Who the hell names their brand new little baby boy Dweezil? That’s a rhetorical question. I know the answer, and so do most of you. Frank Zappa and his wife Gail is who. The two named their other kids Ahmet Emuukha Rodan, Diva Muffin, and Moon Unit, but we’re not going there.
- Thursday, May 4, 2017, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$38 - $75
In truth, Dweezil’s given name is Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa. The backstory is that the hospital wouldn’t allow for Dweezil, but so be it. You have to wonder how much weight that name put on the boy. Perhaps it explains his chosen profession of touring the country and both performing and explaining his eccentric father.
Dweezil, born in 1969, is a ripping guitar hero and an affable storyteller in the mold of his songwriter/producer/filmmaker father, whose famous surname Zappa has almost no legal right to use, at least in a public performance context. In a story posted last year, the Los Angeles Times mentioned that the Zappa Family Trust (administered by brother Ahmet) prohibits Zappa’s oldest kid from touring as “Zappa Plays Zappa” or even “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa,” due to royalties and copyright issues.
There’s a local connection: Frank Zappa’s itinerant family lived here during the mid-1950s when Zappa was a teen. The Real Frank Zappa Book details his brief time at Mission Bay High School, performing a first gig (on drums) in North Park, and purchasing a record player from Valley Music in El Cajon.
Years later, after Frank Zappa had made his bones and was nearing the end of his life, local guitarist Mike Keneally made the cut and toured with the maestro for a couple of years. One wonders if Dweezil might call him up to the stage when he next plays San Diego. Keneally knows all of Zappa’s book, including the deepest Mothers of Invention cuts that Dweezil’s band has been offering up on the current tour.