John Zito
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John Zito

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John Zito brought his special flavor of rock and blues to The Beach recently. If you get a chance, be sure to check out Johnny's band. They are playing at Take 1 Nite Club November 4th with Kil Jaden and November 22nd they will be back at The Beach.

Go Johnny Go!

Sally Steele - Vegas Rocks, November 2006


Wounded rock star goes on with the show! Film at eleven! A broken foot did not keep John Zito from rockin the crowd at recent show here in Sin City. John kept the crowd rockin' with his unique mix of rock and blues at Take 1 downtown, injuries and all!

That's my boy!

Go Johnny Z!

Sally Steele - Vegas Rocks, December 2006


John Zito was out performing again this month and rockin' the crowd at Take 1 night club. John even demonstrated how to play the guitar behind his back. Keep the ghost of Jimi Hendrix alive and well J!

Sally Steele
www.vegasrocksmag.com
www.myspace.com/vegasrocksmagazine - Vegas Rocks, January 2007


In response to your article on page 42 of this week's City Life, there is a statement saying that so and so has no equal in Vegas as far as his ability to play slide, blues and rock guitar. I beg to differ I was at a show at the Beach last week and I saw an incredible slide blues and rock guitarist named John Zito. He is the founder of the John Zito Band and they also play in Las Vegas. So and so is good, but I think that he's met his match! - CITY LIFE, October 2006




Jason Bracelin's "Small Talk" article in the Review Journal 7/23
Rocking the Congregation

John Zito and Electric Church offer spiritual gathering through music

By JASON BRACELIN
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

John Zito and the Electric Church specialize in "swamp stomp blues rock funk." The band will perform today and Friday in local venues.

They're blues rock firebombs with a steel-wristed guitarist prone to some wild-eyed leads. Are you ready for the gospel of John Zito and Electric Church? You'd better be, as the sermon is in session.

What does John Zito and Electric Church sound like?

"Swamp stomp blues rock funk provided by the combined talents of Taylor Kelley on drums and vocals and Chris Trusty on bass, harmonica and vocals. We have a unique chemistry between the three of us with everyone's different background, which makes up the eclectic, electric revival sound that we portray. We also share the same goal, which is to do what we love as a full-time job, which is proven through the diligence and hours per week we put in."

You guys host a blues night at the Sand Dollar. Seeing as how you're authorities on the subject, what's the best cure for the blues?

"Having a residence at the Sand Dollar has been a truly rewarding experience with some great guests having sat in with us, such as Stoney Curtis, Mike Zito and Tomi Rae Brown. The list goes on, and hopefully continues to grow.

"The best cure for the blues for ourselves would be writing and channeling through the music. It's truly a universal language, hoping to send a positive message. It's like poetry, people can get what they want through the songs. For us, it's about survival and enduring through the challenging moments in our lives. For our fans, the cure for the blues would be the essence of the music inside themselves. For them it could be the meaning of the Electric Church: a place where they can find themselves, even if it's just for an evening."

So, obvious question, what exactly constitutes the gospel of the Electric Church?

"The gospel of the Electric Church is a spiritual gathering through music; the disciples are our fans. The gospel is the heart and soul, it captures our audience. We wrote 'Pray for Rock-n-Roll' as a sermon given by us, the humble pastors."

Not many blues-based acts claim the Sex Pistols as an influence. Do you guys have a punkier side to yourselves?

"The Sex Pistols have influenced us with their raw and aggressive energy, proven with their only studio release 'Never Mind The Bollocks.' This gives us our strong attitudes and determination to help us stay true to our beliefs and to our art -- and not to mention Taylor's new crazy fauxhawk hairdo."

See John Zito and Electric Church at 10 p.m. today at the Sand Dollar Blues Lounge, 3355 Spring Mountain Road. Call 871-6651. You also can see the band at 10 p.m. Friday at the Cheyenne Saloon, 3103 N. Rancho Drive. Call 645-4139.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@..reviewjournal. com or 702-383-0476. - Las Vegas Review Journal




ARTICLE IN TODAY'S CITY LIFE MAGAZINE 9/24/09
NEON REEEEE-HAW!

