“50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour” may be a trifle verbose for a standard theater marquee, but that’s the official name of the tour that Dweezil Zappa debuted on July 1, and it seems to be working out just fine. So fine, in fact, that the band recently added more than a dozen dates that will take the Cease and Desist show to venues in California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and other western states, according to JamBase.
After an October 8 show at the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins, Colorado and another down the road in Denver the following night, the tour will hit the road eastward, playing shows throughout the Midwest. A Kentucky show is now confirmed, as are two dates in Canada. The Cease and Desist Tour is set to perform Halloween night in Alexandria, Virginia before headlining shows in Georgia and Texas. As of this writing, the final show of the Cease and Desist Tour will happen at the legendary Tipitina’s in New Orleans on November 12.
In addition to the guitar virtuosity of Dweezil Zappa, The Cease and Desist tour features a six pack of world-class players who perform deep tracks from Frank Zappa’s debut album, Freak Out, along with unexpected, non-Zappa songs such as the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams are Made of This” and “Shout” by Tears for Fears. Both songs were popular in the 1980s, and neither requires Dweezil to pay the Zappa Family Trust for their use.
Zappa fans who show up at Cease and Desist Tour concerts sporting t-shirts bearing the famous “Imperial” mustachioed countenance of Dweezil’s dad definitely purchased the garments elsewhere. Why? Because younger brother Ahmet continues to act like a petulant brat, disallowing the sale of Frank Zappa-themed merch at Dweezil (or any) shows. Concert goers can, however, lay down a few dollars for a selection of creatively caustic tees, including one emblazoned with what appears to be a legal document that states the following.
“All persons named Dweezil Zappa are hereby ordered to cease and desist any and all use of the name and likeness of their father and to not perform any of his music anywhere on planet Earth.”
Technically, sanctioned vendors at Cease and Desist shows could sell FZ merchandise, but they would be required to hand over every dime they collect directly to the Zappa Family Trust, and where’s the fun in that?
In April, The New York Times reported that Dweezil was forced to change his band’s name from Zappa Plays Zappa to Dweezil Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa. Since that time, the Zappa Family Trust, which is run by Ahmet Zappa, applied its usual heavy-handed tactics, bullying Dweezil into changing the band name yet again. Ahmet’s reasons for doing so are unclear at this point, due to the fact that he doesn’t respond to requests for comment, says Rolling Stone magazine.
The band formerly known as Dweezil Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa and before that, Zappa Plays Zappa, has been the musical home of a host of excellent musicians. Dweezil wouldn’t have it any other way. Despite being labeled by some as “novelty music,” the compositions of Frank Zappa are quite complex in nature, and not just anyone can pull them off. The 2016 Cease and Desist Tour band lineup includes Pete Brown, Chris Norton, Ben Thomas, Kurt Morgan, Ryan Brown, and multi-instrumentalist, Scheila Gonzalez.
If you’d like to support Dweezil’s band as well as his right to play Frank Zappa compositions, you can buy a Cease and Desist t-shirt at his official website, DweezilZappaWorld.
[Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images]