How has Zebra managed to stay together for 40 years?
Through friendship and trust more than anything. We have had many issues with each other over the years, even taking time away for solo projects to get a break, but in the end we are brothers, family, and we appreciate the good luck and great fans we have had, and respect the chemistry we have when we get on a stage together. You can put the best musicians together and there is no guarantee it will work, but we found the right combination 40 years ago and maybe we will make it to the 50th anniversary.
Who are your musical influences?
I grew up with Rock, Hard Rock, Soul, and Funk all playing together in harmony in my car. Led Zeppelin, Four Tops, Tower Of Power. The biggest influences were when I would see a great live concert. I grew up in the 60’s and got to see live concerts from the beginnings of many great acts, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills & Nash, David Bowie, Allman Brothers, ELO. I got to experience the Height Ashbury district of San Francisco during the height of the Psychedelic 60’s. Music was growing at a fast pace and I was influenced by all of it. As for drummers, when I first heard Jimi Hendrix’s drummer, Mitch Mitchell I found the first musician that thought the way I think, and he has been a constant source of musical inspiration all my life. My father was also a major influence as he was a great musician and I learned more about being a true musician from him than anybody.
How does music make you feel alive?
I wake up to music, hear it in my head all day, and love playing it. I have wanted to be a musician since I was 7 yrs old and never had any aspirations to be anything else. I AM alive when playing or listening to music, without music I feel alone and empty. Music has been my best friend as long as I can remember and reminds me of the beautiful things that we can create from nothing. In a world of confusion and chaos music calms and heals. Put two people in a room from different countries that have a language barrier and nothing in common, put on some music and watch both smile at each other in mutual agreement of the beauty and power of music.
What is your artistic creative process like?
I write “pieces” of songs. Rarely do I write a whole song at once. I go back to the pieces and fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle and come up with the completed songs. My best writing just comes on its own.
How does music make you feel alive?
Music is a mood changer. It can bring you up and it can bring you down. As you get older it certainly becomes a sort of nostalgic drug and helps bring back lots of memories. We grow up with music and it becomes the signposts to our lives.
How has music gotten you through sorrowful/hard/low moments in your life?
I think music stimulates the secretion of mood changing chemicals in your body through memory. Sometimes you don’t even remember the specific event but your subconscious remembers and puts you there emotionally. Over time we learn which songs we like and help us cope and go to those songs when we need some “mood enhancement”. That is “how” I think it works.
What inspired you to write the song “Waiting to Die”?
I have dealt with chemical depression since childhood. If you suffer from depression long enough you get to experience many layers of hopelessness. It isn’t logical but it is there. My brain chemicals just lead me down that path and it can become debilitating. Fortunately for me I sought out help and I am stable on medication. There have been lots of great advances in medicine these days and no reason for people to suffer with depression as they have in the past. I invite anyone who feels they are depressed to see your doctor and get help. What a difference!!