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From LiveDaily.com

Zappa plays more Zappa on upcoming tour

May 01, 2007 02:16 PM
by Tjames Madison
LiveDaily Contributor
Dweezil Zappa (tickets | music) and company have rolled out a full slate of dates for another round of "Zappa Plays Zappa (tickets | music)" shows this summer, following up on last year's tour of the same name.

The second go-round for the "ZPZ" project follows the same plot as last year's inaugural edition, with Zappa, son of late rock icon Frank Zappa, playing his father's music on tour with a backing band that features several members of the elder Zappa's various touring units, including drummer Terry Bozzio, guitarist Steve Vai and multi-instrumentalist Napoleon Murphy Brock.

This year's version of the tour, which kicks off July 18 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, will feature a new set list, with Zappa delving deeper into his father's vast song catalog. "We are learning over 25 new songs from a wide range of material," Zappa wrote in a May 1 posting on the Zappa family website. "I'm extremely excited about some of the rare selections and some of the video surprises we have in store for you."

The "video surprises" are likely to be along the same lines as last year's appearances of Frank Zappa himself on-screen, playing along with the band via synchronized audio/video technology.

A DVD of last year's performances is also in the works, according to Zappa. The DVD shoot captured the band's shows in Seattle and Portland, OR, last December.

"It goes without saying that this whole ZPZ tour and DVD project has been a labor of love of for me," Zappa wrote in his recent post. "It has always been and always will be about presenting Frank's music to all of you in the finest and most authentic way possible."

[Note: The following tour itinerary has been provided by artist and/or tour sources, who verify its accuracy as of the publication time of this story. Changes may occur before tickets go on sale. Check with official artist websites, ticketing sources and venues for late updates.]
Zappa Plays Zappa tour dates and tickets
July 2007
18 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - Centennial Concert Hall
19 - Detroit Lakes, MN - 10,000 Lakes Festival
20 - Chicago, IL - Centennial Concert Hall
21 - Milwaukee, WI - The Rave
22 - Indianapolis, IN - Egyptian Room
24 - Cincinnati, OH - Moonlite Gardens
25 - Erie, PA - Warner Theatre
26 - Columbus, OH - LC Pavilion
27 - Detroit, MI - Meadow Brook Festival
28 - Cleveland, OH - Cain Park
30 - Toronto, Ontario - Hummingbird
31 - Montreal, Quebec - Metropolis

August 2007
1 - Quebec City, Quebec - Albert Rousseau Hall
2 - Hampton Beach, NH - Hampton Beach Casino
4 - Boston, MA - Fleet Boston Pavilion
5 - Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre
6 - Westbury, NY - North Fork Theatre at Westbury
8 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
9 - Baltimore, MA - Ram's Head Tavern
10 - Norfolk, VA - NorVa
11 - Asheville, NC - Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
13 - Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
15 - Albuquerque, NM - Kiva Auditorium
16 - Tucson, AZ - Fox Theatre
17 - Phoenix, AZ - Dodge Theatre
18 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
20 - Berkeley, CA - Berkeley Community Theatre
21 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
22 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
23 - Los Angeles, CA - Wiltern Theatre
Zappa Plays Zappa tour dates and tickets 


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Zappa Plays Zappa DVD! :)

Zappa Plays Zappa Recording Upcoming Shows For Spring DVD
Tuesday December 19, 2006 @ 03:30 PM
By: ChartAttack.com Staff

Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa

Although he's been dead for more than a decade now, the music of Frank Zappa lives on. And it will continue to live on into 2007 thanks to a new DVD release. Zappa Plays Zappa, the ambitious project created by the legend's son Dweezil Zappa, have spent most of 2006 on the road and will record two upcoming gigs.

"We are preparing ourselves for the days ahead," Dweezil wrote in a posting on the Zappa Plays Zappa site. "I am very pleased to announce that we will be filming and recording in Seattle (Dec. 22) and Portland (Dec. 21) for a DVD release in Spring '07. I'll give you all of the details later."

The tour, which started in Europe earlier this year, has seen the younger Zappa recreate some of Frank Zappa's biggest hits and obscure gems. The tour, which touched down at Toronto's Hummingbird Centre in June, also includes guest appearances from guitarist Steve Vai and drummer Terry Bozzio, two musicians who performed with the late Zappa. Most of the shows have closed in on the three-hour mark and have included such songs as "The Black Page #1," "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" and "Peaches En Regalia."

