AM. ZEROS
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AM. ZEROS

Dallas, Texas, United States

Dallas, Texas, United States
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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Story by: Alexa Garcia-Ditta
The Shorthorn staff
The AM. Zeros call themselves “the mini-Eagles,” referring to the ’70s rock band.

Ryan Martin, 30, plays the drums for the AM. Zeros with Chris Johnson, 31, and Steve Wilson, 32, who split the job of lead singer like The Eagles.

“We decided to have two lead singers,” Wilson said. “It’s what gives us our sound. We have two writers and two singers producing the same music.”

The band will be opening for Bowling for Soup at EX.C.E.L. Campus Activities’ Last Blast concert 8 tonight at Texas Hall.

Wilson said the band has played for several UTA events but has never opened for or met Bowling for Soup.

The AM. Zeros, whose name is a play on “American Heroes,” said they have such a unique sound that the members themselves can’t place the group in a specific music genre.

“It’s so hard for a band like us, because we’re not writing something trendy,” Wilson said. “It’s hard for us to categorize. The best way I’ve heard it put is ‘rock power trio.’”

Johnson said their music has been compared to artists like U2 and Incubus.

The AM. Zeros’ unique sound also comes from a variety of influences.

“Each person has different influences and upbringing as far as music goes,” Wilson said. “Throw them into a pot, and we’ve got a band.”

The group formed after childhood pals Johnson and Wilson decided to leave their previous bands and start their own.

“It was a shot in the dark,” Wilson said.

After forming their band and recording their debut CD, “Something to Fall Back On,” the AM. Zeros used MySpace as their main marketing and promotional tool.

“Every band’s best marketing tool is MySpace,” Wilson said. “Now people can hear and see the band in a simple e-mail.”

The band’s fan base includes many age groups, from sixth graders to fans in their 40s, he said.

“People dig the music regardless of their age,” Johnson said. “Our music is a timeless, non-trendy type of music that everybody adapts to.”

While they have played small venues in Dallas, the AM. Zeros said they want to play for larger audiences as well.

The group said they have been playing music for a long time, but they still get a rush after selling one CD.

“We’ve all done stuff that is credible as musicians, but to this day, I still get a high from selling a CD,” Wilson said. “I love that — that one person likes the music.” - The Shorthorn (Arlington TX)


Rockstars featured on HDNet Budweiser True Music

by: Sarah Crisman and Lindsay Huntoon

AM. Zeros is:
Chris Johnson - Guitar, Voice
Steve Wilson - Bass, Voice
Ryan Martin - Drums, Percussion

SC: You know your song Been Found Out?
AZ: Yes.
SC: Yeah, I've got a bone to pick with you about that little ditty.
AZ: (pause) Ok...
SC: I don't appreciate it.
AZ: Excuse me?
SC: I. Don't. Appreciate. It. I know it's about me. You've been found out, American Zeros.
AZ: It's not about you. And we're AM. Zeros now.
SC: You don't think it's a shame to see me every week?
AZ: The song's not about you.
SC: Whatever. Wait. What? You changed your name?
AZ: Yeah, we're AM. Zeros now.
SC: Uh huh.
AZ: There's like 500 bands called American something or another.
SC: I've never heard of any.
AZ: Well, there's a bunch.
SC: Why do you hate America?
AZ: We don't, we...
SC: I think my readers have heard enough. So Am Zeros.
AZ: AM. Zeros. Don't forget the dot there.
SC: Right. A.M. Zeros
AZ: (sounding frustrated) No no. AM. Zeros
SC: AM Dot Zeros?
AZ: Am. Zeros
SC: American...

(sound of foot steps and door shutting)

SC: Hey, where are you...

(Tape clicks off)

SC: (out of breath) Ok, I've just... caught up... with Steve from Am. Zeros.
AZ: (distant voice of agitation)
SC: STEVE?! STEVE? I HEAR YOU'RE PLAYING THE DEEP ELLUM ARTS FEST.

