Dweezil Zappa plays his dad's tunes at Birchmere

Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Dweezil Zappa is on a mission to make sure his father's music reaches as many fans and potential fans as possible.

That's one reason he continues to tour behind "Zappa Plays Zappa: Accept No Substitutes," throughout the U.S. Sure, he sees a lot of familiar faces in the crowds, but that's just fine, too. In fact, it gives him and his band more opportunities to mix up their sets.

"We do have a lot of repeat customers, and my dad did as well," he said. "His core audience stuck with him his entire career, and because of that, it does influence the material we learn for each tour. We try our best to add variety and change the material for every tour and also as much as we can from show to show. I like to look at it as an opportunity to educate a new audience about the depth and variety within Frank's music as well as remind the longtime fans [of his entire catalog]."

It wouldn't be incorrect to say that Dweezil Zappa is his dad's greatest fan. He put his own thriving music career aside to spend two years closely studying his father's extraordinarily sophisticated music so that he could match it chord for chord. No easy task as anyone who has even taken a passing glance at the elder Zappa's catalog -- which moves from pop to rock to blues to soul -- can attest. Dweezil not only learned the music himself but recruited a band of A-list musicians to accompany him on the tour.

'Zappa Plays Zappa: Accept No Substitutes'
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria
Details: $65; 703-549-7500;

"I worked really hard to learn all of the parts that I needed to play, and I studied the details within a lot of the rest of the arrangement," he said. "But the musicians in the band were all highly skilled and able to execute the parts."

While Frank Zappa -- musician, composer, arranger, producer, film director, political activist and bandleader -- is a cause celebre to many baby boomers, Zappa sees plenty of younger fans turning to his father's music, too.

"I think it is certainly part of his music, and people who support this project have a strong connection to the music and with him through the music," he said. "My goal was to create an opportunity for a new audience to be exposed to the music, and we have seen that a lot more young people have been attending the shows and have been inspired by the music. For example, we just finished our Dweezilla Music Boot Camp, and quite a few of the students were under 25 years old and were heavily influenced by Frank's music -- and very knowledgeable about it."

Little doubt that, thanks in large part to Dweezil, his father's music will continue to live on.

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