When the school year ends, some teachers go home to relax, some paint houses or do other jobs, and some teachers jet set around the world playing guitar in places like Japan and Thailand. That is, if they're a teacher like Josh Zuckerman, who will be headlining the Capital Rainbowfest in Trenton on September 18th.
Zuckerman, a grade school teacher in Monmouth County, had a steady calendar of performances scheduled during the summer highlighted by a run in Japan and Thailand with Up With People, the international group he toured with for a few years. Immediately upon returning to the states Josh zipped across the country playing a few shows before the new school year began.
"I love teaching and I love playing music," said Josh Zuckerman. "I really hope to be able to do both. I couldn't see giving either one up at this time."
That's a decision he may have to face sometime soon as his music career is definitely taking off. In addition to releasing a critically praised record and winning fans over all across the world with his extremely energetic live show, several of his songs were recently featured on Kathy Griffin's new reality show "Life On The D-List" which airs on BRAVO.
His recent success can largely be attributed to the release of "A Totally New Sensation" a few years ago. The record's success took Zuckerman by surprise.
"It's funny because the CD started out as me wanting to get back into the music business again. Just to get something out there for myself as well as my close friends. So I called up my friend who was the bass player of my previous band. He had a studio in his bedroom and the CD was basically done there. It took a year as I wanted to make sure it was something I was really happy with. I never expected it to come this far, but it's had great reviews and people all over the country as well as Europe have bought it."
Zuckerman has made a habit out of touring abroad. He says the audiences in Europe really enjoy the music and have a great time at the shows. For Josh, it's all about making a connection with the audience.
"I'm really focused on trying to touch people with my music in some way," said Zuckerman. "So if there's one person who comes up to me and says, =iwow, I really got what you were saying' - that's wonderful. I love that! And that's been happening. It's not the masses of people that I want to happen yet, but it's definitely happening."
Although Zuckerman plays steadily through the school year from coast to coast you can still see him quite often in towns like Asbury Park or Trenton. He's currently wrapping up the recording of a new CD that he hopes to release next year.
If you've never seen Zuckerman play, be sure to check out him with his band at the Capital Rainbowfest in Trenton on September 18th. He will also be playing locally at Cruisin' on Friday, September 16th in Asbury Park and on Friday, September 30th at Casa Comida in Long Branch from 6:00pm - 10:00pm.
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at email@example.com.