Band Sluts

Some musicians just can't say "no' to a gig

DC-3 guitar player Tony Medina, who switches to bass in Ziskin's ensemble, already does that in a way. His day job with production company ADG Music Works consists of creating songs for local and national radio and television advertising. "Everything I do is music, 24/7," says the seasoned player, who's worked with locals such as the Butter Club and Rhett and the Pawnshop Drunks. For Medina the most important benefit gained from performing with others is "you can always learn more. It just makes you grow more as a musician." Of course he wouldn't mind if all the groups he performs with became famous simultaneously: "On a good note: DC-3 will be in all three of them!"

Amazingly in addition to all his musical activities, prodigious prodigy Perdomo, who plays guitar and bass with most bands but pounds the keyboards with Moreno, finds time to conduct man-on-the-street interviews for El Nuevo Herald. But he admits, "My heart's always going to be in music. Music is the driving force in my life; it's my therapy, it's what I do for everything, for happiness." Despair might arise if a few of the half-dozen outfits to which he contributes reach the top at once, and he is forced to take a permanent post. "You get something out of playing with every band," he remarks. But if forced to choose: "It would have to come down to the band that represents you most as an individual. It would probably be DC-3," he says on the phone somewhat hesitantly, Cintron and Medina howling in the background.

While DC-3 offers an example of three local musicians who play well with others, there is a downside to all that playing around. Vocalist/guitarist Zach Ziskin, back on his own, could be considered a reformed multi-band addict. "I've gone through the twelve-step band-slut program," he quips. While fronting his own pop group Passion Seeds in the late Nineties, Ziskin also played guitar with Trophy Wife and Sixo, and worked as a bassist with Matt Sabatella. Later on he took a post with Jim Camacho (formerly of the Goods). "Part of it was just the joy of playing music; part of it is also a challenge," he rationalizes. "It's great for your chops and great to advance yourself as a musician."

Now you see us, now you see us: the DC-3 -- Fernando Perdomo (left), Tony Medina, and Derek Cintron -- relaxing for a moment
Now you see us, now you see us: the DC-3 -- Fernando Perdomo (left), Tony Medina, and Derek Cintron -- relaxing for a moment


But Ziskin admits that something eventually has to give, namely your own work. "You get to a certain point as a musician where either you say, 'Okay, I'm a utility player, or I'm an artist who is doing my own thing.' And if I'm going to be really sincere and serious about dedicating 100 percent of my creativity and my energy to my music, I have to focus on that and not spread myself out over all these other projects." Saying no to his friends whose songs he liked was tough, confesses Ziskin, who grew increasingly annoyed when he found his multiple commitments prevented him from booking gigs for his own projects and cut into his time for writing songs and recording.

The last straw, however, came during an uninspired gig he played with Jim Camacho's band in front of an apathetic audience at the Hard Rock Café. At the set's finale, Camacho, with whom he remains on good terms, decided to energize the moment by smashing his bass to bits on the rickety stage. Two whacks later, as splinters from the bass rained down on the room, the crowd remained comatose. "At that point," Ziskin recalls, "I was like, I need to get back to doing my thing."

And following his own dream lately involves none other than DC-3, musicians in a mutable position that Ziskin has also faced. Despite the uncertainty, his future plans go unchanged. They'll record shortly and keep gigging whenever possible. "They're the best players I've ever played with," he affirms, "and if it were up to me, I'd play with them forever." Yet he's the first to acknowledge a nagging fear: "These guys are so good. I can only hold on to them for a limited amount of time before they get snatched away with some other major thing or their own thing as DC-3. I'd hate to lose them because they're so amazing. I'm just grateful to be able to play with them at this point, to play with them now."

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