New Jersey Stage logo
New Jersey Stage Menu


Makin Waves with The Vansaders' Doug Zambon: "So Many Places...to See"


By Bob Makin

originally published: 02/20/2019

Makin Waves with The Vansaders' Doug Zambon: "So Many Places...to See"The Vansaders’ Doug Zambon smokin’ a stogie in Cuba, just one of many world travel adventures he’s had.  Photo by Drew George.


The Vansaders’ Doug Zambon talks about his adventures traveling in Cuba, Costa Rico, Mexico, Italy and more.

Everybody in Asbury Park knows and loves the rootsy punk band The Vansaders, but did you know that front man Doug Zambon is quite the traveler who’s captured his journeys in impressive photographs? He’s been to Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, Italy and more. And he’s taken really good photos with only an iPhone.

The following chat with him details some of his adventures, as well as how they have impacted him musically, plus upcoming plans for the band in the wake of the recent release of their excellent LP, “Standstill.”

 

Who and/or what inspired your love of travel?
I’ve always loved to travel. I grew up traveling a lot with my Mom and Dad separately. My Dad is from Italy, and we would go back there to visit my grandparents regularly. Traveling became very normal for me because of that.



 
Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info



With whom do you most frequently travel and what role do they have in your life?
I love traveling with my girlfriend, I love traveling with friends, and I love traveling by myself. They are all such different experiences. In the last few years, me and a friend from high school have been trying to make it a point of hitting a new country every year. It doesn’t always work out, but having a loose plan like that definitely keeps you exploring.

What nationalities are you, have you traveled to those ancestral homelands, and if so, how did it feel to connect with them and why?
I’m primarily Italian and a bit Irish. I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy, but it never really felt like a foreign country to me since I’ve spent so much time there. I would love to go to Ireland. No specific plans, but I’ll get there.

 Makin Waves with The Vansaders' Doug Zambon: "So Many Places...to See"
Part of the Cuban art exhibit entitled “Fusterlandia.” PHOTO BY DOUG ZAMBON

 

Where are the most exciting or interesting places you’ve visited and what was most exciting or interesting about them and why?
Cuba was the most interesting place I’ve been. I had never been to a communist country before so the obvious government control and propaganda was really fascinating to experience. That being said, the spirit of the people was more impressive than the government that rules them. From my limited knowledge and experience, although they don’t have the freedom to live totally the way they want to, they seem to really enjoy life.

Which was your favorite to photograph and why?
I only recently started taking photos of places I travel to so, as of now, I’d say Costa Rica. I really just like being there, and I like remembering my time there.

With what kind of cameras do you take your travel photos?
Only the best iPhone camera money can buy. Actually not the best. I think I have an iPhone 7.

When did you go to Cuba, why did you want to go there, and how difficult was it to get into the country?
I went twice. The first time I went was after Obama had loosened up relations with Cuba. There is a list of official reasons for you to enter the country, and it was as simple as giving one of those reasons at the gate in the airport. That being said, while we were there, we saw Trump on the Cuban news tighten the border back up. Cubans were visibly upset about this. We were worried about not being able to get back in!



 
Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info



We were able to get back in, no problem. I researched more into this and apparently Trump’s retightening of Cuba was bullshit, so ... we’ll see.

The second time, I lucked out completely. Luck when I’m traveling is key! My father was going to a medical conference in Havana and was able to put me on the visa.

 

Makin Waves with The Vansaders' Doug Zambon: "So Many Places...to See"

A man works on his classic car in Havana. PHOTO BY DOUG ZAMBON

 

What surprised you most about Cuba?
People in Cuba weren’t straight up with me when I asked them questions about their government, which was probably ill advised or not advised at all. For example, me and my buddy Drew went on a pretty wild all-day adventure with a taxi driver. After a few beers, I tried to wear the driver down, and the best I could get out of him was, ‘some Cubans aren’t into how the government is operating.’ He wouldn’t say, ‘I’ feel this way.’ I guess that shouldn’t have surprised me, but it’s just so different than how our country is run. I mean, I can say ‘fuck trump’ all I want, and I’m not going to go to jail. There, not so much. Actually, if you say ‘fuck trump’ there, they’d be stoked.

 

When and where will your next travel adventure be, what are you looking forward to most about going there, and with whom will you be traveling?
I haven’t been back to my father’s town in Italy, Castelfranco Veneto, in, maybe, nine years. Me and my girlfriend, Madeleine, are going there in September. I can’t wait to get back to the old haunts. The town is well connected with the train so I’m looking forward to seeing some towns I haven’t been to. Specifically, I can’t wait to see Sirmione on the banks of Lake Garda.

