Frank Zappa back on tour as a hologram

NEW YORK • Rock 'n' roll is dead. Long live rock 'n' roll.

Experimental rocker Frank Zappa, who died in 1993, is heading back on tour - as a hologram.

His family trust on Thursday said the concerts would begin next year and hoped the digitally resurrected American musician would jam again with some of his still-living collaborators, including metal guitar virtuoso Steve Vai.

The family are 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 the artist himself starring by hologram.

Zappa - whose music merged hard rock and jazz with absurdist lyricism inspired by Dadaist art - died of prostate cancer at age 52.

His wife took over his estate and brought his total output to about 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 the couple's two eldest children, Dweezil and Moon, required to seek permission to profit from 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 their father.

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.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'Frank Zappa back on tour as a hologram'. Subscribe