Dweezil Zappa: A Man’s Reach

By Greg Jones

 Republished from our Acoustic Issue

It was twenty four years ago that an 18 year old guitarist and songwriter released his third studio album Confessions and made the music world stop and take notice. The songwriting was inspired, the arrangements more advanced than the biggest names of the day were releasing and the uncannily precise playing burned with the pure intensity of youth.  So irresistible was the force of his conviction that even MTV sat up and paid attention. And 24 years later, if this record isn’t in your collection, the proverbial saying is true, you don’t know what you’re missing.

No interview subject yet has made me laugh as hard with their responses as Dweezil Zappa did. And though we talked about the labor of love that is Zappa Plays Zappa, a beacon for a whole new generation to discover the compositional genius of his late father Frank, I kept most of my questions on the fascinating original music this unpredictable artist has created in his own right. I hope that this interview shines light, not only on the great mind behind the artistic choices he’s made, but also on his catalog of releases and the manifold musical treasures awaiting you therein.

Guitar Connoisseur : You are one person I don’t have to ask if there was music in your home growing up.  Other than the cornucopia of brilliance your dad was a seemingly limitless fount of, your early love of Van Halen is also well documented. Any other really strong musical influences that you’d like to acknowledge?

Dweezil Zappa: Like you said, there was definitely music growing up in the house. I really only heard the music my dad was working on or whatever he was listening to recreationally, which could have been anything. It could have been Stravinsky or Bartok, or it could have been Johnny Guitar Watson or some other kind of interesting folk music. I was always hearing stuff that was not traditional sort of pop music and I didn’t hear really any of that kind of radio music until I was probably eleven or twelve. That’s when I started to hear some other things like The Beatles and Queen, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne with Randy Rhoads, all that stuff; so it was about 1981, somewhere around there and that kind of stuff. The funny thing to me was that, in almost anything that I heard that was not my dad’s music, when I would hear it I would think to myself, well, where’s the rest of it?

GC: (laughing)

DZ: Where were the different changes and things I was so used to hearing?

GC: In other words, at eleven or twelve your mind was ready for something beyond the three minute single.

DZ: Yeah; I was looking for much more information and levels of detail, in the production and all that kind of stuff. Where’s the marimba? Where’s, you know, the horns? So it was that kind of thing. But I’ve always appreciated musicianship, people that can play very well in whatever style of music it is, it doesn’t just have to be the fact that somebody is proficient at something; things are always better when you connect with the note behind it.

GC: Not to skip ahead, but one of the first things I noticed when I got your third record Confessions was that so many of your solos – and I had to read through quite a bit in the notes to see who was doing what, because you had so many guests – so many of your solos were – you paced yourself, they were melodic, they had something to do emotionally, at least to my ears, with what was going on in the song. And I thought: this guy is really young to get this and get it so well.

DZ: I appreciate that. The variety of ideas is always an important part of growing as a player and on a record like that from that time period, the style of playing as far as solos go, was almost more compositional as opposed to improvisational.  You wanted to feature certain themes and certain techniques within a solo and that kind of became a standard operating procedure from Van Halen and Randy Rhoads back in the early 80s. You would have these pretty standout moments in these songs, so the song was really the vehicle to get to show off what the guitar player could really do. And that became sort of a cliche by the end of the 80s and people actually weren’t really pushing any growth for the musical ideas. So guitar playing sort of went out of favor at that point because it had almost become a joke of itself, then it started to turn into the worse you play, the cooler you were.

GC: (laughing) Right. “I didn’t change my shirt and I didn’t tune.”

DZ:  “Oh and I’m one hundred percent original and I have no influences”.  That whole kind of thing is like the more narrow-minded you were, or the less you knew about something, the cooler you were supposed to be.  But anyway, my whole approach to everything is very different since I have more experience and as I’ve done more stuff. Now it’s been a long time since I’ve actually made a record, which I am planning to do again soon, but my work with Zappa Plays Zappa led my guitar playing down a very different path which, I’m glad I took the time to explore all this stuff. In learning new techniques it allowed me to develop a new vocabulary and a new way to express it. That’s the cool thing; it’s like if you can do some new things that you couldn’t do before, you then need to find a way to process the information through those new techniques and you end up expanding and exploring even more. So that was really, it still is, a very ongoing process for me. But it’s something that I enjoy.


GC: I think that any new techniques that you had to learn to deliver your father’s pieces with integrity are probably internalized now as part of you and will come out when you play as a part of you.

