Zappa Plays Zappa

Zappa Plays Zappa

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Zappa Plays Zappa

Zappa Plays Zappa is an American tribute act led by Dweezil Zappa, the eldest son of the late American composer and musician Frank Zappa, devoted to performing the music of Frank Zappa.


The band debuted in 2006 with shows in Europe, Canada and the United States during May and June (the tour was also known as Zappa Plays Zappa: Tour de Frank'). The shows presented a collection of Frank Zappa's rock-oriented compositions from 1960s to 1980s. Apart from Dweezil Zappa on lead guitar, the band has consisted of a mix of relatively unknown young musicians and older musicians, who previously played with Frank Zappa. Among those, Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax, flute and vocals) was an integral part of the band, while drummer (and singer) Terry Bozzio and electric guitarist Steve Vai performed as guests in parts of the shows. At several shows Frank Zappa himself performed songs posthumously via synchronized audio/video technology, notedly portions of "Chunga's Revenge", "Dumb All Over", "Cosmik Debris", and "Muffin Man".

After a break, the band played again in the U.S. during the Fall of 2006, including a show in New York on October 31. This revived Frank Zappa's tradition of playing Halloween shows in New York. A DVD documenting the 2006 tour was released in early 2008.[1]

In July and August 2007, the band played a North American tour, with a core line up similar to that of the 2006 band. The band then played in Europe during September and October, before returning to the US, starting with another Halloween show in New York. Special guest on the tour was vocalist and guitarist Ray White, a Zappa stalwart performer in the 1970s and early 1980s.[2] They ended the 2007 tour in Australia in early December before doing a handful of shows in Japan in January 2008. Steve Vai returned as a guest on those shows. A brief tour of U.S. and Canadian dates was then scheduled for the Summer of 2008 with the same lineup as the 2007 tour.[3]

At the 51st Grammy Awards in February 2009, Zappa Plays Zappa won best rock instrumental performance for their performance of the Frank Zappa instrumental classic, "Peaches en Regalia".[4]

Band member Aaron Arntz's final performance with ZPZ was in Santa Rosa, CA on March 7, 2009. Guest performer Ray White unexpectedly left Zappa Plays Zappa April 1 of 2009.[5] In May 2009, it was announced that Ben Thomas was to be the new lead singer for the American and European tours after a lengthy audition process.

The band was one of the support acts on Dream Theater's Progressive Nation 09, along with Bigelf and Scale the Summit. Following a Fall 2009 tour in November, the 2010 tour began in January 2010. The band was renamed "Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa" (DZPZ); the name change was announced in October 2009.

In May 2010, the band announced the addition of new keyboardist Chris Norton. Prior to joining Zappa Plays Zappa, he toured with alternative rock act September Hase.[6]

On September 19, 2010, DZPZ played a free street concert in Baltimore, MD after the dedication of a bust of Frank Zappa, and the proclamation by the mayor of Baltimore of Frank Zappa Day.

DZPZ continued touring in 2010, closing out the year with another US tour, in which they played the classic Apostrophe (') (1974) release in its entirety and in order. The show also again featured audio/visually synchronized numbers with Frank Zappa singing and playing extended solos.

DZPZ has announced a summer 2011 tour of the US, beginning on July 28 in Bearsville, NY and winding up with a Seattle show on September 24. DZPZ will be teaming with jazz-fusion supergroup Return to Forever on this tour, and the July 28 show is promised to feature Frank Zappa colleagues from the Mothers of Invention days, Flo and Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, respectively). DZPZ also will conduct a tour of the United Kingdom in late 2011, opening in North Yorkshire on November 17 and concluding in Brighton on December 1. The UK tour has promised to reprise the "Apostrophe" US tour of late 2010. There have been no announced personnel lineup changes for either of these tours.



  • Dweezil Zappa - lead guitar, vocals
  • Scheila Gonzalez - saxophone, flute, keyboards, vocals
  • Joe Travers - drums, vocals
  • Ben Thomas - lead vocals, trumpet, trombone
  • Chris Norton - keyboard, violin, vocals
  • Kurt Morgan - bass, vocals

Former Members:

  • Aaron Arntz - trumpet, keyboards, vocals
  • Pete Griffin - bass
  • Billy Hulting - marimba, mallets, percussions
  • Jamie Kime - rhythm guitar

Guests on most 2006 shows:

Guest on 2007, 2008 and some 2009 shows:

  • Ray White - vocals, guitar

Guests on some 2010 shows:

  • George Duke - vocals, keyboard
  • Scott Thunes - bass
  • Jeff Simmons - bass, vocals
  • Moon Zappa - vocals

Guests on some 2011 shows:

Guest on some 2012 shows:


  1. Zappa Plays Zappa > Videos,
  2. Zappa Plays Zappa > The Players,
  3. Zappa Plays Zappa > Tour Dates,
  4. February 9, 2009, The 51st Annual Grammy Awards Winners List,
  5. Zappa, Dweezil (April 1), Zappa Plays Zappa > ZPZ Blog,
  6. Zappa, Dweezil (May 6), New Keyboardist Revealed! > ZPZ Blog,

External links

  • Official website
  • Hidden Track - Review: Zappa Plays Zappa @ The Lincoln Theater
This page was last modified 01.03.2013 02:31:00

This article uses material from the article Zappa Plays Zappa from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.