(more footsteps, sound of Sarah out of breath)

SC: Why. Don't you. Tell Cricketsoda about. the show.
AZ: Fine. We're playing the Budweiser stage on April 8th.
SC: Good. Thank you. April 8th. Oooooh. I've got something going on that day...
AZ: I think we'll manage.
SC: So you're saying "Been Found Out" IS about me?
AZ: What? Where did you get that? How could you possibly...
SC: Does my imposition make you wanna cut your throat?
AZ: (Pause) Maybe a little.
SC: A HA! I Knew it! Why do you hate me? Why do you hate America and me? Is it because I'm American? I can't help it, you know. It wasn't a conscious decision to be born in Illinois. That's not very fair of you. Hey! Where are you going now?
AZ: The song is Not about you.
SC: So I hear you're writing a book.
AZ: Um. Yeah. Yes. It's a sort of Band survival guide.
SC: Like a Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a Rockstar?
AZ: Something like that. I've picked up a lot of tricks on the road, making a living as a musician. I could write a book.
SC: Interesting. I could write a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Doing a Rockstar.
AZ: I bet you could.
SC: I've picked up a few tricks on the road.
AZ: That's what I heard.
SC: Do you find it difficult dealing with obnoxious fans?
AZ: Well, our fans are pretty cool, actually.
SC: Right. Gotcha. I just winked.
AZ: Yeah, I saw that.
SC: No, I was telling the tape. It couldn't see.
AZ: Ah yes. So any way, our fans...
SC: Right. You play so many intimate venues, how do you avoid them?
AZ: We don't.
SC: But everytime I've come to see your show, you've always been so busy, I could hardly get a moment for hugs and pictures.

(awkward pause)

SC: Oh.

(sniffling sound)

SC: Um. Right. Ok. (whispers) Inner poise. Do you wear Guyliner every day, or just when you're on stage.
AZ: Guyliner?
SC: Yes, you're clearly wearing make up on stage and in several photographs. How does your father feel about this?
AZ: Um...
SC: Guyliner is totally hot.
AZ: Thanks.
SC: I see here that you were featured on HDNet Budweiser True Music.
AZ: Yeah, that was pretty cool. We didn't realize it was such a big deal at the time.
SC: I get that a lot.
AZ: What?
SC: I'm such a big deal, it's hard for normal people to grasp.
AZ: (Long Pause) Right, well, if you run around telling everyone that, eventually someone will believe you.
SC: Really, I insist. But you get it. You're a big deal. You're a Budweiser Big Deal.
AZ: I guess you could say that.
SC: I'm more of a Miller High Life Big Deal. I'm like the champagne of Big Deals.
AZ: I think you could be like the Keystone Light of Big Deals.
SC: Thank you, that is so sweet.
AZ: Yeah, you've been found out.

- CricketSoda (Dallas)


Tonight at Texas Hall, the Bowling for Soup videos that have been playing on University Center TVs for the past few weeks will become a reality.

EX.C.E.L. Campus Activities’ Last Blast concert will feature a pre-party picnic in front of Texas Hall starting at 5 p.m., and the concert featuring AM. Zeros and Bowling for Soup will start at 8 p.m.

General admission tickets are on sale to the UTA community for $5 and will be available at the door.

“We’re hoping it’s one of those events where people show up at the door to buy tickets,” said Waqar Ghani, finance junior and EX.C.E.L. entertainment and arts director.

He said the organization chose general admission seating for this concert to give students more mobility during the show.

“Things can get rough with music, especially rock bands,” he said. “People will be up and dancing, and we want it to be as comfortable for the students as possible.”

Bowling for Soup will sell merchandise after their performance and will hold a 25-minute autograph session as well, Ghani said.

The organization began planning for this concert last summer and distributed about 2,000 surveys to get student feedback.

“The bigger bands were out of our reach,” he said. “We only got a few dates for Maverick Stadium and even though it didn’t work, we’re looking into it for next year.”

Ghani said they originally planned for a concert at Maverick Stadium, but had to downsize because of scheduling and money setbacks.

When choosing the opening band for Bowling for Soup, the organization gathered a list of local bands by listening to the radio. Ghani said a committee voted, and AM. Zeroes, a Dallas-based band, came out on top.

The picnic on the lawn will take place before the concert. EX.C.E.L. coordinated with Dining Services to plan this event, Ghani said.

Connection Café will be closed tonight, and those students with a meal plan can eat an all-you-can-eat dinner for free. Those without a meal plan can pay $5 for the dinner.

“The two departments are working together and supporting each other,” he said.

Jennifer Griggs, broadcast management junior and campus traditions director, said the picnic will also feature activities for students, including a 24-foot rock-climbing wall and a 60-foot obstacle course.

