Deck the Halls with Christmas Albums

B-Sides reviews the year's crop of holiday cheer and talks to Dweezil Zappa about his dad's legacy.

Were there notes and transcriptions to help you out?

Some of these songs that are from records like Apostrophe (') or Over-Nite Sensation — things that have musical interludes that are sophisticated and complex — those usually have some sort of transcription to them. But there are some songs that weren't played that frequently, so they don't. Take "Cheepnis," from Roxy & Elsewhere, with those crazy little bits that are like monster music. There was nothing on paper anywhere for those things, so that meant a long time of figuring it out and making sure that it sounds like it's supposed to.

In a way it seems like you were destined to do a tour like this sooner or later...

Well, I thought about doing this a long time ago, but it required really having the knowledge necessary to approach it the right way — and I mean, I really had to immerse myself in the music. I had to change my whole style of guitar playing. It's one of those things where when you start it's such a Sisyphean task, you know, you're pushing that rock up the hill thinking, "Uhhhh, I dunno if I can ever get there!" But in the back of my mind I always knew it was possible.

This is obviously a very personal undertaking. Does focusing on all the technical stuff help keep your mind off the more emotional aspect of playing your dad's music?

Well, when you get onstage and start seeing people's reactions to stuff, and then certain melodies hit you like a ton of bricks...there's certain songs I have a hard time playing without getting emotionally overwhelmed. Like "Sofa," for example. Frank used it as a show-closer, and the melody of it is such a beautiful melody, there's plenty of times when the whole band is in tears . — Michael Alan Goldberg

8 p.m. Thursday, December 14. Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard. $40. 314-726-6161.

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