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"A Quickie With... Zmick"

Progressive funk jam band Zmick is reaching critical mass and about to explode all over the CU scene. Zmick can be found raging every Monday night at the Canopy Club for free in front of a crowd that grows larger with every week. In addition, they will be opening for Blind Melon Oct. 18. buzz met with Zmick in their “funk dungeon� for a quickie! See what they had to say:

buzz: What’s been going on with Zmick lately?

Zmick: We’ve been rehearsing as much as possible and trying to write new music and create a studio-quality recording. Pretty much, we’ve just been trying to get our internet portfolio together for our MySpace and our Web site.

buzz: Your audience keeps getting bigger every week. What’s drawing people to Zmick?

Z: It’s just not the same show every time. We change our set list every week, new covers every week, genre variety – reggae, techno, music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, live improvisations, a light show, and, most of all, good community vibes.

buzz: Seeing Zmick is a very aesthetically pleasing experience. What’s the best part?

Z: First and foremost, the crowd is awesome, and the people that come out are so much fun, and they like to get down. The atmosphere keeps getting better. We’ll get a circular conversation going without instruments, and we like to see everyone react to it. We’ve got to mention Bigs, too. He’s really the fifth member. His light show creates an aesthetic ambience that really complements the music. It just feels good. Also, people can come and sit in, too. We keep the stage open before and in-between sets. Any musician can sit in if they ask us.

buzz: Any big plans for the future?

Z: Just playing out more, in and out of town. We want to tour this spring, travel, see the country — it would be great to hang out in the mountains then play a show the next day.

buzz: You guys clearly appreciate all your fans. In the tradition of “Dead-heads,� what would you like your fans to be called?

Z: Zmicksters! - The Buzz Magazine

"Monday Night Rage with Zmick"

Zmick is a progressive rock band based out of Urbana that focuses on the concept of tension and release . They approach their live shows with a jazz mentality and cover songs from a multitude of genres from different eras. Zmick consists of Brad Miller (guitar) Mike Donato (keys) Kris Ahrens (Drums) and Dan Wonsover (Bass). Check em out every Monday at the Canopy Club! - The Canopy Club

"Chambana Supernova"

A truly unique exhibition of live music and community went down in the humid jungle of the Canopy Club in full bloom Thursday, aided by the light rains and spring-like weather. People from all walks of life came out in throngs to celebrate the onset of spring break and the free Chambana Supernova costume/dance party featuring music by Zmick and The Fuz. The entire night the room buzzed with an energy and excitement that flowed among the musicians and audience members, driving the bands’ original music and covers to spectacular heights.

The concert had a festival-like atmosphere complete with hula-hoops, balloons, beach balls and people in all sorts of costumes – space helmets, colorful clothing and glow-in-the-dark objects. One girl even made a large hoop skirt to dress up as Saturn. Arguably the best costume of the night belonged to Zmick keyboardist Mike Donato who shimmered shoulders to toe in a toga of aluminum foil. To top it off; he wore a large glowing hat.

The theme of outer space would not be complete without a couple of celestial covers. Opening the set was a creative spin on Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” which is one of the memorable themes from the score of 2001: A Space Oddessy. The crowd really picked up excitement at the culmination of the jam when Zmick segued into their original “Apt. 54” with a slow Latin beat, fun lyrics and a bridge that builds slowly over time into a powerful jam.

As the concert continued on, the band really settled into a groove, feeding off the energy of the crowd and each other. They traded solos and expanded their original songs into ethereal jams held down solidly by drummer Kris Ahrens and bassist Dan Wonsover and decorated by the swift fingers of guitarist Brad Miller and Mike Donato. To kick off the first set, Zmick played a great rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which was illuminated well by “Bigs” who is commonly referred to by the band as their fifth member.

Sadly, all good excursions do come to an end. Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage/Eclipse” was a perfect way to close the energetic, original-filled second set, as the jubilant crowd sang along eagerly. The audience, not entirely satisfied, demanded an encore and convinced the Urbana four-piece to encore with the classic Dead tune “Eyes of the World.”

Throughout the show, the enthusiastic, dancing spectators kept healthy attention toward the band and their music, which can be attributed to the many diverse styles that the band fuses into their own blend of music. From samba to reggae, jazz to blues and just about everything in between, Zmick’s influences give each one of their original songs its own character. Their lyrics are simply worded, and often inspiring, uplifting, and carefree. Even the instrumental melodies coaxed the audience into wordless sing-a-longs that expressed their passion for the music. All in all, the concert was an exciting spectacle, celebrating live music and the unification of the human spirit among all music fans. It’s clear that there will be many good times around the bend for Zmick.