In a lengthy posting, Zappa says he's impressed by the response to the tour. "The immediate feedback of the performances fuel the band but I want you all to know that you are making a tremendous difference in the way my father's music will be remembered," Dweezil says. "I think many people mistakenly got the wrong impression of him by casual exposure to those songs ('Valley Girl' and 'Dancin' Fool'). They seem to have perceived him as a 'Weird Al' type of character with a penchant for silliness when it came to naming his songs and his children.

"I think it's really important for people to get a sense of the big picture when it comes to Frank's music," he adds. "There is so much depth and variety in all of his albums it's hard to believe it's possible for one person to have created all of it."

The tour hits Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Dec. 20.

—Jason MacNeil

More Fraggle news.

Celeb Cameos, New Songs: Ahmet Zappa Says 'Fraggle' Flick Will Rock
Writer promises more puppets, modern touches for big-screen interpretation of classic TV show.

By Larry Carroll

SANTA MONICA, California — Ahmet Zappa remembers the time before Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline, when celebrities earned their fame by creating something artistic — and then used their influence to make the world a better place. He remembers John Lennon singing about peace; his father, Frank Zappa, promoting independent thought; and Muppet-master Jim Henson shaping the impressionable young minds of a generation. And now he's got a new job, because Ahmet Zappa also remembers the Fraggles.

"People always come up to me and talk about my father," the 32-year-old actor/writer recently said. "My father was very political, outspoken, an amazing musician and a great dad. Jim Henson, to me, is such an icon. What [Henson] did for kids — entertainment, education, storytelling and inspiring creativity — he was just such an important person. It feels nice to be involved in another family business."
Read more...Collapse )


Zappa & Son, Inc.

Dweezil Zappa fills some big musical shoes

By James Kelly

Published 12.06.2006

Creative Loafing Atlanta

It's been 14 years since iconoclastic musician/composer Frank Zappa passed away from colon cancer, and 18 years since he played his last concert. A loss that most of the rock world has yet to fully comprehend, Zappa was one of a kind ­-- a songwriter, composer, guitarist extraordinaire, and political activist who shirked the guidelines and expectations of the music industry and did things his way, regardless of the financial and professional consequences. With the blessings of the family, Frank's oldest son Dweezil created a show geared to bring Frank's music to a whole new generation of listeners.

"We had been kicking the 'Zappa Plays Zappa' concept around for a long time," Dweezil says, "and it just took a while for me to be able to do it right. I was not yet comfortable with the technical guitar style that Frank played, and it took me about two years of intensive practice to get to where I'm able to do it." An emotional barrier that also had to be addressed: The Zappa family was known to be very close-knit, and Frank's death was quite devastating to them all. "Of course, playing his music each night is very emotional, and feeds into that."

After developing his own skills, Dweezil sought out the best possible players for this musical celebration, and naturally turned to the alumni of Frank's best bands. "We have drummer Terry Bozzio, guitarist Steve Vai and vocalist/sax player Napoleon Murphy Brock playing with us, and in some cities other former members join in at times." With that core, the ZPZ band had a head start with the complex material, and is rounded out nicely by a variety of top-notch players who are sympathetic and capable of mastering the intricate Zappa style.

"This is a show that Frank would probably never have done," Dweezil says. "But he liked to surprise people in concert, and there are plenty of surprises in our three-hour set." Given the vast diversity in Frank's catalog, Dweezil had a lot to choose from. "I selected a lot of songs from my favorite era, which was the mid to late '70s. That was a strong point in Frank's career, and a fan-favorite time as well. We skip a lot of the 'hits,' and focus on the music that is most representative."

Tantamount to Dweezil's decision to form the ZPZ band was the acknowledgement that the music had to be played correctly. Frank was a stickler for perfection in musical performance, and Dweezil holds the same standards. That is also the basis of his well-documented complaints about the various tribute bands doing Frank's music. "They are not good enough," he says. "Most of the tribute bands don't play the music properly, they can't do the really difficult parts so they change it around or simply guess at what the notes are. While I appreciate any interest in Frank's music, if they cover it they should be accurate." Like father, like son.