While other CityLife writers were eager to catch red-hot performances by Afghan Raiders and Halloween Town, this aging alt-country fan rode into a couple of sunsets' worth of roots-rock sets courtesy of John Zito & the Electric Church and The Clydesdale.

On Sept. 18 at the Las Vegas Country Saloon, I encountered the ferocious musicianship of Zito, bassist Chris Trusty, and drummer Taylor Kelley. This is a real power trio in the tradition of Cream and The Jimi Hendrix Experience, with an arsenal of originals (the dobro-powered "Rain") mixed in with covers ("Voodoo Chile"). Despite a crowd of mostly tourists in their socks humping a mechanical bull, the Church churned onward like arena champs, Zito's blistering guitarwork making mincemeat of the Reverb competition. I have only two small complaints: Drop Georgia Satellites' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" from the set and tell Kelley to lose the flip-flops.
- Las Vegas City Life


John Zito and Electric Church - I stopped by Zia records and picked up this three song promotional cd, by one of my favorite Vegas guitarists. Only 4.99! Anyway, Zito has a new rhythm section, and it really makes a difference. You can always tell the difference between guys who are playing what they're supposed to play, and guys who are playing what they love. The production (by Vinnie Castaldo) is way better on this effort, too, than on the live EP I have. The guitars and drums are really pushed forward, and have a more in-your-face vibe. The first song, "River", is a mud-caked, deep-fried swamp stomp that wouldn't sound out of place on a Black Crowes album. The slide that drips off the riff in this song is just sick. The second cut, "Raise The Sky" (guest-starring Jake E Lee!) calls to mind a more funky, fuzzed out James Gang. The third cut "Rain", has a riff that reminds me of some of Joe Perry's more Delta-influenced stuff. Zito spent a lot of time and care on this EP, and it shows. If you like slide and dobro, and southern rock riffs, dig this cd, or go see them live. Check my friends list to find out where and when!
www.myspace.com/rabuzzi - Gary Rabuzzi - OCTOBER 14, 2008


Unplugged tunes in a neon city
Weekly showcase features local acoustic music

By Joe Brown

Thu, Aug 7, 2008 (2 a.m.)

If You Go
What: Acoustic Strip showcase
When: 9 p.m. Thursdays
Where: Courtyard Room, House of Blues at Mandalay Bay
Admission: Free, all ages; 632-7600, www.hob.com/venues/clubvenues/lasvegas
Tonight’s lineup: One Pin Short, Think, Julianne Lassard, Thomas Ian Nicholas and Loni Rose
Sun Event Calendar
Event Calendar: Acoustic Strip
Beyond the Sun
House of Blues Las Vegas
Michael Soli MySpace page
Bonnie Mizell website
John Zito on MySpace
Joe Taylor on MySpace
One of the most plugged-in cities in the world, Las Vegas seems to have every kind of entertainment you could wish for. But we’re not operating at full power in some categories — for one thing, there’s hardly anywhere to get unplugged on the Strip.

While other cities such as Washington and San Francisco have lively acoustic music scenes and venues, here in Vegas you have to know where to look.

One place to start is Acoustic Strip, a free, weekly Thursday night showcase of original music at the House of Blues. It occasionally attracts a national headliner such as Duncan Sheik or Ari Hest, but the night is geared toward Vegas locals, with 80 percent resident performers and 20 percent touring acts.

Acoustic Strip continues at 9 tonight with One Pin Short, a Vegas-based ska-reggae outfit that opened for Dirty South rap-rockers Rehab on Tuesday on the House of Blues main stage; young Vegas rockers Think; singer-songwriter Julianne Lassard; and actor-singer Thomas Ian Nicholas (“Rookie of the Year,” “American Pie”), a Vegas native performing in a duo with singer-songwriter Loni Rose.

