- The Washington Times - Friday, September 22, 2017

A hologram of late musician, composer, satirist and activist Frank Zappa will perform his songs on the road as a hologram backed by some of his living, former bandmates, according to his estate.

The Zappa Family Trust and Eyellusion, a Los Angeles-based production studio, are working together in hopes of taking the Zappa hologram on tour, his family announced Thursday. Ultimately they hope to reproduce live the entirety of “Joe’s Garage,” a three-act rock opera released by Zappa in 1979, the estate said in a statement, with the hologram emulating the late musician’s parts.

“Frank was an innovator and his art transcended so many different mediums,” said Diva Zappa, his youngest daughter and co-trustee of his estate. “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.”

“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 Zappa, his youngest son and co-trustee.

Several of Zappa’s former bandmates have already committed to the project and production is currently expected to begin within the year, the Zappa estate said. Musicians planning on taking part include guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, former King Crimson frontman Adrian Belew, woodwind player Napoleon Murphy Brock, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta and sessions guitarist Mike Keneally, among others.

“I was invited by Ahmet last week to be a part of this,” Mr. Keneally, 55, told the San Diego Tribune Thursday. “I’m so intrigued by the idea. I’m already seeing a lot of hand-wringing online about it, but I’m interested in the potential for something pretty dang mind-blowing.

“I think Frank would be hugely intrigued by the technological aspects,” Mr. Keneally added. “And I seriously doubt he’d be concerned with any perceived sacrilegious aspects — he was never too concerned with keeping things sacred! Actually, I can easily imagine him watching this show with a huge grin on his face.”

Frank Zappa was born in Baltimore in 1940 and best known for producing and releasing dozens of albums spanning several genres during a decades long musical career peppered with political commentary prior to passing away in 1993 from prostate cancer at the age of 52.

In addition to earning a a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997 and a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he’s also recognized posthumously for his defense of free speech and opposition to censorship, notably evidenced during his 1985 testimony before a Senate hearing concerning explicit song lyrics. Then-mayor Mayor Sheila Dixon designated Aug. 7, 2007 as “Frank Zappa Day” with a declaration that cited his “talents and innovation and defense of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Eyellusion previously produced a hologram of late metal singer Ronnie James Dio that began performing live in 2016, six years after he passed from stomach cancer. His estate announced in July that the Dio hologram will embark on a world tour starting later this fall.

“We are thrilled to welcome such a monumental and important artist to our lineup of planned live music hologram productions,” said Jeff Pezzuti, CEO of Eyellusion. “We are music lovers first and can’t wait to get to work on yet another show that lets fans experience such timeless and important music in a live concert setting.”

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