Frank Zappa died nearly a quarter of a century ago, but fans of the rock star will have a chance to see him in person in the near future—sort of. Zappa will appear as a hologram in a series of concerts later this year and in 2018. The hologram has been developed by Eyellusion, which created a similar one of classic singer Ronnie James Dio.
The most anticipated event featuring the Zappa hologram is a complete reconstruction of the musician’s rock opera, Joe’s Garage. The hologram will step in for Zappa in the role of the narrator, Central Scrutinizer. Zappa recorded the three-piece rock opera in 1979. It centers on a young man who forms a garage band, throws away his money, gets caught up in the rock ‘n roll lifestyle, and is sent to prison. When he’s released, he finds out that music has been banned and he goes insane.
The former members of Zappa’s band the Mothers of Invention and several “stunt guitarists” will be involved in the project, according to the rocker’s son Ahmet Zappa, co-trustee of the Zappa Family Trust.
“I’m thrilled that Frank Zappa will finally be going back out on tour playing his most well-known music as well as some rare and unheard material,” said Ahmet. “We can’t wait to bring his creative work back to the stage with the musicians he loved to play with, such as Steve Vai, Ian Underwood, Adrian Belew, Arthur Barrow, Vinnie Colaiuta, Scott Thunes, Mike Keneally, Denny Walley, Warren Cuccurullo and Napoleon Murphy Brock among others who are committed to being part of this epic endeavor. When I spoke with them, they were excited at the prospect of performing alongside Frank once again and can’t wait to give fans an unforgettable experience.”
Ahmet also expressed a desire for his father’s hologram to reunite with his siblings, with whom relations are currently tense. Ahmet said, “Also, how radical would it be to have Moon singing ‘Valley Girl’ onstage with Frank? Or to see Dweezil side by side with our father playing dueling guitar solos? That would be my greatest wish, and I look forward to bringing this special celebration of Frank’s legacy to a town near you.”
In 2016, Dweezil was reportedly forced to license his last name to play in a show he created in tribute to his father. He was also banned from selling related merchandise. Dweezil claimed the Zappa Family Trust tried to prevent him from using the Zappa Plays Zappa name to promote shows and because of it he dubbed his tour, “Dweezil Zappa Plays Whatever the F— He Wants — the Cease-and-Desist Tour.”
Co-trustee Diva Zappa, Frank’s youngest child, said of the hologram, “Frank was an innovator and his art transcended so many different mediums. He left behind such an extensive body of work and we want to celebrate his music with really creative and unique live hologram productions that will introduce his music to a new generation of fans and let so many that enjoyed his music when he was alive experience it again. We have had this idea for many years and after meeting with the team at Eyellusion, we knew that they were the right partner to make it a reality.”