Frank Zappa and Grand Rights – AGAIN!

Frank Zappa Front Cover - Zappa Drawing

In 2009, I wrote about how the Zappa Family Trust were using Grand Rights as a way of stopping tribute bands playing the music of Frank Zappa. I eventually ended up doing a major research project on this, interviewing loads of bands, visiting the Zappanale Festival and eventually publishing a detailed article in Contemporary Theatre Review in 2011. After that, I moved onto other territory – eventually publishing my book Frank Zappa and the And. I was absolutely fascinated, and I must say a tad dismayed to see the latest development – with an article in The New York Times stating that Dweezil Zappa himself is now involved in this – actually being prevented from using the word ‘Zappa’ for his long standing band ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’. I don’t know, and to be honest don’t want to know why this has happened, but I think it is such a shame that this sort of thing is going on after the death of Gail Zappa. To be prevented from using your own surname in your band is crazy! It detracts from the great mans legacy I am afraid! The pic below is taken in the old East Germany – which has named a street after Frank Zappa. As far as I am concerned – this is a tribute!



About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
This entry was posted in Frank Zappa, Musicology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Frank Zappa and Grand Rights – AGAIN!

  1. Anne Cleaton says:

    This is very sad news. I was under the impression that once Gail passed away one of the children would take over having ‘the say’ over their Dad’s work, and it would make sense to be Dweezil… You’d think? Great photo by the way 🙂


  2. Megan Zappa says:

    Hello- may I have a copy of your research project?


  3. Pingback: Dweezil’s Response: More on the Grand Rights ZFT Saga | Paul Carr

  4. Glenn FERRIS says:

    I have been waiting for an opportunity to address the business doings of the ‘Zappa Family Trust’ to those who would never know . Your blog article opens a door for me.
    I wish the best for the current Zappa Family Trust . It just fell into the wrong hands when Gail Zappa took onto herself to run the Zappa empire. Bad medicine leads to further complications down the road. And Gail Zappa was not what the doctor ordered.
    I played with the Grand Wazoo and the Mother’s of Invention (also referred to as the Petit Wazoo) during a great part of 1972. Frank recorded all the concerts and the ‘Zappa Family Trust’ released recordings from these two groups 34 years after, without informing me ( as well as other musicians I spoke to ) and without any payment whatsoever to me (nor to the other musicians whom I spoke to ). I had contacted Gail Zappa by mail at the time of the first release of the Mothers of Invention ‘ Petit Wazoo’ CD :  “Imaginary Diseases ” 2006 and she responded saying that the musicians would be paid “something” in time. They were just empty words. Zero cents for this recording and for the two other CD’s ( which I’m on) which followed : “Zappa Wazoo”2007  and “Zappa-one shot deal” 2008
    Frank Zappa would be the last person to support such disrespectful dealings of this nature . So the ‘Zappa Family Trust’ can complain of how unfair the music business has been to them from the outside as well as from the inside, but they should wise up to how they themselves had dealt with others who have shared in the Zappa journey.
    As far as other artists performing Zappa’s music, including the Zappa family, musicians have always been inspired to take artistic license in interpreting works and songs of composers and they should have the right to do so.
    Let the the original compositions as they were written-orchestrated-performed and recorded by Zappa stand alone. If one wants to hear how Zappa performed his own music, then the listener should discover Zappa’s music by Frank Zappa : by listening to the voluminous sound recordings of his that exist. You cannot seperate his music from the man.

    If interested, open the PDF link to get a close insight into the biz dealings I had with Gail Zappa in our e-mail conversations pertaining to the above blog comments I made .


  5. Paul Carr says:

    Thanks for this Glen. I obviously know the records – and greatly respect them. Thanks again for getting in touch. Paul


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