“The ghost of Frank Zappa keeps appearing in my dreams and bugging me to do mass overdubs on stuff from his catalog,” says Tony Villodas. As “Tony Mind controle,” he posts music at MySpace.com/IsItFrankZappa that he claims is cocreated with the deceased musician…from beyond the grave.
“When we talk in my dreams,” says Villodas, “we don’t disagree about tobacco and medical marijuana issues like I thought we would because it doesn’t come up. Frank’s all business.” That business includes a reworked version of Villodas’s own musical elegy “Threnody for Frank Zappa,” overdubbed with snippets of dozens of early Zappa songs.
“He kept telling me to work in excerpts of his music, from as many of his albums as I could fit in, with me doing the overdubs myself, probably because he wants to promote his early Mothers [of Invention] catalog.”
Why would a dead man want promotion?
“Zappa’s very obsessed with providing for his family,” says Villodas, “even after death.”
Villodas says he’s not a Zappa fanatic.
“I’m not even a collector of Zappa’s music. I’m a great admirer of his band and his serious music, but I like Ornette Coleman and Captain Beefheart the most.”
As for the legality of using bits of Zappa’s music...
“It doesn’t serve me financially to promote Frank’s catalog. I use discorporated bits of his music dubbed on top of my song, but there are no literal samples, and I don’t use more than four measures at a time. I feel like this about it – so sue me for working on an homage to one of this century’s finest, most prolific composers. So far, so good; no cease-and-desist letters from Gail and Dweezil Zappa or Munchkin Music.”
Villodas appears with Sheri Lopez on Friday, November 14, on the TV show Yourself Presents, which airs on Cox public access Channel 23.