Mark Zonder (drummer, recording artist, studio owner)
CITY: Encinitas, California
NAMBA GEAR: Big Namba Studio Backpack
I played drums in the school bands all the way from elementary school through high school. I was also jamming with other guys I could find. I sued to play with a friend of mine who played the sax. We used to play really bad versions of Chicago’s first album. I loved the sound, but we were horrible.
I played with various cover bands playing a few originals. We did everything from heavy stuff to commercial music. This was a big learning experience. While playing in a local band, I met Bill Tsamis and I joined him with the Warlord band. We would spend hours of just playing guitar and drums.
Bill and I decided to move to L.A. to follow our dreams. We moved into a small part of a big building in N. Hollywood. We auditioned singers for what seemed like years and could never find our man. We recorded a couple of albums and a self-produced video and things just sort of fell apart.
As things fell apart, I sort of wound up with our building/rehearsal studio. Since I played the drums, I needed the space. One day a friend of mine asked me to use the space and pay me $20. A light bulb went off and within a year I had taken over the entire 10,000 sq. ft. building. This is how my original rehearsal and recording studio known as Bill’s Place was born. We have had some of the biggest bands in the world as well as some of the smallest bands, and everything in between. Bill’s Place is still going strong.
One of the best musical educations I got is when I played with Charles and Astrid of the band Animotion. They were coming from an entirely different musical place than I was. But I was willing to learn and they were willing to teach. This was a situation where I was playing all pads through an interface that was triggering a very early Akai unit. I was getting the click with the keyboard player that was also tied to a couple of sequencers.
I got a call from Jim Matheos of Fates Warning. As things worked out, I started working on material and before I knew it I was in Connecticut at the Carriage House Studios recording the Perfect Symmetry album. Fates made several American and European tours and toured with Dream Theater and Queensryche. I am very thankful for all my experiences with Fates. The music has been challenging as well as I have gotten to see the world doing what I love to do.
Currently I am involved with several recording projects and plan to continue releasing albums and touring the world.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST PROJECT, RECORDING, OR PERFORMANCE:
I’ve been doing a lot of drum clinics with Guitar Center sponsored by DW Drums, Zildjian, Remo, Vater and Toca, and starting to record the new Slavior record. Slavior includes Michael Schenker Group guitarist/keyboardist Wayne Findlay, ex-Tribe of Gypsies singer Gregg Analla, and ex-Steve Vai/Ring of Fire bassist Philip Bynoe. Also been doing session work in my own recording studio.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR NAMBA GEAR BAG?
I like the way I can get both a computer, sampler and i/0 box along with cables into the bag. The Big Namba Studio Backpack also keeps everything very organized. This bag has been great with these drum clinics as it keeps all of my computer stuff in the same place and makes it very easy to pack and go.
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