For almost six years now I've been living a dream. A dream beyond a dream, in fact, because I never truly thought I could play Zappa music for a living, let alone play with Frank Zappa through the magic of technology. The joy I felt for this amazing opportunity was evident in my playing every night, and seeing the many thousands of people across the world who were equally affected by this music was a huge inspiration in itself.
But after living the same dream for so many nights in a row, I started noticing some cracks in the facade. Instead of focusing on all the things that were right with our performances, I began to dwell on all the little things that were slightly less than perfect. It's come to the point where I can't ignore those things enough to enjoy myself during the shows like I once did, so it's time for me to leave the gig I said I'd never leave, as much as it might break my heart to do so.
Sharing the stage with the musicians in this band, both past and present, has improved my own musicality in ways I can't even comprehend. As proud as I am of our Grammy winning first recording, I almost can't stand to listen to it now because I know I'm a much, much better player now than I was when we first started, and that we're a much better band. Whether its the soloing concepts I picked up from Billy, Jamie, Scheila, or Steve, the harmonic ideas of Aaron or Chris, the stage presence and showmanship of Ben, Ray, or Napoleon, or the advanced rhythmic concepts of Joe or Terry, I feel like I've gotten an education that no school could offer. In addition to all that, I also feel like I'm part of a new family, and I thank all those musicians as well as our amazing crew for their part in that.
To Dweezil, Gail, Frank, and the rest of the Zappa family I express my deepest gratitude for taking a chance on me and allowing this dream beyond a dream to become a reality. Because of touring with this band I've been able to see parts of this world I never thought I would, experience different cultures, and best of all, meet the love of my life. I have no doubt that the band will continue to kick butt for many years to come.
Finally, to the fans all across the world, I say thank you for living this dream with me.