Zappa Plays Zappa (and how!)

 

Pic I took of Frank and his son Ahmet during sound check in Long Island 1988 ^

(note: Ahmet is sadly not on the tour)

Monday  ( May 22nd) was one of the best days I have had in years. I saw the ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA  show . You must know by now that I am pretty much obsessed with Frank Zappa’s music, so seeing Frank’s son, Dweezil, play his fathers music with perfection was pretty much heaven on earth. My obsession started LONG ago when I was a child. My Father (well, he adopted me when I was 1 year old, so he is my Father) is to this day a huge Zappa fan. Chet raised me on Zappa music,  and my Mom constantly played the Beatles when he was out. My hippie aunts (both really young, in fact, my Mom was 16 when she was preggy with me and my Dad was 17 when he adopted me) always played Janis Joplin and Zeppelin when I was around. The house was pretty much a hippie flop house ( “every town must have a place where phony hippies meet, psychedelic dungeons popping up on every street” Frank Zappa). So, out of all that music, I really hung onto the Zappa and Beatles the most, as you can see.

Zappa was not only the best musician I know of, but his lyrics are so funny, they make me literally roll on the floor with laughter when I hear them. What a great combo, what a RARE combo. My Dad brought me to several Zappa concerts when I was a young whipper snapper, and I am grateful for this, thank you Dad! At one of the shows he got me a Zappa t-shirt that said ” Tittie’s and Beer”, which is the name of one of his songs. I wore it to school the next day (I was in the 7th grade) and the teachers were “not amused” and I was sent home. Frank has never been mainstream. I mean, how many times have YOU heard Frank on the radio? Seen him on TV? Not often. People who are into Frank were usually turned onto him by someone who cares. It’s mostly through word of mouth that you hear of Frank, that’s why I spend so much time preaching him, I want to turn as many folks onto Zappa’s music as possible, it’s that amazing.

In 1988, I went on Zappa’s “Broadway the Hardway” tour and never asked for a penny for massaging Frank and the rest of his giant band. I made it clear, I wasn’t “only in it for the money”. I told Frank and co. that I would massage them for free and my payment would be the honor to see every sound check and show for free. Sooo , I got to see their sometimes 3 hour long sound checks and shows every night, it was PARADISE. Yes, I was missing classes and pissing off parental units but I didn’t give a fuck. This was much more important. Hey, I even got to eat their catering, so it was all good. Frank was very fun to be around, I was in awe the whole time, but tried my best to hide it. Me and about 4 other Zappa freaks got to sit in the empty hall during sound check and during their Portland Maine sound check, I accidentally let out one of my MONSTER BURPS. When I drink Diet Coke, all hell breaks loose. AnyWHO, I let one rip and Frank (who had his back to the empty venue while he was conducting his band)  turned around, leered at us, and said “which one of you did that?”. Naturally the other Zappa fans who were somehow connected and lucky enough to be watching the masters sound check turned on me and all pointed at me. I turned NEON RED and raised my hand sheepishly and said with a , squeaky, cracking voice “it was me”.

Frank motioned to me and said “come here, come up here” and pointed to the stairs on the side of the stage. I reluctantly went to him, like I was going to lay my neck down on a wooden block, waiting for the blade. The whole band was watching impatiently and Frank had me come right up to him and said “could you do that again into the sampler?”. I exhaled so strongly I almost fainted. I thought for sure I was about to get my face ripped off and expelled from the Zappa sphere. But no, it was time to perform. I said “I need another Diet Coke though”. Frank said to a stage hand “get her a Coke!”. I said, “um, it has to be Diet Coke, more bubbles”. “Ok, he said, get her a DIET Coke, and make it snappy”. So  finally my burps were recorded into a sampler and they used it for the rest of the tour to make fun of the TV Evangelists at the time, and now you can hear it on the Zappa live Album called “the Best band you’ve NEVER heard in your life”.. or simply click on the banner below..

The tour was amazing and I got to meet Dweezil and Ahmet, Frank’s sons and Frank affectionately crowned me “Dr. Dot”. I was just DOT before, as Dot is short for Dorothy. My Granny was named Dorothy and most called her Dot. I was named after her and so most called me Dot. Frank would say “go get the Doctor” or “hi Doctor Dot” and so it stuck. I am honored. When Frank died of prostrate cancer in 1993, I was in tears for days. I have never gotten over it and preaching his music is my way of thanking him for his music and allowing me to see his sound checks and shows. I was estatic to hear that Dweezil is touring with an amazing band, playing his Father’s music. Even though I knew I would probably get in for free and end up massaging them all, I still bought a ticket, just in case.

 Napoleon Murphy Brock  (< click on link to read about him) and I have been buddies for years. < Napi and I

He has been touring with a Frank Zappa tribute band called Project Object, keeping the faith. Now he is on tour with Zappa plays Zappa. He does most of the vocals in the show. He usually steals the show, he is so talented; sings and dances like no other. He knows Frank’s music inside and out as he played with Frank for YEARS. Anyways, Napoleon and I have kept in touch and he called me from the Zappa plays Zappa Norwegian show, telling me the whole band is excited about getting the Dr. Dot rub down on Monday in Berlin. I was so excited, I think I didn’t sleep for a few days after that. Monday finally came and I arrived with my guitar player (for my band Bitchfest) Eno, who is one of the biggest Zappa fans I know. Napoleon, or Napi as everyone calls him, was outside to greet me personally. He gave me a giant bear hug and then shook Eno’s hand. Eno handed him 10 Finish marks (on one live Zappa recording, it was said, if one handed Frank 10 Finish marks, they would play whatever they were asked to play). Sadly, it didn’t work heh heh.

