Gorgeous tones and superlative phrasing in this Zappa Plays Zappa reading of “The Torture Never Stops.” Dweezil has been atop his game for awhile now.

Ian Donald Calvin Euclid

Here we have Dweezil Zappa with Frank’s famous burned-in-Miami-by-Hendrix Strat. In ’92 when this ad was out Dweezil made a guest appearance on the Spinal Tap album Break Like the Wind. The band Z would’ve been on the horizon at this time. Scanned from Guitar School, July 1992.

From the Rooney Archive.

Have you seen this site? The Guitar Vaults offers an online registry for guitars and forum for circulating information about stolen instruments. As TGV describe their services:

Guitar theft is big business and is allowed to thrive in part because, once gone, guitars are very difficult to track down. If (a registered guitar is) lost or stolen, you can let the community know through this site. So, if any instrument should ever come up for sale, potential buyers can search theguitarvaults records and satisfy themselves of the validity of the seller’s claims of ownership.

Read more, watch an introductory video by Dweezil Zappa, or browse the current selection of missing axes at TGV.

Right here.

The former Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa.

Here’s our first example of any Zappa in the ephemera category, Dweezil on behalf of Peavey. Though the ad makes no mention of it, ’94 was the age of Dweezil’s (and bro Ahmet’s) band Z and their album Shampoohorn.

Scanned from Guitar for the Practicing Musician, November 1994.

Guitarist Jamie Kime, a member of Zappa Plays Zappa since its inception, has announced his departure from the group after nearly six years. From his Facebook page:

This group consistently kicked ass and played on a level higher than any band I’ve ever known or been a part of. There wasn’t a single show that I didn’t get chills playing “Peaches..”, or “Sofa”, or “Village Of The Sun”, or “Andy”, or….., and I’m leaving this band 50x the musician I was coming into it as a result.

Kime expressly thanks Dweezil and Gail Zappa and predicts that he will collaborate with ZPZ members in the future.

As sometimes happens, I found myself witnessing several unique musical moments this week. Friday, 08.26, I had the privilege of seeing Zappa Plays Zappa opening for Return to Forever at Kansas City’s historic Midland Theater. ZPZ was stunning, as usual, rolling out highlights like “Po-Jama People,” “Willie the Pimp,” “Big Swifty” and “King Kong,” which featured a jaw-dropping duel between Dweezil Zappa and special guest Chick Corea. Though Dweezil is clearly the featured soloist, second guitarist Jamie Kime also displayed stellar style, technique and tone during his one and only lead break. I ran into him outside the venue after the show and said I wished there would’ve been more. His response: “I wish I could’ve given you more.” Indeed.

Dweezil et al.

Headliners Return to Forever played a complex and elegant set packed with the dazzling virtuosity you’d expect. The reunited version of the band features legacy members Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White, plus formidable additions violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and guitarist Frank Gambale. Aside from stunning solos, that pair also delivered intricate unison lines that decorated the serpentine compositions. Dreamy stuff.

Gambale. Hatted.

I had the great fortune of possessing a “meet & greet” pass for this show. These sessions are usually enjoyable, if brief. What I didn’t expect was that those of us with said passes would be permitted to watch the final three songs of the RTF set from the wings of stage right. Standing ten feet away from Chick Corea playing grand piano, looking across the stage into the watchful gaze of Lenny White was very powerful. Afterward, four of the the fusion legends (Ponty was not in attendance) were exceedingly gracious with their time. It was one for the books, I tell ya.

Matchless

Sunday, 08.28, I took in a performance by country baritone and heartthrob Josh Turner … at a convention of veterinary professionals. Eh, it’s a long story. Anyway, I didn’t catch his current touring guitarist’s name and for the life of me can’t track down on the web (I’ve scoured every page—does anyone know it?), but he was very handy with a Telecaster and was playing through the sweet amp above.

Weird weekend.

No, we’re not talking about the John Waters flick. There’s a 57-minute documentary about the infamous wah pedal available online right now. As the video is described on Vimeo:

Musicians, engineers, and historians discuss the impact of the pedal on popular music and demonstrate the various ways it has been used, as well as how its evolution has improved the ability of artists to express themselves musically.

Eddie Van Halen, Paul Gilbert, Dweezil Zappa, Dennis Coffey and other guitarists  …

(E)xplain how a musical novelty transcended convention and has become timelessly woven into the fabric of modern pop-culture.

Great stuff.

Check the Vimeo page right here.

If you follow guitarists on the web, for the past several days it’s been difficult to escape the flow of NAMM-related traffic. Understandably so—the concentration of industry personalities and shiny, fresh gear is indeed something to write home about. Peter Hodgson of I Heart Guitar has been filing lots of great reports, including a summary of  Paul Reed Smith’s new Dweezil Zappa Limited Run Private Stock Semi-Hollow Electric:

The dramatically different shape of the mandolin inspired body is a departure from any body shape PRS has ever created, and the rowdy bass and treble clef inlay motif pays homage to the Zappa family legacy of eclectic playfulness. Dweezil’s personal model and the limited run of 50 are, however, unmistakably PRS.

Man, the thing is a beauty.

Jump over to IHG to read more and have a look. Right here.

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