“Acoustic music is relatively rare in Vegas,” says Michael Soli, who books and produces the event, and hosts the evening from the soundboard at the back of the room. “And it’s rare that it’s been embraced by a large multinational corporation (House of Blues).”

Soli, an acoustic performer himself, says his record collection is “embarrassingly singer-songwriter-ish,” with heavy representation by John Gorka, James Taylor, David Wilcox and Cheryl Wheeler, among others. He was drawn to the acoustic form, he says, “because to me, the essence of any great song is melody and accompaniment. If you can’t pull that off, I’m not interested.”

When he moved to Las Vegas, Soli noticed something was missing.

“There was nothing for acoustic music lovers, except for open mike nights and small things here and there,” he says.

So he pitched a show called Acoustic Asylum to the Palms in 2001. Management liked it and locals supported it.

“After that, House of Blues reached out and said, ‘Hey, we want to do an original music night at the House of Blues. All we do is cater to tourists. We want to do more than that,’ ” Soli says. “Of course, the conventioneers and casino guests come in and enjoy it as well but it’s locally driven, that’s what’s so cool about it. In the last few months, other shows are sprouting up on the Strip that are supporting original music and that’s great.”

The Aruba Hotel, for instance, offers a no-cover indie rock singer-songwriter night called Resodence every first, third and fifth Thursday of the month.

Soli is politely interrupted by a waiter who comes by to pitch tonight’s Southern-style dinner specials: surf and turf, and jambalaya.

We settle on catfish nuggets and sweet potato fries, and he continues.

Acoustic Strip thrives in Las Vegas, Soli says, because there’s a deep and varied talent pool here, with a steady churn of young bands looking for exposure and eager to get House of Blues on their resumes, and performers from Cirque and Strip shows seeking outlets for their original material. Stephanie Jordan, lead singer at the Fantasy revue next door at the Luxor, plays the Acoustic Strip every now and then, and the guys from Blue Man Group have shown up — out of makeup — to perform their own music.

“Most bands or performers that play this show don’t ordinarily play acoustically — it’s not their forte,” Soli says. “But here’s what happens: Their fans go crazy for it. In this format, you can hear everything. For out-of-town bands, if they’re doing three or four nights in a row of doing heavy, heavy crazy-loud shows, to break it down acoustic for one night is good for them, too.”

There are other benefits to pulling the plug, Soli says.

“Touring performers will often hook up with the locals and say ‘Hey, thank you for packing the house for me tonight, I sold X-number of CDs. Whenever you want to come to L.A., you can open for us and we’ll bring out a hundred of our fans.’ ”

Soli says several artists who have played at Acoustic Strip have gotten offers to play corporate and convention gigs or have been invited to open for national acts downstairs at the House of Blues main stage.

Still, it’s tough for relative unknowns to draw a crowd, and Acoustic Strip depends on the bands to get the word out to their own fans.

“Even with MySpace and street team and heavy promotion, if you’re not from this market, it’s tough to get people to come out and see you play,” Soli says. “So if the locals can supply you with the bodies, and you can connect with them and create new fans, they’ll do the same for you when you’re in their market.

“It works for everybody,” Soli says. “From a production standpoint, it’s easy. The fans can watch if they want to, chat if they want to, eat dinner. And at the end of the day, it’s profitable.”

A recent showcase was opened by Bonnie Mizell, who frequently sings at the Paris, Rio and Orleans casino showrooms.

“I mainly have to play cover songs, so this is special for me,” Mizell tells the crowd. “I get to sing my own songs, share my original stuff.” Accompanying herself on electric piano, performing beneath a sign that says “Have Mercy Las Vegas” in light bulbs, Mizell belts tunes from her new CD, “Two Sides,” in the soulful folk vein of Patty Griffin.

Next up is Summit Grove, a young band of UNLV freshmen. Earnest and impressive, with a sound and lyric style reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie, they’ve brought along a high-spirited audience of school friends and parents.

