Zappa Family Trust Battle: Dweezil Zappa Issues Statement

Dweezil Zappa

In case you didn’t hear, two weeks after Ahmet Zappa penned an open letter to his brother Dweezil regarding the latter’s use of music by their late father, Frank Zappa, Dweezil has issued a statement!!!

Get the latest drama that is going down between Ahmet Zappa and her brother Dweezil Zappa on the flip…

Dweezil Zappa just caught wind about a family feud that has been ongoing for some time now between music legend Frank Zappa’s kids.

The Zappa family has stayed out of the public eye for years, but now that Ahmet Zappa took to Facebook, he has put the family smack dab in the middle of media attention. The family issue was private until now and Dweezil Zappa is FIRING back at his brother for making family business public. It hasn’t happened yet, but if TMZ gets paws on this, they’re going to dredge up everything and it might backfire in Ahmet’s face if he’s not paying attention!

In April Ahmet Zappa penned a letter disputing Dweezil Zappa’s tribute show to his dad, Zappa Plays Zappa.


Strange to be writing this in public, but I don’t know how else to respond.

After reading the article in The New York Times, I’m not sure how else to reach you. If we talk through our lawyers, it’s not because I want that. It’s because you’ve refused to talk any other way. I’ve been reaching out to you for months. I even tried to set up a family meeting so we could discuss all of our family issues, but you repeatedly said you couldn’t fit it into your schedule, and that you weren’t available to attend without your lawyers present.

Instead, you’ve given this incomplete, misleading story to the NYT and the media, and invited the whole world to take sides about our family business. Now, we’re becoming “that family” – the spoiled brats arguing in public about who deserves what.

I understand you’re hurting and angry. We all are. But the more we fight about this in the press, the worse it gets for all of us. We’re not gaining anything by doing this in public.

If you’re not willing to talk to me, though, I don’t know what else to do. The New York Times has a story about a version of me that isn’t based on facts or reality, and I don’t know how else to set the record straight – or get you to talk to me – except to write this here, where people can form opinions by reading what I said for themselves.

If you want to share private facts and legal documents, we can do that too, because honestly, we both know what’ll happen: it will give everyone a complete picture of what’s happening. Not the distorted one that’s out there now, which makes it look like this is about business crushing art, or me being a greedy asshole who wants to take away your rights.

I don’t know how else to start, so I’ll just respond to a few things I’ve read:

1. The article claims that you’re no longer allowed to perform under the name Zappa Plays Zappa.

Not true, and we both know it. I have never asked you to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to use the ZPZ name. You’ve only been told that you can’t keep using the name without agreeing to a fee of $1 per year, which you’re fully aware of, but never mentioned in your interviews. I’ll come back to that in a second. But just so everyone is clear:”

Here is the FULL letter below:

Dweezil Zappa is now taking another shot at Zappa Family Trust Battle writing a statement directed at his sibling, which reads:

“In keeping with the standards of transparency and intellectual honesty that our father established with his fans and the public, I am willing to respond to your letter to clarify things,”  

“You’ve personally designed your open letter to share the family business publicly. On the contrary, The New York Times article was necessary for me to continue running my own business publicly.”

“A non-negotiable demand that I am solely responsible for all touring and rehearsing expenses, yet receive 0 percent of the tour merchandise, and no retroactive payments of merch money that I’m owed since 2006, in exchange for paying $1 for the license to use the name Zappa Plays Zappa is not a deal. If this proposition wasn’t so laughable, I’d consider it an insult.”

Dweezil Zappa said he had to change the title of his popular Zappa Plays Zappa show to Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa, in accordance with the Zappa Family Trust, which owns the trademarked name. Dweezil said:

He “risked copyright infringement damages of $150,000 each time he played a song without proper permission.”

The trust changed hands to two of the Zappas’ four children following the death of Frank’s widow Gail last year. She had overseen her late husband’s music since he passed in 1993.

Ahmet’s open letter to Dweezil Zappa claimed that the new fees weren’t directed specifically at his brother.

“It’s all four of us [Zappa children]. If I want to perform Frank’s music, I’ll pay $1. So will [sisters] Diva and Moon. That’s just the deal, and I think it’s a pretty reasonable solution. One dollar, man. … I have never asked you to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to use the ZPZ name. You’ve only been told that you can’t keep using the name without agreeing to a fee of $1 per year, which you’re fully aware of, but never mentioned in your interviews.”

As Dweezil’s latest statement reveals more details of the Zappa family’s business agreement, and one that will likely be met with another response, he seems determined to keep performing.

He concludes:

“I will continue to play our father’s music publicly…not because it’s a lucrative business, especially when substantial monies are withheld from me and expenses continue to rise, but because it is a labor of love for me.”

Ahmet NEEDS to realized that posting this on Facebook can get him sued by Dweezil for revealing private family matters and parts of the will from their father Frank Zappa.


Photo: Flynet/Getty