What are your bucket list destinations that you haven’t been to yet and why?
This is a tough question. There are so many places in this world that I want to see, it’s impossible to pin them down. Off the cuff, I really want to go to Brazil, Colombia, The Azore Islands, South Africa, Rwanda, Patagonia and Vietnam.



 
Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for info



Have your travels influenced your music and songwriting?
Honestly, not as much as I would like. Whenever I travel to a new country, I try to leave with new artists to listen to, and I do. I listen to various Italian artists all the time. Silvio Rodriguez, the ‘Cuban Bob Dylan,’ was my most listened to artist on Spotify last year. But as far as my own work, it hasn’t really come into the mix. I should work on that.

The Vansaders recently released a fantastic LP, ‘Standstill,’ that recasts several of your songs in a Celtic style. What influenced that direction?
Most Vansaders songs are written on an acoustic guitar so at the core, they have a more Celtic feel to begin with. That being said, Zach Doyle, who played fiddle on ‘Standstill,’ and Jake Garbe, who played accordion, banjo, and mandolin, are both active in the Irish music scene, and I think that definitely showed.

Given your love of travel, what is the likelihood of The Vansaders touring internationally or you doing so solo acoustic?
My ideal tour is to just go on band vacations and play. Unfortunately, it’s not very feasible (laughs). I would absolutely love to tour internationally, but the demand has to be there. If we get to the point where we have real fan bases abroad that want us to come play, we’re definitely in.


 Makin Waves with The Vansaders' Doug Zambon: "So Many Places...to See"
A music shop in Mexico City. PHOTO BY DOUG ZAMBON

 

When you travel, do you bring your guitar and have you either booked gigs or landed upon opportunities to perform?
I usually do bring my guitar but don’t book gigs. I do, however, often stumble on gigs to play. For example, when I go to Costa Rica, I hop on some gigs with a friend of mine from here who moved out there. Those shows are definitely some of the most fun solo shows I’ve ever played.

What do you like most about ‘Standstill’?
My favorite part of ‘Standstill’ is hearing all the guests. Jake Garbe, Zach Doyle, Ryan Gregg, Robbie Butkowski and Stringbean (Kenny Sorensen) added so much to the sound of the album. It’s so cool hearing our songs with so many different elements that I’m not used to.

What do The Vansaders and you solo have going on in the spring and summer?
We just recorded a couple songs in the studio so I’d say it’s too early to say. We may go back in and have a release this summer. Stay tuned.

 

Makin Waves with The Vansaders' Doug Zambon: "So Many Places...to See"

 

 

Bob Makin is the reporter for http://mycentraljersey.com/entertainment and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at makinwaves64@yahoo.com and like Makin Waves at https://facebook.com/makinwavescolumn.


FEATURED EVENTS

ART | COMEDY | DANCE | MUSIC | THEATRE | COMMUNITY


Lee Brice: Me & My Guitar

Thursday, February 22, 2024 @ 8:00pm
State Theatre New Jersey
15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
category: music

Click here for full description


The Simon & Garfunkel Story

Friday, February 23, 2024 @ 8:00pm
Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC)
100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960
category: music

Click here for full description


Growin’ Up: An Evening of Two One-Act Musical Memoirs with Matt Butler and Mike Montali

Friday, February 23, 2024 @ 8:00pm
Outpost In The Burbs
40 S Fullerton Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042
category: music

Click here for full description


Click here for more events

Listings are available for $10 and included with our banner ad packages.

Click here for more info.







 

LATEST NEWS


Newton Theatre hosts The Last Waltz Celebration featuring The THE BAND Band & Special Guests

(NEWTON, NJ) -- The Newton Theatre presents The Last Waltz Celebration featuring The THE BAND Band and special guests on Friday, May 24, 2024 at 8:00pm. They will bring to life one of the most historic concerts of the rock era.


New Jersey Symphony Presents Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony




Westminster Conservatory Faculty Recital Series to present two free children's concerts on Sunday




Woodbridge Township presents Screaming Orphans at The Avenel Performing Arts Center


Click here for more event previews







New Jersey Stage

© 2024 by Wine Time Media, LLC
PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762
info@newjerseystage.com

Nobody covers the Arts
throughout the Garden State
like New Jersey Stage!


Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms. If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Threads, and on our RSS feed


Art | Comedy | Dance | Film | Music | Theatre | Ad Rates | About Us | Pitch a Story | Links | Radio Shows | Privacy Policy