Closing out the night is the Andy Walo Trio from Los Angeles (Walo played lead guitar with Junior Wells for several years), and Las Vegas blues rock hero John Zito, who was celebrating the release of his new CD.

At this point, it should be noted that Acoustic Strip can be plenty loud — it takes a lot of amps and extension cords to put on an unplugged show in a noisy restaurant.


- Las Vegas Review Journal/Sun


I am proud to say I have known John Zito for many years. I first met John in the late 80's in Hollywood when I was trying to get him to join my band. He was more of a serious Joe Perry player and I only cared about having him tease his hair up to look like Nikki Sixx. We lost touch through the 90's but we crossed paths again here in Las Vegas five years ago. I was really proud when I saw how far John had progressed as a player with a unique talent...and he just keeps getting better. John Zito is our featured artist this month so I met up with him and his drummer Taylor Kelley at a recent rehearsal for the band to talk about their new CD and ELECTRIC CHURCH, the new name of his band. I really believe John is finally on his way to breaking into the big time he has paid his dues for, and with his new CD, major success will soon be a reality.

VR: "How did you come up with the new name for your band?"
John: "It was always The John Zito Band but we wanted to do something different so we were like John Zito and...something. I was listening to an interview with JIMI HENDRIX and he said his shows were an electric church and that people were gathering spiritually through the music and a light bulb went off in my head and I said, that's it, that's the name! And that's also what we want to be."
Taylor: "We wanted something with a bite to it because we are a southern-blues project but we do have an edge to us. We have slide guitar so everybody classifies us as a blues band, but if anything, it has a southern backbone to it more than blues but with a harder edge. I'd even throw a little bit of Lenny Kravitz in there."
John: "We've played shows with metal bands and the people dug us and we've played with blues bands as well as country and the people love the sound, so we reach a huge spectrum. I'm eclectic, I listen to everything from Hank Sr. to Willie to the SEX PISTOLS."
for more of this article pick up a Vegas Rocks July 2008 issue at www.vegasrocks.com
There is also a full size poster of John Zito available from this issue - Vegas Rocks Magazine, Sally Steele



Article in this month's Guitar Club magazine Italy written by Maurizio De Paola

The blues as the philosophy of life, Jimi Hendrix as a source of inspiration, and the guitar as a means to express every aspect of the soul: this is John Zito, who with his Electric Church, is drawing crowds in the American club circuit. A band that has the United States talking about him at every concert that just doesn’t go unnoticed. The reason? A lot of feeling, an out of the ordinary technique, great songs and above all, an unmistakable "back guitar" style...

There are cult bands and underground phenomena that have often found more success (at least in terms of attendance at their concerts) than more famous names. John Zito is one of these.
The American press has called him a spectacular "guitar blues hero" and has described him as "a cross between the style of Hendrix and the soul of Johnny Winter with the energy of 70's punk"; but the thing that really makes Zito special is his incredible "back-guitar" acrobatics.
What’s this about? Well, since Jimi Hendrix there have been many guitarists who've played solos or parts of solos with the guitar behind their backs. A lot less of them are able to do it for an entire song let alone for a good part of a concert.
John Zito can and people come in numbers to his concerts just to see this characteristic of his show, being able to fascinate beginners as well as professionals of the six string. But this isn't the only thing that makes the Electric Church a real cult band in the U.S. and in Northern Europe. His excellent slide technique is close to Duane Allman's and when you combine this with the sound of bassist Chris Trusty (sometimes called the "harp" for his acute and soft sounds), he creates an effect that magnetizes the audience's attention.

His new album titled John Zito and Electric Church (the name of the band) is a dynamic meeting between The Black Crows, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Lee Hooker and naturally the dogma of Hendrix is always there. But listening to the CD can only give a partial idea of Zito's overflowing verve, guitar style. A musician who loves to astonish the audience and from this is repaid with unconditional affection.

