Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dweezil Zappa – Havin’ a Bad Day

   Dweezil Zappa, guitarist, bandleader, singer and songwriter is one of most creative rock musicians. He had the best possible start in musical business one can imagine. His father, great Frank Zappa was prominent artist and one of substantial persons in rock history, although counting him as rock star only would be extremely inadequate considering wide variety of his compositions and creative achievements. And otherwise than show business celebrities, Zappa was always more rational than emotional, more critical than affirmative. He also made strong efforts to impact children liberal education. On Dweezil’s birth certificate in place for father’s religion he entered “musician”. It looks all four siblings were supported by father in development of their freedom and creativity which was clearly connected with values he promoted with his music. It’s enough to read novel America the Beautiful by Moon Unit Zappa or hear records by Z, the band of Ahmet and Dweezil Zappa to see the effects of great father’s presence.
   The other part is such a powerful personality can be also limiting for young people. And maybe this was the reason every one of Zappa’s children started in their own direction. Dweezil was the second of the siblings and as he was seven years old his father had published his photo on front cover of Zappa in New York album. He showed early the disposition to be a virtuoso guitarist. He started in 1982, when he was 13 years old, with the single My Mother Is a Space Cadet, a nice piece of high school rock. Two years later, in 1984 he debuted with two guitar solos on Them or Us album by Frank Zappa, and in Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles December 23rd live gig, where he played solo in Sharleena. Recording of this performance was published on flexi disc in Guitar magazine and in 1989 on You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3. Four years later Chrysalis label released his first album Havin' a Bad Day.

Dweezil Zappa – Havin’ a Bad Day (1986)

   The title of debut album was taken from the first song Havin’ a Bad Day which is continuation of early eighties hard rock style inspired more by Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. It is neither worse nor better comparing to role models although Van Halen rock is not exactly what many of Frank Zappa fans were expected. The difference with Frank Zappa rock albums is lack of distance and sarcastic attitude. As guitarist young Dweezil sounds better than as a singer, although this is also normal for young rockers. Second song Blonde Hair, Brown Nose is already rocking, showing more sincere rock feeling, and vocal is closer to Steven Tyler. Drive of guitar and bass riffs, short guitar solo, everything is perfect. Third song You Can’t Ruin Me is first of two songs recorded by Moon Zappa. At the beginning it sounds like Rush, and this bearing is continued in closing first side The Pirate Song, instrumental utterance of guitar possibilities.
   Second side starts with classical hard rock You Can’t Imagine, and glamorous Let’s Talk About It sung by Moon Zappa. Next track, instrumental composition Electric Hoedown is stylistically most distant and most ambitious as original composition. In I Want a Yacht guest vocalists are actor Bobcat Goldthwait with family and friends choir. Closing song I Feel Like I Wanna Cry is clear and nice coda for this differentiated program. Only musicians were Dweezil Zappa playing guitars, Scott Thunes on bass and Chad Wackerman on drums and no keyboards or synthesizers. Debute album of Dweezil Zappa Havin' a Bad Day was released August 22nd, 1986. Producers were Frank Zappa who didn’t play here and Bob Stone who engineered whole production. This full size record comprises seven songs and two instrumental compositions, all material credited by Dweezil Zappa. 
   If the style of some fragments is too glamorous, we should consider the hollow-hearted style of the era, but pearls like two instrumental tracks can serve as sufficient atonement. Dweezil Zappa appeared at once as a composer, as an author of texts and as competent guitar player and singer. As his product entered musical stores just months before he turn seventeen, it shows rock genre was always a thing belong to young. Three stars regardless of artist’s age.

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