Meet the Band: Khaled Tabbara (vocals, guitar, keyboard), Murad Ghazi Shorrab (bass, vocals), Billy LaGuardia (drums, percussion), Bernadette Lim (keyboard, vocals), and Jesse Martin (lead guitar).
Hittin' the Road: Using a DIY approach to booking and networking, these Youngstown indie rockers have performed 400-plus shows in more than 25 states over the past few years. "It's better to concentrate on regions and return to the same cities a few times a year instead of playing every city once a year," advises Tabbara. "If you do your job right, there are always more people there."
Living the American Dream: The five members of the Zou are first-generation descendants of Lebanese, Palestinian, Italian, and Filipino immigrants. They got together four years ago to help Tabbara with a solo project. That was scrapped when they decided to become a band instead. They've since released two albums and an EP.
Keep on Movin': The band refuses to stay in one place for too long. Lately they've been grabbing inspiration from 8-bit music, Edith Piaf, and Stephen Sondheim. "We write what we write, and that is bound to change as you grow," says Tabbara. "Each album and song have a unique sound, but they all still sound like us."
Why You Should Hear Them:
The Zou's earliest songs revealed Beatles and new-wave influences, but their recent material has gotten more complex. "We have a band philosophy to never make rock-inspired-rock," says Tabbara, "meaning, if your only influence is another rock band, you're wasting people's time."
Where You Can Hear Them:
Where You Can See Them:
At the Stone Tavern in Kent on March 9. — John Patrick Gatta