The band

Don't let the name fool you - Z&M are a band as well as a duo.

John Zealey: Acoustic guitar , keys, programming & vox

Ian Moore: Electric guitars

Diz Minnitt: Bass & keys

James Zealey: Drums, cahon, bvox & mandolin

Band origins

John Zealey & Ian Moore have been stalwarts of the Aylesbury music scene since the early 80ís, performing in all kinds of band formats: cover bands, jam nights, solo acoustic slots etc. John was even a Ďprofessional robot dancerí for a few years. Their paths crossed a couple of times but itís only in the last couple of years that they got together as an Ďofficialí outfit/item! Initially they wanted to start a Bowie tribute band, but got distracted by their shared love of the doner kebab and how much other music they had in common (both are gushing fans of David Bowie and Pink Floyd), and decided they wanted to make original music that unashamedly reflected what they love. They have gone on to make albums and an award winning soundtrack for the movie "Kill Keith" - starring Keith Chegwin and other b list celebs!

Having been joined by bass Diz Minnitt (ex Marillion and previous John Zealey Band member) and James Zealey (John's son) they've been able to explore their prog roots a little further.

JZ talks about how/why Z&M make music:

"Iíve been making music since I first owned two cassette tape machines, age 13, although my fascination with recording started well before that, using my Grannies reel-to-reel tape machine to record and experiment with sounds. My dad was a bin man in the early 80ís and provided me with discarded audio equipment, and even a nylon string guitar which I (and my kids) still use today. The addition of a Spectrum computer and a drum machine module altered my world for ever. I did a paper round from the age of 12.5 solely to feed my addiction for Pink Floyd & David Bowie albums. I was also very keen on film & TV soundtracks (especially Ennio Morricone & John Barry) and the music of the Beatles. When I look back I realise it was the Ďcinematic-nessí of this music that was the appeal. I am also aware that my love of this kind of music has made my approach to production rather flatulent and over the top at times. I tend to throw everything at a song and very occasionally reel it in. The art of simple pop songs and arrangements mostly allude me Ė something Iíd like to master before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Sometime in the 80ís I started making music for public consumption. There are some cringeful cassette tapes flying around out there that I would like destroy Ė in fact I feel like that about everything Iíve put out up until the last4 or 5 years.  It was all very Goth to start with. I was well into Bauhaus by then and basically wanted to be Peter Murphy. Things started to get hi-tech for me when my friend Mark Browne hired a Tascam four track from somewhere in Oxford Ė it was mind blowing Ė the future in a box.

What those early recordings have in common with what we donow is the DIY aspect. Iíve only ever been in commercial studios a couple of times in my life and they always left me feeling really disappointed. Iíve usually spent the whole time with my eye on the clock Ė worrying about how much itís costing, and that weíve run out of time and end up having to use my guide vocals instead of good ones. The stuff Iíve made at home has always been about almost low/zero budget, borrowed/donated equipment, and about having the time to really push what gear weíve got to the limit. Although in later years itís all been PC based which has involved some investment, Iím still reluctant to upgrade the music software I use Ė because it works! I always have to remind myself of what the Beatles did with 4 tracks whenever I get that occasional voice in my head, telling me itís the equipment rather than my skill thatís letting me down. Also, the internet has provided access to a whole bunch of legal free software that has really moved the quality of what we do up a notch. Iíve written (and intend to add too) a bit more about these in the FREE SAMPLES section of this website.

Iíve never had any real commercial success with my musical endeavours(not through lack of trying), although it has made me some money along the way. I am also a big advocate of Ďfreeí, and would rather distribute new music for nothing and have folk hear it rather than have it fester unnoticed on iTunes. Iíve had some reasonable PRS cheques from TV work & gigs, and have scored music for various theatre companies. Doing this kind of work alongside my song writing has been really rewarding. Iíve learnt a lot about orchestral arrangement and how to best emulate certain instruments Ė which I find hard not to apply to our songs. This is why youíll often hear us sounding more like ELO than Coldplay. Itís also made me unafraid of unusual arrangements, which is probably why getting any kind of Ďrecord dealí had been unlikely/impossible. In the 90ís record companies on a couple of occasions told me my work was too varied Ė and then 6 months later music very much like what I was trying to do ends up in the charts. I canít say that time was much fun.  I love variety and lost the desire to be signed many years ago. The world has changed and the internet has provided a new way to distribute, which for us has resulted in a small but loyal fan base for what we do. I just want folk to hear what weíve worked so hard on Ė now they can.

I met Ian properly through my mate Boggy. I wasnít doing much musically at the time, after just having re-recorded some old songs at the request of my buddy/old manager, Andy. Boggy was playing bass in a covers band that had lost their singer, and I tried my best to fill a really big space. After a few months my little home re-recording project had turned into an album that had a small distribution deal. For 6 months I was part Ďmanagedí by Andy and a company that managed the Sugarbabes! The covers band had a change of drummer, and another guitar added, and became Ďmy bandí. Throughout that time I got some nice critical/little financial reward, while Ian and I constantly talked and shared our love of Bowie and Pink Floyd. We often talked about how great it would be to get a Bowie cover band together. When Ďmy bandí ended, Ian went off and played in a rock band for a while. A few months later we set about making our dream come true. I think we had one Bowie practice with our mate Larry Ė and somehow ended up doing this. Ian left his rock band. We both wanted to do something that reflected what we loved, that didnít involve breaking our necks to find rehearsal space and money to pay for it. We wanted to be easy to put on, and have more social time at gigs, to drink beer and eat kebabs. We have only ever gone out as an acoustic duo sharing one amp, and mostly been happy to go on first Ė giving us more valuable drinking time. September 2012 will see a change for us, as we are putting a full band together for a headline show at The Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury. My 15 year old son will play drums for us. Iím famous for changing/sacking drummers in very poorly handled ways Ė I think Iíd suffered from working with tight samples and drum machines for too long. Iím a much more tolerant person now, but although Iíve played with some really good drummers over the years (one of them being the very talented, and much in demand, Dylan Howe, the son of Steve Howe from Yes), James is by far the best. Maybe not technically yet, but he is so good at listening, and only playing enough to make the song work. Our friend Diz Minnitt will be joining us in September. He is a great bass player and weíve already got him to lay down some bass lines on some new songs.

I really enjoy recording with Ian. Its great working with somebody who is a big fan of what I do, but who also brings skills that I just donít have. I love his solos, his attitude towards the songs and his company. For someone who is a seasoned player, he can be bizarrely shy, so Iíve spent some time forcing him to do backing vocals and other stuff heís never done before.

Ian and I had the honour in 2012 of being involved with the motion picture Kill Keith (www.killkeith.co.uk) Ė a comedy horror starring Keith Chegwin, Tony Blackburn, Joe Pasquale and other B/Z list celebs. We were very proud to sit in a packed cinema and hear of music pumping out  of the speakers. Iíve written most of the soundtrack which includes a couple of Zealey & Moore tracks. Again, monies generated I suspect will be mostly absent (unless the movie gets some serious TV screenings) but the experience, although tough and time consuming, was a good one. We were really pleased when the soundtrack received the Scream Magazine Award for Best Music in 2011 at the British Horror Film Festival.

We are always working on new stuff Ė so keep checking our blog! "

                                                          - JZ June 2012

 

 

 

 

 

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