“We wanted something fun for students to do before finals,” she said. “It’s a way for them to blow off steam and hang out with their friends.”

Students can also participate in the Last Blast challenge, which will feature timed races on the obstacle course and rock-climbing wall. The winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to Target, she said. - The Shorthorn Paper UTA (Arlington)


Am. Zeros – Timeless VS Trendy
Playing Taste Addison 2:00pm

If you’ve ever been to an Am. Zeros show, you would notice that they do not look or sound like the trendy bands of today. They aren’t part of the New York rock genre encompassing The Strokes and The Velvet Underground. They don’t play Brit-pop. The lead singer doesn’t wear a suit and tie, (in fact, they don’t even have a lead singer!) They don’t sing about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They’re not in their early twenties and they don’t have a rebellious attitude. But they do write great songs.

“Our first publicist and manager contacts always told us straight up that they didn’t know how to market us,” says Chris. Sitting here with the band in Café Brazil at 10:00 in the morning in Dallas, I am struck with the realization that I’ve never ever interviewed a band this early. Their songwriting is reflected in their clothes; all three members seem very comfortable in vintage t-shirts and jeans, the timeless kind of look that never goes out of style. “We don’t fit into an easily defined genre or sound that can be categorized. All our songs don’t sound the same. It was a real challenge to get help from the music industry in the beginning.”
The Dallas-based trio has already done a remarkable amount on their own for being less than two years old. They played SXSW last month at two different venues and are opening for the Gin Blossoms at the Taste of Addison Festival in May. Their single ‘Spin’ is receiving play throughout Texas and gets weekly spins on 102.1 ‘The Edge’ in Dallas. They are touring their debut album ‘Something to Fall Back On’ in Texas and are planning to encompass the entire south by the end of the year. They just picked up a publicist and have started to push their album for distribution deals and label interest. Steve Wilson is the bass player in the band, and he shares lead vocals with the guitarist Chris Johnson. Their drummer Ryan Martin rounds out the trio.
I ask the band about fan feedback. “The biggest compliment we receive from fans after seeing a show is that they can’t believe the sound we get for just being three guys,” says Ryan. “We hear it after every performance.” “What about reviews from the CD?” I ask. “We often get complimented on every song being unique throughout the album; we don’t have the problem of every song sounding the same,” replies Steve.
When I asked Am. Zeros about the album title, Steve tells me it came from them all being asked throughout their careers if they had day jobs. “This is our job. We don’t do anything else. We make a living playing music because that’s what we love to do. So the album title ‘Something to Fall Back On’ is kind of tongue in cheek”.
Their full-length debut is a colorful blend of songs. Their sound is very melodic, with catchy vocal lines and tight arrangements. Bass and drums meld well together over clever guitar lines, and Chris and Steve trade lead vocals.
We all get our breakfast at this point in the interview. They are all visibly excited. Chris sums it up through a mouthful of migas – ‘Café Brazil is badass.’ Just sitting with the band, they seem to have a friendly, easygoing kind of vibe. They don’t appear to take themselves too seriously. “We’re pretty laid back,” says Ryan. This may be so, but their work ethic is an exception. They’re very organized.
“Our fans also can never believe that we’re business owners,” says Chris. “Am. Zeros is an S-Corporation. We all own 33.33% of the business. All three of us have an equal share in the business profits be it from CD sales, royalties, merchandise, or whatever. We all have specific jobs as well. I do most of the artwork, correspondence, and computer related jobs. Steve deals with booking. Ryan takes care of taxes and the accounting/banking. And of course some things we do together. We have all been doing this for years and know that you have to approach a music career as a business. We work real hard to cover all the bases ourselves because we can only count on each other at this point. We have to be as organized and professional as we can.”
They have often been compared to bands such as U2, Lenny Kravitz, Tonic, and Incubus. I ask the guys about their sound “I definitely hear an eighties influence in the choruses,” says Ryan. “That’s something I love about this band. We do have the big catchy choruses with cool harmonies. But it sounds more modern. We don’t sound like Def Leppard or old Bon Jovi. But it is an influence. ”
Being that their music is more of a timeless variety, I ask Steve what his thoughts are about their place in the music industry. “We can’t jump on the bandwagon with whatever the current trend is,” he replies, “so our progress as a band might be slower at first than a more trendy act. But we will not be out of style in five years either so we have an advantage of longevity.”
I ask Chris about the Am Zeros songwriting process. “As far as writing songs, sometimes Steve or I might have a rough song already written out. And sometimes we’ll just have a melody in mind or Ryan and Steve might come up with a cool groove. There’s no set process involved. No one person necessarily writes all the lyrics. It’s a pretty organic process.”
“Do you have any lyrical themes throughout the album?” I ask. “The songs often reflect things that have happened to us in our lives,” Steve replies. “The opening track ‘Vacation’s Over’ is about a house guest I had that just wouldn’t leave. I wrote ‘Leaves’ about dealing with a previous band member addicted to drugs. Chris wrote ‘Spin’ about beginning a new relationship.”
Ryan adds, “I think the theme of freedom comes into our lyrics a lot. Doing what makes you happy in life, not being controlled by other people and trying to find your own way.”
As catchy as this band is, and with the quality of songwriting involved, I think they have a long career ahead of them, regardless of the trends of the industry. Check them out at www.amzeros.com or www.myspace.com/americanzeros.
- Red Magazine Dallas


