Zegg
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Zegg

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Raleigh's ZEGG, a collection of five well trained musicians whose name stands for "Zero Excuses Get Groovin," seeks to provide pleasure for its members, audience and the occasional drunken collegiate passersby. They're a natural progression in the timeline of groove and jam, applying a tasteful pop gloss to an eclectic, dexterous sound. The guitar solos are here, as are the bass, drum and organ solos. But, as we've seen with Umphrey's McGee, Galactic and String Cheese Incident, funk, fusion and bluegrass ooze into the mix. It's a sensibility ZEGG wears well on their debut, The Ride, each instrument shining through—and laying back—when necessary. The nine tracks are solid, never relying on just a single theme or framework. - The Independent Weekly


The full article can be viewed at:

http://www.harrisburgnightlife.com/wp/2007/06/20/zegg-returns-to-the-woods

About 10 years ago, some friends and I were out in Harrisburg when we discovered a young band performing at Scott’s which we really liked. Their name back then was Into The Woods, and they went on to form a pretty good following in the area playing gigs and sometimes acoustic shows with their two songwriters, Jeff Simonton and Mike Gloss.

At the height of their popularity, they performed some record breaking nights upstairs at Appalachian Brewing Company, and were featured at several local music festivals. The band eventually moved on and so did Simonton and Gloss. They ended up in Raleigh, NC. There, they found some other like-minded musicians and formed a new band. This time they would be known as Zegg.

Zegg, a Raleigh, NC-based band, is bringing its jazz-infected, dance-inducing, spontaneous brand of music north to Harrisburg, PA. The band will be playing two nights at the Appalachian Brewing Company (ABC), June 22 and 23.

Word of mouth and a killer live show has created a solid following for Zegg in the Raleigh and surrounding areas of NC. Plus, the band is in the final stages of releasing its debut CD, “The Ride.” Besides featuring several original Zegg songs, the CD also has a few tracks that were once performed by Into The Woods.

One such song, “Send Your Blue Skies,” written by Simonton, recently won Relix magazine’s Jam Off competition. The song will be a featured track on a Relix CD Sampler, bundled with over 100,000 issues of the magazine and distributed internationally. In addition, Zegg will receive editorial coverage and ad space in Relix.

“There’s a lot of great stuff happening with Zegg,” says Gloss. “But I have to say, that for me and Jeff [Simonton], a lot of it is overshadowed right now by this trip up to PA. Besides being able to get back up on stage at ABC, it will be great to play with Zegg in front of so many friends and fans. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Warming up the crowd on Friday night will be Philadelphia-based Chroma, who will play from 9:45 to 10:45. And, making this reunion to PA even more interesting, Harrisburg’s own Root 74 will be the opening band on Saturday. Root 74 happens to feature two former members of Into The Woods. Plus, Gloss played with Root 74 for a time before heading to NC. It should prove to be a great weekend of music.


- www.harrisburgnightlife.com


Online version of this review : http://www.liveaudiomag.com/public/87.cfm

I think that this group of musicians is so talented, that sometimes it's over my head. Their ability to weave different grooves and complicated changes into the same song is at times mesmerizing. Somehow, they've managed to mix groove-rock with jazz-jam, and just a touch of R&B. I've had tons of fun getting my boogie on to this band, repeatedly.

I'm going to admit straight off that the rhythm section is my favorite part of this band. The flying French bassman known as "Seb" (Sebastian) has a got some seriously funky bass skills. The guys in the group told me that he's a got a day job as a scientist. I think he put all the famous funky bass players in a lab and dissected them with some scientific method.

Complementing, driving, and spacing you out on the keys is Chris "Tip-Top" Johnson. His solos are amazingly colored with his expansive ability to change tones on the fly and sing backups at the same time (he takes the lead on several tunes). Undoubtedly, he's the most energetic guy on the stage.
Chris "Tip-Top" Johnson

He's always stomping his feet to the rhythm and his head just bobs up and down with the "YES-YES" motion of being caught in the rhythm, stuck on every beat and note that passes by. There is always one of those Andy-Capp / Kangol hats on his head and more than once I've had the feeling that the Peanuts character, Schroeder, has come to life and grown up to be the incredible keyboard player he always was.

