News Column

REVIEW: Dweezil Zappa does well by dad in Kirby performance

July 12, 2014

By Kristen Gaydos, The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.



July 12--There's nothing quite like the eclectic music of Frank Zappa -- especially when it's live.

Dweezil Zappa and his bandmates proved that his father's innovative songwriting holds up well onstage during "Zappa Plays Zappa" on Friday at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre.

Dweezil Zappa created the show to carry on his father's legacy and bring his outlandish musical style and eclectic wordplay to new generations after Frank Zappa's death. Frank Zappa succumbed to cancer in 1993 at the age of 52, ending a diverse and influential career spanning more than 30 years with The Mothers of Invention and as a solo artist.

The good-sized crowd hollered and cheered as the band stepped on stage, followed by Dweezil Zappa in bright red pants and a white T-shirt.

"You guys ready?" he said. "Let's play some Frank Zappa music."

They opened with the in-your-face, heavy-on-the-brass tones of "Zomby Woof," from Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention 1973 album "Over-Nite Sensation."

"We're going to play some songs from some of the older records," Dweezil Zappa said. "There's always so many songs to choose from. It's a challenge to put it together. Like a crazy crossword puzzle or something.

"This one is fun. It's about a lady, and some spreadable food product, and whatever else you want it to be about," he teased as the band went into the quirky "Son of Suzy Creamcheese" and then "Call Any Vegetable," both from Zappa and the MoI's 1967 album "Absolutely Free."

Zappa said that the theme of show was that it's great to be alive and the audience shouted their agreement. The band moved onto a smashing rendition of "Tell Me You Love Me" off Frank Zappa's third solo album, 1970's "Chunga's Revenge."

For the next song, Dweezil Zappa said it was dedicated to the hippies, who aligned themselves with his father's music "until they heard this song," he said.

"It's still a good thing to remind them about this song. It's called, 'Who Needs the Peace Corps?'" he said.

Dweezil gave some insight to how Frank Zappa crafted the melody in his head to the technically-tricky "RDNZL," also mentioning that it was a nickname for his mom.

"The title came from a nickname my dad gave my mom," Dweezil Zappa said, explaining how his mom tended to repeat herself. "He combined redundant and Rapunzel, and you got Redunzel."

The band also tackled "Montana," a song about being a dental floss farmer that Dweezil Zappa loved as a child, and "Camarillo Brillo," both from "Over-Nite Sensation."

kgaydos@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2118

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(c)2014 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

Visit The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at citizensvoice.com

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Source: Citizens' Voice, The (Wilkes-Barre, PA)


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