Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Going Rogue

music_RogueWaveHow Zach Rogue bucked the norm, and paralysis, for his music
In a college town like Santa Cruz, Zach Rogue has the kind of story that many recent graduates can relate to. Having finished a political science degree at UC Davis, Zach Schwartz (as he was then known) saw the same future that many others deal with upon coming face to face with the ‘real world’: get a job. Also much like the stereotypical graduate, Rogue was the victim of college apathy, having admittedly never found what his passion was.

“It really wasn’t about profession or money, but more just believing in something,” says Rogue about his life-changing decision to take up music. “Believing in something I like to do for myself or for the sake of making art. That’s something I really had abandoned because I thought I just needed to get a job after college. I never really kept in touch with who I was.”

In fact, Rogue felt such a need to remove himself from his life path that it was at that point—while creating Rogue Wave’s first album, 2003’s Out of the Shadow—that he decided to take on the ‘Rogue’ pseudonym as his last name; a moniker he will bring with him to the Rio Theatre with Santa Cruz-bred favorites Man/Miracle on Wednesday, April 7.

“Have you ever felt like you just wanted to start over again?” asks Rogue. “I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to be fully committed to my music, which I had never been, really. I had never been fully committed to anything creative or professional. I felt that it would be one more way of further pushing myself into this new realm of my life. Something as superficial as a name change can remind you of how you take other things seriously.”

Ultimately, Rogue Wave (and Rogue himself) has found a niche for its indie power pop. Though true mainstream success has eluded it, the band’s songs—having been featured in multitudes of commercials, movies, and TV shows—are kind of ubiquitous. It’s something of a strange fate to gain only such secondary exposure, but Rogue has weightier subjects on his mind.

Since the group dropped 2007’s Asleep at Heaven’s Gate, not only have several members revolved in and out (including the tragic death of former bassist Evan Farrell), but Rogue himself and drummer Pat Spurgeon went through serious health problems. While Spurgeon battled kidney disease, Rogue had two slipped disks in his neck, temporarily paralyzing him. Though the experience of being immobile for months was undoubtedly frustrating, that pent-up energy is clearly infused in the band’s just-released album, Permalight.

“It drove everything for me, being told that I couldn’t play music anymore, ever again,” recalls Rogue. “And going from that to actually picking up a guitar and playing, and kind of ignoring [what doctors said], that was a really big step for me and it really drove the whole songwriting process.”

Musically, Permalight is ostensibly more upbeat than past efforts—a point driven home when Rogue admits that recapturing the childhood feeling of hearing Kool and the Gang’s “Celebrate” was the inspiration for the album’s title track. However, the album is also notable for its increased emphasis on electronic dabbling. “Melodically, I don’t think it’s that divorced from what we’ve done before, but rhythmically there are some changes there,” explains Rogue. “Yes, I love Boards of Canada, but is it in our music? I don’t know, maybe.”

However, Rogue still professes an interest in studio effects that goes back much further than Permalight’s ‘Death Cab for Rogue Wave’ sound. “I love blending digital and analog technology,” he professes. “I love the sound of real drums with processed drums. And I love the sound of synthesizers and acoustic guitars. I like having those two worlds clash.”

Rogue Wave performs with Man/Miracle at 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 7, at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $19 in advance. For more information call 423-8209.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Rogue Wave continues, Man/Miracle works it out
written by Sam Utah, April 08, 2010
The Show was really good. Rogue Wave did not disappoint with great song writing, radio-ready arrangements and really fine vocal harmony. A pleasure to hear and see. Man/Miracle was a real surprise combining ramshackle rock, punk frenzy and some really fine melodies. Dylan Travis, the front man has the charisma and chops to lead them to the next level. Great to see UC Santa Cruz grads going at it like they mean it. The show began with a solo artist to watch, JMP(?) who was truly a one-man interesting to watch and his laconic road weary ballads were heartfelt.

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Simplicity Preparing for Thanksgiving

When we study and apply astrology in our daily lives, we are anchoring new Aquarian thinking. Study, application and use of astrology, understanding its language, builds the new world, the new culture and civilization. Astrologers are able to plan right timing and right action. Next week is Thanksgiving (Thursday, Nov. 26). It’s good to understand the energies influencing us in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. When we know these things we are able to make Right Choices, have Right Action. We link heaven and Earth, our minds with the starry energies that influence us. Let us consider the following influences. The North Node (point in space where sun and moon meet, representing humanity’s present/future pathway) has just entered Virgo. Virgo is about food, purity, cleanliness, service, detail, order and organization. What can we learn from this? Because these energies are available to us we, too, can have intentions and a rhythm of order and organization, purity and cleanliness. Sunday, the sun enters Sag, joining Mercury (we have high ideals, many goals). Tuesday, Mercury/Saturn (structured disciplined thinking) squares Neptune (thoughts, ideas, goals dissolve away). Wednesday is 3 degree Sagittarius solar festival (full moon). Sag’s keynote is, “We see a goal, we achieve that goal, and then we see another.” We might have many plans and goals for Thanksgiving. However, on Thanksgiving those goals may be dashed. Saturn (structure) squares Neptune. All structures and plans dissolve and fall away. What is our response to this? We simplify all that we do. We plan on everything changing. We don’t fret. We adapt instead. Adaptation is the behavior of the Disciple. Sagittarius is the sign of the Disciple. 


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


If you could be someone else for one month, who would it be?

President Obama, so I could change a lot of laws that pertain to people in jail for drug possession and other minor crimes. Raouf Ben Farhat, Petaluma, Self-Employed


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location