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"Vassar College Artist of the Week"

Vassar student hits high note with album on iTunes

By Ann-Marie Alcántara

Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thirstbusters. Haven’t heard of them yet? You will soon, considering the band’s smooth, jazzy sound, akin to that of John Mayer and Maroon 5, is now on the online music store iTunes. The addition of their recent album Time You Awake, to the iTunes library is especially relevant since the frontman is a Vassar student, Zach Sorgen ’12.

Sorgen’s musical career began in the Bay Area, which is known for producing famous musicians such as The Grateful Dead, Green Day and Third Eye Blind. But instead of following the lead of these bands, Zach and the Thirstbusters entered an entirely different genre: jazz. Combining jazz with a mixture of other genres, the band lends itself to a different kind of sound—with drums heavy in some, and others completely piano-centric.
“I love the improvisational element of jazz. Because a rhythm section is often providing backup for a soloist that is made up on the spot, we have to listen carefully to each other and try to pick up on what others are doing to know how to contribute and really be locked in,” said Sorgen. “Because of this sensitivity and because the jazz chord structure is more complex, switching to pop/rock was easy.”

Sorgen’s inspirations for the band trace back to his childhood, during which he was surrounded by musicians. His mom is a professional singer, his dad plays the clarinet, his brother plays the saxophone and his godfather plays the guitar. Sorgen started playing the piano at age seven and honed his vocals on his own.

Despite Sorgen’s intense musical background, he never considered applying to a music conservatory for college. “I wasn’t sure how interested in music I was. I knew I loved it, but I wanted a liberal arts degree,” said Sorgen. “I am happy to learn about other things, but I also realize that I won’t fall in love with anything better than music.” Thirstbusters’ album has made it onto iTunes, but you won’t see Sorgen walking around with a pompous air. “I don’t think being a musician changes my personal relationships except that I like being friends with other musicians and being involved with music as much as possible.”

True to his word, Sorgen is indeed a strong musical presence on campus. He takes classical guitar lessons, is in the Jazz Ensemble and Combo, sings a cappella with the Vassar Devils, has a role in the upcoming Drama Department production of “RENT” and is forming his own soul/R&B ensemble.

And despite the impressive breadth of his involvement at Vassar, he still wants to expand his horizons. “I want to learn about producing, recording engineering, what happens in the industry/business aspect, music law, modern culture as reflected in music. I think these are all very valuable and could be, but aren’t studied at Vassar,” Sorgen remarked. “I’d love to talk to anyone who wants to collaborate or discuss the music industry. I know it’s changing a lot and I want to be ahead of the curve. You gotta know how to play the business side of things too!”

Sorgen will showcase his talent in the upcoming Vassar College Entertainment (ViCE) After Hours show on Dec. 10. He loves to perform his music live, but has a unique philosophy about doing so. “While I will definitely put on a show to engage the audience, I believe it’s better not to pretend I’m performing,” said Sorgen. “The audience can sense honesty and integrity, so if the performer acknowledges them as people, it enables a stronger connection.”

Sorgen is only a sophomore, but with the significant recognition his music has already received, he is on his way to achieving greatness.

“I need and love support!” said Sorgen. “I want as many people as possible to be inspired or to feel good listening to my music.” - The Miscellany News

"Fantastic Vocal"

fantastic vocal..
loving it from the start.. great stuff... want more.
Great feel to this song, works so well.
Would buy this anyday... get it released guys.|pe1|UMjcMHHdu-yrNgDpJzgmQsFmJl7Ad59qH86QjJuJt9b10Fv0hxHFvMV-Tg9dCcHT-z-7jZwgHEIFOIRqPJNjQH17eW2rJNo -


I like the guitar riff with the piano - very nice. The lead vocal has a very nice voice, sounds a lot like what we are hearing today on the radio.

The production is excellent as is the writing. This reminds me a lot of Maroon 5.

This is one of the best tracks I have heard in a while. The chorus is structured well!

Thanks for sharing the music with us!|pe1|UMjcMHHdu-yrFRnkNjU5U8ZxIFrKYpdjRr-fmsPO6IeyvQujjwaE4JwvFApdCfPD9Tn-3MhoDg -

"Spatial Taste Master"

...spatial taste master
this truly is a pop rock tune. the arrangement is executed really well. an air-tight performance, using space and time as good as i've heard on garage band.

i like what the guitars do throughout. cohesive and melodic.

the keys blend perfectly, adding backing to the tune, as well as the vocals.

the vocals sound just fine. good phrasing and tonality. the high-school line about 'would you a piece of gum?' did not sync up w/ the polished musicianship of the band, which made me laugh. an inconsequential slip w/in an otherwise good lyrical idea.

the percussionist is a spatial taste master.

the mix/production is tip-top and i honestly wanted more when i realized it was over. this is a good effort that is definitely ready for fm airwaves, in my opinion.|pe1|UMjcMHHdu-yrfk_pICk0QsFkagjbdY1yVMDbn42Lu8Gk-Vfm00WE15woQQZaHI6Nom2qltpuE0ADcdc-ZtQuE3t1bmWmZtRAzaKVosM1xH_JjFY -

"Smart Pop"

Smart pop
this song has a very easy going mood to it loved the lyrics they were smart and witty and the flowed nicely chorus was very up lifting very well crafted|pe1|UMjcMHHdu-yrAwzmIS11Rsd1IFrKYpdjRr-fmsPO6IC6uQahjQaE4JwvFApeCeXW9y7nkN1pCg -

"Thirstbusters "So There" Official Music Video"

I don't know a lot of whippersnappers, but all of the ones I do know seem to go to Berkeley High. How big is Berkeley High anyway? These kids definitely have talent but I can't help but wonder, do they ever get beat up?