Napi proudly introduced me to the band. I already knew Steve Vai, but never met Terri Bozzio before, so I was star struck, yes, even I get star struck! I got to watch the sound check *sigh*

  <Dweezil at sound check

 

Sheila,Terri, Jamie, Joe , Aaron  (part of the Zappa plays Zappa band) ^

Terri Bozzio warming up before his AMAZING performance ^

(how my camera SUCKS!! Note to self, get a fucking new camera!!!)

 

 

 I chatted with Dweezil (haven’t seen him for years). He was more gorgeous then I remembered. I tell you, all he would have had to do is say “I want you” and it would have been done. BUT, contrary to the rumors I heard (I heard he was single), I was let down to hear he was married and is expecting his first child next month. BOOOOO! Well, I am happy he is spreading those genes, but gutted that it’s not with me. heh heh.

 I first massaged Sheila Gonzalez (sax, keyboards, vocals). She loved it and did good PR for me which made everyone else in the band fight over who was next. YAY! Next on the slab was Steve Vai (one of the best guitarist in the world)

Sorry Ladies, Steve has been happily married for 28 years to his college sweet heart.

 

Steve is so polite and friendly, I have been massaging him over the years and have yet to see him in a bad mood. He said this tour was like a tiny vacation for him as he didn’t have to play during the whole show. He just showed up for the last 30 minutes or so and kicked ASS! He was busy in his dressing room writing/composing the whole time.  The papers he was writing on were so big, they covered all the tables, like plans for a house, but covered in musical notes that would confuse Beethoven . I introduced him to my daughter, Jasmine (who also plays guitar) and he was super nice, Jasmine kept saying to me”as a guitar player, I have to say, I’m not worthy”.

One of the funniest parts of the night for me was when Steve Vai picked up one of my BITCHFEST flyers, which were laying around all over the backstage area and he read the GROUPIE APPLICATION out loud to everyone, he LOVED our Bitchfest flyer. He then asked me to explain the whole thing to him and was laughing his ass off.

Jasmine and Steve Vai (my little cutie turned Red upon first meeting the guitar hero) ^

The show was amazing, but the venue had shitty acoustics. I stood next to the sound man most of the show. I asked him about the sound and he was furious. He was cursing the venue the whole show. He couldn’t turn it up louder as the shape of the Tempodrom was so strange, the sound merely got fuzzy when he turned it up. They played wonderfully, words escape me, but I like it loud and this joint couldn’t accommodate. Keep that in mind if you are ever touring you are about to play the Tempodrom in Berlin. Tell the booking agent/promoters, NO THANKS!

During the encore , some Frank Zappa fans held up a BIG yellow banner that read “You may have the genes, but we keep the spirit alive: ZAPPANALE 2006!”. This was like a big FUCK YOU to Dweezil. He told me how much it pissed him off and why during his 90 minute massage. Zappanale  (please click the link to read all about it). It’s an unofficial, annual festival that celebrates Frank Zappa. There are two sides to the Zappa story. Well, you see, there are millions of Zappa fans that are starving to hear someone play live Zappa music and to hear unreleased Zappa tunes, and they satisfy their desire by seeing Zappa tribute bands and going to the Zappanale etc. But the Zappa family frowns upon such things because they want his music done EXACTLY how Frank made it, and preferably by his sons, Dweezil and Ahmet. So some Zappa fans resent the Zappa family because they know the Zappa family doesn’t support these festivals etc. Frank’s sister, Candy Zappa makes special appearances at the Zappanale and Frank wasn’t even close to her at all. Kind of like what Pete Best does at Beatles conventions. This pisses off the Zappa family, so it’s complicated. I think it was fucking RUDE of those idiots to hold up that bitter banner right in front of Dweezil, he is trying his best to play his father’s music exactly how it is meant to be played and has hired incredible musicians to help spread the music around the world. Dweezil says he really hopes more young people get into Zappa music and was happy to see my daughter wearing an official Zappa t-shirt at the gig. Dweezil said so far the best audience was in Sweden. He was amazed to see what appeared to be three 15 year old GIRLS in the front row singing to every song, he said they knew every single word to every song and was very impressed.

I told him that people write to me every day and ask me what is a good starter kit to get into Zappa, as in, what albums should one buy to get into Frank. I usually tell them Joe’s Garage; We’re only in it for the Money and Tinseltown Rebellion. Dweezil said “really? I always suggest Apostrophe and Overnite sensation as a starter kit”. I usually don’t speak during a massage, but Dweezil was very chatty and hello, I wanted him to be chatty, I couldn’t get enough of his insight and comments about his father and the music. Dweezil is so relaxed and cool, so down to earth and friendly. I mentioned is amazing blue eyes and he said he is the only one in the whole family with blues eyes. I also asked him why doesn’t he sport his dad’s signature stash and tiny beard. He said he grew it once but it looked ridiculous on him and shaved it off.

This man is extremely talented, his guitar playing rivals his Dad’s, but yet it’s different. If you are on your way to see a Zappa plays Zappa show, please, show the band how much you LOVE the music, give big time applause, show the love, make Dweezil understand how grateful we are that he is taking this show on the road and let him know we support him 100%.

 Dweezil and I *SIGH*   ^
 Dweezil and Jasmine  ^ (she was in heaven ok?)
Jasmine and Terri  Bozzio ^
 
 Jasmine, Terri and Me ^  (no, im not a midget, they are sitting on a table)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed.