Dweezil Zappa Announces ’50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%K He Wants’ Tour
Threatened with trademark infringement for using his dad's name on the road, Dweezil Zappa has changed the name of his upcoming tour once again. And in a symbolic middle finger to the potential lawsuit, Zappa is now calling it 50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour.
"Even though Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa was well within my rights to use, I decided to use the name my father gave me to avoid further harassment from my siblings, Ahmet and Diva," Dweezil says in a new statement. The new tour -- which will focus on Freak Out!, the debut album by the Mothers of Invention that turns 50 this year -- starts in July. You can see dates below.
Back in April, Zappa was forced to change the name of his popular Zappa Plays Zappa tour to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa, after the Zappa Family Trust -- which is controlled by two of Frank and Gail Zappa’s children, Ahmet and Diva. Dweezil and his other sister, Moon, aren’t trustees of the estate but they are beneficiaries. Gail, who oversaw her late husband's estate since his death in 1993, died last year, leaving the control of his music a sticking point among the siblings.
At the time, the trust informed Dweezil that he could be fined $150,000 each time he played one of Frank’s compositions without permission. His long-running tour included his father's music, often performed with members of Frank's bands. “My last name is Zappa; my father was Frank Zappa,” Dweezil told The New York Times. “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.”
Ahmet countered Dweezil's claims a week later, saying the Trust was charging Dweezil only $1 per year for licensing. "If I want to perform Frank’s music, I’ll pay $1," he wrote in an open letter to his brother on Facebook. "So will Diva and Moon. That’s just the deal."
Dweezil then issued a statement claiming that Ahmet was bending the facts in the case. “A non-negotiable demand that I am solely responsible for all touring and rehearsing expenses, yet receive 0 percent of the tour merchandise, and no retroactive payments of merch money that I’m owed since 2006, in exchange for paying $1 for the license to use the name Zappa Plays Zappa is not a deal," he said. "If this proposition wasn’t so laughable, I’d consider it an insult.”
The latest update follows a new threat of trademark infringement by the Zappa Family Trust. Dweezil noted that the "@%" in the new tour's name is symbolic for the Trust's insistence on claiming 100 percent of the merchandise money made on the road.
“We are incorporating the absurdity,” he says. “Since the efforts to deal with this Zappa Family Trust matter privately have been met with threats, I have been put into the position to have to share the story publicly and stand up for myself by figuratively walking the picket line with a sign that says ZFT Don't Tread on Me! The last thing I want is for any of this drama to overshadow my Father's music. His commitment to excellence and his integrity have always been a guiding light for me.”
50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour
July 1 - Taos, NM Taos Mesa Brewing
July 2 - Denver, CO Red Rocks Amphitheater
July 5 - Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Music Theatre
July 6 - New Buffalo, MI Four Winds Casino
July 7 - Buffalo, NY Thursday at Canalside
July 8 - Port Chester, NY The Capitol Theatre
July 9 - Montclair, NJ Wellmont Theatre
July 10 - Huntington, NY The Paramount
July 14 - Pori, Finland Pori Jazz Festival
July 16 - Montreaux, Switzerland Montreaux Jazz Festival
July 18 - Milan, Italy Auditorium of Milano
July 19 - Lorrach, Germany Stimmen Festival
July 20 - Vienna, Austria Porgy and Bess
July 22 - Tromso, Norway Bukta Festival
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