After meeting in the renowned Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble two years ago, Thirstbusters began performing Pop/Rock around the Bay Area. Incorporating jazz sensibilities, the young band puts on a diverse, energetic, and mature performance. Now at UCLA, UC Irvine, Oberlin and Vassar, the band always has a new exciting project waiting for them when they come home. In addition to having shows, they recorded and produced an album of all originals. The release of Time You Awake was a huge success last summer at Ashkenaz in Berkeley and the debut album is now on iTunes. Now the high-caliber music video takes Thirstbusters to a level unexpected from such recent high school graduates. They're currently planning a California tour for next summer. With Zach Sorgen on vocals and keyboard, Ryan Thomas on guitar, Forrest Mitchell on drums, and Chase Jackson on bass, Thirstbusters realize that with inspiration, dedication, and a little elbow grease, the dream can become a reality. Thirstbusters are young, full of passion, and on their way. While maintaining their youth and feel-good vibe, this band is lyrically and musically on the forefront of creative output. - The Deli (Blog) Sweet Sounds from the Bay

"New Hot Bay Area Band"

Hey there IndieBlips, The up and coming Bay Area band Thirstbusters seem to have it all together, catchy songwriting, great production, good marketing, and even a new professional quality music video. ... - Indie Blips - Top Indie Music News, Videos, and Blogs

"Video of the Day"

Today's video of the day comes courtesy of Thirstbusters, some Berkeley High jazz grads who write earnestly about high school crushes. Aww ... - East Bay Express

"Rock Stars in College"

Rock stars in college
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
By Michaela Shiloh

Lick-Wilmerding alum, Zach Sorgen, and his band shoot for the stars

Zach Sorgen went to Lick for his freshman and sophomore years in 2004-2006. He played trumpet and piano in Jazz Combo and the Advanced Jazz Band and also sang in Jazz Choir. Sorgen says, “I loved Lick and definitely developed my passion for music while there.”

After transferring to Berkeley High School, Sorgen continued playing piano and made it into the Jazz Ensemble his senior year. This is where he met the other three members of his band. “We thought it would be fun to jam on some Pop/Rock and I brought in a few songs I had written. It was so much fun and we all got along so well that we decided to continue playing regularly and started doing some covers and writing music together.” (Ed. note: A cover is a band or artist’s remake of another band or artist’s song).

The band would ultimately be named Thirstbusters. “As a joke, we used to use ‘thirsty’ to epitomize all that is bad. So if we see some guy trying way too hard to get a girl’s attention and she doesn’t even notice, we might say, ‘Damn. He’s hella thirsty!’”

(Photo by John Jensen)

Sorgen plays the keys and provides the vocals for Thirstbusters, Ryan Thomas rocks out on the acoustic and electric guitars, Chase Jackson slaps the bass and Forrest Mitchell smashes the drums. Sorgen explains, “I guess you could call us Pop/Rock, but we don’t really fit in one category. ”

Because all the guys go to different colleges—Vassar, Oberlin, UC Irvine and UCLA—they only get to play together over breaks. “We’re each growing as musicians on our own and bring new things to the table each time we meet. Sometimes we wonder about our musical potential if we had more than three days to practice before each show.”

Despite going to different schools across the country, the band already has a music video under their belt. The video’s song, titled “So There,” is a unique jazz-pop rendition bound to get stuck in the head of anyone who hears it. “[The video] has had such success that we’ve gotten contacted by a few people in the industry who have encouraged us to submit to labels,” says Sorgen.

Their debut album Time You Awake has since been sent to Disney and ABC Family in addition to Epitaph Records and Interscope. “Record labels generally tend to sign artists who are touring (where most of the money is made in the music business),” Sorgen explains, so he and his band are doing as much on their own until they graduate. After the caps and gowns are off, they plan to make Thirstbusters a full-time commitment.

In many ways it is becoming easier for independent bands to get their music heard. Because of the internet, a musician’s online presence has become more important than ever. Sorgen explains, “With the internet, there are tons of self-marketing devices and social networking websites. It’s so easy to send someone a link and encourage them to check out your myspace or facebook or youtube channel.” On the flip side, Sorgen admits that he and the other Thirstbusters would much rather be “playing music and [spending less] time online making [their] site look professional.”

The internet has also affected the way in which fans get their music. Illegal downloading has become so common that it’s difficult to make money selling albums, especially for upcoming artists. “In fact, many artists spend more making the CD than they get from sales,” Sorgen explains.

Nonetheless, Thirstusters are determined for success. They have a refreshingly diverse style and an infinite drive to go far. With hopes of recording their sophomore album this summer, fans should be expecting to hear some “slow bluesy songs, a couple acoustic ones, as well as some high-energy jams.” - The Hyphen

"Sleek New Music Video"

Vassar band Thirstbusters have a sleek new music video: Their album "Time You Awake" is on iTunes. - Mads Vassar


"Time You Awake" (July 2009)

Featuring the hit single "So There." See the MUSIC VIDEO at

Every track on the album has received radio airplay.



After playing together in one of the country's most reputable high school music programs, Thirstbusters decided to form a Pop/Rock group. Their unique style combines the catchy melodies of a Pop hook with the maturity and dynamics derived from a Jazz sensibility. The band has a memorable and recognizable sound, listing John Mayer and Maroon 5 as predominant influences, but the debut album Time You Awake includes a diverse mix of genres ranging from Acoustic to Hip Hop.

Some of the songs reflect the lighthearted goal to make great music and have fun. But many of the lyrics include profound philosophical inquiries one may not expect from 18-year-olds regarding the human condition, love, death, emotional restraint, political war, and individual power.

While maintaining their youth and feel-good vibe, this band is lyrically and musically, recorded and live, on another level: the forefront of creative output.

Check out the new Music Video: