Friday, January 29, 2010

The Zig Gazette

The Zig Gazette Vol 8

Jan  29 2010

Jim Ziegler, Scott Mariner, Michael Johnson, Jim Downing

Saturday Jan 30 Kat Daddy's in Muskogee

The Zigs Second Blue Period

                Back in the nineties, there was a rash of mortality too. Phil Seymour was the Zigs' lead singer and he passed away after a long battle with Leukemia. Not long after that, David Tanner succumbed to diabetes, after battling alcoholism for many years. Jim Ziegler threw in the towel after that, for a while anyway.

                Last year around Memorial Day we lost Frank McPeters. Frank had a lot of grief on his plate and just caved in. We surely didn't see that coming. Neither did we foresee the loss of Bill, except in hindsight.

                But we're not quitting - even though playing this band (or any) can be hazardous to your life expectancy; we wouldn't have it any other way. This is who we are and we are going to keep at it come high water. And just because you pass on doesn't mean you're out of the band. We have almost a whole band on the other side now. If you listen with the right kind of ears you can hear them playing and singing along with us; we do.

                It was esophageal cancer that took Bill. Jeff Nix has a family history of it too and asks that we warn people about it. He had a special treatment for his Barrett's Syndrome that may have saved his life. It can start with acid reflux, so if you have that, be aware.

                Bill's personal humility was reflected in his playing. The bass is not a spotlight instrument, but it's like the keystone. Bill played fewer notes than most bassists, but that gave each note more impact. He was aware of playing 'the space between the notes' as a guy on Bourbon Street once said. Drummers loved his playing; it was open and the music could breathe.

                Initially, Bill was not familiar with a lot of the Zig catalog. Sometimes he didn't know what song Jim was starting. One night Jim began "Bang A Gong" and Bill started with a country bass line. People swarmed to the dance floor, even though it was an unusual groove for that song. I immediately thought "We have a new hit! Let's put a horn section and a steel guitar on this like a Van Morrison treatment."

                Kevin Flint played with us at The Raddison three days after Bill died. "I'm hearing Bill telling me to play less." He said. Good advice from beyond the veil.

                We'll continue to share quotes from Bill as we recall them. One night we were asked to play a little extra. I opined that it's never a bad thing to give more than you bargained for; it helps with repeat business.

                Bill joked "Well, I'm a whore - but I'm not a slut!"

                Sometimes he would play on his own name. Don White said his girlfriend came home and said "I saw your friend at the store. You know, that bass player – Rafflesnaffle." Bill would sometimes call and say "This is Rafflesnaffle."

                We can never overstate the essential goodness of Bill Raffensperger the person and the musician. He was fun to hang out with and a joy to make music with.

                Our forthcoming album is going to have Bill's son Adam playing guitar on at least one song.

Saturday Jan 30 Kat Daddy's in Muskogee


                Ted Bullinger took pictures of The Zigs at Magoo's about a year ago. The color is very good. You can see them at:

The Powerpoint slide show from Bill's service is on Youtube at:

If you search Bill Raffensperger on You Tube, several videos come up. There are some with Cale in the studio, and some from the 2004 tour. Bill also appears in a couple of videos with Tommy Crook and Scott Musick. Those of you who are not from around here ought to check out Tommy Croook. He's one of the best guitarists in the world, and we are not exaggerating.

Scott Mariner is back on board with us. "I'm ba-a-a-ack" he grinned at the Radisson gig. It's his third tour with us, or third sentence. He was telling us about Revolution In Their Heads, a book of complete Beatles recording sessions. George referred to Revolver as their "Avant guarde a clue." phase.

Scott also said Markham was backstage with Bobby Keys at a Stones gig and some kid was telling Charlie Watts that he wanted to be a drummer. Charlie said "How dreadful."

Saturday Jan 30 Kat Daddy's in Muskogee

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