Snapshot: Dweezil Zappa

This week’s snapshot is of Dweezil Zappa, Guitarist and son of the legendary Frank Zappa, whose music he plays during his 9 date ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ UK Tour which kicks off at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London on Monday 11th November and then finishes at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on 20th November (he plays Leeds Grand Theatre on the 13th).

Frank Zappa’s music was boisterous, grandiose and subversive and mixed rock and jazz in an eclectic and electric mix which produced classic tracks like “Bobby Brown Goes Down” from the album ‘Sheik Yerbouti’ (Watch the video here: http://tinyurl.com/ojgzlu4) and Willie The Pimp from the album ‘Hot Rats’ (Listen to the original here: http://tinyurl.com/cbrr9u) which Dweezil covers in the set and sounds like it should have been sampled by Jay-Z or Kanye by now…

Hi Dweezil!

TQS: Tell us what time you get up and what your daily routine consists of :

DZ: On tour my daily routine is pretty hectic. We typically load in to venues at 11AM. If I have interviews I usually do those around 10AM on the bus. I then go into the venue as soon as we can get in. I do a 25 minute exercise routine then shower. I have some breakfast and catch up with my wife on the phone. Around 1:00PM I then get to practicing, testing gear, fixing sounds, changing strings etc. I eat a quick lunch/snack and I usually teach a “Dweezilla” guitar class for groups ranging from 8 to 50 students at 3PM, sometimes at 2PM for 90 minutes. Post class and after signing stuff for folks I begin sound check. That is used for rehearsal or to fix problems with equipment and usually lasts 90 minutes, sometimes longer. Then it’s time for a quick dinner and practice/warm up before show time.

At home when I am with my kids it’s a different kind of 24 hour schedule. I’m usually up early with them around 6AM playing with them or taking them to school, cooking, cleaning, doing art projects or other activities. They’re asleep by 8:30PM and I’m usually asleep by midnight. Get up and do it all again. Very glamorous.

TQS: What you are working on at the moment?

DZ: I’m touring but I have some audio and DVD projects I’m pulling together. I have a record that is a collaboration with guitarist/instructors from my Dweezilla guitar boot camp that I plan to release early next year.
I have some DVD projects I plan to release next year as well. One of them features the late George Duke playing with us. There is also a book that I am currently writing.

On tour I also try to take some time to continue learning new things on guitar so I do some research and a lot of practice.

TQS: What are the 3 records OR 3 films that you couldn’t live without and why?

DZ: I could easily live without records and films as long as I have my wife and kids. I prefer spending time with them.

TQS: What do you wish you had more time to do?

DZ: Spend more time with my wife and kids. I travel a lot and my days are jam packed so I would like some down time with them.

TQS: How would you describe your teenage years?

DZ: I had a pretty great time. I was very focused on becoming a proficient guitarist and spent most of my time practicing. The other part of my time was spent with girlfriends and those kinds of activities. I was not very interested in the social scene at school or anywhere else for that matter. This sometimes was not very popular with my girlfriends despite that we found ways to entertain ourselves.

TQS: If you could take a time capsule to any age, where would you go and why?

DZ: I’m not sure, there are amazing times and places in history that interest me but the topic is too vast. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is something simple. I’d like to catch a glimpse of my wife at 18 and go on a date with her at that age. I’m grateful to know her now but I would love to have the opportunity to know her then as well.

TQS: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever got?

DZ: My dad told me, “Don’t be an asshole unless you’re being paid a lot of money… and even then it’s not worth it.”

TQS: What’s the difference between Brits and Americans?

DZ: In general it would seem that Brits are far better educated than Americans. Because they have a more vivid connection to their own history and culture through their environment and proximity to Europe they seem to me to have a better global perspective.

TQS: Any good tour stories?

DZ: There was a drunken older lady in Ohio who was waiting in line for an autograph. As she was approaching she could be overheard having a freak out. She kept saying, “Oh my god, Oh my god, I’m almost there!” The people around her were beginning to get annoyed because she was loud and had spastic movements. By the time she was a few people away she was becoming quite intolerable. I was on stage and reaching down to sign things. She finally got to me and yelled out, “Oh my God, I want to suck your dick!” Much to my dismay she then grabbed my hand and started licking in between my fingers. It was quite a shock and was extremely hideous.

TQS:  Any regrets?

DZ: I’m not a could’ve should’ve would’ve type of thinker. It’s a waste of time. I prefer to learn from my life experience and use that as the road map for the future.

Dweezil Zappa’s Official Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/DweezilZappaOfficial

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