But there may be a bit more to the emergence of the ZPZ band. The Zappa family has long been very protective of Frank's music and image, even registering his likeness and trademarking it. Most of the cover bands do not pay direct royalties for the performance of Frank's music, which is a point of contention in the Zappa clan. Dweezil explains, "Cover bands can be considered an alternative marketing device, if it leads to increased sales of Frank's albums. But there are people who stage Zappa festivals, sell their own T-shirts and CDs, without paying any licensing or royalties. We are not trying to be dictators, but want what is rightfully due us. It's the law!"

Regardless of the business issues, Zappa's music is coming alive once again. Dweezil says, "My dream is to have more people recognize Frank Zappa's music. It was important work and they should get a chance to hear it."


Down at Fraggle Rock! :)

Zappa's Down at Fraggle Rock
by Natalie Finn

Ahmet Zappa's gonna help us dance our cares away.

The musician and children's author has signed on to turn the '80s-era muppet-fest Fraggle Rock into a live-action feature film. 

And who better than the brother of Moon Unit, Diva and Dweezil to convert the Jim Henson Company production into an allegorical musical fantasy featuring 22-inch characters named Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Boober and Red?

Lisa Henson, daughter of the iconic late Sesame Street creator and now co-CEO of the family company, told the Hollywood Reporter Thursday that she and her brother (and fellow CEO), Brian, invited Zappa over to talk books and movies—and the project just grew from there. 

"During that conversation, I had an intuition that he might be a Fraggle Rock fan," she told the trade. "He jumped out of his seat when he heard our idea of making Fraggle Rock into a feature-length movie." 

Zappa, who recently penned his first novel, The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless, will develop the story and executive-produce the film. According to a release issued by the Jim Henson Company, Zappa's vision so far is that the previously mentioned main characters from the original series will venture outside their idyllic Fraggle Rock and have an adventure in "outer space." Otherwise known as the human world.

So, if this was before your time, the Fraggles will be interacting with Muggles, if you will.  

"The Fraggles didn't really get into the human world on the series, so we plan to make the movie more about the intersection between the Fraggles and the humans," Henson said, adding that she plans to bring a screenwriter and director on board once the initial concept is hammered out. 

"I'm very excited to be working with the Jim Henson Company on this project," Zappa said in a statement. "So much of my childhood was spent watching Fraggle Rock…I never missed an episode!"

Ninety-six episodes were made between January 1983 and March 1987. 

"I'm also really looking forward to using music to tell the story," Zappa said. "It played such a central role in the original series and truly helped create the Fraggle Rock that we know and love today."

The son of late rocker Frank Zappa is referring to the two or three original songs heard on many episodes throughout the HBO series' five seasons. (Yes, that's right—it wasn't just TV, it was HBO!)  

Tunes such as "Let Me Be Your Song," "Dixie Wailing" and "Kick a Stone" sent many tiny feet a-tappin' and hands a-clappin' in their day.

Performed by the likes of Red, the best swimmer on the Rock; Gobo, the leader of the pack; artistic and spiritual Mokey; Wembley the worrywart; and Boober, who loves his laundry, the Fraggle Rock songs managed to both entertain and teach lessons (kind of like another Henson classic we all know and love). 

Combine the snappy music with plotlines that often featured characters of different origins, habits and dispositions finding a way to work out their differences and have a great time together, and you obviously had yourself a show for the ages.

"Fraggle Rock has remained a favorite project at our company and has certainly continued to be loved by its many devoted fans, so we are thrilled to begin work on this project," Lisa Henson said. "With its message of celebrating diversity and its ambitious goal of promoting world peace, now is the perfect time to embark on a new Fraggle adventure."

Essential Zappa/ Ten of Frank's albums you should own

Frank Zappa's public image - foul-mouthed agitator, purveyor of freakish "comedy music" - never matched the true essence of the artist. Zappa created a close-to-flawless body of work that ran the gamut from avant garde to '50s doo-wop, jazz-fusion to progressive exploration, lyrical instrumental passages to raging, knotty and complex polyphony. A continuous subtext throughout all of this was his true passion: the classical and orchestral music he composed throughout his life. Zappa's brave compositional style was indebted to modern composers such as Igor Stravinsky, Anton Webern and perhaps most significantly, Edgard Varese.

Zappa's discography is one of the most thrillingly inventive in 20th century music. It's also, to the listener unfamiliar with his work, one of the most intimidating. Here's a guide to finding your own point of entry into Zappa's universe.

1) "Hot Rats" (1969): Dedicated to Dweezil, and featuring Captain Beefheart's indelible performance on "Willie the Pimp," this is a great document of Frank's early guitar heroics.

