Zappa Plays Zappa To Tour US Throughout The Summer

Zappa Plays Zappa, the concert experience that brings the music of the late Frank Zappa to the stage, under the direction of Dweezil Zappa, will this summer again embark on a North American tour.  The tour starts July 18 at Winnipeg’s Centennial Hall with a total of 30 performance dates set for the tour’s first leg which concludes in Los Angeles at the end of August.  Following a break, Zappa Plays Zappa embarks on a 17 city European tour including dates in the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

            In concept and performance, Zappa Plays Zappa offers audiences an opportunity to spend an evening with Frank Zappa’s music, performed meticulously by a group of top flight musicians who have been schooled in its subtleties.  Far from a “tribute band,” Zappa Plays Zappa is more of a vehicle that underscores the compositional genius of Frank Zappa much as a symphony orchestra would perform pieces by a master composer.  Nate Chenen, writing about Zappa Plays Zappa in the New York Times recognized this when he wrote that the show fully realized Dweezil’s intent for it to be "an argument for Frank Zappa’s legitimacy as a composer."

            Frank Zappa died in 1993 after a career that saw him record over 80 albums. Today, the younger Zappa and his band mates are taking full advantage of the wealth and breadth of the material contained therein. "What we’re preparing to do for this tour is perhaps even more complex than what we did on the first tour," says Dweezil. "Last year we learned about 40 songs from a very popular period of Frank’s career and this year we will be learning about 30 more new ones that are somewhat more obscure. The tour will include material from ‘We’re Only In It For The Money,’ ‘Absolutely Free,’ ‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh,’ ‘Joe’s Garage,’ ‘You Are What You Is,’ The Yellow Shark’ and much more, including orchestral works.”

            Frank Zappa will be, quite literally, visible during the Zappa Plays Zappa concerts.  Large screen video of Zappa will be accompanied musically by the band enabling concert goers who might never had the opportunity to see Frank Zappa on stage in person to have this experience first-hand.  Dweezil will rotate Frank Zappa video performances over the course of the tour.

            The band Dweezil (lead guitar) has assembled for this year’s Zappa Plays Zappa is composed of veterans of last year’s tour including Joe Travers (drums), Billy Hulting (percussion), Scheila Gonzalez (keyboards, saxophone, vocals), Aaron Arntz (keyboards/trumpet), Peter Griffin (bass) and Jaime Kime (rhythm guitar). Joining the tour this year is Ray White, the vocalist who toured and recorded with Frank Zappa during the period of such albums as “Tinsel Town Rebellion,” “You Are What You Is” and  “Zappa in New York“  (his is the lead vocal on beloved song "The Illinois Enema Bandit").

            Dweezil is also working on bringing Zappa Plays Zappa into the home with a feature length performance DVD that documents the 2006 tour.  It is expected to be released early this summer, concurrent with the 2007 tour. 

            Zappa Plays Zappa is an undertaking with a higher purpose in mind beyond filling seats with concert goers.  Dweezil Zappa explains, “I think my Dad’s music deserves to be heard by a wider audience. I really think he’s been misunderstood for far too long, which brings me back to why I’m doing this: I’m so in awe of his accomplishments and want more and more people to know about him, and I think the best way for people to first discover his music is on a visceral level in a live situation. I think you have to be confronted with the complexity and the beautiful subtlety of all of it to fully appreciate the artistry of it."

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