People describe me as creative, but I think a better word is curious. I’m curious hardcore. I have an insatiable appetite for the unfamiliar. So, I go out of my way to have new experiences, to try something new… which inevitably leads to some kind of creation. Curious, curious caterpillar Zach.
I’ve written stories and essays and poems and treatises, invented games, designed curricula for music theory and English, learned to play all kinds of instruments, written computer programs and web applications, designed logos and lamps and terrariums and filtration systems, and pioneered artistic lawnmowing methodologies. And, in particular, I’ve written songs. Lots of songs. Lots of very different songs, because I hadn’t written songs like them before.
This hardcore curiosity means that I love traveling. I love meeting new people, hearing new stories, seeing new places. It also means that I love discovering new music; new textures or chords or arrangement ideas. In short, learning excites me.
The eventual result of this ever-reaching, ever-branching curiosity is, oddly enough, union. Bringing together disparate elements, because what if?… how would that work?… Making a bizarre bicycle out of parts from very-differently-sized bicycles. Introducing a friend from Nebraska to a friend from Seoul. Playing music with people whose language and culture I don’t know. Quoting classical songs in my jazz solos. Combining polka with gospel, Motown with surf rock, folk with jazz, R&B with bluegrass. Playing bossa nova versions of rock songs, and rock versions of bossa nova songs. Putting heavy distortion on an accordion, or recording percussion underwater. That kind of thing.
That’s what I’m about: discovering and reconciling the disparate. I think the world is full of terrific, different people and if everyone just got a little curious, we might get interested enough in finding out how to live together that we forget all the petty reasons we don’t.
That is, in part, the gospel I am taking on the road. It is also why I am hitting the road in the first place. To find more differences, and put them all together on a CD, using one of the world’s two common languages — music.