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Interview with Mike Distasi,
Bass - Moment of Zen
Moment of Zen Wild man Mike Distasi

Moment of Zen & Brian Rademacher + 1

Interviewed by Brian Rademacher
Date: August 2008

Brian Rademacher: Hey Mike whatís up? How you doiní?

Mike Distasi: Hey Brian, Iím good and ready to go.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me a little bit about your history.

Mike Distasi: Absolutely, I grew up in Landing/Port Morris (NJ) in Roxbury Township and I was listening to music ever since I was a little kid. My father is an enormous BEATLES fan and he taught me everything he knew about the BEATLES. Growing up I listened to many different bands and had a huge passion for music. The first band I was ever in was called PRIDE, I was thirteen, and they were a band that needed a bass player, so I joined. They played punk music (and) all the rest of the guys were about eleven. That went for a couple months. The manager of the band, Roger, got us a lot of bookings. I got a lot of live exposure early on. I eventually formed another band called ELECTROLYTE we went pretty far and got successful near the end where we broke up due to personal issues. I still write music for that project that I have on MySpace. That is my side project besides MOMENT OF ZEN. In ELECTROLYTE I was the singer/front man. Itís very interesting how I hooked up with MOMENT OF ZEN because there was a battle of theMOZ @ NJ STate Fair bands where ELECTROLYTE played with MOMENT OF ZEN and this was the first time hearing about M.O.Z.. Up until then I havenít seen too much talent out there, there wasnít too many local bands that blew me away and when I saw M.O.Z. I got scared because I saw this outstanding band and I knew we had to play with them. They were the only band that stood out to me. Months down the road I went to Guitar Center in Totowa (NJ) to try to start another band. I went on the board where they had different bands looking for musicians and saw M.O.Z. needed a bass player. I play a couple of different instruments and wanted to sing, but I saw this ad and remembered loving this band, I said what the hell, let me do it. I went over there for my audition and just loved it. These guys were really great guys and ever since it was my primary project.

Brian Rademacher: Did you record any other material beside what you did with M.O.Z.?

Mike Distasi: There were three tracks I recorded with M.O.Z. most of the bass tracks were there already before I joined. I am pretty excited about the 2nd album that we are working on now.

Brian Rademacher: So what age did you start playing bass?

Mike Distasi: I started when I was nine. When I was six or seven I had this karaoke machine I would hook the mic up to a keyboard that had drum beats and I would sing over that. I still have that first bass, an Ibanez four string, that cost $99.00. When I joined M.O.Z. Ibanez really donít work with MOZ too well I had to go out and buy a new bass. Right now I play an Ibanez 5 string that I bought used at Ritchieís Music. I like it because it plays like a guitar; guitar was always my primary instrument. I bought the bass even thou I didnít know they would want me in the band. Thatís how hopeful I was.

Brian Rademacher: Yeah the first time when we saw MOZ play that my wife turned to me and said, ďthis is the first time I heard a bass player sounding like a guitar playerĒ.

Mike Distasi: Oh yeah! Wow! Thank you so much, that means a lot to me.

Brian Rademacher: At home do you have anything hanging from your walls?

Mike Distasi: The basement where I work is covered with a huge amount of BEATLES memorabilia; my father and I are huge fans like I said. We have a lot of framed items and a certificate ofMike @ Dexter's Semi-Final Round ELECTROLYTE winning a battle of the bands. I have posters and itís filled with music material.

Brian Rademacher: Do you remember the first CD you ever bought?

Mike Distasi: Actually it was a cassette of RUSH Test For Echo. When I was really young the two artists I loved was Michael Jackson and RUSH. I remember it was nine dollars and I had to save up a long time to make nine dollars. I was in first grade and wore that tape out.

Brian Rademacher: Where did you go to high school?

Mike Distasi: I went to Jefferson Township High School; I live on the Lake Hopatcong side. I moved to this town when I was in seventh grade. When I was in first grade I did little league but I wasnít too interested. I was always in the outfield and Iím not too athletic. I took karate when I was five and did that for a big portion of my life.

Brian Rademacher: What did you do after school?

Mike Distasi: Every day from four to six I would have ELECTROLYTE rehearsal, on the weekends it was twelve to three and during the summer it was four hours a day. I figured the more we rehearse the better we would be. I didnít even go to the junior prom because I had a battle of the bands to play. I made sure all my free time is taken by music because I love it; I wasnít too interested in chess club!