Discography

Album - Something To Fall Back On
Singles
- Vacation's Over (rock) (4:10)
- Spin (acoustic rock) - (4:05)
- Been Found Out (rock) - (4:00)
- The Gnome - (rock) - (3:54)
Radio Play
C101 - Corpus Christi, TX
102.1 - THE EDGE - Dallas, TX
KLSX - The Fox - Killeen, TX
Rock 108 - Abilene, TX
99.5 KISS - San Antonio, TX
texasradio1.com - Internet Radio
(internet affiliations are myspace.com/americanzeros, garageband.com, and napster.com to name a few)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

"Great songwriters, great musicians, AM. ZEROS have got it, whatever 'it' is..."
- Chris Ryan - DJ - KDGE 102.1 'The Edge' - Dallas, TX

With well written songs that have been compared to Lenny Kravitz, the Police, U2, and Tonic, the band appeals to a wide range of listeners. Their diverse sound is attributed to 3 seasoned members and dual lead vocals. For three guys, the Dallas based band definitely packs a punch live, with a colorful blend of songs pulled from a variety of influences. Their songs defy any age barrier, enabling the band to play colleges, festivals, and the club scene in any city they visit.

AM. ZEROS do not contrive the latest trend; they passionately write timeless songs that appeal to listeners of all ages. The Dallas based band's fan base grows as they continue to wow audiences, night after night throughout the south. They always deliver one of a kind performances, leaving their songs firmly stamped in everyone's memory.

As a band with two powerful lead singers, AM. ZEROS definitely lay a thick sound. They take pride in being a live band in a market saturated with sterile, overproduced music. The band has has generated quite a buzz while touring regionally to promote their debut album.

MORE QUOTES:
"AM. ZEROS music was an instant addition to many of the stations I work on and generated heavy phones for a relatively new group... Bad Ass!!!"
- Eric Raines - Clear Channel KASE 101 Morning Crew Producer Voice Talent: C101 Corpus, WTAK Huntsville, KLFX Killeen, KLUB Victoria, KYGL Texarkana, KVET Austin, KTBQ Lufkin, KNFX College Station

“AM. ZEROS rock, they are my favorite Dallas band.”
- Pugs - Talk show host of The Pugs and Kelly Show: LIVE 105.3 FM Dallas, TX

"What a fresh sound! These guys have a very good mix of great lyrics and vocals. Their music flat out sounds good!"
- Bob Singer - Owner of Waterstone Guitars - Nashville, TN

“What a huge sound for a trio; these guys sold me when they came into the studio and did a live acoustic set.”
- Frank Pain - Program Director Rock 108 – Abilene, TX

“I’ve worked with Chris and Steve in the past and watched them develop into a great band. AM. ZEROS produce an awesome live show, making it a pleasure for sound men like myself.”
- Fern Alvarez Jr. - FOH sound for - Dixie Chicks, Lisa Marie Presley, James Taylor

“AM. ZEROS understand the meaning of putting on a live show. These guys pack the stage with energy and deliver music that makes you walk over to the merch booth and buy their CD! True professionals.”
- Katie Daryl- Budweiser True Music Host/Producer