If you've ever had the good fortune to witness the electricity of a live Little Feat show, appreciate the extraordinary talent of Duane Allman, or hear the crackling nostalgia of an old Cream album, then you've felt the grit and the substance that makes The Daily Grind. Unbelievable chemistry and remarkable versatility flow from this unique three-piece band, who play a wide range of songs from almost every genre and energize crowds all across the Twin Cities area. Covering classics from the Freddie Jones Band and Eric Clapton to The Stones and even Tesla, this exciting group recently set the stage ablaze at Washington Square just outside of St. Paul.
With haunting vocal harmonies and a true talent to jam, The Daily Grind revealed an uncanny likeness to the sounds of many of their influences. Take the enlightening resonance of David Gilmore, add a touch of James Taylor, spike it with a taste of Mitch Mitchell, stir it all up and you've got it - almost. Without the bottom weight of big drums or bass guitar, The Daily Grind hosts three amazing talents - Eric Meyer on electric guitar and vocals, Michael "Z" Zimmerman on acoustic guitar and vocals and Rich Vazquez on percussion. This gifted trio played everything from classic rock to a fascinating fusion of blues and folk.
Rising out of the popular mid-nineties Minneapolis group, The Michael Shane Band, these guys have stuck together, because what they have works. Each is involved in other projects in the Twin Cites area, but genuinely enjoys collaborating together on this eclectic venture. "At first it was a strange idea - having two guitars and a little percussion, but we put our minds to it. We really wanted it to work and it's evolved into something unique, different and a lot of fun," said Eric, who is also the current bass player for Pete Kavanaugh and Zookeeper.
Eric began experimenting with bass and electric guitar at a very young age and joined forces with the Dog Pound Blues Band at the dawn of the 80s. He collaborated with Lady Blue in the mid 80s and the David Collin Bryan Band shortly thereafter. A phenomenon both on bass and electric, Eric currently does solo work on the acoustic guitar also. For The Daily Grind, he sticks to his electric Fender, but straps on his acoustic to jam with Michael when The Daily Grind is sans percussionist.
The Daily Grind's other members, Michael, a razor sharp acoustic virtuoso, and Rich, a brilliant Cuban-born percussionist, are standouts in the Minneapolis music scene as well. Michael currently plays not acoustic guitar, but percussion for Kurt Jorgenson, a prevalent blues band that plays regularly at Famous Dave's and Bunkers and is involved in Mick Sterling's Heart and Soul festival this year. Audiences are really in luck, though, when he demonstrates his raw, unplugged talent as the acoustic guitarist for The Daily Grind. Rich, citing the inspiration of Tito Puente and Mongo Santa Maria, graces many local bands with his amazing percussive talents. When he thumps his LP Galaxys for The Daily Grind, fans can certainly experience first hand his soulful heritage and bona fide ability, which call to mind such influences as Morris Jennings and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
With all that talent, it's no wonder the band was such a hit at their latest show in White Bear Lake. Joined periodically by long time friend and sit-in harp player, Pat Kabat, they played everything from a driving, jamming rendition of Muddy Water's "Sweet Home Chicago" to a melodic and beautiful version of Clapton's "You Look Wonderful Tonight." Their own creations, like "A Season For Loving You," were so well written, composed and performed, that only a seasoned ear could discern the covers from the originals. What an eclectic sound! What a fantastic collection of musicians! What a shame it would be not to feel their energy and camaraderie again! You can count on seeing them working on their other projects in the Twin Cites area, but don't miss the unparalleled union of The Daily Grind for anything.
This feature is copyright © 2001 by Sarah Jade, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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