Try This at Home

Official “Zonkaraz” patch

Does anyone else play air tambourine? I have just started. Listening to music alone I usually dance or play air-drums/guitar/keys all with proper lower lip bite adding that certain je ne sais quoi, but today I got my copy of the Zonkaraz reunion DVD and I took up the air tambourine. It’s not easy. I play a very authentic air guitar, but it’s going to be work to get the jingle jangle just right. Besides great rhythm you need great cool. Spider had both in spades and I miss him.

For those who don’t know, Spider held dual roles with Zonkaraz – he was both the head of the stage crew and the band’s percussionist. He started as a roady (ask Paul about teaching him to drive) and added some rhythm for his own merriment from behind the PA. Eventually, he became part of the stage show, but never gave up his roady gig. When the band broke up Spider moved to L.A. and continued to do road work. His heart stopped in Australia while on tour with the EELs.

I still have the Zonkaraz patch Spider had made for all of us on the crew to sew on to the jumpsuits we were going to get when the band made it big. Everyone would know we were the best crew working for the best band because of our matching coveralls with custom patches appliquéd over our hearts. Doing roady work, as glamorous as it sounds, is dirty work and these adult onesies were to keep our black tee-shirts and tight jeans clean.

After the bus was unloaded and the stage was set Spider envisioned steppin’ out of his jumpsuit and being ready rock his soul with the band in one smooth unzip. The suits never happened, but he was already right where I wanted to be – dancing with Jo, reflecting Paul’s “Are you ready?” look, fanning Walter during a blazing solo – sweating coolness. Spider was an amplifier, multiplying everyone’s onstage energy to the audience. The Rockettes-like line up during “Take Me By The Hand” was his idea and insured that those few still seated at least had their feet tapping under the table.

Paul “Spider” Hanson was Everyman. He was a gun-packing peace lover. He was Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger rolled up into one without the feathers or the accent, but with the attributes of a porn star. He was the guy who always had the snappy come back right away and Spider could tell a joke. But he is not on the DVD.

So here is your chance. If you have a hoop earring – put it in! Put on the DVD and turn up up loud. Michael Allard-Madaus will supply the percussion sounds and you supply the cool. Do your best rockin’ forth and back moves, spank that tambourine! Tease your fingers across your wind chimes! Shake your maracas! Dance with the band! Channel Spider! Make it look easy!

Get the DVD here

A comment about Spider from the EELs here

A comment of the life(?) of Worcester’s roadies here
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4 Responses to “Try This at Home”

  1. Jan Anderson Says:

    Mike, Paul was my VERY FIRST KISS in the 6th grade! He had a party at his house, he got me in the closet, and kissed me! We always joked about that! Sweet memories.

  2. Tucker Hanson Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Paul was my uncle (my mom’s younger brother), and still is one of the biggest influences on my life. He always encouraged my music, and let me play his instruments. He was the man I wish to be. Right now I’m an aspiring sound tech, and I owe it to him.

    Thanks for remembering him, he was a great guy, and I miss him alot.
    Tuck

  3. m2smith Says:

    Tucker-
    Wow, we almost named our son Tucker! Glad you liked it – Hardly a day goes by that I don’t think of him (mostly when I’m telling one of his jokes badly). He got featured in this post too:
    https://m2smith.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/how-i-met-your-grandmother/

    Happy New Year!

  4. leslie daniels Says:

    Love this tribute to Spider Michael!

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