Dweezil Zappa Forced to Change Name of Tribute Show to His Dad
Dweezil Zappa, Frank Zappa's son, has been forced to change the name of his long-running tribute show to his father's music. Zappa Plays Zappa will hit the road this summer under a new name: Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa.
According to The New York Times, the name change is the result of a simmering rift between Dweezil and the Zappa Family Trust, which changed hands following the death of Frank's widow Gail last year. She had overseen her late husband's music since his death in 1993.
But now the trust has told Zappa that he's not allowed to use the Zappa Plays Zappa name for his project since it's their trademark. “It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue,” Zappa said of the new name. “But this is being done under duress.”
Zappa has been paying tribute to his dad's legacy for a decade now with faithful covers of the complex music Frank wrote during his 30 years as an artist. Many of the projects – which have included albums as well as tours – featured musicians who played with Frank Zappa on his groundbreaking records.
The trust told Dweezil that he could be fined $150,000 each time he played one of his dad's compositions without permission. “My last name is Zappa; my father was Frank Zappa,” Dweezil told the paper. “But I am not allowed to use the name on its own. I’m not allowed to use a picture of him. I’m not allowed to use my own connection with him without some sort of deal to be struck.”
According to the Times, problems started after Gail's death, when control of the trust was passed to two of her and Frank's children: Ahmet and Diva. Dweezil and Moon, the other two kids, aren't trustees of the estate even though they are, like their siblings, beneficiaries. The battle has pitted the Zappas against each other.
“I am not standing in the way of Dweezil playing the music,” Ahmet said. “He would just have to be in accordance with the family trust.”
So, when Dweezil goes on tour this summer, he will do so without using any likeness of his father and without any official Zappa merchandise for sale. The music, however, will remain the same. “I just hope people will understand that the only thing I’m changing is the name,” he said.
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