DZ: Yeah, well, one of the main things that was always the goal with this, besides reaching a new audience and giving people a chance to hear the music live, was, is to respect the compositions as they were written – and part of that process is recreating the instrumentation so that the actual audio presentation reflects the era and all these things. Everything is tied into the composition; it’s not just the notes on the page, it’s what it sounded like, that version on that record, so we go into a lot of details. And all of those things, when you focus on those things, they just end up becoming a new part of how you approach things and a new wealth of information on matching sounds to certain emotional content. You could play one song and if you have the sound that is really evocative of the sound of the record, it’s going to have a similar impact. But if you use a totally different sound, it’s not going to feel like it’s the same song.  But some sounds are very difficult to recreate, especially if they’re, you know, classics. (laughs) So a lot of that kind of stuff is a layer of detail that we go into besides just learning the music and it really is also a big thing as I continue to explore as a guitarist. If you’re going on the “less is more” approach, one of the key things in a “less is more” thing would be to execute an idea with a sound that is the biggest feature almost more than the notes themselves. That’s like a whole area of exploration that, you have to get a level of maturity in your playing before that starts to become a bigger focus than technique, where now I’m really going to focus on the execution of how a note is struck or get the right tone to have the right emotional impact.

GC: That’s something I never would have been able to articulate but that’s a fascinating idea – to think that maybe the melody isn’t even the most important thing but the timbre or the sound and how can I get as much of that information across through just the timbre or the sound. That’s going to give me a whole new way to go back and listen to some things.

DZ: Well, especially as it relates to my dad’s experimental sounds and his playing, there’s just something about some of the sounds that, and it’s even – another explanation, and it’s hard to get across to people, is that sometimes certain players, and my dad’s one of them, Jimi Hendrix would be another one, and even Jimmy Page, the example I’ll give you is: sometimes they may go for an idea and their physical ability prohibits them from playing it exactly with total precision. So there’s a certain amount of slop in it. And what that represents though is that the listener is hearing somebody just go for it, so that there’s this kind of beauty in this reckless abandon for some stuff where if you made that super precise it would have way less impact. It doesn’t have the same effect.

GC: Sort of like “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a Heaven for?’ Like the reach is half the excitement, you can hear it in the playing.

DZ: Yeah. It’s that moment of inspiration that you can hear versus an idea that has been perfected through practice and execution. There’s a different impact that somebody’s going to hear when you just go for it. So that kind of thing, that’s hard for a lot of people to do and it’s a hard thing to practice cuz you have to sort of be in the moment in front of an audience to really do that. The point is that when you have that combination of the right sound and the right kind of moment of reckless abandon, that’s when you have these classic moments where you hear it and you think “it can’t be done any better than that, that is amazing”. So that presents the problem when you are playing something, some people want to hear you take a totally different interpretation of it and have it be nothing like the original and say well that’s how you really play other people’s music. But I would disagree, because especially when there’s, for example, a solo, if I’m not going to learn something note for note I will still learn many of the phrases that are integral to that solo, so that there are guideposts that still keep you feeling connected to what the original intent was.

GC: More so than some of the versions of The Star Spangled Banner we all get treated to at sporting events.

DZ: Yeah, yeah, Jimi Hendrix’ version is for sure the most perfect version of that because he’s got the melody that he’s playing. But then he’s putting in all the sound effects of the machine guns and the dive bombs and the explosions, all this stuff, and there’s a statement in there. Other people who may have a chorus melody version of it that reharmonizes it, that’s like another probably cool and appropriate way to do it. But weird ornamentation that’s just a bastardization of Jimi’s version – if you’re going to do Jimi’s version, try to do it like he did it. That’s usually my approach with anything. If I’m trying to do something that is playing somebody else’s music, I want to put in the parts that, to me, are the most representative of what the whole composition is. Not only the notes and rhythms but the sounds that went with it, cuz that’s what delivered the message to you in the first place.

GC: Well, this is a completely off-the-map question but inspired by what you just said: if I start to think of all those performances I’ve heard where magic was captured and I say, yeah, it was captured on tape, there certainly have been times I’ve been at a live show and seen something that was just so in the moment, so inspiring, and said to myself it’s no less special just because it wasn’t captured on tape. But will it stay with me? Or is just the fact that I remember being inspired by it, or that it made me feel a certain way, enough of an impact?

