The Rocks Off 100: Frank Zweback, Funkmaster General
Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there, too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Photo by SMBDesign Art+Photography
Who? Frank Zweback has a lot of Houston Press Music Awards, and we do mean a lot. His work as a guitarist, bassist and vocalist spans three of Houston's most highly acclaimed bands. He teams with his sister Jessica and Davis Jumper in skyblue72, a potent mix of pop and jam-band-thank-you-ma'am that always gets an audience going.
He is also a core member of D.R.U.M. (Divine Rhythm United Motion). The Bob Marley Festival regularly features the band and their conglomeration of reggae and Afrobeat on tour, and D.R.U.M. has long been regarded as the best world-music group in town.
Finally, Zweback takes center stage in his award-winning funk band Zwee, which also features Jessica on vocals, percussion and keys. As if that's not enough, you can find him every Wednesday at the Mucky Duck teaming with the über-talented Patrice Pike. His current goal is to team with Jessica on stripped-down versions of songs from their impressive catalog.
Home Base: Zweback practices out of his home in Montrose or in Drumusic Studios. At performance time, he enjoys Warehouse Live for big shows and Last Concert Café for smaller ones, provided someone else is handling the sound.
Good War Story: "skyblue72 plays Laredo for the second time," Zweback opens. "First time was awesome, we were like stars, place packed, agent was like, 'You guys are the next big thing. Laredo loves you.'
"So we go back in the '79 Chevy van," he continues. "No a/c, 105 degrees outside, we talk about getting a block of ice to put in the van, arrive, play to three people. My sister is pissed, [and] I'm pissed that she's pissed. I'm like, 'We're here, let's have fun'; she's like, 'This sucks.'
"I kind of lose it," concludes Zweback. "No talking [the] whole ride back right after [the] show; we bail on the free hotel room. Not a good time, but funny in retrospect."
Why Do You Stay in Houston? Zweback has his whole life here in H-Town. His parents live here now, as do his sister and niece. It's his home.
Music Scene Pet Peeves: Zweback, like a lot of local musicians, laments the fact that there is simply no music district or central area where music lovers can park and walk to several different shows. Everything is driving distance from everything else.
Five Desert Island Discs: "I kind of think artist more than disc. Curtis Mayfield, Pharoah Sanders, Fela [Kuti]. A favorite, excellent in my opinion kind of obscure CD is Inclined's Bright New Day. Love that CD."
Best Show Ever: "skyblue72 CD release at Warehouse Live," he says. "So packed, we killed it, worked hard to make it a packed show, or Full Moon Beat Meet. It was just a killer event, original idea, I think, and it sold out and everyone really had a blast. Community feel. Loved it. Was at Continental Club in 2010."
First Song You Fell in Love With: "Led Zeppelin, 'Stairway to Heaven.'"
Zweback joins Patrice Pike Wednesdays at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, starting at 6:30 p.m.
See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.