2) "Roxy & Elsewhere" (1974): This will make your head spin. A live document, featuring the incredible gift of Ruth Underwood's melodic percussion playing, and the one and only Napoleon Murphy Brock on vocals and saxophone. Worth it for "Village of the Sun" alone.

3) "One Size Fits All" (1975): Some of Zappa's boldest rock compositions, and one of the man's finest studio efforts. Includes the wholly brilliant "Inca Roads," and bizarre but beautiful bits like "Florentine Pogen" and "Evelyn, A Modified Dog."

4) "Zoot Alures" (1976): Probably Zappa's most straight-up rock record. "The Torture Never Stops" is still one of the coolest and creepiest tunes ever laid to tape.

5) "Joe's Garage Acts I, II & III" (1979): These records pack in just about everything Zappa was great at: strong social criticism, humor, incredible guitar playing and singular songwriting.

6) "Shut Up 'n' Play Yer Guitar" (1982): Proof that Zappa may well be the finest electric guitar soloist we've ever been blessed with.

7) "Jazz From Hell" (1986): Zappa composes impossible-to-perform songs at the Synclavier. Maddeningly intoxicating, this stuff. "G-Spot Tornado" is a stand-out, but it's all brilliant.

8) "Make a Jazz Noise Here" (1991): A twin-disc document of Zappa's final world tour, with the 1988 big band absolutely killing 'em throughout. Bits of Stravinsky's "L'Histoire Du Soldat" and Bartok's "Piano Concerto No. 3" turn up in between torrid takes on "The Black Page" and the hilarious Reagan-bashing "Star Wars Won't Work."

9) "The Yellow Shark" (1993): The Ensemble Modern tackles this, for my money, the finest of Zappa's orchestral works. No ensemble has ever played Zappa's classical music with more conviction, passion and skill.

10) "QuAUDIOPHILIAc" (2004): Dweezil Zappa oversaw this compilation of Zappa tunes recorded in the '70s by Frank in "Quad," an early four-speaker surround-sound methodology. Further proof that Frank was way ahead of his time, this is the finest-sounding Zappa recording of the man's oeuvre.

- Jeff Miers



I found this article here:



Ahmet Zappa is not only busy penning the sequel to his hit kids' book -- "Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless," which is en route to becoming a movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. He also has two sitcoms and a drama in development at Disney.

One is "a show that's loosely based on my experiences growing up in Hollywood," reveals Ahmet, one of four offspring of late experimental music master Frank Zappa. "I have a two-year overall sort of agreement with them." He's been so busy, in fact, he wasn't able to go out on tour with brother Dweezil, who's been playing some of their dad's material, "keeping the legacy alive, which is great," says Ahmet. "They've sold out all over the place."

As for himself, the talent who once found school torturous due to his severe dyslexia now "couldn't be happier. I'm having the time of my life. I've gotten a lot of attention for the book, but I've been trying to sell my stories, my ideas, for years," notes Zappa, who in the past has relied on working with a partner. "The fact I garnered all this attention for something I did solely on my own is very empowering," he says. "It's as if the cosmos has rewarded me for believing in myself."

found another one...

Interview: Ahmet Zappa

Ahmet Zappa (son of Frank, brother of Moon Unit, Diva and Dweezil) changed his name to Rick at school - but apart from that brief rebellion, he loved his wild, unconventional childhood

Sharon Krum
Saturday July 29, 2006
The Guardian

They were the household that inverted the rules, where parents weren't authority figures but friends, and visiting them felt like a trip to some suburban version of Woodstock. Ahmet Zappa grew up in Los Angeles in the 70s and 80s, the envy of all his friends. His father was the legendary and iconoclastic musician Frank Zappa. His upbringing was deeply unconventional. "Kids loved coming over to my house," recalls 32-year-old Ahmet, who has just published his first children's book.

"They marvelled that we could swear, that we called our parents by their first names (Frank and Gail). I felt bad for them: they had restrictions we didn't have. We had total freedom of speech. My father saw cursing as an expression of anger. There's a story in my family that my first words were 'Fuck you,'" he says grinning. "But our parents taught us it's the intention behind what you say, not the words themselves, that can hurt someone's feelings."

