Family Trust Forces Dweezil Zapps To Play Frank Zappa
May 2, 2016 at 4:13 PM (PT)
Guitarist DWEEZIL ZAPPA, son of eclectic rock artist FRANK ZAPPA, has been forced to change the name of his ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA tour to DWEEZIL ZAPPA PLAYS FRANK ZAPPA. “It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue,” he told the NEW YORK TIMES, “but this is being done under duress.”
The name change seems to be due to interfamily squabbles between ZAPPA and the family trust, which is run by two other ZAPPA children: son AHMET, who controls the day-to-day operations of the business; and daughter DIVA. DWEEZIL and his sister MOON are not trustees, but all four children are beneficiaries, and tensions have flared between the two sides over the ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA tours and a recent KICKSTARTER campaign for a documentary film.
This month, the ZAPPA FAMILY TRUST informed DWEEZIL that he did not have permission to tour as ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA — the name is a trademark owned by the trust — and that he risked copyright infringement damages of $150,000 each time he played a song without proper permission.
“I am not standing in the way of DWEEZIL playing the music,” AHMET said in a separate interview. “He would just have to be in accordance with the family trust.” Praising DWEEZIL as a supremely talented guitarist and “the funniest dude” AHMET speculated that “Maybe he’s grieving. For all of us it’s been superemotional.”
DWEEZIL’s response: “There is obvious deceit in my brother’s response. His actions speak louder than words ... 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.”
The DWEEZIL ZAPPA PLAYS FRANK ZAPPA tour will begin in JULY.