MUSIC BOX: Zappa Plays (Whatever the [email protected]%k He Wants)

By on October 4, 2016

Dweezil Zappa keeps a legacy alive; Sean Hayes brings low-fi grit.

At the Garter on Friday Dweezil Zappa melds his father’s musical sensibilities with his own virtuosic guitar chops.

At the Garter on Friday Dweezil Zappa melds his father’s musical sensibilities with his own virtuosic guitar chops.

JACKSON HOLE, WY – What I’ve noticed about unwieldy Frank Zappa fans is that they rarely put one casual foot in the circle. Instead they often dive into the oddball and exhausting catalog that surrounds the absurdist genius. Perhaps it’s the blistering, exploratory guitar solos or the hardnosed opposition to government encroachment that strikes the loudest chord for listeners on the 68 or so official releases.

Zappa heads have the geeky love and dedication comparable to the cult followings of The Grateful Dead, Phish and Rush. It’s sacred. So it goes without saying that Dweezil Zappa’s upcoming show at the Pink Garter is something of an otherworldly gathering. By the way, his birth name was Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa.

Dweezil—a virtuoso guitarist in his own right—is one of four Zappa children along with Ahmet, Diva and Moon. Though Dweezil has been touring under the name Zappa Plays Zappa and playing his father’s music for the last decade, the family drama that has unfolded put a stop to Dweezil using the name. In response, the name of the current tour—Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the [email protected]%k He Wants: The Cease and Desist Tour—reflects his mentality as well as the 50th anniversary of his father’s album Freak Out!

As reported by Rolling Stone, roots of the squabble lie in the children’s relationship with their mother, Gail, who put siblings Ahmet and Diva in charge of business operations as well as a larger percentage of the Estate before she passed away last year. Frank died in 1993.

“All my efforts to do this, to protect my ability to do this, are so that I can continue to play and so that the music isn’t overshadowed by any drama,” Dweezil told Rolling Stone. “There is a difference between protecting the music and preventing people from hearing it. I’d love for people to experience Frank’s music. I’m not a victim, but I did want to stand up for what feels right.”

Dweezil will feature obscure songs from Freak Out! during the set including “Who Are the Brain Police?” “The Return of the Son of the Monster Magnet,” and “It Can’t Happen Here,” the latter of which includes purposefully out-of-tune singing via multiple over dubs. Dweezil describes this era of his father’s as “dangerous” with “insane distortion, noise, aggro feedback.”

Learning from his father’s band mates and world-class guitarists Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen, Dweezil was exposed to the music industry very early in his life. Van Halen even produced his first single when Dweezil was just 12 years old. He went on to work as an MTV VJ in the 80s, and since the early 90s, has been composing a 75-minute piece featuring guitar solos by dozens of famous players. Dweezil has done some theme music scoring while making appearances as an actor as well (including music for the film Jack Frost and the TV sitcom Normal Life).

According to Dweezil’s website, his current band includes pianist/vocalist Chris Norton, bassist Kurt Morgan, drummer Ryan Brown, guitarist Pete Jones, and new comer vocalist Mikki Hommel. Along with the Zappa material, the band has also been playing an epic 100-plus song that’s more than 25 minutes of 80s covers.

Dweezil Zappa, 9 p.m. Friday at the Pink Garter Theatre. $35/GA, $59/VIP. PinkGarterTheatre.com or 733-1500.

Singer-songwriter Sean Hayes makes his Wyoming debut Friday at Town Square Tavern .

Singer-songwriter Sean Hayes makes his Wyoming debut Friday at Town Square Tavern .

Unpolished warmth with Sean Hayes

For San Francisco singer-songwriter Sean Hayes, being an independent artist for more than 20 years is a reflection that sits in a comfortable zone regarding what he has set out to do.

“My ambition has always been moderate. I’m a do-it-yourself guy,” Hayes commented before a soundcheck in New York City. “Just making a living doing what I do is some form of success. I worked in coffee shops and bars through much of that time, but about the last 10 years I’ve been full-time with music. There’s always more success to be had, though with two little boys at home, the perspective has shifted somewhat.”

Hayes recently released his eighth studio album, Low Light, an intimate set of pulsing R&B, low-fi grit, folk, and old-school country that was recorded both at home and in the studio. In the track ‘’Home I Left’’ Hayes sings of leaving San Francisco to Petaluma—“headed north with my young family, needed space to grow’’—and the album is structured to represent snapshots from his life in the four years since.

“When I moved to San Fran it had a bohemian/beat vibe, and had a mystical draw,” Hayes said. “It’s gotten very expensive in the last five years, so it’s not exactly the place young musicians are deciding to move to these days.”

Hayes will make his Wyoming and Jackson Hole debut with this show, with bass and drums as the foundation. PJH

Sean Hayes, 10 p.m. Friday at Town Square Tavern. $10. 733-3886.

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

161005music_planetpicks

161005music_planetpicks-2WEDnesday

Open Mic/Songwriter’s Alley (Silver Dollar)

THURsday

Mikel Wright & the Wrongs (Town Square Tavern)

FRIday

Dweezil Zappa (Pink Garter Theatre), Sean Hayes (Town Square Tavern), Twiddle with Kitchen Dwellers (Knotty Pine)

SATurday

Triggers & Slips (Silver Dollar)

SUNday

Open Mic (Pinky G’s)

Monday

JH Hootenanny (Dornan’s)

TUESday

One Ton Pig (Silver Dollar)

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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