For those who caught on to Frank Zappa’s music after his untimely death, few experiences rivaled that of the Zappa Plays Zappa project. Led by Frank’s son Dweezil Zappa, the band name said it all, one Zappa playing the music of another.Only, there seems to be some contention over the use of the Zappa family name for the project. The Zappa Family Trust recently informed Dweezil that he did not have the rights to tour under the name Zappa Plays Zappa, as the last name is a trademark owned by the trust. Instead, the band will hit the road as Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa.In an interview with the New York Times, Dweezil says, “It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue… but this is being done under duress.” He added, “My last name is Zappa; my father was Frank Zappa… but I am not allowed to use the name on its own. I’m not allowed to use a picture of him. I’m not allowed to use my own connection with him without some sort of deal to be struck.”When Frank Zappa’s window Gail Zappa passed away, control of the Family Trust went to two of Zappa’s four children, Ahmet Zappa and Diva Zappa. While the other two, Dweezil and Moon Unit, remained beneficiaries, the relationship between the siblings has been riddled with contention. Ahmet addressed the Zappa Plays Zappa situation as well, saying “I am not standing in the way of Dweezil playing the music… he would just have to be in accordance with the family trust.”Dweezil gets the final word in the article, saying “I just hope people will understand that the only thing I’m changing is the name.” The Dweezil Zappa Plays Frank Zappa tour kicks off in July.[H/t The New York Times]
At a small gathering of auto enthusiasts in Waite Phillips Hall, Amir Rosenbaum, one of 12 people to break the 400 mph land speed barrier, spoke about his experience building and driving racecars. The event was hosted by the USC Auto Club.Fast and Furious · Land-speed race record-holder Amir Rosenbaum met with students Tuesday night to discuss his racing career and his experiences in the auto industry in Waite Phillips Hall. – Liliana Scarlet Sedano | Daily Trojan “It’s good to be passionate about something, it makes you a better person,” Rosenbaum said. “But if you’re passionate about cars, that’s even better.”Rosenbaum’s interest in cars started early; he began making car sounds and saying car names at 9-months-old. He waited until his 16th birthday to get his license, but got his first speeding ticket at noon on the same day.“At one point, I had 13 speeding tickets in a 37-month period,” Rosenbaum said. “I lost my license. I still drove.”After holding a series of odd jobs including amateur gold mining, Rosenbaum eventually founded an auto parts company, Spectre Performance, that is now a multimillion-dollar business selling parts to auto enthusiasts.Rosenbaum began his racing career at the Virginia City Hillclimb in Nevada, a two-lane mountain road where he set the all-time record in 2002 in a Ferrari F-40. He then set his sights on a land speed record, but after realizing he couldn’t do it in the F-40, he decided to build a new car. He ended up using a modified “streamliner,” a 39-foot long vehicle just wide enough to fit the driver, with a 1970 Cadillac big-block engine bought from a junkyard for $100.“Air behaves differently at supersonic versus subsonic speed,” he said. “Most people think they need to build their car like a jet-fighter, but we decided to stick with the traditional Boeing model — more like a raindrop.”Rosenbaum also spoke about what it was like to drive at over 400 mph and said that at that speed the conscious brain can’t function. Rosenbaum ended up having to rely on a series of LED lights to tell him when to shift gears.“Some of the older guys told me that I wouldn’t be able to count to four that fast,” he said. “I didn’t believe them, but it’s true; at that speed you can’t count.”Rosenbaum said that the conscious brain takes in three degrees of the 180 degrees in a normal human field of vision while the subconscious brain handles the rest. He used the example of being able to glance at a text while driving on the highway and not losing control of the vehicle, or how time can sometimes seem to pass more slowly when humans sleep. He said that people should be aware of the power of the subconscious brain and utilize it in their daily lives.“The job of the conscious brain is to tell the subconscious brain what to do,” he said. “All athletes and other high-performing individuals work this way.”Students responded to the event enthusiastically and found the anecdotes Rosenbaum shared engaging and informative.“It’s almost indicative of a different era, how he grew up versus how we grew up,” said John Hu, a junior majoring in economics. “I wonder if we can even do the things that he did.”Aaron Bajor, president and founder of the USC Auto Club, said it was an honor to host a speaker such as Rosenbaum and said he hoped it would increase awareness about the club, which has grown to almost 200 members.“USC is a great school, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities for people interested in the automotive field,” said Tyler Makin, a senior majoring in business administration. “It’s great to see those horizons expanding.”
USC baseball dropped its single mid-week matchup with UC Irvine Tuesday 6-5 at Dedeaux Field as their season record dropped to 18-21. Though UC Irvine began the game with a 2-0 lead in the first inning, a well-executed offense from the Trojans tied the score immediately in the bottom of the inning. Lead off batter junior left fielder Corey Dempster walked to get on first base, stole second base, advanced to third base due to a ground out from David Oppenheimer and was able to cross home after another ground out from junior Jeremy Martinez. With the bases clear, the next batter, sophomore center fielder Timmy Robinson, tacked on the game-tying run with a monstrous solo home run to left field. While roughed up in the first inning, giving up two runs off four singles and a balk, freshman pitcher CJ. Stubbs recovered in the second inning in highlight-worthy fashion when he quickly adjusted to a wizzing line drive hit by John Brontsema right back at him, with a nifty catch and strut towards first base for the easy toss to the freshman Dillon Paulson for the third out. Stubbs would remain in the contest to throw three scoreless innings and permit only two more hits. The top of the batting lineup continued to be effective when USC took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the second inning after Robinson’s double to left field brought in Oppenheim and Dempster to give the Trojans a 4-2 lead.USC added to its lead in the fourth inning when a double from Martinez to left center field scored Oppenheim. With a three score lead going into the fifth inning, head coach Dan Hubbs handed the ball off to reliever senior Brent Wheatley, who proved immediately effective in his sole inning of the game. But things did not work out so smoothly for the next USC pitcher, junior Andrew Wright, who, in the sixth inning. hit Jonathan Munoz and walked Grant Palmer. Though Wright was able get batter Adam Alcantara out on a fly ball to right field, Munoz to advance to third base and in position to score off an error by junior second baseman Frankie Rios. By the end of the inning, USC’s lead had been cut to 5-4. UC Irvine wasted no time completing its come back rally in the seventh inning, tying the game at 5-5 and taking its first lead of the contest since the first inning in what would turn out to be the game deciding score when Munoz hit an RBI single to left center field. In the ninth inning, senior pitcher Brooks Kriske did his part to give the Trojans offense the best chance to win, striking out two batters in a scoreless inning for UC Irvine. But despite getting two runners on base in their half of the ninth, the Trojans failed to drive in either to end the game.USC will host Arizona in a pivotal three- game Pac-12 series beginning Thursday at Dedeaux Field.