As a musician, Frank was prolific (more than 70 albums), experimental and sophisticated, and with his band, the Mothers of Invention, worked in genres as disparate as orchestral, rock, jazz, and satire. There were biting songs about hippies and hypocritical politicians, Valley Girl, sung with daughter Moon Unit, became the theme tune of the 1980s West Coast bimbo. He was highly politicised, fighting censorship and encouraging audiences to vote - before his death from prostate cancer in 1993, he even considered running for president. As a parent, he similarly challenged the status quo.

"The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents - because they have a tame child-creature in their house," Frank said of his parenting philosophy. "We were never talked down to as kids," says Ahmet, who appears the antithesis of showbusiness progeny, unpretentious with a sharp sense of humour about himself. "Right away we were recognised as individuals and brought up to believe in ourselves. My parents always said, 'You like that, you pursue that.'

"I think what my father appreciated was the science experiment of life. He had these kids, and they had their own experiences. He wanted us to discover the world for ourselves. My parents told us how they felt but never imposed their beliefs on us, although I appreciate I got a healthy sense of democracy from them. When it came to discipline my dad never spanked us. If he said to you, 'You're acting like a jerk,' that was the worst thing ever."

But Frank also had a whimsical side, manifested in a love of monster movies. Ahmet (whose middle name, Rodan, was the monster who destroyed Tokyo in the 50s Japanese sci-fi classic of the same name) has vivid memories of watching and laughing at monster movies with Frank. "He loved how bad they were, all the cheesy outfits." Yet if you were a kid already obsessed with monsters, watching movies that confirmed their existence proved both terrifying and exhilarating. "I saw monsters all the time when I was a kid - devil faces in window panes, cats out of the corners of my eyes, ghosts, too.

"I was afraid of monsters, but at the same time I loved them," he explains. "I think if you ever feel like an outsider [Ahmet struggled with dyslexia and left school at 12] you relate to them being unique. But I would always ask my parents, 'How come the monsters don't win?'"

His new children's book, The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless, grew out of this childhood obsession. It features the McFearless family, who are in the lucrative business of monster-hunting. When their father is kidnapped by vengeful monsters, Max, nine, and Minerva, 11, aided by Ms Monstranomicon, a book of monster-repelling recipes, set out to save him from beings such as grumplemeisers. (As a child, what Ahmet desperately needed was an advice book on how to repel monsters, say, when they emerged from under your bed and announced they were about to eat you.)

Though written in the voice of the oft-irritated-by-her-younger-brother Minerva, Ahmet says she is not a surrogate for his elder sister, Moon Unit. "Moon is seven years older, and was more like having a best friend and second mom. I really blindly followed the pecking order, Mother, Dad, Moon, Dweezil, me. I would ask my parents something, but then go to my siblings. We were encouraged to bounce ideas off everyone."

Still, he admits, the daily rhythms of the Zappa household, where the parents were married for 26 years, revolved around Frank, who worked at home in a studio. "My father would often work all night and sleep during the day, so for us, dinner might be pancakes, and breakfast might be beef stroganoff. It was all tailor-made for him, and it's a very Italian, macho, thing to have a household run that way. He wasn't like, 'OK, everyone around the table, let's have dinner.' Food was fuel to him. It definitely was our own unique universe."

There were times - watching The Brady Bunch, for example - when Ahmet did wonder about his family. "I did question, 'Why are we like this in comparison to them? Aren't they normal?'" He laughs now, remembering how he wanted to go on camping vacations like the Bradys did. "Instead I was going on tour with my father, which was great, but it didn't have that sort of simplicity. Still, I wouldn't change anything about my childhood whatsoever."

Frank was utterly committed to music and toured extensively, but the cornerstone of the rock life, drugs, were verboten in the Zappa home. Frank famously told his children, "You see those people? They're using drugs as an excuse to be an asshole."

"My dad was always about the work, a real taskmaster when it came to music. But people think if you have an imagination you must be using some mind-altering substance, otherwise, how could you think of that? That saddens me, because I've never smoked cigarettes or taken a drug in my life, and ideas pop into my head all day long."

Ahmet is now writing the second in a trilogy of children's books and producing television, but previously worked as an actor, musician and TV host. "I think that some kids are conditioned not to follow their creative spark, whereas we were," he says. "We were encouraged to draw, perform - if we cracked a joke our parents said, 'Give us more.'"

Pouncing on creative impulses was the guiding mantra in the Zappa world, starting with the four children's names. Even in the era of Apple, Peaches and Brooklyn, Moon Unit (first in the family unit), today a writer; Dweezil (nickname of his mother's baby toe), a musician; Diva (loudest baby), an actor; and Ahmet ("When my parents were broke they had this imaginary servant called Ahmet") still sound wacky.

