I started writing songs when I was 17 or 18 years old. Over the years, I was exposed to many styles of music, and many players, but with time, and antibiotics, any negative effects were replaced by valuable experience. Early in my musical education, I majored in garage band. One of these bands actually made a recording in a professional studio. I had just joined the band, and had never been in a real studio before. This was when home recording was either not very good, or very expensive. So on Easter Sunday, 1988, I went with the band (Surge we were called) and I sat in the control room while they put down the basic tracks and scratch vocals. I got copies of the backing tracks, and wrote my own parts to my new friends' songs. Then, when we started the over-dub phase of the recordings, I played my bits. I was already into the cheesy cassette multi-track recording available at the time, so the process, while in a sterile, and somewhat intimidating environment, was not unknown to me. I had a great time, despite the money issues, and quibbling over the mix. The marketing was practically non-existent, as were the record sales. After brow-beating our friends into buying copies, and throwing a Record release party, we had nothing. I still have a few cassette copies in a closet somewhere...
I eventually went to a local college where I completed a degree in audio recording. There I learned not only analog and digital studio recording and editing, but also MIDI sequencing, music theory, sight singing and ear training, piano, jazz guitar, as well as business aspects of music, basic electrical engineering, and cardiovascular surgery. It was during this time that the ideas for "Techno? Heck No!", and "Monkey Junk" were hatched. I also discovered real synthesizers, having only tinkered with very cheap, do nothing keyboards in the past. It was a difference like that of Tiffany's and the jewelry department at Walmart. I liked it.
During this time I worked as an intern in a studio owned by the Tejano Band 'La Mafia' at the time when they won a grammy for their record "Un Million de Rosas". Later, I worked in a production house, Moffett Productions, which makes radio and TV ads. We did a live ISDN hook up with the radio show "Rock Line" which was simulcast on the internet, one of the first times that was done, I believe. The guest was none other than Van Halen, who gave us all tickets and backstage passes for their Houston show. (very cool) These experiences catapulted my career to the position of seeking actual gainful employment. Defiant against a music/production scene which was seemingly impervious to my incursions, I subsequently worked as an equipment tech (roadie) for a Houston party band which played all over Texas and the Gulf Coast. Even there I was unable to make inroads in the studios of the band members for whom I was roadie. During this time I started a mobile recording business with another engineer, and recorded a number of bands, orchestras, poets, and musical and non-musical projects commissioned by various educational entities. I also did stringer work for radio interview shows, which was very interesting. I did interviews with executives, high-powered lawyers, astronauts, scientists, teachers, clergymen, etc. It was at this point that I got my first music computer so that I could edit projects for clients. That was it for me. I had everything I needed to compose and record music. With my evil laboratory complete,
I began to write the tunes which appear on my first two projects, and the ideas about their themes began to gel. Even though I had a backlog of tunes I had written over the years and recorded on cassette 4-track, the garage band's recording solution of the day, I had a lot of new ideas, and embarked upon completely new territory. Now I had synthesizers and sequencing software. All of the techniques and processes I had learned about in school and elsewhere were possible for me now.
While I have developed a style of composition, I have not adhered to a genre. I like to make eclectic collections of songs within a theme. My music tends to be instrumental, however on occasion I write lyrics as well. I have, on occasion, enlisted the musical input of friends. A number of songs on "Monkey Junk" have guest performers, and later projects as well. The details of this are documented on the "Liner Notes" page.
My songs seem to develop in various ways. Sometimes they start with a drum beat only, a melody, lyric, or some other component of the arrangement. Some of my songs are literal representations of the ideas using evocative sounds. Sometimes I know exactly where I am going. Sometimes I don't have a definite idea of where I'm going until it develops. Just spelunking in the echoey caves
of uncharted sounds…
After I finished 'Monkey Junk' I continued to write new material, but I started reworking some of my garage band music, which I wrote before I went to banjo college and everything.
I have completed five projects to date: 'Techno? Heck No!' which is a variety of electronic songs. Many of the songs are of an experimental nature, using different techniques or ideas: 'Monkey Junk' a collection of songs recalling the music of the 60s and 70s, tied together in a stream of consciousness: '20%', a politically themed collection of songs which examines the root of our country's current problems, 'Music for Your Spacecraft' which is a collection suitable for lift off, and 'The Howdy Hat', a collection of songs about our social bonds, and our own individual role in society. For more details about all of my projects, see the 'Liner Notes' and 'Music Store' pages. I will soon release my latest creation, "Evolve" a look at life on Earth. I hope you will enjoy my songs, and will keep in touch, because there's always more to come.
About the Pseudonyms:
I would like to thank everyone who has contributed performances to Zanerbob songs. Since I use a fake name, I gave joke names to my friends who agreed to play some of the parts. They were or are currently musicians in the Houston area. Here are their true identities:
Tad Late (guitar parts on Techno? Heck No!) - Geoff Kuhfeldt
Les Moore - (guitar parts on Monkey Junk) - Jay Hooks
Rex Carr - (drums on Monkey Junk) - Allen Hughes
Bo Enero - (stand up bass on Monkey Junk) - Ned Mefford
Robin Graves - (saxophone on Monkey Junk) - Tim Matz
Irma Gadden - (flute on 20%, and The Howdy Hat) - Corey Barta
Floyd P. - (Vocals on The Howdy Hat) - Paul Franklin
See my "Liner Notes" page for the exact songs on which these performances appear. The name 'Zanerbob' was invented by a guy I used to work with named Tony, who gave everybody what he called, a "trailer park" name. This was always the person's name with 'Bob' after it. My nickname was 'Zaner', hence, 'Zanerbob'.