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Dweezil Zappa

This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. Please consider expanding the lead toprovide an accessible overview of all important aspects of the article. 

(November 2013)

Dweezil Zappa

Dweezil Zappa in Denmark with Zappa Plays Zappa, October 13, 2007

Background information

Birth name

Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa


September 5, 1969 (age 44)


Los Angeles, California, United States


Rock, hard rock, heavy metal,instrumental rock


Guitar, vocals, bass, piano, banjo

Years active



Zappa, Favored Nations, Barking Pumpkin, Chrysalis

Associated acts

Frank Zappa

Ahmet Zappa


Ozzy Osbourne

Spinal Tap

Steve Vai

Warren DeMartini

Zappa Plays Zappa

Dream Theater




Notable instruments

Gibson SG

Hagstrφm Viking

Eric Johnson Stratocaster

Dweezil Zappa (born September 5, 1969) is an American rock guitarist and occasional actor. He is the son of musician Frank Zappa.



  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Musical equipment
    • 4.1 Guitars
  • 5 Discography
    • 5.1 Solo
    • 5.2 With Ahmet Zappa
    • 5.3 With Zappa Plays Zappa
    • 5.4 Guest appearances
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early life

Zappa was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of musician Frank Zappa and Gail Zappa, who worked in business.

 He is the second of four siblings: his older sister, Moon, younger sister Diva and younger brother Ahmet. He is the cousin of actress Lala Sloatman.

 Zappa's father was of Sicilian, Greek, Arab, and French descent, and his mother was of French, Irish and mostly Danish ancestry.

Dweezil's registered birth name was Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa.

 The hospital at which he was born refused to register him under the name Dweezil, so Frank listed the names of several musician friends. "Dweezil" was a nickname coined by Frank for an oddly-curled pinky-toe of Gail's. At five years old, Dweezil learned that his legal name was different, and he insisted on having his nickname become his legal name. Gail and Frank hired an attorney and soon the name Dweezil was official.


In the 1980s, Zappa worked as an MTV VJ and was promptly fired after badmouthing MTV on The Howard Stern Show. He also recorded some solo albums, as well as playing for other artists. Zappa can be heard playing lead guitar on The Fat Boys' "Wipe Out" (1987) and can be seen in the music video for Don Johnson's top 40 song, "Heartbeat". He also played co-lead guitar (along withReb Beach) on Winger's cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze". He also had a part in the futuristic Arnold Schwarzenegger film The Running Man as Stevie ("Don't touch that dial!"), and gave his most famous cameo role in John Hughes's Brat Pack film, Pretty in Pink (starring Molly Ringwald), as Andie's friend, Simon.

Since the early 1990s, Zappa has been working on a piece of music named "What the Hell Was I Thinking?", a 75-minute piece featuring guitar solos by dozens of famous guitar players. The project has suffered from numerous difficulties and has been reworked several times since the '90s. Dweezil said in September 2004:

 "I started recording it on analog tape almost 13 years ago... There are probably about 35 guest guitar players on it, everybody from Brian May to Eddie Van Halen, Eric Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young — it's quite a crazy project. I'm still waiting and hoping to record Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page as some of my final guests on there."

In the mid-1990s, Zappa voiced the character Ajax Duckman on the animated series Duckman. He also briefly appeared in the television sitcom Normal Life with sister Moon Unit Zappa and former Laverne & Shirley star Cindy Williams. He composed and performed the theme music for The Ben Stiller Show (the solo from Spinal Tap's "Break Like the Wind"). In 1999, Dweezil, alongside his brother, Ahmet Zappa, starred in a show featuring celebrities, bands and dance troupe called Happy Hour which debuted April 3, 1999 on the USA Network. The show lasted for one season despite its success due to a copyright dispute over the title of the show.

