Earlier this month, we reported on the divide amongst Frank Zappa’s children over a Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise funds for an official documentary and to “save the vault” holding all of Frank’s archival materials. Today, the New York Times reports the family feud runs deep and has led guitarist Dweezil Zappa to change the name of his Zappa Plays Zappa tribute project.
Zappa Plays Zappa will now be known as “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa.” Dweezil discussed the decision with the Times noting, “It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but this is being done under duress.” Ahmet Zappa, another of Frank’s offspring, took over control of the Zappa Family Trust with his sister Diva following Gail Zappa’s death last year. The Times reports the ZFT owns the trademark to Zappa Plays Zappa.
Ahmet, through the trust, recently informed Dweezil he couldn’t use the name anymore and “that he risked copyright infringement damages of $150,000 each time he played a song without proper permission.” Dweezil told the Times, “My last name is Zappa; my father was Frank Zappa, but I am not allowed to use the name on its own. I’m not allowed to use a picture of him. I’m not allowed to use my own connection with him without some sort of deal to be struck.”
Dweezil Zappa also revealed his intention to stop using images of his father at his shows and to stop selling official FZ merch on tour. Ahmet weighed in and told the Times, “I am not standing in the way of Dweezil playing the music, he would just have to be in accordance with the family trust.” According to Dweezil and the Times, Gail Zappa had charged him an “exorbitant fee” to use the Zappa Plays Zappa name in the past. Head to NYTimes.com for more about this unfortunate situation.
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