22 February 2014

Wherein I discuss the nature of tribute, bands, tribute bands, and FZ's legacy



...every time I have seen ZPZ ... I walk away more impressed. And mildly concussed, but I discuss that more below.

As I remarked to my friend Phil last night, when other people my age were busy forming their adult musical tastes around whichever acts were popular in the early 2000s, I was beginning my deep dive into the music of the Project Object itself. No, not the music of the FZ tribute band "Project Object," though they are good. I refer to the work of the man, the mustache, the legend, Frank Zappa. What prompted this conversation? What event brought Phil and I together on a warmish night in late February? It was to drive up to York, PA to see Dweezil & the gang perform as "Zappa Plays Zappa" (ZPZ), playing the very music that forms the bedrock, cornerstone, and even a few oddly shaped windows that make up the building metaphor of my musical taste. By the time the evening was over and my hearing was returning to normal and we were safely back inside my thankfully un-towed car, I found myself wondering if ZPZ deserves the "Tribute" Label.
This was my third time seeing the group. I saw them at the Warner Theater in DC when they first toured and for an FZ fan like me who discovered the music too late to see Frank, this was the closest I could ever come (until we get holodecks; where are we with that, DARPA? MIT? Anyone?). I saw ZPZ again a couple years back at Ram's Head Live in Baltimore. The first show had featured several band members from Frank's touring rosters. By this most recent show in York all the faces were players who I am pretty sure never toured with Frank, but oh man are they every bit the caliber of musician that Frank required and his music will always demand.

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