Zoo Patrol - About the Band

About the Band

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At age 8, Brian Cunningham’s little league career started with a fly ball to the jaw. Around that time Brian began guitar lessons in Bellevue WA, and decided that over the long term guitar presented much greater possibilities for fame and fortune, and fewer chances for debilitating head injuries. At age 15 his family moved to the musical Mecca of Anchorage Alaska. Surprisingly enough in Alaska he found himself surrounded by a number of talented musicians who nurtured his budding interest in jazz and other instrumental music. Brian worked persistently at improving his chops on both acoustic and electric guitars. His parents preferred the acoustic. After high school in 1981 Brian fled to Arizona State University to thaw and study music, and then came to Bellingham a year later and went on to complete a Jazz Studies degree at WWU. Since graduating in 1985, Brian has lived in Whatcom County performing, composing and recording with his own group as well as a diverse collection of other groups including Applied Science, Lydia McCauley and the Monday Night Project. He has also performed and recorded with John Stowell. Brian is also a highly regarded recording engineer whose credits include Herb Ellis, Jennifer Scott, and John Knowles, as well as dozens of local area artists.

BJ Block started in music studying classical piano at age eight. At 15 he received his first electric guitar, a love affair that would later provide a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He went on to join Boston-based roots/rock band The Ernest Goodlife Band and tour extensively (and expensively) all over the east coast. BJ is the newest member of Zoo Patrol and, as such, is a bit of a mystery. We think he may be Canadian.

Joel Litwin started playing on buckets and pots, along with a discarded broken cymbal, at the age of 14. He graduated to a blue-sparkle Rogers kit, was introduced to jazz, and began attending jazz jams in his hometown of Detroit. He studied piano, violin, and flute at separate times, each time learning quickly that he better stick to the drums. Joel has toured and played with various artists in venues all across North America, including the Ottawa Folk Festival and Seattle’s Paramount Theater.

Steve Jones began playing accordion at the age of six, and after six years of pleading, finally got his first electric guitar. Armed with a cherry red Gretsch Corvette double cutaway and a Silvertone amp, he began performing Ventures’ covers at backyard parties in New Jersey. Since then, Steve has played top festivals and clubs across the continent, including the Vancouver Folk Festival, Bumbershoot, The Paramount Theater, China Club L.A. and CBGB’s.

And a big shout out to former bandmates Adrian Clarke (guitar) and Kevin Woods (trumpet), both of whom are missed and contributed greatly to the journey.

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