19 September 2013

Dweezil Zappa - Confessions


I’ve recently moved home and as a result of this have dusted off several crates of CDs that I previously had in storage. Much to the annoyance of my wife I’ve been lovingly sorting through them all and reminiscing. Occasionally I’ll let out a gasp of elation as I stumble across an album I forgot I had and haven't listened to in years.  Confessions is one of those albums.

When it was first released back in 1991 I used to listen to this album constantly. I was at college by then and used to listen to this (on cassette) on my WALKMAN when I was supposed to be sketching a vase of flowers or expressing my emotional turmoil via the medium of pastels

 I’m not really sure how I came to by this because, while I’d heard of, Dweezil’s dad, Frank Zappa I didn’t know anything about him. My only reasoning I can think is that I was into Extreme at the time and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt features heavily on this album. As do a LOT of other people. Whilst this is a solo album there’s a huge amount of contributions on it too. Nuno Bettencourt plays guitar and sings on almost every song (The Kiss is the first time He’d been recorded doing lead vocals). His core band is Mike Keneally and Scott Thunes who were part of his dads’ band. The majority of the drums were played by Josh Freese who went on to play for every band ever.

There’s also a contribution from various other guitarists like Slash, Zakk Wylde, Steve Lukather, Warren DeMartini and more. Dweezil’s family also make an appearance. Both Moon Unit and Ahmet sing and one or two tracks. There a quite a few other folk dotted about too.

 Anyway, 20+ years ago I loved this album; I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it now. I’m hoping it hasn’t dated horribly.

The first thing I’ve noticed is how I can sing along word for word to songs I’ve not heard in over a decade. F.W.A.K., Gotta Get To You, Maybe Tonight, Earth and Confessions Of A Deprived Youth all rolled off my tongue as if It was just last week I’d heard them last.

Parts of it have dated somewhat. The eco message in Earth seems a little naïve 20 years on, though I guess its message of recycling is still kind of relevant. The female rapping on Vanity has dated horribly, I wasn’t keen on it back then and it’s not improved at all. Pain Of Love and, to a lesser extent, Maybe Tonight are quite weak songs compared to the rest. Maybe Tonight at least has a catchy chorus.
There’s a couple of covers on Confessions too. Anytime At All is a Beatles song and is sung completely with gang vocals. It works quite well in a football terrace kind of way. Stayin’ Alive is a rocked up version of the Bee Gees standard and is sung here by, rather bizarrely, Donny Osmond.

While Dweezil sings the majority of lead vocals on Confessions he’s, first and foremost, a guitarist and the tracks Shoogagoogagunga and Obviously Influenced By The Devil are instrumental tracks designed to show off that fact. They’re played with skill but also with a sense of fun which stops them being egotistical wank fests as these things can be.

The final song is Return Of The Son Of Shoogagoogagunga which, as you might think is a follow of Shoogagoogagunga.  It’s essentially the same but with Dweezil and Nuno wittering over the top of it playing the characters of two dopey guitarists. It’s not something you’ll listen to more than once really but it is pretty funny.

7 out of 10 This is Good and worth a check

Confessons isn't on Spotify  but some of Dweezil’s stuff is HERE



This is the video for Gotta Get To You (Ignore MTV’s spelling). It’s worth noting that, although in the video it appears to be Ahmet singing lead, he’s actually miming along to Dweezil. You can also quite clearly hear Extreme doing the backing vocals and the loon in the turquoise dungarees is Josh Freese


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