Stories Behind the Storytellers: Zed D’Lance

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Today, we complete the trifecta of local artists opening Acoustic Storytellers Night at American Spirits Roadhouse with Zed D’Lance, a five-piece rock band that is relatively new, but already quite accomplished.

You guys have been together for a couple years now. How did Zed D’Lance get its start back in 2014?
We didn’t want to be another cover band playing the same old songs in bars every weekend. We all wanted to create. We all easily stumbled upon each other quickly and effortlessly, almost as if it was meant to be. We all shared the same vision, no matter the path to get there, and we all had instant chemistry from the second we met. Even though our individual influences varied greatly, we knew that would lend to a unique sound. We were all just a great match for each other, musically and goal-wise, from the start.

Chris Zelenka (singer), Ed Greshko (guitar), and Joe D’Annibale (drums) had played together in a few cover bands for a few years prior, and brought forth the idea of Zed D’Lance with each other in the spring of 2014. Chris Frycki (bass) joined in July 2014 after he saw a post from Chris Zelenka on Kevin Miller’s facebook page about a bassist needed for a new project. Dave Warmkessel (guitar) was brought into the band in March 2016 to replace our original guitarist. We began writing original songs right after Frycki joined in the fall of 2014.

What other projects were you guys coming from when you formed the band?
It’s funny, because still to this day, we don’t even really know much about each other’s musical backgrounds. It’s never been about that with us, and It’s never really come up before when we auditioned, chilled, and jammed. Strange, I know, but that’s how we’ve rolled. We’ve operated and relied on passion and chemistry above all else with each other.

We’ve all played in numerous cover bands; acoustic solo, duo, and trio gigs, as well as in full bands pretty much everywhere in the Lehigh Valley and Poconos. Too many bands that most people have never heard of.

Here’s a funny story: Our bassist Chris Frycki was on musical ‘hiatus’ for a few years prior to Zed D’Lance ,and hadn’t even picked up an instrument in five years, had never played bass before, and told us prior to the audition, “Hey, I’ll play bass, but do you have one I can use for the audition? Oh, and an amp? How about a tuner? And a pick?” Luckily, Zelenka had those things and faith, and here we are. I don’t think Frycki even owns a bass amp to this day.

What made you think that this group of musicians could come together and make some magic?
Although we were all pretty much nobodies on the local scene, we knew that we could make some noise together, regardless of our individual lack of major musical achievements.

With that said, our bassist Chris Frycki did have a solo album out back in 2005 on a Philly based indie label, which gained FM radio play and spawned two number one singles on the MySpace Pop Music charts, and is a published songwriter who co-wrote Lisa Bouchelle’s debut single, which hit number four on the college Billboard charts in 2007

You cite Live as a main influence of yours. Surely, you’ve heard the news. How pumped are you guys that they’re back together with Ed Kowalczyk?
We are excited to hear some new music and see some live shows! Chris Shinn was awesome as their singer, and is a great person too, but sometimes you can’t stop what’s meant to be. I’m sure they have some fire and passion brewing, which will turn into some incredible new music.

Fun fact: You’ve opened for Live before. Must have been a cool experience to share the stage with them. Tell us about it.
It was our second show ever, highlighting our original songs we had written over the prior eight months. It was a life highlight, of course! We got an amazing response from the sold out crowd, which made us realize we were onto something with the songs we were writing. It gave us confidence and validated us as an original band, which fueled us and our creativity that much more. Of course, we hope to do it again.

Chris Zelenka’s biggest life influence and favorite band since 1993 is Live, and he said back in 2002 when he began singing,  “I will open for Live.” That’s the power of intention, will, and desire. Go for your dreams. Don’t let anything stop you.

Another band you’ve opened for is Candlebox, whose guitarist, Brian Quinn, will be joining you at American Spirits Roadhouse for Acoustic Storytellers Night on December 1. What’s it going to be like to have Brian in the house?
It’s going to be a great night. Brian is a very talented dude and a great guy, too. He’s a local guy who’s had an amazing career even before joining Candlebox with Octane, Fosterchild, and Le Project. We opened for Candlebox acoustic with Brian Quinn and Kevin Martin last December at Mt. Airy Casino. It will be great to share a night with him again! It’s sure to be an amazing show and even better time!

What can we expect from Zed D’Lance’s set that night?
You can expect our original tunes done acoustically, and stories of what the songs are about and how they came to be. Maybe we’ll throw in a few covers from our biggest influences to mix it up. Even though we’ll be acoustic, you can expect a high-energy, passionate, engaging performance, as usual.

Tell us a little bit about the other artists on the bill, Paul Knakk and Julia Sommer.
Paul Knakk is a super talented local country rock singer/songwriter with an EP and new music video out. He just recently opened for country star Colt Ford, and we’re looking forward to seeing him live and telling some of his stories. He’s got a great career brewing.

Julia Sommer is a 17-year-old super-talented singer/songwriter who played on the bill with us at Novemberfest and was amazing! Frycki asked her to join us again with Brian for Acoustic Storytellers Night. Both artists fit the bill perfectly.

Lastly, you guys have an EP set to come out in the spring. What can you tell us about it?
We’re happy with the response to our first two singles, but they were almost premature to release, since we were so new playing together as a band when they were recorded. Warmkessel was in the band a mere three weeks prior to recording “Too Far Away”, our first single, in March this year. So, we’re looking forward to the EP, as we have evolved exponentially as a band in just a few short months. It is going to be full of high-energy, hard-driving, rocking tunes fans have heard us play live. The recording process has already begun, and we’re taking the winter ‘off’ from live shows to finish it up and get ready for an early spring release. We also have about a dozen other songs in various stages of writing, and hope to record a full album next year, as well.

That’s it! Let people know where they can learn more about you online.
Our website will be finished this winter prior to our EP release, but for now, head to our Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for listening!

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