Guitarist, composer and (occasional) actor Dweezil Zappa, as we all know is the son of the legendary Frank Zappa. As the story goes, when Dweezil was born, his father Frank listed the boy’s religion as “musician” and gave him a Fender Master when young Dweezil had turned 6. Learning directly from guitar heroes, Steve Vai, Eddie Van Halen and others, Dweezil Zappa became a renowned musician himself, releasing his first album, produced by Eddie Van Halen when he was 12. And although Dweezil has a long-held reputation as a musician in his own right as he won a Grammy in 2008, he has spent the better part of the past decade or so carrying on his father’s musical legacy by performing renditions of his father’s material with Napoleon Murphy Brock, Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio and others in Zappa Plays Zappa.
Dweezil Zappa’s forthcoming album, Via Zammata’ slated for a November 27 release marks his return to his own original music — and the album features collaborations with John Malkovich, who reads Plato’s Allegory of the Cave over one of Dweezil’s original composition and a posthumously released song that Dweezil wrote with his late and legendary father. As Dweezil explained in press notes “This whole record is about finding my own voice in the world of music. I decided to collect songs I had written from the past that I felt had strong bones and build new arrangements around them. I also wanted to write new material that would reflect my current musical state of mind. I’ve learned so much in the past 10 years of playing my father’s music. I wanted to be able to express new compositional, arranging and playing skills with my own new musical vocabulary.”
The album’s first single “Dragon Master” is the only song that Frank and Dweezil had a chance to collaborate on. Frank had written the lyrics back in 1988 and he had asked Dweezil to write music to his lyrics. According to Dweezil: “At that time, heavy metal was topping the charts and my dad was lampooning the genre with his lyrics. For this record, I decided to fully embrace the epic metal-osity of his lyrics and create a deadly serious face melting riff to back them up.” The single begins with an oud, blistering heavy metal power chords and Frank’s utterly ridiculous, 80s-inspired metal lyrics about Satan and other subjects sung by Shawn Albro, who was once a member of U.P.O. Yeah, the song’s lyrics are stupid as hell but holy shit the song kicks ass — and it’s a lot of fun.