Zuba quickly became one of my favorite bands. They reminded me somewhat of The Nields, travelling around the country gigging, independent and not seeking a label, just building a fan base city by city. Their sound was very different but the character of the thing seemed similar. I saw them every time they came to Boston, I think, after I first heard them, but they were from Colorado and only came once or twice a year. Liza, the guitarist/singer, was also the songwriter. Although at first she was slightly overshadowed by the other two people out front, I grew more and more impressed with her depth.
Their new album when I first saw them was The New Cruelty, fast and full of energy, featuring their multi-sax-playing frontman. It was similar to that kind of funk I think of as coming from Boston and New York that catness once named "Jewish White Boy Funk" - Chucklehead, Rippopotamus, Heavy Metal Horns, Shockra, Ukiah. And particularly, like Chucklehead, Zuba's lyrics were intricate and smart. I started noticing that a lot more when Ben, the saxophone guy, abruptly left the band. Their next album, South of Eden, hooked me like very few other albums ever have, and reamins one of my favorite albums of all time. It's like a funk band playing beautifully written singer-songwriter style material. Actually, it is a funk band playing singer-songriter material - it turns out that before Zuba, Liza was a folkie singer-songwriter, and in South of Eden, she was trying to bring more of that influence in. The blend was perfect.
I don't know why I didn't buy all of their albums when I first saw them. I guess I just wasn't in the habit, yet. They had three at the time, and by the time I realized I ought to have the old ones, their first self-titled CD was out of print and out of stock. For years I've searched for it, and just a few hours ago yix told me she had found a copy for me on eBay and would send it soon. Thank you yix!
Zuba is no more. They broke up a few years ago, and although Liza has done a lot of gigs in and around Denver and a few tours of nearby states since then, she hasn't had a regular touring badn of her own and hasn't played any gigs in Boston. I haven't seen her since the demise of Zuba, and I haven't heard any recordings of her with or without a band in that time. I've remained on her mailing list, hoping that someday she will have a regular band and record albums with them again. And just a few days ago, I found out that it's happening.
From: elizabeth oxnard <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 10:06:30 -0700 (GMT-07:00) Subject: Liza November Shows!!!!!! Hello folks! We are finally in the process of making our new album!!!!!! We've done all the basics at a great little studio in Denver called NFA and are now finishing up the final tracking in the next month or so. I am hoping to release it by early 2004. It sounds great and i cant wait for you to hear it! What a journey the last few years have been! I would love to give you slice of my life and an idea of what i have been going through. I got off the road in 1999 after being with Zuba for 8 years. By 2000 i had started a new band, what is now known as Liza and the Soul Stars. I was tentative to get out there again, tired from so much touring and still doing so much healing from the rollercoaster of a journey. But this band sounded great and i was loving our songs and shows. By the fall of 2000 i was discussing recording a side project with Billy Nershi of the String Cheese Incident, which we jumped into that winter and released in the fall of 2001. The Soul Stars had to take a back seat for a little while during this recording, so once it was released we all decided to tour a bit in support of it. In the winter and Spring of 2002 we toured the west coast, mid west, and the south. We had some success and had a great time, but we were home by May and decided it was really time to get down to business and make our own album, one that really represented the best of what we do. The summer passed and i couldn't make a decision about how to go about it, where the money was going to come from, which songs with which style, etc etc etc.... So we didn't begin recording until September. We recorded with the full band playing live at our drummer, Brian McRae's, home studio. We were having a great time, but something wasn't sitting right with me. It wasn't quite magical. I felt we weren't ready! So we stopped production. I thought within a couple of months we would be right back at it. But fate danced in December - my boyfriend at the time, Jesse, asked me to marry him! What a whirlwind it was after that!!!! I couldnt concentrate on much else and we had so much planning to do to make the wedding happen by July. I was worried that the album would never happen, that i was maybe somehow incapable of reaching my goal. But now that we have started recording i realize what a silly notion that was. How is it that we worry ourselves about stuff we should never worry about? We can be hard on ourselves! Once the project of the wedding was passed......yep, i am happily married to Jesse now :) ...... we got down to business and started planning the album and began recording in October. The energy and vibe are beautiful. And that is all i will say! I feel so happy now that we are in this process and i cant wait to have you all be a part of it in the listening. I am sure sometimes you all wonder what i am doing, why i havent sent an email in a while, when i will be touring, and what my plans are overall. But life's tangents can be so rewarding!!! I have been teaching, writing, recording, singing jingles, being a sister, and daughter and now a partner, singing and dancing, being an athlete, and generally enjoying myself!! BUT, we will be ready to tour again after the release of the new album. I can't wait to see our friends all over the country and play some beautiful music for you. Until then, we will be playing shows in Colorado. So, all of you Colorado folks, come on out and see us soon. With much love and twangy guitars, liza
A list of upcoming shows, unfortunately all in Colorado, was at the end of the email.
Tuesday, Nov. 11th - The Trilogy Lounge, Boulder CO
Jude Ponds, Liza Oxnard, Lynn Patrick, Liz Barnez, Maggie Simpson and Rebecca Folsom are hosting a benefit for the Rock 'n' Roll camp for girls (www.girlsrockcamp.org). The show starts at 8pm and the donation is $10, all of which is donated to the girls camp.
The 4th Annual GoGirlsMusicFest will showcase the best local and regional indie women in music in 18 cities around the country through October and November 2003. Proceeds will benefit the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls Scholarship Program, teaching girls ages 8-18 how to rock during its annual summer camp in Portland, OR. The showcases are volunteer run and coordinated to spotlight and promote local female talent. Event sponsors include Discmakers, Daisy Rock Guitars, Musician's Atlas, Sonicbids, Indie Bible, Women Who Rock Magazine, GIGPAGE.com, and Flying Coaster PR.
Saturday Nov 15th - Mahogany Ridge, Steamboat CO
Liza with Erik Deutsch
come and check out Erik and i all winter in Steamboat. The duo will knock your socks off.
Thursday, Nov. 20th - Boulder Theatre, Boulder CO
Liza with Erik Deutsch opening for Louden Wainwright
Friday, December 12th - Private Party, Boulder CO - TENTATIVE
Liza and the Soul Stars
December 13th - Private Party, Silverton CO - TENTATIVE
December 19th - Trilogy, Bouder CO - TENTATIVE
Liza and the Soul Stars
first show after our recording experience!!
December 20th - Mahogany Ridge, Steamboat CO - TENTATIVE
Liza and the Soul Stars
we are playing steamboat all winter - every few weeks, check it out!