A Makin Waves Bassist of the Year winner, Johnny Zabe, right, is heading in the direction of his native New Jersey with the South Florida mystical metal of Mason Pace, left. Mason’s new single, “Mister Van Gogh,” is the Makin Waves Song of the Week. PHOTO BY RAYNA LEIGH
As the co-founding bassist of the psycho-funk band Experiment 34, Hamilton-raised Johnny Zabe made plenty of waves, including a Makin Waves Bassist of the Year Award.
Now based in South Florida, Johnny is heading in the direction of home laying down his typically insanely thick slabs of slapping rhythm on the Starry Night Tour of his current band led by the popular mystical metal singer-songwriter-guitarist Mason Pace. The tour is in support of the irresistible new single “Mister Van Gogh,” which is the Makin Waves Song of the Week.
As the Makin Waves Song of the Week, “Mister Van Gogh” also can be heard between 6 and 8 p.m. on Sept. 9 on “Radio Jersey” at ThePenguinRocks.com. If you miss it, you also can tune in any time in the archives at The Penguin or MixCloud.
“I joined the band after searching on BandMix for a long time after moving down to Florida,” Johnny said. “The first track I heard was ‘King of Hearts,’ and I instantly fell in love with the sound. Mason’s killer pipes and hard riffs reminded me so much of Ghost, a modern Black Sabbath, that I needed to reach out to audition for them. Luckily for me, their bassist had just left, and they were in need of someone new. After a few jam sessions with Mason, the chemistry and everything felt amazing so I was invited to join them on this tour, and I’m very excited where we go from here.”
When the world shut down in 2020, four walls and a sense of solitude became a muse, Mason said. From the agony of the lockdown’s isolation came “Mister Van Gogh.”
Written, recorded and produced by Mason and his band — also drummer Alex Abbasi — the single does what its namesake became renowned for: bringing emotional anguish to life and transforming it into intricate art. The song recalls Mason’s state of solitude and repetition, descending into a sense of insanity. As the mind twists, Mason beckons listeners to step inside his mind akin to the tortured artist.
“It’s quite a damning song,” Mason said. “Vincent Van Gogh unfortunately, yet perfectly embodied modern struggles. I’m publicizing the internal hardships of Van Gogh, a (then) unrecognized artistic genius riddled with mental difficulties; a victim of not only seclusion from the world he lived in, but his mind that he couldn’t escape from. It shows that someone as complicated and befuddled as Van Gogh can still bring beauty and contribute so much to the world.”
“Mister Van Gogh” follows Mason’s well-received sophomore album,“King of Hearts,” and the 2018 debut LP, “Whateverland.” Endorsed by Gibson Guitars, he has opened for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acts Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and Phil Collins.
The 17-city Starry Night Tour includes stops Sept. 14 at The Fire, Philadelphia; Sept. 17, Lucky 13, Brooklyn, and Sept. 18, Pianos, New York City, then continues down the coast to Baltimore, Raleigh, Savannah, and back home to Florida.
For more info, visit https://www.masonpacemusic.com.