The Darren Zancan Band
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The Darren Zancan Band

Highland, Indiana, United States

Highland, Indiana, United States
Band Rock Acoustic

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Have you ever experienced a moment when you’re in public, surrounded by people and all of a sudden a smile, as wide as the Grand Canyon, breaks out? Most likely no one sees it and if they do, they are oblivious to the reasons why.

I smiled today. No that’s not a miraculous break through, granted smiles have been hard to come by lately, but it was one of those genuine, passionate smiles that had a meaning behind it.

The meaning behind my smile had to do with the music I have been writing lately.

Most of the people in my life who know me well, understand that if there were 30 hours in a day I would still complain about not having enough time to fulfill my daily obligations.

As a student and editor-in-chief of a college newspaper, there’s never a dull moment in the world of Darren.

But the other day I did something that was beneficial, and what I believe will be the defining moment towards where I want to go in life.

I locked myself in my music room for hours and came out when a song was fully recorded, with new instruments in tow. Granted, I would say the song is not 100 percent perfect, but what song is?

When I was done…at 3 a.m. I had that smile on my face.

We have levels in life we hope to reach. Most of the time, we reach that stagnant point where nothing we do, raises us up and we are stuck. Well I jumped two levels into a new area of music. And I feel like this is just the beginning. I have played music off and on for many years, and each band, or opportunity brings me a little closer to the end goal, but it didn’t bring me to the point I wanted to get to.

My first band I was told to be another “Scott Stapp” which was okay for the time being, but I was crippled, not able to be me.

The next band, I was just a singer, nothing more, nothing less.

The next band I played a little guitar, but nothing to write home about.

My most recent band I played guitar and harmonica and was the lead singer.

But when I broke out on my own, I took control of the music. I started playing more and more guitar, harmonica, added guitar and really worked hard on vocals.

I grew. I matured and I understand that in music, we are an act that people will buy into, or throw away. You have to offer something that all the other singer-songwriters cannot offer.

So when I locked myself in my studio, I knew that I had to come out more mature compared to the day before. Seems like that is impossible? More mature in just a day.

Actually it’s quite easy. Because from that moment on, I went back into the studio for the next five days and did the same thing, regardless of what time it was. And four new versions of four songs I previously wrote came out.

Something in me just came alive. I directed all of my attention to the music I wanted to make. I wanted to expand and take the blinders off and challenge myself to be better than when I walked into my studio.

This may sound a little pre-Madonnaish, but I want to take the world by storm, because as a musician, would we have it any other way? I am not in it for the money or anything financially. I am in it because the music I make is the emotion I carry inside of me and there is a story to be told. If I tell my story, then others might be directly affected, and it could help their situation.

Imagine going on tour and hearing from a fan that they, too, lost a parent to cancer and “Table for One’ changed their view on death. That’s the reason I play music, not to sell out for some producer, but to sell my story to a fan. I want to be a difference maker, a positive light in the dark. I want to feel like Rocky as he runs up the steps, fist in the air.

I want music victory.

I think it all came down to believing and hoping. With music, I was always hoping but that's just halfway believing. Once you truly believe, it can all happen.

It’s not a forced issue, it just happens. That’s why I went into my music room that night. I wasn’t planning on playing, but some force greater than me, hoisted me out of my chair, with one purpose: Take that leap, without thinking, hoping or worrying about the next moment. Just play music and never quit. Take risks and chances, because greatness can only be achieved if you put yourself out there.

Side note…if people tell you, no you can’t do it or make it somewhere, look at them and laugh, or just walk away. They only tell you that because they told themselves they can’t. And they won’t.

If someone’s jealous, be happy, they want what you have.

If someone hates on your talent, be happy, it’s only because they don’t have the desire to believe. They just hope.

I feel good today. Musically, I am ready, and that’s why I have a smile on my face today. - Darren Zancan Band- Blog


I remember leaving my dad's side for the last time knowing I would never see him again. I walked to the elevator like I did every Sunday night and collapsed inside, letting the anger and tears fall harder than the time before. I sat on the floor of the elevator, numb from the thought of losing my best friend.

I made the six-hour drive every weekend for nine months to be with my father who was dying of pancreatic cancer. My family was never sure of when the time would come, but I had to treat each visit as my last visit.

He passed away March 31, 2009.

My father and I had a rough relationship growing up, but something changed when I hit 21. I think it came down to respect and maturity. We stopped taking our relationship for granted and worked to become friends. We learned to respect each other.

From there, my father became my best friend.

And I learned something from his death. I learned, through tough life situations, come second chances.

I would look at the first part of my life as chance number one, or what I feel was a complete failure. And that's completely on me. But when my dad died, I was given a second chance to redo the first chance in life.

It wasn't easy. I had to step away from many things and wipe the slate clean.

I realized I stopped loving people and had closed myself off to virtually everyone. I pulled away from my longest relationship, something that I often regret, but had to learn from and move forward with.

