Honoring Zappa

Plans are underway to honor iconoclastic musician / composer Frank Zappa in the city of his birth, including a bust and a performance by son Dweezil’s band, Zappa Plays Zappa.

Zappa was born in Baltimore, Dec. 21, 1940. Now the city is planning a proper tribute to one of the most unique musicians of the 20th century. Scheduled for Sept. 19, the event will include an unveiling and dedication of a bust contributed by a Lithuanian fan club.

The bust will be placed at the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Southeast Anchor in the Highlandtown neighborhood. Plans call for various Zappa-related events to be held at the library and nearby Patterson Theatre.

Photo: AP Photo
Lithuanian artists begin a bronze bust of Frank Zappa on its journey to Baltimore.

For Zappa historians, the Sept. 19 dedication date marks the 25th anniversary of the guitarist’s testifying on Capitol Hill in favor of free expression by recording artists. Zappa’s testimony before the Senate’s Commerce, Technology and Transportation committee was in direct response to efforts by the Parents Music Research Center’s (PMRC) efforts to persuade the recording industry to label records considered to contain objectionable material. The PRMC was co-founded by Tipper Gore, wife of then-Senator Al Gore.

A wider range of events planned by Clearpath Entertainment in collaboration with the Zappa family, the Southeastern Community Development Corporation, Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Creative Library will help anchor the new Highlandtown Arts and Entertainment district and will include a library exhibit, symposiums, and a party taking place after the dedication and concert.

“Frank Zappa’s musical genius and influence is undeniable and it has always been a must for us that Dweezil headline this show in the ultimate tribute to his father,” Clearpath’s David Christensen said. “This is going to be Zappa Plays Zappa, next to Zappa’s statue, on a street dedicated Zappa Way, on Zappa Day; it couldn’t be more fitting.”