DZ: I think the funny thing about that is that you could – it relates to me that, for example, when we play music that has improvisational elements and we listen back to it night after night on the road, you might feel one night like “wow, that was really good, I really feel like there was some great stuff that happened there”. And then you listen to it and you have a completely different reaction after you hear the recording as opposed to what it feels like. When you listen to it – and everybody in the band, we’ve all experienced this – you’re going to be critical of whatever is happening but the thing that is so strange is that you can be so completely off base with what your initial feeling is. So for example you think “wow I think I executed this one part really well, something really cool happened there”. Then you listen to it and it’s nothing like what you remember in the moment. And you have the exact opposite, a night where you aren’t really feeling it, and you listen to it and it’s your most interesting flight you’ve ever done.

GC: Like love or Ben Franklin’s lightning bolt caught in the jar.

DZ: Yeah. It’s a very strange thing, cuz the perception that you have sometimes in the moment can be more about a motor skill type of thing – wow I actually did something pretty cool right there – as opposed to the emotional content part of it that maybe you got more of your story across or you made a melody that really was poignant. But a lot of times your initial reaction to something, where you thought hey I can’t wait to hear that, usually comes from a motor function element, to see how you pulled something off. Then you listen to it and go huh – it wasn’t really what I thought it was at the moment. But other things where you just were sort of playing in context to the music and trying to just play in a melodic way, you might not necessarily feel like you really hit on anything but you listen back later and it totally does have a different experience. But now take yourself out of the equation and let the audience have their experience, like what you talked about – you may give somebody the impression, they may hear something and think that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, I’ll never hear anything cooler than that again, and you hear it yourself and go, yeah, that wasn’t so good. It’s all this weird thing, it can be working on so many different levels for so many different people, that’s the weird beauty of this art form. You can’t really discredit it or discount it, because to somebody else, the thing you didn’t like could be their favorite thing they’ve ever heard.

GC: Right, it could give them goosebumps or something.

DZ: Yeah.

GC: The individuals, the collective experience isn’t always going to be the same.

DZ: There are other times where everybody knows that a moment they just witnessed was special and you listen back and go, yup, that IS what I thought it was. And there’s all these points in between.

GC: Going back to the Confessions album, on the song Bad Girl – did you write the clever barbershop vocal stylings over the last solo or was that Nuno Bettencourt’s idea?

DZ: That was my idea.  It was kind of a nod to the song “I’m The One” off Van Halen’s first record.

GC: Ah! I hadn’t caught that. The intro to your cover of Anytime At All by The Beatles features a wild backwards guitar over a jungle drumming section, just a brilliant touch. How did that come to be and was the backwards guitar a nod to the fact that they were the first group to put that out on a record?

DZ: I think it was kind of like, when I was putting all the songs together, the transitions would be, we would record all the songs and then I would record all these other little things, we’d do some improvisational things on top of them, experimental stuff, and I just wanted the record to have a good repeat listening experience so you’d find some different details. So the backwards guitar was definitely sort of a nod to the psychedelic era of stuff but that Beatles song obviously is from an earlier era before they got too psychedelic. But yeah, all the transitional ideas are just there so it makes it more of a complete listening experience.

GC: Looking back on it now, almost 24 years later, I got it when it was new and I still pull it out periodically and listen to it just for the fun. I’m amazed at how well it stands up and I think part of it is not just the great songwriting but the fact that you put these things in to make it interesting.

DZ: Well I tried. You know it’s been so long since I’ve made a record in that way where I would go in with the band, we would record the tracks, we’d just be playing them and then we’d add the overdubs. I remember we did something like 24 songs in like 6 days.

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GC: Wow.

DZ: Cuz we knew a bunch of material and we just got it recorded. So there’s a ton of stuff that never made it…

GC: Oh my goodness! (laughing) So there’s a boxed set in the waiting…

DZ: Yeah pretty much. That was a time period where I could go into the studio and I could just really focus on “my role is to play guitar” or sing or something, and I’d let somebody else be taking care of the engineering and other stuff. But later on I got interested in the engineering and the overall production side of things and it takes on a different, the whole experience of making a record is different when you’re doing all of the roles.  So the last few things I have done I was pretty much doing everything. Next time I get a chance to make a record, which I’m hoping will be in the next year or so, I’m going to do it in a more simplified approach. I even want to take it to where – back in the day, you had eight track, four track, 16 track, 24 track – now, you can have five hundred tracks if you wanted to. But I don’t want to do that approach of record everything, then deal with it in the mix. I want to make a record that is essentially like if I only had 24 tracks. You’re just using the arrangement and putting the best sound forward and just really simplifying. I’ll be curious to see what the record will sound like by doing that because it will change what the focus is supposed to be for me and for the listener.

