Zero Flies Again

Published on May 31, 2022
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Zero returns to the stage this summer and fall, and that’s very good news for fans of improvisational music.

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SHOWS | ZERO (thebandzero.com)

The background: Early in 1980, Steve Kimock joined former Grateful Dead members Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux’s Heart of Gold Band, which already happened to have Greg Anton as its drummer. Keith fell victim to a car accident and the Heart of Gold Band went away, but the connection that Greg and Steve shared has endured. The duo immediately recorded an album of new music which would be released decades later, then started a band. 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 quintessential jazz/rock psychedelic band, a pioneer of the “jam” band scene.

They went years without vocals, creating such instrumental-only gems as Here Goes Nothin (1987) and Nothin’ Goes Here (1990), albums so good that Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab re-released them, and then Go Hear Nothin’ (1991). Along the way they played with some of the Bay Area’s greatest talent: John Cipollina, John Kahn, Banana, Martin Fierro, Hadi Al Saadoon, Bobby Vega, Nicky Hopkins, John Farey, Vince Welnick, Merl Saunders, Tony Saunders, Liam Hanrahan, Chip Roland, and Steve Wolf.

A casual conversation with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter in the early ’90s sent the band in a new direction, and they added vocalist Judge Murphy. In 1992, when Zero gathered for three nights at the Great American Music Hall to perform their new songs with Hunter lyrics, they had Grateful Dead sound director Dan Healy on board to record them, and the result was the brilliant and beloved Chance in a Million. In February, they released more tracks from the run, Naught Again. Beautifly mixed by Brian Risner, it has earned cheers from critics and fans alike.

Magic is hard to catch but impossible to forget, so Zero flies again: after 1,300 shows and eight albums, Zero resumes live performance to support their ninth and latest album, Naught Again – because it’s what they love to do.

Nothing beats Zero.

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