Dweezil Zappa Guest DJ

“Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.” 20 years have passed since Frank Zappa passed, and his legacy lives on. Joey Spehar got to talk to one of Zappa’s legacies, his son Dweezil, for a Guest DJ set.

The fist song in the set was “Sleep Dirt”, the title track to his 1979 album. “You listen to it and you think somebody just pressed record and this is two people playing, you know my dad playing a solo and the other guy playing the accompaniment. And if that’s what happens when he’s improvising, its amazing to me, his ability to spontaneously compose in that way, because it’s an amazing guitar solo in every way,” says Dweezil. It’s the only entirely acoustic piece of music in Frank Zappa’s catalogue.

The second song of Dweezil’s set is “Dog Breath Variations / Uncle Meat”. “The musicians had a bit more of an ability to also add what my dad would call “the eyebrows”, meaning they were open to performance suggestions and things that were nontraditional for orchestras,” says Dweezil.

“Having grown up around him making his music, the stuff that made a huge impression on me was everything from the middle 70s going forward into the 80s. As a kid, I remember him working on "St. Alphonzo’s Pancake Breakfast". As a kid, it’s a great song about pancakes, but it has all this musical interlude stuff that is really detailed. That kind of almost cartoon-esque, cinematic sounding music sparked my imagination as a kid.”

The last song in Dweezil’s playlist was “Black Page #2”. Rather than introduce it, Joey had Frank Zappa introduce it as he did on Zappa In New York.

“We’d have fun games at home, simple games that were fun things to do, like make up words that should be in the dictionary but aren’t. For example, there was a time I was trying to stump him with a word for the kind of individual that wears rock n’ roll tee shirts, and he said without even batting an eye “insignoramus”, which is a combination of “insignia” and “ignoramus”.” 

Joey asked Dweezil if there were any Zappa reissues in the works. “We’ve been looking for rare performances with bands that are mostly under released, and that would be a period from 1970 to 73. At that time there weren’t that many multitrack recordings of live things,” Dweezil said. “There’s things that we’re looking at from different eras, but the Roxy performances, and the film of the Roxy show, we’ve been working on that for a long time, and that seems to be getting ready for an imminent release date, so that’s important since that record is 40 years old this year.”

 

Dweezil Zappa’s Guest DJ Set

 

“Sleep Dirt”

“Dog Breath Variations / Uncle Meat”

“Black Page #2”