GC: Almost like you’re going back into the studio with a band and –

DZ: Yeah I definitely will record it that way. I’ll work out what songs we’re going to do and we’ll go capture a good performance of them. That’s another side to all this, having done so much live performing where you capture people making that actual connection, the performance of it, that translates, there is something there, as opposed to people going okay, everyone’s going to play their part to a click track but it never actually happened in real life, everybody did their stuff separately. (starts talking to his kids, asking them to be patient and wait for him) Sorry about that.


GC: That’s okay – the role of family man is important stuff.

DZ: Oh, I know. My daughters were, right before you called, they had taken the box that a guitar had been shipped in, made it into a table and were selling balloons in front of the house. But they quickly got bored of that and decided they wanted to wash the car. I said well, there’s a drought here, so you can have this tiny little thing of water. Each had one rag and they got bored of that in a few minutes, so they put on some roller skates and they’ve been doing that, I’ve been seeing them skate in the yard but now they’re asking for something else.

GC: It sounds like they’ve inherited a little bit of that “Where’s the rest?” of the stimulation.

DZ: Uh- huh.

GC: Oh that’s great. Going back to the Confessions album for a minute, Gotta Get To You was the video that got shown on MTV. If memory serves, it featured HR PufNStuf jumping down from the stage, Robert Wagner and a fat half time groove. Can you talk a bit about the making of the video, the construction of the song and your approach to that solo?

DZ: Yes it was HR PufnStuf , even funnier was the fact that it was actually Robert Wagner in the HR Pufnstuf costume.

GC: (laughs) That’s hysterical! Don’t you also see him another time in the video?

DZ: Yeah it starts out where he’s a lounge singer, saying “Hi, this is Phil Beazly, welcome to” – I can’t remember exactly what he says – then it goes into the video and I had Robert Wagner in 3 or 4 videos that I made so it was just this running joke that he was always in my video.

GC: I remember seeing it and feeling like, with the odd-time signatures, the intense skill it took to play it, that the fact that THIS was the song you got onto MTV was a subversive triumph for musicians everywhere.

DZ: Well I appreciate that. The solo definitely has some tricky parts to it. When I had to play it live and I tried to relearn what I had done, I was like, this is ridiculous!

GC: (laughing)

DZ: There was a lot of finger-tapping stuff at the end of it. I used to do a lot of that stuff and I don’t do it hardly at all at this point because I have a whole other approach to some of the intervallic sounding kind of stuff.

GC: Over the intro, just before you start playing (sings first signature lick of song), there’s this incredibly fast clean kind of muted sound, I’m guessing it’s a guitar although I can’t for the life of me fathom how you could get such a clean mute from a guitar, it’s more like someone put a towel over an xlyophone and does this wild run down it.

DZ: No it’s palm muting when you hear me do something like that.  I know there’s something that happens – I did something weird with harmonics, where I had my finger over the seventh fret and I tapped something up higher in the A minor position, and it brought out these other harmonics, so it sounds like these weird pulled-off harmonics – I don’t recall if it was over the intro or later in the song – that might be one of the things you’re talking about.

GC: Did you get any crazy reactions to the video?

DZ: Oh people were entertained by it, because it was just a silly video, we had my brother dressed up like Milli Vanilli, we had the drummer with big giant Mickey Mouse hands, gloves on, all kinds of crazy, everything big bright colors like a Dr. Seuss cartoon, you know?

GC: It’s kind of amazing that it got on MTV.

DZ : Well they didn’t play it a LOT…

GC: (laughing)

DZ: But it did get on there.

GC: – You were very generous with sharing the spotlight on the Confessions album with a whole bunch of pretty big name guitarists. I get the impression that you like having other people inject themselves into your music and enjoy playing with other guitarists, but your goal is anything to improve the song.

DZ: Yeah well that was a really preposterous idea to begin with, like a heavy metal version of Staying Alive and then you put a bunch of different guitar players on it. That was a joke in and of itself. I wanted it to be the kind of thing where you actually took a fresh look at the song. Actually that song is kinda heavy, kind of cool, and then the solos, everybody sounds great on there, you know? So it’s not something you hear every day, and not like one of those bad jam sessions you get to see in a show where nobody got to rehearse anything, and it might be cool that these people are up there but what you’re hearing is not that good.

GC: And not that interesting, like the ends of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame shows.

