About Dweezil Zappa
Dweezil Zappa is the son of Frank Zappa, so it was inevitable that from the moment of his birth, his life would be filled wall-to wall with music (his father having listed his religion as 'musician' on Dweezil's birth certificate).
Dweezil's early years were spent largely away from the spotlight, something of a rarity for the child of a celebrity, but perfect for cultivating a close relationship with his family.
Having watched his father perform concerts from the side of the stage since he was in diapers, it was no surprise that he began to show an interest in music early on. At 6 years old, he received his first guitar, a Fender Music Master from his dad.
Having primarily heard the music his father was working on or listening to at home while growing up, Dweezil soon found himself exposed to some new sounds on the radio. Besides his father's music he began listening to the Beatles, Queen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Like many aspiring guitarists of his generation, Dweezil's ear was caught in a stranglehold by the trailblazing guitar styles of Edward Van Halen and Randy Rhoads.
He listened to their records for hours on end trying to figure out a way to translate what he was hearing in his head to his fingers at the other end of the guitar. Along the way, he had opportunities to ask his dad for some help, but to gain more fundamental knowledge of technique and scales, Dweezil was fortunate to have some assistance from one of the musicians in his father's band at that time, Steve Vai.
"Steve made a notebook, which I still have, of scales and exercises and I practiced the stuff from that book at least 5 hours a day."
Dweezil became remarkably proficient in a very short amount of time due to his intense practicing sessions. In 1982, at the age of 12, he made his first onstage appearance with his father's band at the Hammersmith Odeon in London. "That was a great experience. I was so excited to have been asked to play, but I was incredibly nervous. Since I could only really play lead in the key of A, Frank devised a hand signal for the band to modulate the song 'Stevie's Spanking' down to A from its original key of B. After I finished my solo, he gave the cue for the band to modulate back up. It was so cool how he had so much control over the music, it almost seemed like a magic trick to me. It made a big impression on me and has stuck with me my whole life." Later that year, Dweezil recorded his first single, 'My Mother Is A Space Cadet', released on Frank Zappa's Barking Pumpkin label and produced by non other than Edward Van Halen.
Since 2006, Dweezil has been touring with his father's music under the name 'Zappa Plays Zappa' with an impressive list of band members and guest musicians.