Dweezil Zappa is not taking this cease and desist issue lightly. The son of Frank Zappa has changed the name of his tour as a response to a cease and desist letter he got from the Zappa Family Trust. Dweezil’s snarky response to his siblings’ legal action will result in the “50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F**k He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour.”
According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Dweezil Zappa issued a statement on his rechristened tour name after he was threatened with trademark infringement for using his late father’s name on his previously named “Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa” tour. For 10 years, Dweezil’s original tour was named “Zappa Plays Zappa.”
“Even though Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa was well within my rights to use, I decided to use the name my father gave me to avoid further harassment from my siblings, Ahmet and Diva,” Dweezil said in a statement.
The name change came after Dweezil’s attorneys received a letter from the Family Trust’s lawyers reminding them that it owns the Zappa Plays Zappa trademark and reiterating that Dweezil is not allowed to use either of his previous tour names until a licensing agreement can be reached. The letter reportedly stated that the Trust hopes the matter can be resolved and that Dweezil will be able to operate under the ZPZ marks in the future.
The name change is the latest twist in the Zappa family feud that started after Gail Zappa died last year, leaving the control of the Zappa Family Trust in the hands of just two of her and Frank’s children, Ahmet and Diva. Gail Zappa had always been protective of her late husband’s name and legacy and worked diligently to keep anyone away who might profit off of his art.
Dweezil and his sister Moon Zappa are not trustees of the estate, but they are both beneficiaries.
Dweezil Zappa’s expletive-titled tour will focus on the Mothers of Invention album Freak Out, which turns 50 this year. The tour starts July 1 in New Mexico and runs until July 22, ending in Norway.
Dweezil Zappa recently fired back at his brother Ahmet in a statement posted on his blog, in which he chastised him for posting an open letter detailing their family matters. Dweezil explained why he felt he should be able to continue to use his father’s name on the tour and boasted that he’s the only Zappa kid who is even capable of performing their father’s music at a professional level. Dweezil said no one else in else in the family has a use for the Zappa Plays Zappa name.
Dweezil also revealed that according to the Zappa Family Trust, he had to change the name of his tribute show from Zappa Plays Zappa to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa or he “risked copyright infringement damages of $150,000 each time he played a song without proper permission.”
Ahmet Zappa posted an open letter to his brother Dweezil on Facebook to try to get him to respond to their ongoing issues, insisting he is not treated any differently than any of the Zappa siblings. Ahmet made it sound like any Zappa kid can perform Frank’s music for the low price of $1 per year for licensing.
Even with all of the legal red tape, Dweezil Zappa has vowed to continue to perform his late father’s music in his long-running traveling tribute show.
“I will continue to play our father’s music publicly,” Dweezil wrote on his blog. “Not because it’s a lucrative business, especially when substantial monies are withheld from me and expenses continue to rise, but because it is a labor of love for me.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the official name of Dweezil’s tour will actually be Dweezil Zappa. But somehow his spinoff name is a lot more catchy.
Take a look at the video below to see Dweezil Zappa playing his father’s music.
[Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images]