Great Rock Albums of 1986: Dweezil Zappa- Havin’ a Bad Day

Havin'_A_Bad_Day

The big question when Dweezil Zappa’s debut album, “Havin’ a Bad Day,” came out was, “How much would Dweezil be like his father?” After all, back in 1984, Julian Lennon was accused of either being too much or not enough like his famous father. For me, the answer was that Dweezil was wanting to strike out and make his own name in the music world and this album was evidence of it.

First piece of evidence is the fact that except for song, “I Want a Yacht,” which also features comedy actor Bobcat Tailgwith, the lyrics in the songs aren’t the over the top humour which so many of us have come to love about Frank Zappa. Unfortunately, it might have been better if he had been more like his dad in the lyrics department. It’s the lyrics that are the weakest part of the album. Maybe lyrics like “Blonde hair, brown nose, you know where it goes,” might have been an attempt to be more like his father but they just don’t do it.

Fortunately, the lyrics are the only thing weak about the album. The musicianship is top rate on here and one thing I can say about Dweezil is that he can wail on a guitar. His constant soloing on the opening title track make it the best track on the album. But there are cool heavy metal sounding riffs on the track, “You Can’t Ruin Me,” plus a great metal sounding guitar solo to go with it. In spite of my observations about the lyrics, the music on the track, “Blonde Hair, Brown Nose” is more than enough to save the song. However, the lyrics and music on the song, “I Want a Yacht,” make it brilliant enough to make it the second best song. Dad’s influence does come in on this track. Using logic, my concerns about the lyrics combined with Dweezil Zappa’s obvious music talent should make “The Pirate Song” the best track on the album because it is an instrumental. He does wail on it with some great metal sounding riffs but I still prefer the songs already named as number one and two.

One more comparison of father and son comes with the vocals. While Frank is a musical genius, he was never the best vocalist in the world. Then he didn’t have to be. I can state that Dweezil is of similar vocal ability. He’s not bad, it’s just that his vocals aren’t great and maybe he should have handed off the vocals on the closing ballad, “I Feel Like I Wanna Cry.” It feels that Don Dokken would have made a good substitute here. The tracks, “You Can’t Ruin Me” and “Let’s Talk About It” are sung by one Katherine Thyne and she does a pretty good job.

 Track Listing:

  1. Havin’ a Bad Day
  2. Blonde Hair, Brown Nose
  3. You Can’t Ruin Me
  4. The Pirate Song
  5. You Can’t Imagine
  6. Let’s Talk About It
  7. Electric Hoedown
  8. I Want a Yacht
  9. I Feel Lie I Wanna Cry

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Dweezil Zappa- lead vocals, guitar

Scott Thunes- bass

Chris Wackerman- drums

Katherine Thyne- vocals on “You Can’t Ruin Me” and “Let’s Talk About It”

Bobcat Tailgwith- backing vocals

Gail Zappa- backing vocals

Moon Unit Zappa- backing vocals

Ahmet Zappa- backing vocals

Diva Zappa- backing vocals

Some critics say that after this album, Dweezil went back into the shadow of his father. Personally, I don’t think Frank would have allowed that and wanted his son to strike out on his own. “Havin’ a Bad Day” is a decent album and with all the guitar greats that were around in 1986, I think that he should have been included in that group.

Next post: Phantom, Rocker and Slick- Cover Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: Dweezil Zappa- Havin’ a Bad Day”

  1. I have to assume the album after this was the one with his remake of “My Guitar Wants to kill your Mama” on it.

    I really am not very familiar with Dweezil! I have one Zappa Plays Zappa albums and that’s all!

    Liked by 1 person

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