Brian Rademacher: Do you remember the first song you learned?

Mike Distasi: Yes, it was Train Kept A Rolliní by AEROSMITH. They are one of my all time favorite bands.

Brian Rademacher: How about the first concert you ever attended?

Mike Distasi: Itís a concert that I will never forget, I was in third grade it was AEROSMITH on their ďNine LivesĒ tour. I thought it was the coolest thing. The curtain was hanging there and ďBack in the SaddleĒ started as the curtain fell to the floor and I saw Steven Tyler who is my idol. I will never forget that, it was my father and I.

Brian Rademacher: Is there any kind of warm-up you do before you go on stage??

MOZ hanging out at the fair Mike Distasi: I like to warm up my fingers and get in the right mental state and pump myself up. Mentally I have to give 100% and that carries over to the physical side of playing live.

Brian Rademacher: If you could replace any bass player in music who would it be?

Mike Distasi: Most of my favorite bands have bass players I love and would never want to replace them. I couldnít answer that.

Brian Rademacher: OK say they had two bass players?

Mike Distasi: I would love to play in the RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS. But I would never ever dream of replacing Flea cause he is one of my idols, the bass lines are so important in that music and the bass player really makes up a lot of their songs. All bass players are there to fill in the gaps but Flea does more then that.

Brian Rademacher: How supportive is your family?

Mike Distasi: My family is extremely supportive which Iím grateful for. My entire family supports me 100%. I am thankful every day.

Brian Rademacher: With M.O.Z.ís latest CD ďTall Tales of Tiny GiantsĒ just released in July, how are the sales so far?

Mike Distasi: Itís doing very well, a lot a lot of people are picking up the album and (itís) all positive responses. We see more and more people at the shows. What we also do is hand out a demo with three songs on it because we want people to hear the band, and a lot of people then come back and buy the album. To tell you the truth we expected that because we are all positive and pretty proud of it. Personally I think its good music. I have more of a spectatorís perspective for this album because I didnít record on it and I love it.

Brian Rademacher: When you were picked to play at Dexterís for the ď103.7 Battle of the BandsĒ what went through your mind?

Mike Distasi: We were all extremely excited because of the fact that lot of bands that signed up for it didnít make it and someone out there saw potential in our band. When we saw there were bands from all different types of music and ages, there was no limit of the bands to enter and to be picked was extremely flattering.

Brian Rademacher: When you auditioned for M.O.Z., what did they have you play?

Mike Distasi: What we did was we started out with a jam and the first song I learned was ďBig MachineĒ or ďHesitant PresentĒ.

Brian Rademacher: As a club, what do you think of Dexterís?

Mike Distasi: I thought it was an outstanding venue, the best place Iíve ever played. I did the Starland Ballroom and I think Dexterís can compete with that any day. Dexterís is a great, great club and I would be thrilled to play there again.

Brian Rademacher: Was the band nervous at the ď103.7 Battle of the BandsĒ during the semi-finals when they had to narrow the bands from eight to five?

Mike Distasi: I think itís safe to say the band is always nervous because we are Taken At Dexter's Semi-final Roundpassionate with what we do and we care. I think a band that isnít nervous really canít care that much. But at the same time the band had a load of confidence and determination and positive energy.

Brian Rademacher: When you were chosen to move on to the New Jersey State Fair were you excited?

Mike Distasi: It was so exciting, I love the outdoor venue and there were so many people there. The sound was awesome, the stage was huge; it was such a great feeling. What was even better was our second performance that night, I remember looking up during ďBig MachineĒ and seeing the motocross guys soaring into the air and saying this is outstanding.

Brian Rademacher: Are you keeping in touch with any of the other bands that performed at the Battle of the bands?

Mike Distasi: I havenít spoken to them recently. I know Reed from our band does. I know we would love to play some shows with GIFTHORSE.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me about the new album?

Mike Distasi: I very excited about it, number one. I get to take part in creating it. Itís darker, more artistic and more poetic. I think itís more honest and we have grown as a band. Iím extremely excited about Ericís lyrics. Itís unique and colorful and I canít wait to get it recorded.

Brian Rademacher: Do you do any lead vocals on this?