Dweezil Zappa performing on the "Zappa Plays Zappa" tour in 2006.In "Weird Al" Yankovic's 2003 eleventh studio album Poodle Hat, Zappa performs the opening guitar solo and lends his vocal talents to the track, "Genius in France". In 2006, Zappa organized the "Zappa Plays Zappa" tour. He assembled a band of young musicians with a view to bring the music of Frank Zappa to a younger audience. The tour also featured guest appearances by Steve Vai, Napoleon Murphy Brock and Terry Bozzio. The tour began in Europe in May with dates in the U.S. from June. After a break it continued in the U.S. on October 18, 2006. The 2007 version of the tour ran from July, finishing in Australia in early December, and featured Ray White as special guest. The shows ended with the promise: "There are so many songs we want to learn to play ... see y'all next year ...", and further tours have followed each year since 2007.

 In 2009, Ray White left Zappa Plays Zappa for an undisclosed reason.

Dweezil Zappa at Bluesfest 2008 in Ottawa

Personal life

From 1998 to 2004, Zappa dated musician Lisa Loeb. Zappa and Loeb wrote and performed music together, and Zappa toured with Loeb's band. The couple co-hosted the cooking showDweezil & Lisa on Food Network in 2004.

Zappa married fashion stylist Lauren Knudsen on September 3, 2005 in Los Angeles. They have two daughters: Zola Frank Zappa (born 2006) and Ceylon Indira Zappa (born 2008).

 In March 2010 Knudsen filed for divorce in L.A. County Superior Court. According to the documents, she cited irreconcilable differences and applied to share legal custody of the two daughters.

 In March 2012, with the divorce case still unresolved, Zappa's former lawyer made a public issue of his unpaid legal bills.

 Dweezil went on to marry Megan Marsicano in a private ceremony in Los Angeles in April 2012.

Musical equipment


  • Gibson SG – made of walnut, the main guitar on the F. O. H. album of Zappa Plays Zappa
  • Gibson Les Paul – 1958 reissue, wired like Jimmy Page's
  • Fender Stratocaster
  • Discography


  • 1982 – My Mother Is a Space Cadet
  • 1986 – Havin' a Bad Day
  • 1988 – My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama
  • 1991 – Confessions
  • 2000 – Automatic
  • 2006 – Go with What You Know
  • With Ahmet Zappa

  • 1994 – Shampoohorn
  • 1996 – Music For Pets
  • With Zappa Plays Zappa

  • 2008 – Zappa Plays Zappa
  • 2010 – Return Of The Son Of...
  • 2011 – In The Moment
  • 2012 – F.O.H.
  • 2012 – F.O.H. 3 - Out Of Obscurity
  • Guest appearances

  • 1984 – Guitar solos "Sharleena" and "Stevie's Spanking" on Frank Zappa's Them or Us
  • 1984 – Guitar on Frank Zappa's You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 3 (album) on "Sharleena"
  • 1985 – Vocals on Frank Zappa's Frank Zappa Meets the Mothers of Prevention
  • 1986 – Guitar solo on "Whipping Post" on Frank Zappa's Does Humor Belong in Music?'
  • 1988 – Winger on "Purple Haze"
  • 1989 – With sister Moon Unit, contributed the track "(In Love) With You Gumby" to the novelty album Gumby
  • 1990 – Opening and outro solos on Extreme's Pornograffitti on the song "He-Man Woman Hater"
  • 1992 – Lead guitar on "Diva Fever" on Spinal Tap's Break Like the Wind
  • 1993 – Lead guitar on "Dirty Love" and "Chunga's Revenge" on Zappa's Universe tribute
  • 1994 – Barks on the track "Waffenspiel" on Frank Zappa's Civilization Phaze III
  • 1997 – Guitar solo on Pat Boone's cover of "Smoke on the Water" (the No More Mr. Nice Guy album)
  • 2000 – Guitar on Dixie Dregs's California Screamin CD performing "Peaches en Regalia"
  • 2001 – 911, on "Top of the World"
  • 2003 – "Weird Al" Yankovic's Poodle Hat album, on "Genius In France"
  • 2006 – Lead guitar on "Chunga's Revenge" and "Bavarian Sunset" on Frank Zappa's Trance-Fusion
  • 2006 – Guitar on Kip Winger's solo album "Songs From The Ocean Floor"
  • 2011 – Solo guitar on "Release the Memes" from Centrifugal Satz Clock: Morning, by Steve Kusaba
  • 2013 – Solo guitar on "Mind Your Step" from "Freak Guitar: The Smorgasbord", by Mattias IA Eklundh