John, let's start from the beginning: when and why did you start playing the guitar?
Practically when I was born... I started to be interested in the guitar when I was only 8 years old, thanks to my brother and sister who made me listen all day long to Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Johnny Winter etc. My sister took me to my first concert when I was only 11 years old. It was Kiss and I remember that her boyfriend put me on his shoulders and put me right there in front of the stage. I was so impressed that I passed the rest of my adolescence studying the guitar instead of going around doing nothing like my contemporaries at Redondo Beach. My granddad gave me money to buy my first guitar and I repaid him by giving my first concert to all of my relatives.


How important was Jimi Hendrix for your artistic evolution?

He was a great teacher for me. Everything I know now I learned a lot through his records. I was self-taught by 9 years old simply by listening and playing back his albums. I knew that by listening to his music, I would have the basis for my future style and that's the way it was. I was also influenced by people of blues such as Howlin' Wolf, Son House, etc; but I consider myself as a disciple of Jimi Hendrix's “electric” side, mixed together with a swampy, style blues. The slide came later after I broke a finger, and for a while I had a difficult time playing regularly. Therefore I successfully transformed a handicap of a stiff finger into an advantage.


How is the composing phase with Chris and Taylor?

We have an unique chemistry. I've known Taylor for about 20 years when we were both in a southern band called Road Kill Cafe. Recently we had a reunion and as we played, we realized that we were still in sync like in the old times and how as musicians we still had the same objectives: playing live, producing and selling albums. We met Chris last June. We needed someone who had a little bit of country in his music style, and the fact that Chris played the harmonica helped us to complete what we were missing in our music.


How would you describe Electric Church's style?

Southern Rock and Blues. To be precise, swamp stomp blues with a distinct rock sound. Put Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and the Sex Pistols in a blender and you have Electric Church.


Is it true you only use vintage instruments?

It's true. We use pre 90's Marshall e Vox Amps. As for the guitars, we only play on vintage instruments for which I have deep passion. I have a large collection of vintage guitars such as a Dobro from 1928 and a Les Paul Custom from 1981. I think the most valuable I have is a National Resophonic Guitar (which I have never been able to find out when it was made) and also a 1969 Dan Armstrong which belonged to Joe Walsh and a Rickenbacker Lap Steel probably made before the first World War and a LGO Acoustic Guitar and a few Fender Strat's.


How did you come up with the name Electric Church and who are your disciples?

The name was born when I was listening to an old Jimi Hendrix interview on the radio in which his concerts were a ceremony in an “electric church” and the people would gather inside for a spiritual communion. In that moment a light lit up in my head: the disciples are the fans! And I am the humble pastor... therefore through our music we hope that the audience rediscovers a bit of the energy lost from the thousands of daily problems. Basically this is the scope of the show and which is very similar to a ceremony. Better said: you had a bad day... and if a little bit of our music can help you to find a piece of optimism, you can say that we reached our goal. In the 60's and 70's people would go to concerts with this objective: to reap the spiritual side of music and to immerse themselves in it.
This aspect has been forgotten; it seems that today people go to a show just to criticize who is playing in that moment or to be seen or because you are at a concert of the “in group” of the time etc... But the essence of the music is in you. It's the spirit that makes you reborn; if you don't pay attention to it, you lose all your power. This is what could be the meaning of the “Electric Church”: a place where you can find yourself, even if it's just for an evening.


If you could sum up your spiritual music in one sentence, what would it be?

If you have something in your life that interests you, that you love, you have to go all the way. And don't ever forget the principal motive you have an instrument in your hand: have fun! If you aren't having fun anymore, stop playing. Who knows, maybe later you'll get back the desire to do it. But if you continue, you will definitely lose it.


Your new album John Zito & Electric Church establishes a “point of rebirth” in respect to your past productions.
Which tracks have motivated you the most?

