Adrian Belew Will Not Participate in Frank Zappa Hologram Tour

Kevin Winter / Hulton Archive, Getty ImagesKevin Winter / Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Despite having been mentioned as one of the many former Frank Zappa sidemen that were lined up to play in next year’s tour where Zappa appeared via hologram, guitarist Adrian Belew has now said that he won’t be involved, and added that he had never fully committed to doing it, but that he considered it.

“Here are my final thoughts on the entire Zappa affair: respectfully count me out,” he wrote on Facebook. “I will not be playing Zappa music in the foreseeable future in any situation. This whole thing is far too caustic and divisive.” He then went on to praise all four of Zappa’s children, all of whom he’s interacted with over the years. “I do know one thing: Frank loved his family,” he continued.

Belew got his first break in the music industry when was part of Zappa’s touring band from 1977-78, a period that resulted in the album Sheik Yerbouti and the concert film Baby Snakes. A few days ago, he explained that his history with Frank is what led him to listen to Ahmet’s request.

“I think of Frank Zappa as my mentor. I realize I can never repay him for the opportunities he gave me. to be honest I played a very minor role in the Zappa universe and have always felt I get more credit than I deserve. Still, I jump at any chance I can to praise and honor Frank. So when one of his sons calls me to explain a possible concert series 18 months in the future, I am willing to listen.”

“In our brief conversation Ahmet explained the holographic concept and asked if it was something I might consider being part of,” he continued. “It didn’t occur to me that Frank’s fans might find it distasteful. Admittedly I didn’t think that part through. I told Ahmet if I felt strongly it would be a great way to celebrate Frank’s music, yes, I would consider being part of it. He asked permission to use my name in the announcement and I gave him permission.”

But, in a separate post a half an hour later, he then used an analogy to explain how considering to do something was different from agreeing. “If you ask a girl to marry you and she says, ‘I will consider it’ she DID NOT say YES,” he wrote. “In fact she only said she will think about it.”

Last week, the Zappa Family Trust, which is co-run by Ahmet and Diva Zappa, revealed that they were working with Eyellusion to create a production of Joe’s Garage: The Musical that features a hologram of Frank, as the Central Scrutinizer, playing with many musicians who worked with him over the years. The announcement was quickly mocked by Dweezil Zappa, who has fought with Ahmet and Diva in recent years over his right to perform their father’s music. Yesterday, Dweezil wrote at length about the difficulties he’s faced in trying to honor his father’s legacy as he sees fit.

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