DZ: Yeah.

GC: Do you think the impetus for you to do stuff like this might have been growing up seeing your Dad always having a great guitarist or two around him even though he was incredible in his own right?

DZ: Well, to me guitar playing was never a sport but it was kind of like this thing of, if somebody’s good at something, why not have more of what they’re good at? So, what’s better than one guitar solo? How about five?

GC: (laughing)

DZ: From the best people around. That’s like a mini version of this other record I started a long time ago called What The Hell Was I Thinking? Which is a continuous piece of music that keeps changing and morphing from moment to moment, but it has about fifty different guitar players on it. When people finally hear that they’ll freak out because – the joke behind that is, what if you had a movie that had every famous actor all in one scene – as extras.

GC: (Laughing really hard)

DZ: You could have Jack Nicholson and Sylvester Stallone, sitting at a table, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is the waiter, all without a word of dialogue, you just see them in the background.

GC: That is funny.

DZ: When you hear all these people who are falling out of the speakers here or there, and you recognize them because they have signature sounds – some people you may not get straight away, some people you obviously would – you know it’s Eric Johnson when you hear Eric Johnson, you know Van Halen, you know Steve Vai. So it’s these things that happen that just make the piece of music funny to listen to, because moment to moment it’s a different style and the whole ambient domain is different. You could be traveling the world or traveling different sound spaces. My friend Blues Saraceno plays a solo and he used to always have only plaid guitars. So when his solo comes on, I did a piece of bagpipe music on guitar.

GC: (Laughing)

DZ: So….  there’s just all kinds of weird little things that happen in it.

GC: Do you feel like it’s close to done? Or should we forget about it and just be blown away when it comes?

DZ: I still need time to really finish it. There’s a few people I’d still like to get on it, like Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi and some different people that – my goal was to basically get as many people that were influences as possible but put them sort of out of context, hear them in ways you wouldn’t expect to hear them. That’s pretty much how it all works. And there’s newer players from recent years that I think people should hear, so there’s still more that I want to adjust.

GC: Moving on to the Z albums with your brother Ahmet, they sound like you guys were having a blast working together in the studio.

DZ: Oh yeah, we definitely had fun. The thing about those records is that there was no studio available when we were making them, so what we did was we sort of set up a makeshift studio at the rehearsal place. And so the actual gear and the sound quality of the stuff is not as good as it could have been. But we wanted to capture what we were doing in a place that we were comfortable doing it in. There’s some good playing and good performances but it would have made it much better had the actual recordings been better. We just didn’t have the budget or the right gear to do it exactly right. Ultimately I think there’s some fun material on there. And again, each record probably had about a dozen extra things that didn’t make it.


GC: When it’s time to put your daughters through college, boxed set. I’ll line up to get it. The title track of Shampoo Horn sounds like it can stand right alongside some of your father’s pieces. Not unlike Peaches En Regalia, it contains stately, processional melodies, sometimes enhanced by harmony.

DZ: That tune, we were actually going to play that on stage this year with Zappa Plays Zappa, because it’s a melody I always wanted to hear with other instrumentation than what was on the record, which was just guitar and a little bit of electric piano. But to hear it with horn, flute, other keyboards, I think the piece of music will have a new life.

GC: Was the Music For Pets album done the same way that Shampoo Horn was?

DZ: Music For Pets actually was done at the family home studio, the old UMRK (Utility Muffin Research Kitchen), but there were other issues at the time when it was being mixed. There were some problems with the console. We didn’t really know exactly what was going on with it at the time but certain stuff, as it turns out, wasn’t really passing the full frequency response so we were having a hard time mixing anything cuz it just wasn’t translating right.

GC: And yet I think it comes across as, I don’t know if you remember the second album that came out from the original Jeff Beck Group? With the apple on the cover, where it has that ragged, just glorious raw sound?

DZ: In the days of making those records I wasn’t trying to go for anything super slick. But I think what I’d like to do at some point is actually go back to all those records and see if they could be mixed so that the music could speak a little bit better.  Still have virtually the same sound but just a little bit – some of that stuff has just a little bit of a masking issue, where you can’t fully hear all the parts that are in there.

GC: I actually thought as I listened that, while certainly different, the production might have been a case of consciously trying to keep it raw.

