first_imgThe family feud between Frank Zappa’s children Dweezil Zappa and Ahmet Zappa seems to have hit a head, as both have been publicly calling the other out for misconduct regarding the family’s legacy. The public battle started with a major interview in the New York Times, where Dweezil Zappa claimed that he was no longer allowed to tour under the Zappa Plays Zappa moniker, claiming that the Zappa Family Trust would charge him an exorbitant fee for every time he performed a song from the Frank Zappa catalog.In a response, Ahmet pointed out a number of flaws with Dweezil’s argument. Ahmet said that the fee was only $1, and that Dweezil was a beneficiary of the Zappa Family Trust. The fee system was meant to protect and preserve their father’s legacy, and Ahmet even went as far as referring to his brother as a “fucking guitar God.” He also said that he had tried to schedule a meeting, but that Dweezil always ignored those requests.Now, after wrapping up a tour in support of his solo original album Via Zammata, Dweezil Zappa has responded at length with an open letter. Dweezil explains that the “one dollar deal” required him to give all merchandising money back to the ZFT, and even quotes a letter that Ahmet’s attorney sent.“In light of the foregoing we hereby advise you that should your client proceed to perform under, or advertise, or otherwise use the name “ZPZ” or “Zappa Plays Zappa” or to use the same in connection with any such performances my client will pursue its rights to prevent such performance and usage as the exclusive owner of these trademarks. Further, your client cannot perform a show consisting largely of Frank Zappa’s work because ASCAP is not authorized to grant a performance license for such kind of performances, and the ZFT will not grant such a license except on the terms outlined to Mr. Waring which your client has rejected. Any public performance of Frank Zappa’s works as part of the ZPZ show using the music of Frank Zappa without a license from ZFT constitutes copyright infringement and will be prosecuted by ZFT. A willful infringement of copyright can result in damages of up to $150,000 per infringement, plus attorney’s fees and a possible injunction.”Dweezil also defends his right to play the music, claiming that “no one else in our family has been performing this music for the past decade. No one else in the family has achieved a knowledge of this depth about playing our father’s music. No one else in the family has any ability to play any instrument on a professional level. No one else in the family has the ability read charts or perform with the level of expertise required to perform this music commensurate with the standards our father set.”Furthermore, Dweezil explains that Ahmet and Diva have a larger stake (30%) in the ZFT than Dweezil and Moon (20%), which was set up by their mother Gail Zappa. There are claims of mismanagement and debt running rampant in the full letter, eventually inciting Dweezil’s decision to just change the band name and avoid further complications. He concludes by quoting Ahmet’s letter, where he writes an impassioned plea to talk as brothers instead of through lawyers. Dweezil’s response: “If any of that last bit was honest it would stand to reason that you would have simply just picked up the phone yourself and skipped this whole deceitful exercise. We both know you didn’t call. At this point I prefer to deal with the facts in writing.”You can read the full text here.last_img

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