"My parents gave us names that meant something to them, although at one stage I didn't think Ahmet was original enough. And the kids at school called me Ahmet/Vomit, so I wanted to change my name. I liked Starbuck (after Battlestar Galactica), or the other option was Rick, which I thought was a tough name. So I decided to go with Rick, and just before school started I got a new folder and asked Dweezil to write, 'My name is Rick Zappa' on the cover."

At school he announced his new moniker, "and I mean nothing rhymes with Rick, except, oh, say, dick," he cracks up. "So I went back to Ahmet - and this is an example of my parents' sense of humour, when I asked for a new folder they said, 'No, you picked it, you own it.' And to drive it home they would say, 'Soooo, how's Rick today?'"

Single, and recently separated from his wife, the actress Selma Blair, his book is dedicated to his future child. "I look forward to becoming a father," he says, noting that when the time comes he will take pages out of his parents' book and write some of his own. "I would do certain things differently because I think the world is different. I'd encourage my kids to be proficient in multiple technologies, languages, and self-defence," he jokes. "But one thing I'll insist on - monster movies with Dad. Absolutely."

just found this...

Ahmet Zappa: Monstrous parenting


Katherine Rushton



The Frank Zappa book of parenting would have been an interesting read for sure. The '70s music legend was well known for playing cruel tricks on his offspring by naming them Diva, Dweezil and Moon Unit, but perhaps less so for his informal approach to education. His third and more sensibly named child, Ahmet, struggled at school and regularly played truant until the age of 12. So Frank Zappa did what all parents wouldn't--took the boy out of education and gave him his college fund to start a TV show instead.



Because of his statutory obligation to see Ahmet educated, Frank Zappa registered a school, "Beigemont Academy", and told him: "You're a genius. Graduate yourself!" "So," says Ahmet Zappa, now aged 32 and surprisingly normal, "I wrote myself a diploma and I was set free. I had most of my schooling in nursery," he adds. "I don't know how to spell and I know nothing about grammar. If it wasn't for Spiderman comics and my love of superheroes, I wouldn't be able to read."



His forthcoming children's book, The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless (Puffin, 3rd August, h/b, £10.99) is the first document he has ever written rather than dictated, and in this respect represents a major personal achievement. It was originally conceived as a collection of illustrations--the kind that made Zappa "relax as a kid". But his US publisher, Random House, would accept the work only as a 70-page "chapter book". Zappa was terrified. "I was like, 'There's no frickin' way I can do this,' but then I thought, 'well, I can make the type-font giant'."



In fact the project ran to more than three times the intended length, even in a regular point size. But it's nonetheless designed to be undaunting to reluctant readers such as himself. The text is broken up with monster "fact files", appealing line drawings by Zappa, and astonishing computer-manipulated images of him with monster sculptures, made by his aptly named friend Clay.



"It's about self-empowerment for kids," he says. That's power over monsters as well as books, he clarifies--another throwback to Zappa's strange upbringing. Before he even attended school, his father used to keep him up late at night watching 18-rated horror movies. Unsurprisingly, they gave him waking nightmares. "I saw monsters; I believed in monsters; I really thought that I was in danger," Zappa recalls. He became fixated on elaborate "tucking in rituals" to ward off the danger and, even as an adult, remains obsessed. "I draw monsters every single day--mostly after a meal."



The Monstrous Memoirs plays out the same fixation through the story of two children, Minerva and Max McFearless, who discover that their father and only remaining parent is a "monsterminator". They are drawn into his world of Loogos, Krunkadillions and brain-stealing Swogglers [as seen wrapped around Zappa, above], guided by Miss Monstranomicon, a haughty encyclopedia monster who holds details of every monster species and the crucial recipes to overcome them.



"I wanted to create a book that would have been very useful to me as a child," says Zappa. "This is me celebrating my life. I'm writing what I know." Max's relationship with his bossy sister, in particular, is "a page out of my own life" and his sibling rivalry with Moon Unit. Zappa recalls with a grin how he would repeatedly throw her down the stairs, and once chopped the heads off all her dolls and "buried them with dog poo" in the garden. "I was a twisted over-achiever in the extent to which I would get into trouble," he says, almost wistfully. "It was a good childhood."