Thirty-five years ago, having met when Steve Kimock auditioned for former Grateful Dead members Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux’s Heart of Gold Band (which already had Greg Anton as its drummer), Greg and Steve recorded an album, Greg on drums and piano, Steve on guitars and bass. Then they started a band to play the music. Having gone through many, many names, Greg asked Steve how many were left on the list to consider: “Zero” was the answer, and Zero became the name of one of the finest jazz/rock fusion “jam” bands ever.
35 is a pretty hefty anniversary, and definitely worth celebrating. On November 22nd, Greg and Steve, with Melvin Seals (JGB) on keys and Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna, Moonalice) on bass, will kick off Zero’s 36th year at the Great American Music Hall.
They went years without a vocal, creating such instrumental-only gems as Here Goes Nothin (1987), Nothin’ Goes Here (1990), and the live Go Hear Nothin’ (1991). A casual conversation with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter sent the band in a new direction, and they added vocalist Judge Murphy and produced the classic Chance in a Million.
As bands will, Zero came and went. After their incendiary set at the 1999 30th anniversary Oregon Country Fair, the Fair manager said, “You guys want to be on the 50th anniversary bill?” “Sure,” and they shook hands….and this past July, 20 years later, Zero returned to the Country Fair stage. “Both Pete and Melvin,” said Anton, “used the word magic to describe it. We worked, as Zero does. One thing Steve and I have is a work ethic. We played five hours before each of the two shows‚ because the songs needed to be honored. The songs have developed so many moves over the years, and we were in touch with them.”
There’s zero chance that they won’t be ready to do it again at GAMH. Be there…or you’ll be missing out. There will undoubtedly be special guests….there are rumors about a saxophonist to succeed the late, wonderful Martin Fierro, for instance…and few would be surprised if there are other shows as well.
Tickets on sale Friday, August 23, at 10 a.m. pacific, at https://zerogamh11222019.eventbrite.com