Today, a premier live music hologram production company, Eyellusion, announced that it’s working with the Zappa Family Trust to create a new touring performance featuring hologram performances of the iconic and eccentric musician, Frank Zappa. Dubbed Frank Zappa – Back On The Road: The Hologram Tour, production for the performances begin later in 2017, with the show dates to be announced later in 2018.
In a press release, Ahmet Zappa, co-Trustee of the Zappa Family Trust noted that artists such as Steve Vai, Ian Underwood, Adrian Belew, Arthur Barrow, Vinnie Colaiuta, Scott Thunes, Mike Keneally, Denny Walley, Warren Cuccurullo, and Napoleon Murphy Brock “are committed to being part of this epic endeavor . . . [and] were excited at the prospect of performing alongside Frank once again.” Ahmet also stated that this new hologram program will feature Frank Zappa playing both his most well-known music in addition to rare and unheard material. He continued, “But if that wasn’t enough Zappa coolness, we’re also planning on staging Joe’s Garage The Musical with none other than Frank Zappa himself starring as the Central Scrutinizer.”
In the press release, Ahmet Zappa also queried, “How radical would it be to . . . to see Dweezil [Zappa] side by side with our father playing dueling guitar solos?,” later noting that seeing Dweezil and Moon Unit performing once again alongside their father “would be my greatest wish.” The statement is interesting given the murky familial politics of the Zappa Family Trust. In August of 2016, Rolling Stone detailed the drama amongst Frank Zappa’s children as they fight for control of the Zappa Family Trust following the legendary musician’s death in 1993.
Ahmet and Diva Zappa took over control of the trust in 2015 following the death of their mother, Gail Zappa. In the time since, there has been a highly publicized battle between the Zappa Family Trust and Dweezil Zappa, eventually causing Dweezil Zappa’s touring project—then Zappa Plays Zappa—to change its name to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa, creating further rifts about merchandising, and inspiring the name of Dweezil’s 2016 Cease And Desist tour.
At this point, it is still unclear whether Dweezil and Moon Unit are onboard with the upcoming Frank Zappa hologram show that the Zappa Family Trust has approved. It also brings into question whether Ahmet Zappa’s statement about his dream of seeing Dweezil play alongside their father is an extension of the olive branch during this contentious family feud or another tactic to undercut Dweezil’s own tour, which the family trust feels relies on Frank Zappa’s name too heavily, and potentially illegally.
Regardless of whether the other siblings will be involved in the hologram tour, the show is bound to be an interesting one. As Diva Zappa said in this morning’s press release, “Frank was an innovator and his art transcended so many different mediums. He left behind such an extensive body of work and we want to celebrate his music with really creative and unique live hologram productions that will introduce his music to a new generation of fans and let so many that enjoyed his music when he was alive experience it again. We have had this idea for many years and after meeting with the team at Eyellusion, we knew that they were the right partner to make it a reality.”
Stay tuned for more information about Frank Zappa – Back On The Road: The Hologram Tour, including tour dates and further lineup announcements, on Zappa.com.