Photo by Michael Mesker
when guitar was still popular but on its way out,
and now it’s having its resurgence of sorts.
I understand there’s another record with your
band in the works.
It’ll be coming out in the early part of 2010. It’ll
be called Return of the Son of. The main thing
about that record is that all the stuff that we
currently have in the marketplace from Zappa
Plays Zappa is from the 2006 tour. This record
bridges the gap from 2006 up to our current
state of the band, so it’s definitely representative of what we sound like and what we will be
doing all year.
It has some of my most adventurous guitar
playing on it, in my opinion. There’s one particular solo on the song “Zombie Woof” where
I… when I was playing it… the process that I
decided was to ignore what key I was in and I
was only going to create contours and shapes.
Frank talked about when he was really in the
zone of playing he was making air sculptures
and he was thinking about making shapes and
contours. For one of the only times when I’ve
been present enough to be in that moment
and decided to go for it and have a completely out-of-body experience, I was lucky enough
to actually get a recording of it. The solo itself
is like nothing I’ve ever played before and I
have no idea what it is. It’s like, literally, I knew
the solo was in A, but I was certainly anywhere
but in A. But it works.
That sounds crazy, like the whole modal jazz
thing but without the patterns.
Completely. That’s what’s cool about it and
that’s what’s cool about this project in general,
is that you can take those kinds of chances
and the band can support it and make it work.
When I hear it, I’m like, “Man, I have no idea
how I played that.” And I can never do it
again. It was definitely one of those crazy, crazy
moments, and there are a lot of those kinds of
things on this record. I’m very happy with this
guitar playing. I think it’s very representative of
all the work that I’ve put in, in terms of transforming my playing. If somebody had never
heard me play, this record would be the best
example of what I can do at this point.
I understand the Roxy DVD is closer to being
Another big thing for next year is another DVD,
our Roxy concert that we did 35 years to the
date that Frank last played at the Roxy. We’re
also working hard to complete Frank’s Roxy
film, so hopefully both of those can get released
by the end of 2010.
Will these be packaged together or separate?
Most likely, they’ll be separate. The thing that’s
really cool about it is that it’s one of my favorite
records anyway. We got Frank’s version transferred to high-def from the film master, and
that’s an important step. That’s going to be a
major focus of 2010.
Tell me about the educational project that
you’re working on.
At some point I want to create some kind of situation where we can share what we’ve learned
over the past five years. It was like training for
the Olympics or bootcamp, ya know; it was
powerhouse musician type stuff. So, one of the
things I want to do in 2010 is create a couple
of events so I can do some teaching and share
some ideas and get a community of people
who are interested in becoming better players
and experiencing some different types of music
you know, particularly Frank’s music. This event
would be the kind of thing where people could
learn how to play some stuff, you could test
some gear and it would just be the kind of thing
that people would want to get involved with. It’s
something that I think would be fun, like a summer camp kind of thing. [mocking the movie
trailer voice…] Prepare to learn some crazy shit!
[laughs] I just turned 40, so in some ways this is
how I can have a more life-enriching experience.
Why not share knowledge? It’s a good thing.
To hear Dweezil going ‘beyond what he
knows’ check out the audio clip of his most
intense solo to date, a mind-bending exploration of tone during a live performance of
”Zombie Woof.” Click here to listen to the clip
82 PREMIER GUITAR DECEMBER 2009