Photos courtesy of Bazooka Zoo
By Juliana Bledsoe
It started with a couple of rogue musicians and some angry resident assistants.
“We used to jam and get kicked out of the dorms all the time,” said front man Zac Haley, aka Bazooka Zac, of the local band Bazooka Zoo, “but we just realized quickly that we had a good mesh with our sound.”
Haley, who now leads the band on guitar and vocals, and friend J.D. Christison, who holds down the drums, met in the dorms in 2010 and immediately clicked.
“We got shut down by RAs when we tried jammin’ in there, and that didn’t really work,” Christison said, “so we decided that we wanted to upgrade to a house, and we’ve been rocking ever since.”
They got that house, now known as The Zoo, a year later, and it has proved to be a catalyst in helping what started as Haley’s recording project, to evolve into a fully-fledged musical endeavor.
“We really wanted to embrace the idea of a zoo,” Christison said,” of a bunch of different, diverse beings getting together and collaborating.”
Guitarist Evan Tune, who initially filled the role of bassist, soon joined the Bazooka Zoo roster, and Scott Turek joined on keys and synth when the band started to realize that he was at every show, and clearly wanted in. Turek has since compiled a massive stack of electronic equipment that includes synthesizers, beat pads, a keyboard and a vocoder all synced to a MacBook, which Hayley refers to as “his machine,” and has helped contribute to the more densely packed sound that the band is now producing. When some coaxing after his previous band split up, Mike Adragna was most recently added on bass, which freed up Tune to play rhythm guitar and do backup vocals.
“I don’t think it was ever meant to be an actual band,” Tune said. “It just kind of formed into one.”
But as the project gained momentum, Haley said they soon realized “Hey, we should be playing shows.”
Bazooka Zoo has been performing frequently all over Reno ever since, culminating in a tour over spring break to promote the release of its first professionally produced album “Satellite Series” on April 19.
The band’s sound has been self-dubbed as “psychedelic space rock,” and is reminiscent of taking a trip to the Pink Floyd Laser Show. It mashes genres to create a densely layered cosmic experience that takes progressive rock for a spacewalk with influences of metal and electronica with special effects abound that gets everyone from old Dead Heads to burners to indie kids and even metal-lovers interested
“I just love all kinds of music, so we want to find a way to blend it, but something that’s palatable at the same time— something that does bridge classic sounds and future stuff, and heavy and soft and everything I love about music,” Haley said.
Post-release, the band is just finishing up a one-month hiatus from performing to work on some new songs to add to its repertoire. The members are excited to move on to even bigger and better things, as they say they finally became tired of always playing the same six original songs that are now on the album.
“The thing is, five out of six of those songs were written before Mike was in the band and before we had a second guitar, and before, to an extent, Scott even realized the potential of his machine,” Haley said, “but now we’ve all kind of bonded to a level where I think we really get the sound. More than ever now were seeing what is our full potential, and I think by the end of the album we really show you this is the direction we’re going in.”
The band is itching to get back to performing and is excited to show off the five new songs it has already written.
“We already wrote half of a new CD, and I think it’s going to stomp anything anyone has ever heard us play before,” Haley said. “Get ready, get excited and we’ve got another one coming soon.”
Bazooka Zoo will be giving away free copies of its current release at the four shows it has planned for next month and ensures that more is in the works.
“There is something else happening that should be big,” Haley said, “but I can’t tell you yet.”
Juliana Bledsoe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.