Dweezil Zappa recently excavated some dense old riffs he wrote when he was teenager, rearranged them in a recording studio and added a 40-year-old guitar solo by his late father, Frank.
Dweezil has released this new creation, which he has dubbed "Dinosaur," as part of a crowdfunding campaign to help him take on the Zappa Family Trust—a trust that could actually keep Dweezil from using his own name in performances. You can hear the song below.
"I selected a few analog master solo tracks from live concerts and edited them together to fit over my song," Dweezil told Rolling Stone. "This was a technique developed by my dad in the Seventies. He would collect performances he liked from his live concerts and isolate them from their origin, then pair them with an unrelated performance in the same or relative key, thereby creating a new performance or composition. He called this process 'xenochrony.'
"It is far easier to experiment with xenochrony using computer technology," he added. "Back in the Seventies it required brilliant razor blade tape edits and ingenious fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants synchronization between three tape machines."
Several other ace axmen also play on "Dinosaur," including Oz Noy, James Santiago and David Wallimann, whose lessons are regularly featured on GuitarWorld.com. Dweezil even made a documentary about the "Dinosaur" recording process, and you can watch some of it below.
In other Dweezil news, the guitarist has announced his first spoken-word tour, Dweezil Zappa: What’s in a Name? The trek, which begins July 7 in Chicago, will find the guitarist sharing stories from his 30-plus-year career, taking questions and highlighting some of the mind-bending guitar playing of his father.
“I didn’t hear the radio until I was about 12,” Dweezil said in a press release. “I had only heard my dad's music, whatever he was writing or working on or what he was listening to recreationally. I heard all kinds of things growing up, Johnny Guitar Watson, Stravinsky and even the Bulgarian Women's Choir. So when I actually heard the radio, my first thought was, where's the rest of it? It felt like what I was hearing didn't take advantage of all the instrumentation possibilities I had grown accustomed to.”
For more than a decade, Dweezil has been honoring his father by touring the world with his Grammy-winning project, now named Dweezil Zappa: 50 Years of Frank.
“I look at it what I do like an old-school Italian family business,” Dweezil said. “I want to carry on a tradition in a way that respects my father's intentions as a composer and his integrity as a person. At the same time I have my own music to create and share with people. The best way to carry everything forward is to play the music live and share stories.” You can check out the new spoken-word dates (plus some previously announced dates) below.
Dweezil Zappa on Tour:
April 25 - Vancouver, BC @ The Commodore
April 26 - Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre *
April 27 - Portland, OR @ Roseland Theatre *
April 28 - Stateline, NV @ Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room
April 29 - San Francisco, CA @ Warfield Theatre *
April 30 - Napa, CA @ The Uptown
May 2 - Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst
May 3 - Fresno, CA @ Tower Theatre
May 4 - Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up
May 5 - Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre
May 6 - Los Angeles, CA @ Fonda Theatre
July 7 - Chicago, IL @ City Winery @ (What's in a Name? Tour)
July 8 - Nashville, TN @ City Winery (What's in a Name? Tour)
July 9 - Atlanta, GA @ City Winery (What's in a Name? Tour)
July 11 - New York, NY @ City Winery (What's in a Name? Tour)
July 24 – 27 - Big Indian, NY @ Full Moon Resort (Dweezilla Music Camp)
July 28 - Poughkeepsie, NY @ Bardavon Opera House
July 29 - Westhampton Beach, NY @ Westhampton Beach PAC
July 30 - Hampton Beach, NH @ Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom *
August 1 - Ridgefield, CT @ Ridgefield Playhouse *
August 2 - Morristown, NJ @ Mayo PAC *
August 3 - Wilkes Barre, PA @ FM Kirby *
August 4 - Northampton, MA @ The Academy of Music *
August 5 - Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head *
August 8 - Denver, CO @ Arvada Center for the Arts
August 9 - Aspen, CO @ Belly Up
August 10 - Durango, CO @ Community Concert Hall
August 11 - Flagstaff, AZ @ The Orpheum *
* Dweezilla guitar class available