Zappa Documentary

MntnMan62

Junior Member
I just read that there is a documentary coming out about the late great Frank Zappa. Zappa has been a huge musical influence to me during the course of my life. I was first introduced to Zappa when I was around 13 by the older brother of a friend of mine. I remember hanging out at their house and we would listen to Apostrophe and Overnight Sensation. This was 1975. Since then I've listened to everything he's put out from Freak Out! all the way to You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore series of albums. I saw Frank play Halloween at The Palladium in NYC. I saw 200 Motels in the movie theater near me that specialized in rock movies. I saw Baby Snakes in the theater as well and was lucky enough to snag a ticket to the Grand Opening of the movie in NYC that Frank attended and introduced beforehand. And after FZ died I've seen some of the copy bands such as Project/Object with Ike Willis on guitar and vocals. I've also seen Dweezil with ZPZ a whole bunch of times. I caught shows in Manhattan's Madison Square Garden Theater, Montclair's Wellmont Theater and LA's Wiltern Theater. I caught Dweezil's back up band without Dweezil doing instrumental Zappa music at LA's The Baked Potato. And lastly I caught the Ahmet production of the "Hologram" show. It's this last show that I want to comment on. I thought the show was one of the worst Zappa shows I've ever seen. The hologram was a joke. It was cartoon like and hardly life like. The stage set up had 3 band members on one side of the stage and 3 on the other. They were crammed off to the sides as if they were an afterthought. And then inexplicably Ahmet comes out and starts talking. He went on and on and on about nothing. And then horrifyingly he then proceeds to SING! He can't sing. And to think he was responsible for producing this ridiculous farce of a show. I won't say that the band was bad. They were good. Well, most of them. The bass player was Scott Thunes. I think he was probably Frank's least musical bass player he ever had. And Ahmet stole Dweezil's drummer Joe Travers who is awesome. I vowed to never go see another Ahmet production ever again. I felt that what Ahmet and his mother did to Dweezil making him change the name of his "band" from Zappa Plays Zappa to Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa was a complete crock. Here is Dweezil turning himself into a student of his father's music and fielding a top notch band that was able to very respectably recreate Frank's music live so some of us could continue to enjoy what we spent much of our lives listening to. And what is Ahmet doing? Running around on stage cracking jokes and acting like a clown and then bastardizing his father's music by trying to sing to it......miserably. And this comes to my point. Ahmet is a producer of this documentary. Nowhere do I see any mention of Dweezil. So, I'm very skeptical that this thing will be "all that". I sure won't go see it in a theater. And I sure won't pay for it on Pay Per View. I'll wait to see it when it's free. I know, I'm being negative. It could end up being good. But Ahmet's track record isn't very good. He's 0 for 2 thus far. Suing to stop his brother and the hologram tour, both duds. Will he go 0 for 3?
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I'll disagree to a point on the hologram tour. You're right, the hologram itself was basically dumb. And you're right again that Ahmet made a fool of himself with literally everything he did on stage. BUT, it was all worth it because the band was damn good, and they played arrangements we've never heard before. Weird stage layout and a very poor view of the drumset which another 12 inches of riser height would have easily fixed, sure. But man, at least in Rochester they sounded fantastic, a real treat for the ears.
And come on, criticizing a Zappa bass player as "least among a whole bunch" is like comparing Honzo swords.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
It sounds like you agree with me on most of what I've said. As for the band, I never said they were bad. In fact, I said they were good, quote, unquote. The tunes were well played. How can you go wrong with Joe Travers, Ray White, Mike Keneally, Robert Martin, Scott Thunes and Ed Mann? I only mentioned Thunes because I am not a fan of his. I would have rather seen Patrick O"Hearn or Arthur Barrow than Thunes. My point was that I was really comparing that band to the bands fielded by Dweezil. And while his bands are made up of people who have not played with Frank, the band is top notch and pull off Frank's music impeccably. And he does often have guests who were in Frank's bands. I've seen Steve Vai, Napoleon Murphy Brock, and Terry Bozzio at some of the shows I've attended. And apparently Ray White, Vinnie Colaiuta, Ike Willis, Chester Thompson, Jean Luc Ponty, George Duke and many others have been guests at some shows. My main complaint was about the overall show as it compared to Dweezil's shows which I found to be far more entertaining and enjoyable. In other words, I would not go see another Ahmet produced show of Frank's music while I'd most definitely go back to see Dweezil's shows when things open up again after Covid. So, it sounds like the only thing we disagree on was my mentioning of Thunes. Bottom line, I'll never give Ahmet a dime of my money.
 
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Alain Rieder

Silver Member
I have no idea about the film, but it is meant to show footage that has never been seen before. I have invested a little money in it and should receive the DVD one of the days.

The music of Frank Zappa has had a big impact on me as a musician since I was 14.
I have seen ten FZ concerts in all, the first one being the Montreux concert that ended in a fire, when I was 16 in 1971. The second one was with Ralph Humphrey, with whom I ended up studying at the Musicians Institute. I also got to see FZ with Bozzio, with Vinnie, etc.

I refrained from going to see Dweezil twice, thinking I prefer my memories of the real FZ bands.
The Zappa family have had their problems, but they have released quite a few gems recently, like the Hot Rats Sessions box set.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
I have no idea about the film, but it is meant to show footage that has never been seen before. I have invested a little money in it and should receive the DVD one of the days.

The music of Frank Zappa has had a big impact on me as a musician since I was 14.
I have seen ten FZ concerts in all, the first one being the Montreux concert that ended in a fire, when I was 16 in 1971. The second one was with Ralph Humphrey, with whom I ended up studying at the Musicians Institute. I also got to see FZ with Bozzio, with Vinnie, etc.

I refrained from going to see Dweezil twice, thinking I prefer my memories of the real FZ bands.
The Zappa family have had their problems, but they have released quite a few gems recently, like the Hot Rats Sessions box set.
Wow, some amazing experiences right there! Not seeing ZpZ is silly tho, its some of the greatest live music to see imho, go enjoy!! They wont erase the luster of your memorable experiences.
 
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