DZ: Well, definitely it was. I think, on Shampoo Horn, I purposely stayed away from compression, we didn’t use it on anything. We wanted it to sound like, if you’re in the room and you put a boombox tape machine at the time, recording what the band sounded like, that’s pretty much what it sounded like, one mic from a tape machine. We were just kinda making it sound like what the band sounded like. But there are ways to do that and have it be more like a traditional production. You put the right mics up in the right place and there’s no mistaking that John Bonham is playing the drums, you know what I mean?

GC: A real highlight from Music For Pets for me was Boogledang. It sounded like you were taking the snarl and attitude of ZZ Top but with a wicked slicing syncopation. The way the chords slice against that 4, 4, 5 rhythm or whatever, is just great.

DZ: There’s definitely some weird stuff in there that, when you hear it, you think it’s one thing but then you try to learn it and you’re like wait a minute!

GC: Those are the kind of things that grab me as a listener, a little bit of rhythmic confusion always pulls me right in.

DZ: Yeah, that too. That song we actually have played live two summers ago, cuz it was like a silly summertime song and we’d have the audience sing along, even though they didn’t know what the hell they were singing.

GC: (laughs)

DZ: That was pretty good.

GC: The album Go With What You Know is the one that, for me, stands up alongside Confessions as being just as strong. When I heard the opening song Love Ride I was just knocked out because it’s fantastic but so different than anything I might have expected from you.

DZ: Well it was really about the melody of that chorus. I thought it had an interesting melody so I wanted to make it sound like it really was a song from outer space. There’s the whole intro where it sounds like a satellite getting lost out there in the middle of space. Oh and my wife just let me know that my next interview has arrived.

GC: Is it alright if I cherry pick just two more questions from my list?

DZ: Go for it, sure.

GC: – On Preludumus Maximus, the orchestra sounds real, but at one point the strings seem to morph into pipe organ. Can you give me a little idea what was going on there?

DZ:  Well this is the first record I’ve made that was all done with computer. Everything else I’ve done prior to this was you just record something to a tape machine of some bits. This I had an opportunity to play with MIDI programming which I had never done before, so I wanted to see what I could do, and I just wrote this weird little piece of music that was like scoring a film. And then it turns into the song Rhythmatist which was, when I was putting the whole thing together, that song never had any orchestration on it before but because of the intro then I decided to put that stuff on to that song. Rhythmatist was recorded during the Shampoo Horn sessions.

GC: No kidding.

DZ: That is a holdover from that. Then I just put that all together. That was one of the more experimental songs because it was how to incorporate using programmed stuff to an already recorded, not to click track, rhythm track. That was very time consuming to place in the parts that went onto that because none of it was ever done to a click. So I literally had to map out where all of the – anything I wanted to place in there I would either have to map out by finding a kick or a snare or a tom tom hit and placing  MIDI notes to synchronize there and choosing what notes to turn them into. So it was a very strange, time-consuming process.

GC: Your mention of the kick and snare will choose my last question: when you’re composing, how much do you come up with what the bass player and drummer will be doing? I know your Dad was fairly exacting.

DZ: He was very specific. And he had the ability to just write it on the page and say “here, play this.” I don’t have that skill but I have ideas of what I want to be able to do and what I want to accomplish for the listener. I may have to explain it in less musical terms at first. I’ve gotten to know over the years more of the terminology for the ideas and the sounds to continue to have those be available to me. For example, certain drum figures, if you go back to Obviously Influenced By The Devil, there’s a bunch of weird things that happen where the time changes, it goes to half time, or the beat turns around, and those kind of moments are specific requests from me. I’m saying I want to take a figure, I want to keep playing the figure on the guitar the same way but I want it to feel like where the phrase is placed is changing around the bar line. So I’ll experiment and the drummer is playing different things and I’ll say I like that but I want to do more of this.

GC: Gotcha.

DZ: It’s that kinda thing. And sometimes I may have a specific figure I want them to do and then I will work the guitar around that. It’s a little combination of all of those things.

GC: Well thank you so much,  Dweezil; I really appreciate it.

DZ: Yeah, no problem. Thank you.

To keep up with Dweezil Zappa please visit: dweezilzappa.com

Have a look at our current issue of “American Guitars”

Featured Interviews with Joe Bonamassa, and Greg Howe as well as  Luthiers Gabriel Currie from EchoPark Guitars, John Monteleone, and a look at Benedetto Guitars after 48 years by CEO Howard Paul. The Photographers Vault by Derek Brad of his shoot of Joe Bonamassa at the State Theatre.

If you don’t have the app yet get on over to the App Store if you are an IOS and Download here.
Android users can grab it on google play.
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