NEW YORK: Experimental rocker Frank Zappa, prolific in his life and even in death through a string of posthumous releases, is heading back on tour as a hologram.
Zappa’s family trust on Thursday announced that the hologram concerts would begin in 2018 and hoped the resurrected Zappa would jam again with some of his still-living collaborators including metal guitar virtuoso Steve Vai.
The family said it was also at work on a production of “Joe’s Garage The Musical” — a rock opera about the government seizing control of the music business, which did not appear on stage until after Zappa’s death — with Zappa himself starring by hologram.
Zappa — whose music merged hard rock and jazz with absurdist lyricism inspired by Dadaist art — died in 1993 of prostate cancer.
His wife Gail took over his estate and brought his total output to some 100 album releases. But her death in 2015 set off a feud, with their son Ahmet and daughter Diva in charge of the trust and their two eldest children, Dweezil and Moon, required to seek permission to profit on their father’s music.
Ahmet indicated hope for reconciliation in a statement announcing the hologram tour, saying it would be his “greatest wish” to see Dweezil and Moon performing with Frank Zappa.
Jeff Pezzuti, head of the firm Eyellusion which will design the hologram, called Frank Zappa “an incredible musician, unmatched in his output,” who “tackled so many different genres and influenced a generation of artists that would go on to help further shape rock and pop for decades to come.”
Zappa’s notable fans include the Czech Republic’s first post-communist leader Vaclav Havel, who made the Los Angeles rocker an unofficial cultural ambassador.
Holograms broke into the mainstream in 2012 when slain rap legend Tupac Shakur appeared at the Coachella music festival.
Holograms have become increasingly common since then, with late stars ranging from Billie Holiday to Liberace taking the stage again.
But the technology has also faced critics who question the quality and taste, with Whitney Houston’s estate scuttling a hologram it deemed insufficiently realistic.