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ZZYZX - 1986 Runnin'

ALBUM: Runnin' (EP)
LABEL: Black Wax
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Windy Wagner - vocals * Danny Reyes - guitars, vocals * Danny Wagner - keyboards, vocals * Trent Stroh - bass, vocals * Mark Meissner - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Runnin' * 02 Tell Me How * 03 Broken Hearts * 04 Hold On * 05 On And On * 06 Sway The Night Away * 07 The War

ZZYZX were an indie based outfit from California that caused a bit of a stir with their sophomore 1986 mini-album called 'Runnin'. Historically, this band has captured a lot of attention since that time, developing a cult following akin to that legendary Alpha Centauri album from 1977. They are based around the sister and brother pairing of Windy and Danny Wagner (Jnr). If my facts are correct, the ZZYZX band-name is (believe it or not) named after a small out-of-the-way road in Nevada! Anyhow, it is easy to recommend ZZYZX to fans of female fronted pomp bands, a la Storm, Tantrum, Jet and Groundstar. The star of the show is lead singer Windy Wagner who's voice puts a hole in your aural senses. Vocally she carries herself in the same mould as Renee Varo (Wild Blue) and Marilyn Martin, though with a touch more power.

The Songs
Anyway, 'Runnin' was an unusual 7-track EP on vinyl, released on the small Black Wax label. Side One contained three tracks plus a picture, while the flip-side contained four tracks. A couple of these stand out. The bombastic 'On And On' is one.. full of keyboard parps and a strong bass-driven theme. Aural confusion reigns supreme on the OTT 'The War'. This one could've easily found a home on Storm's 1979 album! Elsewhere, Danny Wagner leads us on a keyboard merry-go-round, with his constant use of the VCA/VCF toggle-switch on his synthesizer. Often we hear his synths going out of tune, or suddenly get an attack of the vibrato's. Check out the title track 'Runnin' or the rather pompy 'Tell Me How'. The keyboard solo on the latter is a prime example of what I'm talking about.. lol!

In Summary
The band released two mini-albums; this one and the equally hard to find mini-album 'Next Exit' from 1985, but unfortunately, this was their exit clause, as the band broke up at this point. Still, ZZYZX are an interesting listen, but for serious AOR collectors of fans of female fronted outfits only.. I'd suggest. Since that time, Windy Wagner has become a much sought after backing singer for the likes of Enya and KD Lang. She is also the wife of singer Ken Stacey, who in recent times is the lead singer of Ambrosia. Brother Danny was a roadie for Warrant but then became their keyboardist and drummer between 1998 and 2000. Bloody hell! Bassist Trent Stroh has been equally busy, playing with the likes of Stan Bush and Eddie Money. A very talented lot indeed!

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#1 | super80boy on March 23 2013 15:39:38
This is a great one for the female fronted fans indeed. The picture on Side 1 is a nice added surprise. Lot's of pompy synth work. Their 2nd and final effort "Next Exit" holds back on the keys a touch more. It's a fine effort.
#2 | richardb on January 03 2016 12:58:08
A great mini LP, though I prefer their follow up 'Next exit'.

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