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Zonana Strikes Out on His Own
By Holly Day
(more articles from this author)
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Guinea Pigs is an outstanding collection of pop music that run the gambit of moods and subject matter, including a song about a man in love with a blow-up doll and a boy bicycling to the moon. The music is pure, catchy pop with the hints of jazzy funk bass...

"I don't think I ever got into playing music," says Saul Zonana ( of his musical background. "I think it was just something that was there when I was born. I'm not sure I had much of a choice." He adds, laughing, "When I was in my early teens, maybe thirteen or fourteen years old, I was playing with guys that were older than me, painting moustaches on my face to get into the clubs so they wouldn't kick me off the stage, stuff like that. So I can't really say I got into playing music, you know what I mean? It was just something that was always there, and it just took over. It's been with me all through every age, every type of schooling I was in, I was always just consumed with music."

"Bette" Music Video
Quicktime Movie Download (20.9M)

Saul Zonana Notables
* Opening act for 2003 Joan Osborne tour
* 2002 John Lennon Songwriting Contest
Honorable Mention - "Fool on a Bicycle"

* 3rd Place on 2002 Billboard's World
Song Contest - "Fool on a Bicycle"

* "Afraid of Dying" to be featured
in indie film 'Will Unplugged'

* Performed at 2003 International
Pop Overthrow in NYC & LA

Zonana, who has been writing and performing music for 33-1/2 of his 34 years, has worked just about every angle of the music business there is, most notably as a producer and studio musician. His songwriting credits appear on numerous bands' albums, including Luv Junkies' album 'Smudge'. "I've always had some sort of musical situation around me, whether it was just me, or me in a band, there was always something going on," says Zonana of his studio work.

"With that, I got very interested in the recording process, as I started growing and writing my own material, and had more and more experience in the field, it sort of made me realize that sort of what drives me to focus is to make records. And so as I got older, I started gathering more and more equipment, and just getting more into the recording process, I realized that I could do that for others as well. And then when an artist would come across my path that I would be inspired by, someone I'd like to write with or something like, my studio became sort of a tool for people bound to work on music. And then that grew to people calling me and wanting me to be involved in their projects.

"Fool On A Bicycle"
MP3 - RealAudio

"But really, I'm an artist first, I'm a writer first, but the producer thing, I got just through working with the various people through word of mouth. I've got my own recording studio at this point, and a lot of different artists come through here, and fortunately for me, I get to choose who I want to work with." Over the years, those artists have included Blue Oyster Cult, Paula Cole, Ace Freley, and Taylor Dayne, as well as dozens of unknowns.

This year has seen Zonana finally sit down and put together material for his own album, Guinea Pigs, released on his own label, 20/20 Music, and recorded in his own studio. A previous album also appeared on TVT Records in 1999, an experience Zonana wasn't particularly fond of. "I just don't work as well with other producers as I do with myself," he explains, simply and to the point. "My official, solo debut album just wasn't the album I wanted to have out there. So I thought, after I was finally released from my contract with TVT, that I'd try to put something together myself, something more along the lines of what I'd wanted my debut to actually be."

MP3 - RealAudio

That album turned out to be Guinea Pigs, an outstanding collection of pop music that run the gambit of moods and subject matter, including a song about a man in love with a blow-up doll and a boy bicycling to the moon. The music is pure, catchy pop with the hints of jazzy funk bass that has earmarked Zonana's work on other band's recordings - with the help of supporting musicians Jack Petruzzelli, Andrew Carillo, Tom Hammer, Kevin Jenkins, Dave Johnson, and Kevin Hupp, Guinea Pigs is an incredibly strong, self-assured album that ranks high above the majority of self-released (and even commercially-released) recordings of the year. Zonana's expertise in the studio makes the recording quality of this album an additional, high-tech sort of treat - there's no mistaking this production for something slapped together in someone's living room. The studio quality here is as clean and professional as it gets.

More on Saul Zonana
Genre: Rock
Hometown: New York City
Buy "Guinea Pigs" CD
Label: 20/20 Music
Contact: Evolution Promotion

"I kept calling the batch of songs that eventually made it to the record the Guinea Pigs, just because in my mind I was thinking that these were the ones that I'm going to sort of get all the bugs out, figure out how to produce my own CD of all my own music," says Zonana of the album, modest but obviously proud of his "baby."

"And when it was all said and done, I was happy with it, and I wanted to release it, but since I had been calling that batch of songs the Guinea Pigs the whole time, it seemed fitting to call the record Guinea Pigs. But Guinea Pigs really meant the first songs I was putting together in my new home studio that I wanted to release myself."

RealAudio: "The Same"

Upcoming Shows
* Thursday, August 7th @9 pm
702 Willow Avenue
Ithaca, NY 607-275-3447

* Friday, August 8th @9 pm
891 Cove Road
Stamford, CT 203-964-9225

To join Saul's mailing list, send an email to Be sure to add your zip code for regional mailings. Saul will also tour the northeast extensively in the fall. Check his website for dates.

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