Mike Distasi: I hope to do a large amount of vocals but not sure about lead yet, I can say pretty confidently that will happen (at some point).

Brian Rademacher: When you played Dexterís you had a broken finger, what happened?

Mike Distasi: Itís not even that cool of a story. There was a rope swing in the woods and my buddy said to swing on it I wonít regret it and he was right! I WONíT forget it because I gripped it wrong and broke my finger right before we had two important gigs. One in the city and one at Dexterís and I broke it, but the show must go on.

Brian Rademacher: : Is it true that Ray West former lead vocalist of SPREAD EAGLE and now of the RAY WEST BAND and HOSTEL INC. asked you to play with him because he was so impressed?

Mike Distasi: Yes, that is true. At Dexterís he asked me if I was interested in any freelance work and I agreed. I would love to get out there and play for (more) people.

Brian Rademacher: Tell me your feelings about each member of the band starting with Eric.

Mike Distasi: First of all they are all beautiful people and donít think Iíve met any one group of people that were so kind and thoughtful. Joining the band was very awkward for me, meeting a lot of kids I donít know and they welcomed me with open arms and hearts. Eric is an outstanding person; I absolutely love his melodies and lyrics and I do look up to him. I write songs and he knows where it's at.

Brian Rademacher: Danny?

Mike Distasi: Danny is such a friendly guy, one of the funniest people I know and couldnít be kinder. I love what he comes up with on guitar.

Brian Rademacher: Reed?

Mike Distasi: Heís a great guy. The first person in the band I talked to. He always makes me feel welcome. Heís professional and honest. His guitar parts are so unique, Iíve never really heard a guy play guitar like that. All the guys really, really care about what they are playing.

Brian Rademacher: Skylar?

Mike Distasi: Heís a genius, he mixed the entire album, and heís extremely passionate about his drum parts. What separates this band from any other band is that every member in this band loves this band and is extremely passionate. I am thankful to know them.

Brian Rademacher: Mike?

Mike Distasi: (Laughing) I would say Iím a goof ball. Music is my life and itís what I wanna do and will do. I wonít settle for anything else. I think music is the most powerful energy in the universe. I canít see myself doing anything else.

Brian Rademacher: If you could play any venue. What venue would that be?

Mike Distasi: I know itís not the biggest but I would love to play PNC (Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ). Iíve seen so many great acts at PNC and I have a lot of great memories there. I saw so many of my favorite bands there and so I would love to play PNC. I always get lawn seats and whenever I turn around and look I see a sea of people. Iíd see the smiles on their face and be so excited. I would love to play that stage and have that same feeling of people seeing me.

Brian Rademacher: I know you heard all the comments the judges had to say at the ď103.7 Battle of the BandsĒ. Do you have any feelings about the comments?

Mike Distasi: I respected them; I was flattered with all the positive things they had to say. It really meant a lot to me because these guys know music. They donít know me, or any one in the band and they just see some guys on stage doing their thing, and so having that kind of feedback was very meaningful to me.

Brian Rademacher: Where do you get all your energy?

Mike Distasi:Mike and Brian before the Final Round Thatís just me! Iím really exited about music and I love with all my heart to play in front of people and for me to stand on stage and not put all of Mike Distasi into it, it would be a crime. I wouldnít deserve to be up there if I didnít put a thousand percent into that performance. Itís just a physical expression.

Brian Rademacher:How does it feel being compared to Flea?

Mike Distasi: Itís extremely flattering because I love Flea, but at the same time that is not who I want to be. I donít want to be Flea because of the fact I love Flea. He does his own thing, and heís so great and heís an idol to so many people in the world and creates the most beautiful music in the world. My goal is to put a little more of myself in there. I am not sure when people talk about that they mean my playing or my physical performance. I hope to grow and expand over time and become my own person because of the fact I love Flea.

Brian Rademacher: Mike it was great talking to you and it was great being a judge at the battle of the bands. The best band truly won--MOMENT OF ZEN. You guys put on a phenomenal performance and you yourself were outstanding. Would you like to say anything in conclusion?

Mike Distasi: First of all, I thank you so much for even asking these questions. It really means a lot to me and makes me feel good. I appreciate you showing so much interest in this band. That means a lot to all of us and we are extremely flattered. Thank you so much from us. We truly from our hearts thank you.

 

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