Dweezil Zappa at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
Friday, April 28, 2017, Dweezil Zappa inside the South Shore Room at Harrah's Lake Tahoe. TicketMaster.com
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 Zappa’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. It wasn't until he was 12 that he began to show a serious interest in manipulating the instrument to make music. 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.
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. Dweezil became remarkably proficient in a very short amount of time due to his intense practicing sessions.
Later that year he recorded his first single, “My Mother Is A Space Cadet”, produced by Edward Van Halen and released on Frank Zappa’s Barking Pumpkin label.
In 1984, Dweezil contributed guitar solos to both “Stevie’s Spanking” and “Sharleena” on Frank’s album Them Or Us.
In 1986, Dweezil made his debut in Hollywood as an actor with his role in the classic 80s film “Pretty In Pink." 1987 saw Dweezil raise his profile further with another film role alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mick Fleetwood in "The Running Man."
In television he worked as a guest MTV VJ. During that same period he recorded and released his first full length album, Havin’ A Bad Day. This album contained the single “Let’s Talk About It” which featured Moon Zappa on vocals and found itself on regular rotation on MTV. The video featured cameo appearances from Frank Zappa, Robert Wagner, Don Johnson and Jane Fonda as well.
Around this same time, Dweezil made his own cameo appearances on records for a variety of diverse artists. He played a solo on the Fat Boys "Baby You're A Rich Man” as well as on the Grammy Nominated cover of "Wipeout" with Herbie Hancock and Terry Bozzio from the "Back To The Beach" film soundtrack. He was asked to join Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bonnie Raitt in contributing guitar performances to Miami Vice star Don Johnson's solo album. While Dweezil actually played on the song "The Last Sound Love Makes" it was his appearance in the video for Don Johnson’s single “Heartbeat" that would most notably link him to the project.
1988 saw Dweezil sign a deal with Chrysalis Records, releasing his second album My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama.
More TV work followed in 1990 Dweezil and Moon Zappa starred with Laverne And Shirley legend Cindy Williams in a sitcom for CBS titled Normal Life.
With the release of his third album Confessions in 1991, Dweezil began to branch out musically, blending his heavy rock approach with touches of his father’s distinct compositional insignia. Guest appearances on this album pointed the way toward the future for Dweezil, including contributions from Nuno Bettencourt , Gary Cherone and Pat Badger of Extreme and legendary guitarists Warren DeMartini, Steve Lukather and Zakk Wylde as well as Frank Zappa sidemen Mike Keneally and Scott Thunes. Both Moon and Ahmet Zappa also added vocals to the album. Dweezil conceived and directed 2 videos from the album, 'Gotta Get To You' and 'Vanity' both of which featured Robert Wagner as a guest star. Robert Wagner has appeared in 4 of Dweezil's videos as well as the "Music For Pets" infomercial spoof.