Gerard Zappa, Wooster guitarist and vocalist, has a special affinity for music. Although he plays in a rock and roll band, his musical tastes extend far and wide, and he’s passionate about the power music has to improve and expand the lives of others, in ways both big and small.
How did this obsession with the power of music start for Gerard Zappa? It goes back to his days as a teen and young adult, listening to legendary bands, one of which would turn out to have a huge impact on his journey as a musician.
How Gerard Zappa Developed His Personal Sound
Some bands are destined to be one-hit wonders. Some bands enjoy somewhat longer, but still fleeting success in the form of a “heyday.” And then there are bands that transcend the trends, times, and fads to become a cultural touchstone and a household name.
With several decades as a wildly popular and instantly recognizable group, as well as the distinction of having the top-selling digital track of the 20th century, Journey belongs to this rarefied group of timeless musical icons.
Why does this matter so much for Gerard Zappa? Because Journey is one of his main musical influences, shaping his love of rock music and inspiring his personal approach to playing the guitar. Journey’s music combines progressive rock, pop, and other genres for a unique sound that resonates with a wide audience. It was precisely this kind of unique but universal appeal that Zappa built his own sound around.
The time and effort he put into developing his musical skills paid off when the former lead singer of Journey, Steve Augeri, started a new rock group and went in search of a bass guitarist. Gerard Zappa had just the kind of sound Augeri was looking for.
What Gerard Zappa Is Putting His Passion Into Today
It didn’t take long after hearing Gerard Zappa rock out for Augeri to decide that the Wooster musician was just what his new band needed. Zappa was invited to join the Steve Augeri Band as a bass guitarist and vocalist, and the rest is history in the making.
The band has already enjoyed a lot of success, despite having its 2020 tour schedule interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 2021, however, Gerard Zappa is back on the road with the Steve Augeri Band, with shows booked through 2022 at venues across the United States.
How Gerard Zappa Uses Music to Stay Sharp
When he’s not on tour with the band, one of the causes closest to Zappa’s heart is promoting the power of music to improve your life. Zappa has always felt that music has the power to keep youmentally sharp and young at heart — and he’s not alone in this conviction. Doctors at Johns Hopkins agree that composing and playing music has great mental benefits.
Here are some of Gerard Zappa’s favorite ways to use music to improve creativity and memory.
Listening to Music from All Genres and Eras
It’s common for people to become stuck in their ways as they get older, and this applies to their taste in music as well.
They listen to the songs and albums they most enjoyed in their youth and don’t seek out what’s new in music. While there should always be a place for the classic and nostalgic in one’s musical library, it’s important to keep things fresh by listening to new music too.
New sounds challenge and stimulate the brain in ways that familiar sounds don’t. This is why experts recommend mixing up old favorites with new music. Doing so gives the brain a chance to expand and adapt, promoting creativity and mental agility.
Zappa makes a point of listening to the top 40 hits on a regular basis. Though he can’t say he’s a fan of all of them, he finds that there is a lot to appreciate in the current generation of musicians.
Keeping Memories Alive with Favorite Songs from the Past
Sometimes Gerard Zappa doesn’t just want to remember the good old days — he wants to feel them, too. That’s when he puts on an old record and lets the memories wash over him, awakening not just the sounds of the past, but the emotions and sensations he felt too.
Music activates certain areas of the brain that have the ability tocatapult the listener back in time, allowing them to relive experiences from long ago. So when Zappa wants to take a trip down memory lane, he naturally puts on old Journey albums.
Like most people, the mega-hit “Don’t Stop Believing” is a mainstay on his Journey playlists, but he also loves other classic songs, such as “Stone in Love,” “Lights,” “Wheel in the Sky,” and “Any Way You Want It.” And like any true rock and roller, he also loves The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin.
Using Music to Improve Focus and Concentration
One of the most fascinating things about music is its ability to affect different people in different ways. For instance a type of music that is soothing to one person could make another person nervous. Likewise, a song that is energizing to one could be irritating to another.
Although one might expect a musician like Gerard Zappa to prefer loud, fast-paced music, fans of his may be surprised to learn that he is really into classical music, which studies showcan improve concentration and productivity. When he needs to focus, he puts on Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons.”
What’s Next for Gerard Zappa, Wooster Musician
When he’s not on stage or honing his skills on the guitar, Gerard Zappa shares stories from his life in the music industry and all things music-related in his blog.