such as Steve Vai, Ian Underwood, Adrian Belew, Arthur Barrow, Vinnie Colaiuta, Scott Thunes, Mike Keneally, Denny Walley, Warren Cuccurullo and Napoleon Murphy Brock among others who are committed to being part of this epic endeavor. When I spoke with them, they were excited at the prospect of performing alongside Frank once again and can't wait to give fans an unforgettable experience."
He continued, "Also, how radical would it be to have Moon singing 'Valley Girl' onstage with Frank? Or to see Dweezil side by side with our father playing dueling guitar solos? That would be my greatest wish and I look forward to bringing this special celebration of Frank's legacy to a town near you. But if that wasn't enough Zappa coolness, we're also planning on staging Joe's Garage The Musical with none other than Frank Zappa himself starring as the Central Scrutinizer."
"Frank was an innovator and his art transcended so many different mediums," said Diva Zappa, co-Trustee of the Zappa Family Trust. "He left behind such an extensive body of work and we want to celebrate his music with really creative and unique live hologram productions that will introduce his music to a new generation of fans and let so many that enjoyed his music when he was alive experience it again. We have had this idea for many years and after meeting with the team at Eyellusion, we knew that they were the right partner to make it a reality."
"We work closely with the Zappa family on their various projects, and look forward to sharing new Frank Zappa performances with his longtime fans, as well as expanding his audience to give new fans the opportunity to share in that experience" adds Bruce Resnikoff, President and CEO, Universal Music Enterprises.
"We are thrilled to welcome such a monumental and important artist to our lineup of planned live music hologram productions," said Jeff Pezzuti, CEO, Eyellusion. "Frank Zappa was an incredible musician, unmatched in his output, tackled so many different genres and influenced a generation of artists that would go on to help further shape rock and pop for decades to come. We are music lovers first and can't wait to get to work on yet another show that lets fans experience such timeless and important music in a live concert setting."
In addition to working with Eyellusion on the creation of a Frank Zappa hologram, Ahmet Zappa will join the Eyellusion team leading global business development. Ahmet Zappa is an entrepreneur, a marketer, film and television screenwriter, producer and a New York Times best-selling author. His creative work spans engagements with Walt Disney Pictures, Sony Pictures, The Jim Henson Company and Microsoft, on movies, graphic novels, the introduction of new characters and brands, breakthrough ad campaigns and more.
"I couldn't be more excited to join the Eyellusion family," said Ahmet Zappa. "There is a ton of untapped potential in this industry and I look forward to working with the team to build on the company's reputation as the premier holographic experience company, creating new original content and guiding the company into new markets, including family entertainment."
"Ahmet is a perfect fit for our growing team," Pezzuti continued. "He is tirelessly creative, can work seamlessly across music and visual productions and is highly respected throughout the industry. He will play an integral role in all that we do moving forward, bringing significant value to all of our future engagements."
Eyellusion launched publicly in 2016 at the Wacken Open Air heavy metal festival in Germany with its hologram production of Ronnie James Dio performing "We Rock" with former members of the Dio Band. It was the first time a rock artist performed via hologram with a live band, sparking considerable buzz that ultimately drove interest in a full world tour. The Dio Returns tour will kick off in November 2017 with 80 to 100 performances throughout Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela, with more countries to be announced in the coming weeks.
For more information, visit eyellusionlive.com.