There is a local legend in the back of this band, driving the beat with clock like accuracy and creative genius that can only come from one who is obsessed with his craft. John"Bongo" Metcalf has played with many musicians in the town of Raleighwood.
John "Bongo" Metcalf

Bongo seems satisfied to play with this group. There are great changes and mood swings in this music that really let him open up and apply all of his well-learned knowledge. There are few drummers that can carry the beat and actually play along to the different parts of a song at the same time. Bongo seems to have worked out all the details in every song and does it with seemingly little effort.

In the front of this group are two writers both playing guitar. Mike and Jeff are cousins and complement each other well. Mike usually plays an amplified acoustic while Jeff fills in the leads. But, they switch things up enough to keep it fresh, song after song. Mike does a lot of the singing and does it well.
Jeff, "Seb" and Mike

He's got these huge eyes that really show his presence and concentration.

This ain't the Dead but, he's got some Bobby vibes coming out of those eyeballs and his throat. Jeff's solos and tone are clean and neat; a style that matches this band all the way through. I've heard this band several times and it's clear that the two of these guys write some great songs together. Lyrics that make me want to jump in my car keep driving west, tunes that make me bounce around and boogie.

I know they've been working hard on their first studio album. I've heard a couple of sneak previews and their attention to the details has definitely been reflected in the production. This band rocks...amazing transitions, out of this world tones and fantastic sonic quality.

This is going to be one of those records where you hear something new every time you play it. Zegg.net

- Andy Garber


Online version of this review:
http://www.raleighmusic.com/modules/addresses/visit.php?cid=17&lid=184

Zegg's music is hard to describe; even the members of the Raleigh-based band can't easily explain their sound. Mixing soaring harmonies with inventive acoustic and electric music, Zegg combines jazz with rock; bluegrass with funk; musical sensibilities with quirkiness. But as hard as it may be to pour Zegg's sound into the mold of a specific genre, the band seems to be catching the ears of at least a few people in the Triangle.

Although the five members of Zegg have been together for less than two years, they have accomplished a lot during that time. The group has stormed the stages of venues such as The Pour House Music Hall, White Collar Crime, Slim's Downtown Distillery, Ruckus, and the Lincoln Theatre. They also have plans to play several festivals during the spring and summer of 2006.

Also, they recorded a well-received 3-song demo CD and are very close to completing their first full-length CD, titled Stratuscomingatus. The CDs, as well as t-shirts, will soon be available to purchase at www.zegg.net.

Their original sound has caught the attention of many media outlets throughout the Triangle, such as The Independent, The Weeklys, and Hardcore Live, a public access TV show on which they appeared, to name a few.

Hardcore Live's producer, Dave Figueroa, former President/Producer of Media Moguls, stated, "This is a band that has great potential, and a sound to motivate, influence, and drive their audiences into a musical frenzy."

In fact, it is their live performances on which Zegg thrives. At each show, they try to do something new, playing each song with a different twist. They also try to draw the audience into the performance in different ways. Whether the crowd is chanting along to a song's lyrics, bantering with the band members, or "driving them into a musical frenzy," Zegg does its best to give the audience a killer performance.

Comprised of guitarists Jeff Simonton and Mike Gloss, bass guitarist Sebastien Guyader, Chris Johnson on the keys, and drummer "Bongo" John Metcalf, Zegg is poised to grab more fans in the coming months.

Visit www.zegg.net for all the latest info and schedule. - Joanna Willard


Online version of this review :
http://www.raleighmusic.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=100

People ask, “Hey, what kind of music do you like?” I tell them, “Good. I like good music.” Right now I am craving some “groove-laden music filled with rock, jazz, and funk with hints of Caribbean spices, and a dash of bluegrass.” Yes, something I cannot find while surfing the radio channels in my car… something like ZEGG with Jeff Simonton and Mike Gloss on guitar, bassist Sebastien Guyader, Chris Johnson on keys, and rounding out this fabulous five we have “Bongo” John Metcalf on drums and percussion.

