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Heir to rock royalty, Dweezil Zappa tours to keep his father’s music alive

Dweezil Zappa’s tour will hit Harrah’s Tahoe on Friday, April 28.
Dweezil Zappa’s tour will hit Harrah’s Tahoe on Friday, April 28. dweezilzappa.com

When he was born in 1969, his father listed his religion on his birth certificate as “Musician.” He was named Dweezil, not a moniker to make him the envy of teenagers everywhere. But his last name was Zappa, and that brought enough envy for anybody.

Dweezil Zappa, who plays Harrah’s Tahoe Friday, April 30, became fascinated with the guitar during the era of the instrument’s biggest changes when it moved from strum to blaze. He learned some of his first techniques from Steve Vai.

He was surrounded by Hollywood and rock royalty: His first album, “My Father Is a Space Cadet,” was informally produced by Eddie Van Halen. His first screen appearances were in major productions like “Pretty in Pink” and “Running Man.” His first full-length album, “Havin’ a Bad Day,” featured the single “Let’s Talk about It,” and its video featured Jane Fonda, Don Johnson and Robert Wagner.

Dweezil Zappa has a delightful – some would say wicked – sense of humor. There was that album called “My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama.”

His father’s estate, controlled by two younger siblings, challenged his use of the father’s name with his band, Zappa Plays Zappa, so he changed it to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa. That also was deemed unacceptable, so eventually he landed on a play on his father’s group – Dweezil Zappa and the Others of Intention. He now is traveling with the “50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%K He Wants – The Cease and Desist Tour.”

Zappa’s past and his influences show clearly in his music, which is delivered with his strong personality. (7:30 p.m.; $47; Ticketmaster)

Elsewhere this weekend

Another name from those glorious 1960s pops up at the Silver Legacy Saturday, April 29. David Crosby was hitting it big back then with the Byrds, making the electric folk-rock sound prominent with songs like “Turn, Turn, Turn” and Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Then came Crosby, Stills and Nash (“Guinevere,” “Wooden Ships”) and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (“Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” “Ohio,” “Teach Your Children”). At the Legacy David Crosby will be solo, perhaps including highlights from his first solo album “If Only I Could Remember My Name” (1971) or his most recent “Lighthouse” (2016). (8 p.m.; $49.50-$69.50; silverlegacy.com)

david crosby
David Crosby davidcrosby.com

Big Voodoo Daddy (its swing style most evidenced in songs like “You and Me and the Bottle Makes 3”) is at Thunder Valley Friday, April 28. (7:30 p.m.; $34.95-$47.95; thundervalleyresort.com)

An Eagles tribute, “Life in the Fast Lane” raises money for local children’s art programs Saturday, April 29, at Thunder Valley. (7:30 p.m.; $40-$50)

Taylor Dayne brings her vocals (“Tell It to My Heart,” “Love Will Lead You Back”) to Cache Creek Saturday, April 29/ (8 p.m.; $25-$40; cachecreek.com)

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