Zappa Fights Zappa

Moon and Dweezil Zappa, as pictured in “Rock ‘n’ Roll Cuisine”As I’ve mentioned before, Moon Zappa was one of my earliest celebrity crushes, while Dweezil Zappa’s Confessions (1991) remains one of my all-time favourite albums. Besides a co-writing credit for Moon (on the single “Vanity“), a couple tracks also feature guest vocals by their brother Ahmet, and I’ve always assumed that the unnamed “white chicks” who rap on “Vanity” are Moon and younger sister Diva…. but sadly, we’re unlikely to see such friendly familial fun occurring in the future, as the House of Zappa has been divided against itself by a feud over their father’s legacy.

After their mother’s death in October, Ahmet was appointed to run the Zappa Family Trust, along with Diva… and last month they reportedly moved to prevent Dweezil from playing any more tribute shows under the name “Zappa Plays Zappa” (forcing him to resort to the rather more ungainly “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa” instead), or risk being sued for copyright infringement damages of $150,000 for every song he performs from FZ’s back-catalogue! Dweezil has also suggested that he’s not allowed to display images of his own deceased Dad during the concerts without paying for the privilege, which seems particularly mean-spirited to me… though obviously I’m not a lawyer, and have very little understanding of how the real world actually works. Either way, it’s seriously tainting the happy memories I have of the two brothers joking around while promoting their musical collaborations, back in the day. To quote the rather heart-breaking Rolling Stone article: “Dweezil and Ahmet released a pair of albums together in the Nineties; now, they only communicate through lawyers.” Harsh.

Moon Zappa (circa 2006)Meanwhile, Dweezil and Moon are also at odds with their siblings over a forthcoming documentary about FZ directed by Alex Winter (of Bill & Ted fame!), which was crowd-funded via Kickstarter, and has been heartily endorsed by the Zappa Family Trust. Ahmet posted a statement on the official FZ Facebook page claiming that “the family is proud to give Alex Winter and his project our complete support”, but Moon and Dweezil have both used their respective Twitter accounts to distance themselves from the film, with Moon recommending Thorsten Schütte’s Eat That Question (2016) as a preferable alternative. Again, I can’t really comment on any of that… I just hate to see a family of artists/entertainers who’ve brought me so much pleasure in the past being torn apart like this. Sigh…

About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action. He/him.
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