- Josh Fisher -


The Interrogation
Loose Key
Sexy, Crazy
Apartment 54
Bring It Back Again
The Grove
The Dock
Beginning of Time
Zombie Horde
Wookie Put Your Shoes On



There are a countless amount of atoms floating around in the universe, most of which are fading away into nothingness or laying waste to the laws of entropy. But here on planet earth, atoms have decided to defy the laws of the universe and form together to make cells, tissue, organs, bones, muscles and brains. How you might ask? No one is really certain, and while their are a multitude of religious explanations, scientific theories and mystical interpretations for the creation of our wonderful world and the conscious mind, the members of Zmick feel it's more important to celebrate what IS and not worry about how it got here.

We're talking about the conscious mind here my friends!! What a beautiful thing!! This stuff doesn't happen every day on any other planet (at least that we're aware of). As far as we know it, this stuff that we call life, is only going down on this planet right here, and right now (and boy, what a party it is)!! The beautiful ability to process the world through our eyes, ears, mouths, noses, hands, heads, shoulders, knees and toes, using language to share our lives with each other via sound waves, and creating crazy experiences along the way; experiences that only happen once in the existence of the entire universe!! That's right my friend, you are only happening once. A completely unique individual, made up of all the same stuff everyone else is, but doing it in your own way, the way you want to do it, here and now. If that ain't something to celebrate, we couldn't tell you what is.

Now there are many ways to be reminded of how beautiful this life is. One way of putting appreciation in the forefront of our minds is by going off on a rant like the above. Another way, is through music, the most universal language on our planet. What better way is there to shed off all the subjective stresses of life, tap into our inner happy spots, and really celebrate the beauty of existence, than by listening to funky noises in moments in time that make us want to dance, sing, laugh and party!!

So that's where Zmick comes in, and that's why we do what we do. We make diverse colorful music for all walks of life, with the intention of celebrating this sweet existence we've been blessed with. We are the conduits that bring music to people that are ready to have fun, celebrate and appreciate new, interesting, funky sounds traveling through space in moments in time. Some people call Zmick shows a gathering of the vibes, some call them a spiritual release from the drama of everyday stress, some people call them a straight up funky dance party. We like to think of them as a place where people can get together, celebrate life with other music appreciators, and have a dirty good time.

Anyways, here's a bit of our history...

Zmick is a progressive/live improvisational band that was born in the heart of Urbana, Illinois. The band formed when drummer Kris Ahrens and guitarist Dan McLean decided to leave Chicago and move down to Urbana, Illinois, to play music with long time friend and self taught bassist/composer Dan Wonsover and jazz pianist/math prodigy Jack Scheff. The four musicians, who are huge fans of both elaborately composed progressive rock and jazz music, and broad appealing "catchy vocal music", have been fusing the two different styles together with strong groove orientated rhythms since they started Zmick.

After going through several line-up changes over the course of about 8 months, the band fell apart and reformed into a quartet. Pianist Mike Donato, guitarist Brad Miller, bassist Dan Wonsover and drummer Kris Ahrens make Zmick who they are today. Along with Bigs, they're lighting designer/good vibes coordinator, Zmick has been traveling all over the midwest spreading positivity to every town they've perfomed.

Their music encompasses elements of jazz, progressive rock, reggae, electronica, funk, metal, Latin and world music. When asked what they sound like, the members describe their music as "Sexy prog rock with a jazz mentality". Zmick writes music with the intent of bringing people together and giving them an opportunity to dance, sing, laugh and bond with other music lovers. It's about building a community where live music appreciators can come together and have a good time.

Some of Zmick’s accomplishments include playing at the Strip Mines Music Festival in 2007 and 2008 at the Shawnee Cave in Murphysboro Illinois. They also played at the Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois in 2007 and 2008. They also played at the Universal Rhythm Assembly Festival in Peoria in 2008 opening for Cornmeal, New Monsoon and EOTO. Zmick also opened up for Blind Melon at the Canopy Club on October 18th, 2007. They’ve also opened for the premier Israeli Hip-Hop/Funk band Hadag Nachash on December 6th 2007. Other bands they’ve shared the stage with include their good friends in Family Groove Company, Bump, Hunab, Jaik Willis, and The Herbert Wiser Band. They opened up