We are fortunate that these guys took a moment to answer a few questions. Chris starts out, “Our music is very diverse, that's for sure. I think one reason is because each song has a piece of one of us in it. This is the first truly collaborative band that I've been in. Egos are really small when it comes to deciding what we play and how to play it. So, in the end, the music has character and everyone is happy.”


How did you guys get together to form ZEGG, and how did you come up with that name for the band?

"Bongo" John: “I met Jeff at the now defunct Fox & Hound in McGreggor Village in Cary, NC. We started jamming together and Jeff posted an ad for a bassist and keyboardist. Both Sebastien and Chris soon responded to the ads and we were in business. As for the name of the band, we wanted to come up with something unique, yet undefined. We were playing off the word "egg" for kicks and Sebastien added the "Z".”

Mike: “I guess I was part of the second incarnation of ZEGG, after they had all met and disbanded. When I moved down from PA, I connected with them through Jeff, who's my cousin. When the five of us played, something clicked. “


Who are you listening to now, and who were your biggest influences growing up?

"Bongo" John: Garaj Mahal, Sting, Phish, Peter Gabriel, and Terry Bozzio's latest compositional work. Some of my biggest influences: Neil Peart (drummer of Rush), Bill Bruford (King Crimson, Earthworks), and Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons). The late great Elvin Jones, jazz drumming legend, has profoundly changed the way I think about drumming.

Mike: My CD player is busted in my car, so I mostly just flip through the stations in frustration because there aren't many good songs on the radio. When I was growing up (late teens, anyway), Dave Matthews influenced me a lot.

Sebastien: Right now I'm listening Toure Kunda (African band) in my car, and I have a compilation CD with Hip-hop / acid jazz / funk bands. Young, I've been very influenced by guitarists like Santana, and Mark Knopfler with Dire Straits

Chris: Pat Metheny, Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, Bruce Hornsby, Chic Corea, Sting, and Donnie Osmond.


While we’re on that subject, think back to when you were a child. What was the very first song that you can remember that still registers with you today?

Chris: Steely Dan FM. That song rocked my world. Pretty much every single Police song did that to me as well. My grandmother played a lot of Glenn Miller when I was young, so the big band sound still resonates in my head.

Mike: Well, I know my very first cassette tape, way back in 1982 or something, was The Fat Boys. I'm not even joking. Haven't listened to it in a while though. As far as the first song that really sticks with me, it's got to be some sort of Oldies song, since my parents were constantly playing Oldies on road trips. Probably something by the Temptations. There's some damn fine music made back then.

"Bongo" John: Bohemian Rhapsody- I heard this song on a transistor radio through my pillow at a very young age and spent years trying to find out who the artist was that did the song.

(Joanna notes- It looks like Jeff and Sebastien cannot remember that far back. You know what they say... hehe)


With that said, who has been your biggest inspiration?

"Bongo" John: Olatunji, percussion master who released "Drums of Passion" back in the 70's. A landmark percussion album that inspired me to start playing the bongos.

Jeff: My electric influences are many, but a few of the most prominent would be Trey Anastasio, John Scofield, and Dickey Betts. On the acoustic, probably the two biggest influences are Paul Simon and Dave Matthews.

Mike: While I don't have a single person or inspiration, here are a few- Steve Howe of YES; John McLaughlin; Pat Metheny; Trey Anastasio; Jimmy Page. Also, Brad Darr from The Slip, a great band out of Boston, is an amazing musician and I'm constantly blown away when I see him play.

Sebastien: It all started with Alain Caron of the French Canadian band UZEB, whose probably been very influenced by Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke, among others.

Chris: Lyle Mays (pianist for Pat Metheny Group). That man is a genius.


You guys are so creative! What if, for some horrible reason, you were unable to do anything musically? What would you seek to keep your creative juices flowing?

Chris: Music lessons. I can't imagine not being able to do anything musically, unless I was a vegetable of course. So many people have told me through the years "I have no musical talent. I can't play. I never will be able to." I think that's bull crap. It's my belief that everyone has some kind of musical/artistic talent of some sort. It just takes longer for some people to find it.

