John Zay & Speed of Life
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John Zay & Speed of Life


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"Jango Fan Reviews (cause fans know best!)"

“ Dude Ur good, keep rockin ”

“ The single Wanderlust is the only one I've heard, but it had a great sound. Similar to the Chilli Peppers "By the Way" album. ”

“ I'm digging your rocks!! ”

“ Wonderful, my happyness time! ”


“ Just great! =) ”

“ I am hearing some lovely stuff ,,, good on you John Zay & Speed Of Life :) ”

“ nice music come on tour to germany ”
- Jango Internet Radio

"Props from Fishone"

John Zay is a superb guitar player, lyricist & vocalist as well. I'm a believer and you should be too! - Angelo Moore of Fishbone

""Mainstay" album review - Brad Filicky"

When stylized '70s prog rock meets soaring '90s alternative rock, the two form Speed Of Life, and the band's strength is how seamlessly it blends the two worlds. Hyper drums and frenzied guitars are anchored by John Zay's melodic vocals in an infectious mix that would fit perfectly in a set between Rush and Jane's Addiction. The songs are intricate and technical, but they are also approachable and logical. Definitely not your daddy's prog rock, this is for those of us who are not guitar or drum teachers. - Sellout Magazine

""Mainstay" album review - Eric Saeger"

If Yes had gone with Filter’s vocal sound, this high-prog-content nu-metal might have been one very likely result. Brilliantly technical in the main and ethnically experimental at times, Speed of Life add just enough Flaming Lips vulnerability to their coliseum-oriented material, leaving you undecided as to whether your next CD-buying binge will have to include “Mozart’s Greatest Hits” or “Close to the Edge.” The mad-scientist time signatures may scare off radio-users unaccustomed to such things however mightily the high-art vocal harmonies reel them in, but just to have somebody trying to do that junk is a breath of Kansas/Boston air. In case you’re still not convinced by the above-mentioned snob-rock devices, “Peace in the Warzone” grubs up the long-lost Rush practice of creating a mini rock-opera with a bulleted list of acts. The record is more a case of “mission accomplished” than “shows potential,” a situation that has spelled trouble of late for emerging bands, but if anyone deserves a shot at the Bigs, it’s these guys. - 168Mag

""Mainstay" album review"

The beginning of Speed of Life’s “Mainstay” is admittedly slow; it is only during their second track on the disc, “Long Range Motion” that the band even begins to shine with a luster fitting of them. The music, a progressive-rock blend, really begins to excite when the band moves away from the traditional song structures and styles that ironically hold “Break Free” back..

The entirety of “Long Range Motion” may be a little repetitive, but it is the first essential step needed for truly beginning to wow Speed of Life’s audience on something more than just well-played instruments. The staggered sound of Tobias’ drums, a sound that will continually stand on the disc as a monument to the band’s adventurous desire, is first heard on this landmark track. “Recharge” feels like a track that is just attempting to do too much in too short of a period of time; there are distinct sounds on this track that as it is clog up the band’s innovative sound (the aforementioned drumbeats and Taylor’s bass lines) that would have done well to extend the track for an additional minute or show and allow for all elements to equally shine. However, the band vacillates to the other end of the matter for the follow-up track to “Recharge”, “Fading”. This track is not messy because there are too many things happening; rather, the stretched-out vocals and wide open spaces really make it a challenge to hold on to anything on this track. It is only during the ambitious near-nine minute epic “Peace In The Warzone” that Speed of Life truly make a track that does not fail do to a lack/excess in certain issues surrounding the band.

Regardless of when the tracks were created, there honestly feels to be an evolution throughout “Mainstay”, where Speed of Life seems to take to heart certain minor miscues and erase them from their retinue at the first chance possible. Even at its extended length, the nuanced sound of “Peace In The Warzone” really has the sound of the related epics of Guns ‘N’ Roses’ similar tracks from their magnum opus, Use Your Illusion I/II. Speed of Life is a hard band to correctly classify; their richness in sound comes at a period in popular music that extols the values of sounding simplistic; while this expansive, difficult to categorize sound may fly in the face of all the Britney’s of the world, it also may be our only savior. - Neufutur

"Slowing down with New York rockers Speed of Life"

Written by Brandon Macz
Friday, 16 February 2007

Students running through the tedium of school, jobs and responsibility are getting a chance to slow down with Speed of Life.
The Brooklyn-based quartet blends genres from rock to reggae to make a musical style that is both personal and spiritually enlightening for lead singer and songwriter John Zay, who will join his band at 8 p.m today at John’s Alley.

Zay started Speed of Life in 2001 during a vibrant drum and bass scene in New York, he said. At the start, he was aiming for a merger of electronic drums and bass with a rock beat accompaniment. After six years, the band’s second album, “Catalyst,” has expanded its musical borders, Zay said.
“Almost every song has a different feel,” he said. “The genre-fication has gotten broader.”

The band’s newest album title comes with a two-fold meaning in a personal and global sense. When Zay was at a wedding in Mujeres, Mexico, he met an Argentinian wedding photographer and fell in love. Their careers and distance led to an eventual break-up, but Jay said it was a catalyst for change in his life.
“It really opened up my heart to everything,” Zay said. “The record was halfway done, the group was at a standstill.”

Zay returned to Brooklyn with an ambition to combine personal experience with a global message to put Speed of Life on the music world map, Zay said.
“My lyrics are generally a reflection of my life. I feel like this is a very spiritual time in our world,” he said.

Lyrical topics include Zay’s journey as a musician, friendships and sometimes political fervor. The song “Separation of Church and State,” he said, is a reflection on the last election and Republicans jumping on the Christian Right soapbox.

Another political stance Zay takes is the environmental crisis around the world. An avid surfer, Zay frequents the waves in Costa Rica and noticed litter had become a problem there, as well.
“It’s a shame that we are doing this stuff, destroying our habitat,” he said.

Zay also had an opportunity to be a production assistant for “An Inconvenient Truth” while Al Gore was filming in New York and was able to meet the former vice president.
“He was very laid back,” Zay said. “He was reading The Onion when I met him and laughing about it.”
Zay was born and raised in New York. Drummer Andrew Frawley is from Boston, keyboardist Dan Policar is from Seattle and bassist Taylor BC is from Venice Beach where The Doors got their start.

“He’s the laid back one of the group,” Zay said.
He said while the other members of the band have projects of their own, this is the only one where they don’t have to get paid all the time because they make a contribution and have creative freedom. The other reason is they’re good friends who love music, Zay said.

“We know each others’ girlfriends, when we have them. We’ve met their families on occasion,” Zay said.
For their Conscious Harmony Tour, Speed of Life will share the bill with the Reggae band “Rising Lion.” The benefit of a long tour, according to Zay, who has been on tour since early January, is that it gives them a chance to play frequently.

“Speed of Life” got its name from the David Bowie song “Low,” which Zay said he was a big fan of for a long time. The name implies that sometimes life goes really fast and people sometimes lose control, and then it can be slow and go nowhere for a while.
“It’s kind of hinting at the allusion that time doesn’t exist,” he said. “I think sometimes when you slow yourself down, you’re really going faster.” - The University of Idaho Argonaut

""Catalyst" album review - Michael Dittman"

Speed of Life - Catalyst
Wednesday, November 14, 2007, 02:26 AM - CD Reviews
Posted by Michael Dittman
Artist: Speed of Life
Title: Catalyst
Style: Alternative Rock
Rating: 7 out of 10
By Staff Writer Michael Dittman

There’s music that makes you think, music that makes you angry and then there’s just rock out music. You know the kind you hear, often on a classic rock station. It’s not earth-shattering and it’s not going to change anyone’s life, but it sounds good, played loud with the window rolled down on a summer day. No matter how old you are, when you here this music, which for lack of a better term we’ll call “rawk” (even though it may not sound or feel like “rock” music, you flash back (or forward I suppose) to a day when the sun was on your back, you were in love, and you felt invincible.

Speed of Light’s new album (their second – the first Mainstay got off to a strong start only to be ankled by touring complications) Catalyst is just such a musical beast. John Zay fuses passionate vocals atop a driving and textured "guitarscape". Drummer Tobias Ralph attacks the drums with conviction and finesse incorporating eclectic rhythms. Keyboardist Dan Policar adds spacious synths that create ambient atmospherics. Nick Damato digs in melodically on bass to anchor the elements together.

Building on their solid classic rock style playing chops, they blend in a little dub, a little ballad style lyricism and end up with a album that, while you wouldn’t necessarily go out of way to hear live (speedoflifeheads doesn’t seem like a sub culture with legs) can provide for the length of 10 songs, an escape to a simpler better, more rawking time. - Indie Music Stop

""Catalyst" album review - the canny shark"

Artist: Speed of Life
Label: ©2007 Activesoundz

This New York-based band has created an album that crosses modern rock boundaries and definitions. There are elements of progressive and hard rock, fusion, reggae, electronic, ambient, arena sound, and Latin influences in this musical stew that work.

Together since 2001, Speed Of Life “…prides itself on its musicianship and creative integration of multiple genres.” Their first album, Mainstay (2004), had some college and commercial radio success. Catalyst, their sophomore release, finds a very mature and cohesive product. Very solid musicianship and solid songwriting skills are evident throughout. I literally was impressed by what was pumping from my speakers! Lead vocalist, John Zay, has a vocal quality that would mix well in any progressive rock outfit. The music borders a lot on progressive, but doesn't go into sweeping orchestral numbers of the Flower Kings variety. All of the songs stay well grounded without becoming pretentious. This is just good rock music, and not the standard fare being offered the masses.

John Zay mainly wrote the lyrics with elements of surfing, relationship turmoil, and global warming (ala Al Gore-supporting) in a nutshell helping to formulate the project. All of those can cause introspection and fodder for musing. Not that mixing music and politics is wrong, but I’m just not sure where the writer stands at times. As a believer in God, I find myself not getting to the point, at times in my own writing. Maybe I missed something along the way. In spite of the dots not connecting, I see this being in regular rotation, which is a huge thing for the amount I listen to regularly. Check it out for yourself. It is worthy of several spins, if not just from the musical standpoint alone.

thecannyshark - The Phantom Tollbooth


"Catalyst" - January 2007
"Mainstay" October 2004
"Essentials EP" Feb 2010
"Eshu Amania (Single)" May 2011
"Wanderlust" due out Sept 2011



Speed of Life is a global band, destined to be an evolving project that draws upon influences and diversity from travels throughout the outward physical world and the inward spiritual landscape. Conceived by vocalist/guitarist John Zay, the band utilizes some of the finest musicians from both the US and Europe.

John Zay & Speed Of Life started in Brooklyn NY as cross-genre fusion of progressive hard rock with ambient drum & bass. That material wound up being the basis for their debut album “Mainstay”, released in October of 2004. “Mainstay” went on to college radio where it was played on over 160 stations throughout the country.

The band quickly went back in the studio to write and record new material. These sessions marked a new musical direction for the project. Elements of acoustic ballads, Latin inspired riffs and Atmospheric Landscapes came into the mix. The result was “Catalyst” released in January of 2007. After the release John Zay & Speed Of Life embarked on a successful 2-month tour up, down and across the US.

A follow up west coast fall tour was booked which coincided with a highly successful college radio campaign for “Catalyst”. With the success of the college radio campaign the band participated in the 2008 Red Gorilla Music Festival @ SXSW in Austin TX. Afterward Zay relocated the project to Los Angeles.

In February 2010 John Zay & Speed Of Life's released the first new single “Wanderlust” through the promotional download competition 'Playlist 7' with Windows & Reverbnation. “Wanderlust” was a winner in that contest being one of the top 7 songs downloaded by fans out of thousands. The track Features the legendary Angelo Moore of Fishbone on Saxophones as well as drummer Tobias Ralph recently on tour with Lauren Hill, Tricky & Adrian Belew.

In November of 2010 John Zay hooked up with a great line up of musicians in Hamburg Germany for a string of shows and an appearance on The Goldene Gniechel TV show. The success of that outing is bringing Zay back to Germany in September and October of 2011 for more shows and promotion for his new release.

Currently Zay is finishing a new Speed Of Life album and has launched a Indiegogo campaign to support the release. The album will be released totally Green with no plastic cd's. Seeded download cards will be produced instead and all merchandise will be eco-friendly including reusable shopping bags, sustainable t-shirts and more. Also John Zay's Indiegogo campaign is unique in that he's giving away different Green prizes as donation incentives.

Since being in Los Angeles Zay has established himself as a reliable producer working with high profile clients including mixing Hip-Hop for David Faustino (Bud Bundy from Married With Children), mixing & producing Angelo Moore of Fishbone's solo project Dr. Madd Vibe and co-writing, mixing and producing “The Todd Song” for actor Robert Maschio (Scrubs). John Zay is also planning a large scale music festival in southern California for the spring of 2012 spawning out of shamanistic ritual journey space

- January of 2007; “Catalyst” released followed by 2 months of extensive US touring

- August 20 2007; Track 1/Caught Inside off “catalyst” was featured as Garagebands alternative track of the day on Aug 20 2007 with a 4.8 out of 5 star rating from peer reviews

- October 2007; while Speed Of Life embarks on a west coast US tour “Catalyst” begins to get buzz on college radio

- Oct 17, 2007; Catalyst lands at #294 in the RIYL unweighted charts, a fair charting systems that gives Indie and Major bands an equal foothold in charting.

- May 2008; Speed of Life perform at the 2008 Red Gorilla Music festival coinciding w/ SXSW in Austin TX.

- February 2010; John Zay teams up with Windows 7/Reverbnation and the new Speed Of Life single "Wanderlust" wins the final week as top 7 download in the Playlist 7 contest.

- Nov 2010: John Zay lines up a string of Speed Of Life shows in Germany including an appearance on the Goldene Gniechel TV show in Hamburg.

- May 2011: John Zay releases the new single "Eshu Amania" on Jango and consistently gets popscores over 85 and bonus play credits.

- Summer 2011: John Zay puts finishing touches on new Speed Of Life album and enlists legendary singer Angelo Moore of Fishbone for additional production. Zay begins booing shows for an Oct 2011 German tour.