But in loss comes a person's gain.

One of the last conversations I had with my dad was on the topic of failure. I looked at my dad and told him I was tired of feeling like a failure and from here on out, I could never allow myself to fail. I would succeed in everything I put my mind to, because there was no other option.

I made that promise to him, and to myself.

I came home this summer for a wedding. At the wedding I ran into two of my dad's closest friends and former bandmates.
They asked me how my music career was going. My dad was an amazing guitarist and musician. I informed them that it was something I was pursuing but had not fully grasped yet.

They looked at me, with one of those "life lesson" looks and told me one thing: Do it. Make it happen and make your music a focus of your life. My dad had the opportunity to make something happen with his music, but at that time, in college, they were more focused on other things and never tried to take the next step in their careers.

Now I have the second chance of a lifetime, to do something for both of us.

I have been inspired by my father's death to the point where I can never put down a guitar or microphone. I have to take this chance.

If I give up, I am dropping the ball on a legacy that my father left.

And inevitably, I have reneged on a promise I made to him when he was alive. Of course he would never hold me to that promise, but I will hold myself to it.

So when my old band dissolved (which I believe was supposed to happen for this reason), I decided to do it on my own, my way. Play the music I want to play and be selfish, because I have that right.

I returned home last weekend to play a show at the Elbo Room in Chicago. It's one of those places you just have to play at. I had my set list written up, but the night before, I added a song, "Table for One," written for my dad. I bought a Takamine guitar last week in his honor. It all made sense: come home, play his song and play the guitar he loved.

It might have been the best show I have ever played, partially from a musical standpoint, but more because this was the first step towards the second chance that was given to me.

This time, failure is not an option.
- Darren Zancan


Discography

Masquerade Ball-June 2011

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Bio

Darren grew up in a music-based household. His dad fronted, and played guitar for several bands growing up. His older sister was a standout vocal performer.
Interestingly enough, Darren was adopted and did not have the “family music genes.”
Darren was more of a writer and stage actor, dabbling in short stories, lyrics and earning several roles in plays and musicals. Not until middle and high school did he pay attention to his love for music. After losing his best friend to a tragic car accident, he knew music would play an important role in his life.
Darren performed in high school vocal competitions, winning on regional and state levels. Then his senior year of high school he was asked to front the regional band 419. That’s when he started to take a serious approach to music.
After two years as the lead singer of 419, Darren took a break from the band, ultimately leaving for other opportunities. He auditioned for several bands, but never felt like it was the right fit.
In 2004, Darren met Bryan Martin. An instant music bond was formed. The duo never thought a serious band would grow out of the relationship, but after placing in the top three of a collegiate battle of the bands, the two knew music would be made. Zion, the band, was formed. The duo played more than 100 shows over the course of a year-and-a-half. Zion played shows all over the Midwest, garnering regional attention in magazine publications and newspapers.
In 2006 the band went their separate ways, but Darren was dedicated to music more than ever. He took interest in the guitar, studying and playing on his own.
In 2007 Darren moved to Kentucky, where life highs and lows occurred. Life brought Darren closer to music and his guitar. He formed the band Down Jupiter in early 2008. While in Down Jupiter, Darren’s dad was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. That’s when Darren turned to his guitar for comfort. Out of the pain and frustration came music. As the year went on, Down Jupiter continued to grow in popularity. “Table for One”--- a song written by Darren for his dad was picked up for several national CDs. Down Jupiter would go on to play more than 50 shows, while recording a demo.
Darren was the rhythm guitarist. During his father’s last months, Darren took on another instrument: The Harmonica. He started teaching himself how to play and incorporated it into his music.
Down Jupiter merged into No Less Days in 2009. After a few short months, the band disbanded, leaving Darren to finally go after something he longed to achieve. Darren’s love for guitar grew. With a collection of eight guitars and 11 harmonicas, he knew he wanted to play his music and front his own handpicked band with the right pieces to pull out the music he wrote.
Before his dad passed away, Darren made a promise to his father that he would carry out the musical dream they both shared.
After his father’s death, Darren knew music was to be taken serious.
That’s how the Darren Zancan Band was formed. A promise to his father sticks in his mind every day. The passion, energy and drive are on display for the world to see. Darren vows to keep his promise, hoping his music will reach others in a positive way.
His influences range from John Mayer, Gavin Degraw and Brandon Boyd, to Rob Thomas, The Eagles and Pearl Jam.
After an exhaustive 2009 and 2010, where Darren saw 10 people in his life pass away, all he could turn to was his music. That’s all he had left. He started learning the piano, hoping to expand his talents.
Five years ago Darren met Ben Fabert. The two became friends, sharing a passion for music, but neither thought just a few short years later, they would be chasing the same dream…together.
Now moving into 2011, his goal, and dream, is to be the musician he always wanted to be, for himself and his father.