"Bongo" John: Write poetry, which is something I do already.

Jeff: Well if I could no longer play music, I would most likely try to find a great young band to manage so I could still stay involved with music in some capacity. If I couldn't even do that, I would go on a killing spree. Kidding!

Mike: Without music, I don't know what I'd do. Probably dry up like a raisin. Writing is definitely my other creative outlet besides music. But I need music, too.

Sebastien: I would listen to more music.


I’m a bit nervous when I sing in front of people. What is your pre-show routine? What helps get you ready to play in front of a live audience?

Chris: Visualization, practicing, and Jager. Actually, just Jager.

"Bongo" John: Taking deep breaths and warming up with sticks on my knee.

Jeff: I like to punch Mike in the arm really, really hard. I'm not sure why, but it just feels right.

Mike: I don't have many pre-show routines other than practicing scales and tuning up. I know Bongo likes to puke, though.

Sebastien: Besides going to the bathroom, I'm not doing anything in particular. Maybe I should?


What projects are you working on right now?

"Bongo" John: Aside from ZEGG, I'm finishing up a solo project titled "Oppenheimer In Dust Trees" - a classically-based concept album about how to prevent the end of the world from nuclear demise.

Mike: We're working on a CD, which will be finished some time in between early summer and when we all have dentures. It's taken a while to get it done, but probably because we're all pretty tough on ourselves musically.

Sebastien: I'm having the difficult task of trying to mix our album. No other big projects currently.

Chris: Well I'm almost finished with all of my parts for our CD "Stratuscomingatus". It's been a painful but rewarding process. Ah, the joys of home recording! Yes, it's definitely cheaper than a professional studio, but when you consider how easy it is to go back and re-record and how much time you spend doing it, is it really less expensive?
-----

Well, there was actually another “project” that they didn’t know would hit at the time of this interview. Sebastien will likely be moving, so his last performance with ZEGG is tonight, Thursday, June 8th, at the Raleigh Music Hall. Will ZEGG perform again or is this their last show? Check these guys out tonight. It is your last chance. Stay tuned to Raleighmusic.com and ZEGG for more information.

Have a great show guys!! - Joanna Willard


Discography

Debut album "The Ride" released summer '07. Winner Relix Magazine Jam Off competition.

Second CD due spring '09.

Photos

Bio

ZEGG formed by chance—a spontaneous collection of wayward souls who are music fans as much as they are musicians. Soon after the four members of ZEGG connected in 2004, they discovered that they had something special.

“Word of ZEGG’s tight live shows is spreading” - Relix Magazine

“The cd was fantastic…best produced album from a regional band I've heard. These guys are definitely going somewhere." – Mike Zarcone, HarrisburgNightlife.com, 2007

“Raleigh's ZEGG, a collection of five well trained musicians ... is a natural progression in the timeline of groove and jam, applying a tasteful pop gloss to an eclectic, dexterous sound.” — Rich Ivey, Independent Weekly, Raleigh NC, 2007

“This is a band that has a sound to motivate, influence, and drive their audiences into a musical frenzy” - David Figueroa, Former President/Producer, Media Moguls, Live & Local TV

“… soaring harmonies with inventive acoustic and electric songs…” - Relix Magazine

ZEGG’s sound gives gracious nods towards Steely Dan, Zeppelin, Bob Marley, The Allman Brothers, The Talking Heads, and many others. Yet ZEGG has a sound all its own, which is, at best, a funhouse mirror reflection of its influences. The band’s live performances are based on compelling, well-written songs, tight musicianship, and a shared energy with the audience.

ZEGG plays a large selection of diverse material. But whether playing Steely Dan or Snoop Dogg, ‘70s funk or modern hits, or any of their 60+ well-crafted originals, ZEGG is always mindful of keeping the audience wrapped up in the music.

To catch a ZEGG show is to witness the band’s main ingredients: talent, brotherhood, creativity, fun, and soul.