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Sasha Zand: Bio

New York singer/songwriter Sasha Zand has been making big waves in the metropolitan area recently with his music.

He was DJ Sasha at the New Afternoon Show, a New York City Punk/New Wave College Radio Station at WNYU 89.1 FM on the dial in 1981, where he created Mtv, music television: an "M" T.V. because it was radio, and it was MUSIC for TV.  He wanted to spin the videos of the songs he was playing.

It was well established that the VJ's where all from WNYU but it was DJ Sasha who made it.  Marc Goodman, Martha Quinn, Alan Hunter, and Tim Sommer were all there as well as Sasha as he was a Student at the college and at Cooper Union - where he studied Mechanical Engineering. Also, they became known as VJ's as it was "DJ" Sasha: he coined the term Video Jock. He met and interviewed on the Radio Show Siouxsie Sioux of the Banshees, and Adam Ant who requested him.  He was on the Early Afternoon Show as well. He also had a show called "The Bridge" and read the News on air.  He was AM radio traffic director for the station and for the dormitories of the college. DJ Sasha was known for using "reverb" like the old 60's rock n roll radio, and this may have influenced The Ramones with the song "Rock N Roll Radio".  There is the distinct possibility that AM radio station WMCA, with Murray the K who featured The Beatles,  was in fact where the same studios became WNYU, and it was the WMCA reverb device. This was at the Loeb Student Center in Washington Square Park.  He was told not to use it, but did so anyway and sneaked it in whenever he could.  He then called the effect "the munchkins" whenever it was employed.  It was extroidinarily in fact the "sound" of WMCA, the Rock N Roll era premier AM radio station.  WMCA of none other than disc jockey Alan Freed who made many Rock N Roll movies.  Others may have taken credit for this notably and remarkably Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, and Sumner Redstone (and his daughter) on 60 Minutes news program.   Nevertheless Mtv employees still remember the beginning.

In the 1970's he was in the Stewart Bae Band playing saxaphone, and then went on to DaDa with the brothers Dadras with the punk self released single "pursuits of happiness" where he played Bass, Sax, Guitar and Farfisa, played guitar for Squared Root a female duo.

12 string guitar for Denny Colt.

12 string guitar for Patty Tatteo.

Then to Absolute with Matthias Raabe, Ron Vos, "Nataraj" Herbie Tribino, Randy Lee, and Sharrie Maricle.

Then Grand Affair with the hit "Carried Away" a demo tape favorite.  He then went to Charlotte to try open up for R.E.M. for the Green Tour.

Then on to Blue Water in North Carolina, then his New York Big Band with Tricia Ippilito, Jim Rhodes, Alex Alexander, and Les July.

Then to San Francisco to form Adam's Soul with Jeff Lyons, and Feather featuring Steve Bowman (drums)  of the Counting Crows.  

Played in various blues bands, ocassionaly with T-Bone, and played guitar with Cambridge's The Egg with Ubi on Bass.

He restarted Feather in London and performed in the blues clubs with Alexis Korner on harmonica.

[He seemed to be part chinese, with a midget on drums, and a sax player of the Pink Floyd]

And Snowy White on occassion also.  

Pre-production and guitar for Bel Stuart in Nashville.

He formed his own named band with Matt Johnson, the renown former drummer for Jeff Buckley while Matt had been doing recording sessions for Beth Orton, Suzanne Vega, and Rufus Wainwright (amongst others including John Mayer and Duncan Sheik).

He had actually been listening to the posthumous Jeff Buckley album, Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, for the first time when in the midst of grief over this sensational and tragic record he realized Johnson might be in the city. They spoke two days later. Their first collaboration yielded four songs one of them being "Under the Skin" which was quickly featured on radio station, WLIR.FM 92.7.

Remarkably while that was happening, Q104.3 featured another composition, the track "Easy" on their station. These being the biggest modern and classic rock stations anywhere, it becomes a telling sign.

Their bassist is jazz ace, Matt Pavolka, (Chris Cheek, Gulliermo Klein) who rounds out the guitar combo as he takes care of the happening bottom end. It's said that Sasha was walking up 6th Avenue when he came across a man with a very large upright bass.  He was so convinced of his abilities, without hearing a single note, that he asked him to be on the session.

"He had this Beatles' look to him and he wasn't a regular rock musician with that upright bass.  I knew right away he was better than good, I felt it."

Produced by Bryce Goggin (Phish, Evan Dando, Pavement) the album, Spoke To The Moment, is a stellar debut CD that features the entire band at their best around Sasha Zand's alternative modern rock/nu stream material.

It comes handily across as an original style, as it easily shows its deep roots in jangle rock from the 1960's to the 80's. Kind of reminiscent of Elvis Costello, yet singing almost like Sting or Morrissey. (such nasty influences)

It also rocks!

This kind of songwriting with such masterful drumming really hasn't been heard for a long time. On the cut "Velvet Trace", you can hear Matt Pavolka's Jaco Pastorius influences. A walk in the park for this group.

Bryce Goggin had just finished handing in the heavily anticipated Phish reunion album, Round Room, a week before when Matt Johnson suggested that Sasha might record at his studio, Trout Recording in Brooklyn. Those sessions then wrapped up in a week and the final step came when Arnie Acosta, the little known (though legendary) mastering engineer was tapped to put the finishing touches to the release.

[Arnie is behind countless hit albums notably U2's The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby.]

The end result is another anticipated breakthrough recording: Spoke To The Moment.

Now besides these featured cuts on the record like "Riptide" and "Never Forget", there's R.E.M.'s early classic hit "So. Central Rain" redone and "Handshake", the commissioned theme song for the self-titled movie from Hollywood.

So what lies ahead?

Astrid Williamson of Goya Dress adds some keys with Jeff Hill on Bass (Rufus Wainwright).

"I'm finishing up the new album, even as Spoke To The Moment is being released, and it will show that the sky is the limit."

"You know, I keep around this quote from John Lennon when he was asked why does Rock & Roll mean so much to people.

I'll read it to you.

It's from that famous Rolling Stone interview he did where he spoke his mind.

He said, "Rock and roll was real, everything else was unreal. And the thing about rock and roll, good rock and roll, whatever good means, is that it's real, and realism gets through to you despite yourself"."

Sasha Zand then finished, "I for one absolutely agree with that."