Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 10th
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


Hot in Here

This ain’t no Burning Man—the MAH’s GLOW festival flames on


Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


The New Tech Nexus

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


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 9

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Seoul Food

Santa Cruz’s new Sesame Korean is a great introduction to an ancient culinary tradition


Is there evil in the world?

Yes, some people don’t think right because they have been treated badly. Milo Robbins, Scotts Valley, Second Grade


Dos Aguilas Olive Oil

Aptos company is letting locals pick their own olives in October


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist