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Phi-Beta-Zappa: How about a Frank Zappa Day?

Hey, South Burlington City Council members: Frank Zappa's son, rock guitarist Dweezil Zappa, will be at Higher Ground on Aug. 10 presenting his highly-praised Zappa Plays Zappa Show, so why not make Aug. 10 "Frank Zappa Day"?

There is precedent. Two years ago, Baltimore (MD) Mayor Sheila Dixon declared August 9 to be "Frank Zappa Day" when Dweezil performed the same show there. Granted, the fact that Frank was born in Baltimore and had recorded a song entitled "What's New in Baltimore?" may have influenced Mayor Dixon's decision.

But there are plenty of other reasons to honor Frank Zappa (1940-1993). He was an iconoclastic and prolific musician, composer, producer, and author inspired by doo-wop, jazz, blues, and the modern symphonic works of Stravinsky, Var se, and Webern. The attorney members of the S.B. City Council will also remember that he was a fierce and outspoken champion of First Amendment rights.

Although Frank made the pop charts with "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow," "Dancin' Fool," and "Valley Girl," he is probably best know for his extremely challenging, angular compositions in both rock and orchestral music, his innovative guitar playing, and his irreverent lyrics and writing.

About four years ago, Dweezil Zappa decided that he wanted to "present Frank's music to a larger audience," and he has tirelessly tried to do so. His set list has included some of Frank's most challenging pieces, such as "Inca Roads" and "The Black Page."

Dweezil's filial "Tour de Frank" has been well received. Rolling Stone Magazine named his group the "Best Tribute Band" of 2008. Dweezil was also awarded a "Best Rock Instrumental" Grammy earlier this year for his stirring rendition of "Peaches En Regalia," one of the songs on his "Zappa Plays Zappa" album. Watch him strum it out on YouTube.com.

Higher Ground is located at 1214 Williston Rd., South Burlington. "Zappa Plays Zappa" begins at 8 p.m. on Aug. 10; tickets are $30 advance, $33 day of show. For more info, call 652-0777 or go to www.highergroundmusic.com.

Now if the S.B. City Council is reluctant to pay tribute to Frank Zappa on Aug. 10, singer Eddie Fisher was born on that day, so maybe...

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