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Johnny Zapp Needs a Music World With ‘Extra Rock’ and ‘Much less Assholes’

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Of the various bands and musicians within the thriving Arizona music scene, Johnny Zapp could be probably the most acknowledged guitarist, particularly if you happen to contemplate his previous work with A-list bands such because the Gin Blossoms and the disbanded Pistoleros.

This week, he’s celebrating the discharge of his newest album, Extra Rock & Roll Much less Assholes. He will probably be at Club Congress on Friday, September 16, in Tucson. Then on Saturday, September 17, he’ll play on the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe. He’s not calling it a tour per se, saying “it’s actually simply a possibility for me and my guys to go and shake issues up.” These “guys” embrace band members Matt Lubben, Pistoleros bassist Scott Andrews and drummer Mark Riggs, together with particular visitor Dan Henzerling, previously of the Gin Blossoms.

Though, technically, these performances are to advertise the brand new album, Zapp, 45, is waxing nostalgic with the chums he used to jam with a few years in the past. He advised Phoenix New Instances in an electronic mail interview that each one of that is form of a recipe for a reunion. “I used to be banging across the golf equipment on Mill Avenue with the very best of them. I moved to Tucson in 2016 and realized that whereas all that was occurring in Tempe, the identical had been occurring in Tucson and we have been all pals and contemporaries.”

He jokes about being a twin citizen of Tempe and Tucson, and these back-to-back rock ‘n’ roll events are tributes to what he affectionately calls “hometowns.”

Zapp is initially from Huntington Seashore, California, the place he realized to play guitar at a younger age. It wasn’t lengthy after shifting to Tempe within the mid-’90s that he grew to become immersed within the native rising music scene. He was requested to hitch many headlining bands as a guitarist and, from there, his profession grew worldwide.

Extra Rock & Roll Much less Assholes is a watershed second for the rock musician. He has been writing and performing music professionally for the previous twenty years, however by no means managed to launch a full-length report. His works have been utilized in tv reveals reminiscent of MTV’s Pimp My Trip, and the HBO collection True Blood. Because the rights holder to these songs, he launched them as singles however they have been by no means carried out dwell. “I’d report them, put them on the market, and that was it,” he factors out.

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After writing and performing music professionally for the previous twenty years, Johnny Zapp nonetheless considers himself a “purist” relating to creating his sound.

Jade Beall

“Within the interim, I used to be working as a employed gun for a number of Phoenix and Tucson bands, taking part in guitars, bass or drums on their native reveals and a few touring,” Zapp explains. “In late 2019, the bug hit to do some solo rock band reveals and simply play my catalog. Proper earlier than the pandemic, I used to be committing 4 to 5 bands’ value of fabric to reminiscence for all of the gigs I had on the calendar. Then lockdown occurred and it was like hitting control-alt-delete on my mind. Rapidly, riffs began pouring into my head and I began making a report. I performed guitars, bass, and drums on each track, and I had a couple of pals right here and there add their shade to the palette by means of percussion, vocals, or extra guitars.”

Wanting to stay impartial, Zapp is just releasing the album on his web site and at his dwell reveals. “I pressed CD digipaks that embrace a digital obtain of the album, so that you get a candy CD package deal, however if you happen to don’t have a CD participant, no sweat; I’ve acquired you coated with the digital obtain card,” he proclaims.

Zapp could be thought of a soundscape vegan, so to talk. His work harkens again to the age of music when devices have been part of the band, every sound and every chord part of the composition. When requested about music at this time, he emphasizes how a lot of a hot-button topic that is for him.

“I am a purist,” he says. “I’ve had numerous songwriters and musicians who’ve heard my music through the years ask me how I acquired that sound. My reply is all the time the identical: by placing microphones on actual drums and taking part in my ass off. By slapping a mic in entrance of a tube amp, grabbing a guitar and going for it. It’s important to transfer air to make it come alive. The music has to make you swing. I don’t assume you get that with out dwell devices and that human ingredient. Sadly, it’s a misplaced artwork. I’ve at present acquired a ready record of bands eager to work with me to seize that vibe for them within the studio.”

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Johnny Zapp says he performed guitars, bass, and drums on each track of the brand new album.

Jade Beall

As for bands that Zapp likes at this time, he’s a fan of outfits that haven’t “fairly caught fireplace but.” He likes East Nashville’s Them Vibes, saying they’re “true musicians and songwriters a la Stones and T. Rex. One other one for me is [Los Angeles] band Dorothy. Singer Dorothy Martin has this soul and these wonderful pipes that when she sings, you consider each phrase she says, and she or he’s acquired the songs to again it up.”

It is most likely apparent that Zapp loves his Arizona musical roots, however quite a bit has modified over the last decade or so. Again then, he says, you couldn’t stroll down Mill Avenue in Tempe with out hitting a music venue each 10 ft.

“They’ve all gone away, it appears,” Zapp gives. “So no golf equipment, no bands! Possibly I’m simply an previous man now, I don’t know, however that’s a part of why we’re doing these reveals. To take everybody sufficiently old to have been there, again to the glory days of Tempe and Tucson’s vibrant rock scene, and hopefully introduce the roots of it to the brand new technology. That is additionally why we’re taking part in the rooms we’re taking part in.

“My band — Scott Andrews and Mark Riggs from Pistoleros, Matt Lubben from Lifeless Metropolis Love, and Daniel Henzerling from Fuel Giants — all of us lower our enamel within the Yucca Faucet Room, and I consider it is the one membership from the previous days that’s left in Tempe. Membership Congress in Tucson is similar and it’s run by David Slutes, who fronted the Sidewinders, which was one of many sizzling Tucson authentic bands within the ’90s.”

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Johnny Zapp will deliver a backing band to his reveals in Tucson and Tempe this weekend.

Jade Beall

Zapp goes to be busy over the subsequent few months, working with Sidewinders drummer Bruce Halper. Classic Guitar journal has requested them to be the “home” rhythm part. They’ll begin in Philadelphia, then journey all around the nation. “We’ll primarily be the backing band for a revolving lineup of well-known guitar gamers/frontmen and followers of the journal,” he provides.

As for his solo band, he doesn’t plan on doing multiple present a yr every in Tempe and Tucson. Zapp contends, “I’m a agency believer in not oversaturating your hometown. It’s important to allow them to miss you! It must be the best venue on the best evening, and it’s a must to do it large, then folks will present up. Past that, there could also be some out-of-state solo reveals sooner or later subsequent yr. Keep tuned!”

Album: Extra Rock & Roll Much less Assholes was launched in Might. It’s obtainable by way of Zapp’s website and at his live performances.

Weekend occasions: Membership Congress, 311 East Congress Road, Tucson, on Friday, September 16; tickets are $5, and the 21-and-over present begins at 7 p.m.; Yucca Faucet Room, 29 West Southern Avenue, Tempe, on Saturday, September 17; tickets are free, and the 21-and-over present begins at 9 p.m.