Over the past few years, Dweezil Zappa has been open with his fans about his legal battles with the Zappa Family Trust, which is now controlled by his two youngest siblings Ahmet and Diva Zappa.
In a lengthy new update on the trademark battle, Dweezil revealed that last year Ahmet and Diva made a trademark claim on his full name. Dweezil says the Frank Zappa hologram tour announced last week is another slap in his face and a further mockery of their father's legacy.
"Apparently 'owning' my name isn’t enough for them and they have tried to leverage their roles as trustees by creating a holographic version of our father that they seek to manipulate on stages worldwide," Dweezil writes in a lengthy new update on his website.
In response to legal action, Dweezil was forced to change the name of his popular Zappa Plays Zappa tour. To avoid the bizarre legal restrictions imposed by the ZFT, Dweezil had to rebrand the tour Dweezil Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa and then when that didn't work 50 Years of Frank: Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F@%k He Wants — The Cease and Desist Tour.
Dweezil says the ZFT was so bold as to make a claim on Dweezil's full name. Yes, even his first name.
"'Dweezil' is a trademark belonging to the ZFT," Dweezil quotes a document as saying.
Dweezil acknowledges that his brother offered to license Frank Zappa's music to him for $1. But that deal was unacceptable because it also required Dweezil to sell ZFT merchandise and return every penny of the profits to the ZFT, even though the ZFT was already profiting from Frank Zappa's album sales, streaming revenue, merchandise and never once helped pay for a tour.
Dweezil no longer sells any merch at his shows.
He continued, explaining several facts about the production of hologram shows, how actors are used to recreate a performer's movements and how he considers the whole exercise to be "pretty fake and unsatisfying."
"Artificial humans promoted as being alive again and going on tour is not only fake but disturbing, in my opinion," Dweezil writes.
"'Fake Frank' could even be made to hold a Budweiser banner and do all sort of other 'Fake Frank' things that are inconsistent with the real Frank Zappa. This...all sounds like a preposterous joke but sadly it's true."
Read Dweezil's full statement here.
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