All of my songs and all of my albums are profoundly autobiographical; a lot of my inspiration comes from the people I've play with. River was originally written four years ago and was called Doghouse. I was walking on the Boulder Highway in Las Vegas and I was feeling quite down when I wrote it. I had a rented room in a crappy hotel and felt that my life was hitting a low point. In fact, it felt like I was drifting in a river.
Another track which I particularly like is Rain, the piece my mom said “would make me a lot of money”! I wrote it more then 10 years ago and it's sort of like a poem on the daily lot to survive and with it how we can overcome the most difficult moments of our existence.
I wrote Raise The Sky two years ago and I first titled it Changes and it was inspired by one of my favorite artists Chris Whitley. I remember having played his music nonstop for a week after his death, and doing so lifted me from the deep state of sadness that I fell into.


Do you think that the audience sees the Electric Church as a real band or as a John Zito solo project?

I hope as a real band because this is what it is. I write the music and the lyrics, but without the backing of my companions, I would be nobody. They are the ones who are pushing forward this project, even from the organizational point of view, something which I don't even care about. What I do is put the face on it, and above all when I play the whole concert in slide or with the guitar on my back... this is what the audience wants from me, but without Chris and Taylor's support with their rhythms for the whole show, I couldn't even begin.


- Guitar Club Magazine Italy January 09 Issue


Discography

John Zito, cd
John Zito and Electric church, cd
Radio airplay Komp, Las Vegas, Klbj, Austin, Texas, Klos, Los Angeles, California and hosted a local radio show in Phoenix, Arizona, AM1670, San Antonio, Texas and the Independent Music Network, www.independentmusicnetwork.com/mcharts.php

Photos

Bio

John Zito and Electric Church consists of John Zito on lead guitar and vocals, Chris Trusty on bass and harmonica, and Taylor Kelley on drums. In the spring of 2008, Zito reunited with Taylor Kelley, an accomplished drummer from Los Angeles, California. The two previously played together in a touring band called Road Kill Cafe. Zito's slide and dobro guitars give the band its unique sound, with the virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix, the soul of Johnny Winter and the raw energy of the Sex Pistols. Kelley's ferocious drumming brings a hard edge to the band. Trusty, the Kentucky born bass player, has the knack of bringing in the sweet sounds of the "harp". This killer combination seals the solid backbone of the trio, and gives them a gritty southern edge. Throw these rock and blues sounds in a blender, and you get John Zito and Electric Church.

The band has played locally and internationally, and has hosted local Blues and Rock nights. Currently they have a residence at the Sand Dollar Blues Lounge every Tuesday evening. The trio has performed several times at the House of Blues Acoustic Strip hosted by Michael Soli, Hard Rock Hotel inside Wasted Space and the Railhead inside Boulder Station. You can expect over 100 hardcore fans at their shows. They recorded a promotional cd at the Tone Factory in Las Vegas, produced by Vinnie Castaldo, which is now available at both Zia Record locations in Las Vegas, Nevada. The cd has been featured on Laurie Steele's Homegrown Show on Komp Radio. Their song "Rain" has also been featured in the 9/11 documentary "Ride on Brother".

Sally Steele, owner and publisher of Vegas Rocks Magazine, states that "I do want to mention the outstanding effort of JOHN ZITO and ELECTRIC CHURCH'S new CD. It is PHENOMENAL! It is very unique and professional, and it is my favorite local band's CD right now for being so different... (with) such a unique sound." Joe Brown, of the Las Vegas Sun, refers to Zito as "A Las Vegas blues and rock hero". John Zito and Electric Church are also featured in a 3 page article in Guitar Club Magazine from Milan, Italy written by Maurizio DePaola: "The blues as their philosophy of life, Jimi Hendrix as a source of inspiration and the guitar as a means to express the soul: this is John Zito and Electric Church".

John Zito and Electric Church's music is an art'form of an eclectic blend of ethereal sounds of the past and future of music.
CONTACT: Kim 702-771-7323
Email: johnzitoandelectricchurch@yahoo.com