- Peter Erskine on Zack's article,
"The Craft: How Marketable is
"Probably the best and most accurate piece ever written on me. Informative and moving all at once."
- Billy Brimblecom on Zack's profile of him for the Drummer's Resource series "Working Drummer Spotlight"
Zack has written articles and interviews for numerous publications, including DrummersResource.com, OnlineDrummer.com, and Percussive Notes. He also writes bios, profiles, and other written content for various artists and organizations.
"I've always been passionate about writing and it came naturally to me. Like drumming, it presents the challenge of crafting my expression to suit specific audiences, and that's a challenge I enjoy. My dad is a lawyer, my mom got her degree in English, and my wife works in marketing and communications, so I understand the power of language. What is interesting or compelling to begin with can be made even more so when it is the subject of good writing."
Excerpt from "The Craft:
How Marketable is Your Drumming?"
Published June 2014, OnlineDrummer.com
Most drumming is not an art; it's a craft. Indeed, there are ways drumming can be artistic and there have been many drummers who can truly be called artists. But gigs that allow drummers to really express themselves artistically and stretch their chops are far less common (and often, less lucrative) than gigs that require us to hit a specific target—to recognize what role the drums need to play in a given situation and execute that role effectively. For most drummers, these are the gigs that pay the bills...
In most musical situations, the most essential and important role a drummer plays is that of timekeeper. We are, at our most base level, accompanists. The oldest instrument known to man is the voice. The second oldest is percussion and it was conceived to accompany the voice. It is only in the last century or so that some drummers have transcended beyond that primary role of accompanist to soloist. To be sure, those drummers are a big reason many of us wanted to play drums in the first place. The unique voices of the greats, their incendiary solos, and their spectacle drumsets that take up half the stage are to be admired and celebrated. But the danger in focusing too much on how we can elevate or enhance the music in that way is that we often lose sight of how we can support the music. And in many cases, all that is required is simply support.
"The Ten Commandments of Show Biz:
Wisdom from the Green Room Wall"
Excerpt from "The Supporting Role:
Playing Drums Behind a Jazz Singer"
Published November 2009, Percussive Notes
While it is possible for a drummer to express specific emotions, it is often easier and more effective to express different levels and qualites of intensity and energy. It is the singer's job to express emotions and sentiments, not the drummer's job. The drummer's job to recognize what the singer wants to express and provide the appropriate context for the singer to make that expression effective. This pertains both to what you play and how you play it...
When a saxophonist plays "All the Things You Are," it's a tune, a melody, a set of chord changes. When a singer sings it, all of that becomes secondary to the fact that it's a story. The first responsibility of any instrumentalist in the situation is to help tell that story--to do everything possible to help the singer deliver it the way he or she wants...
Most singers have a specific way they like to sing a given song, and it begins with tempo. There is a tempo at which the lyrics feel natural and comfortable. The syllables roll of the tongue effortlessly, breathing isn't constrained, and the feeling is as natural as speaking. A deviation of just a few bpm's in either direction can destroy this comfort zone.