Scouring the modern rock scene for quality and originality can be a tiresome and occasionally treacherous task. With so many new bands popping up everyday, there seems to be a lot of repetition, and this stagnates the growth of rock. Using a mix of classical, jazz, reggae and rock to combat the forces of mediocrity, Zox has succeeded in differentiating themselves from the ever-expanding ranks of average bands.
Zox was formed in 1999 at Brown University. The band is mainly recognized for its unique violin melodies that surge through each song. While classical violin has been used in some orchestrated music, it has rarely been used like a second electric guitar as it is by Zox. Frontman Eli Miller explained that the violin was incorporated into his music when he was a freshman at Brown rooming with a violinist. By adding this sound, Zox distinguished itself right away.
“When we started playing shows, people just loved it,” Miller said.
Each member of Zox has his own instrumental talent. Miller plays a Gibson E333 electric guitar. Dan Edinberg rips bass on a Ken Smith 5-string electric. Drummer John Zox (the bands namesake) keeps time with a Tama Star Classic. Spencer Swain flies with his Fender Electric Violin.
These four artists used their instruments to create a new, surprising style of music when they stopped by the University of Pennsylvania on Nov. 15.
The self-described “violin rock” band took the stage with the enthusiasm of a shopaholic at the mall. Their energy really drove the show.
With every pulsing song, the reluctant audience couldn’t help but move closer and closer to the stage. The members of Zox did not need pyrotechnics or coordinated dance moves to interest the crowd.
Their passion for their music drew the audience into the beauty of the violin, the intricacies of the bass, the pulse of the drum, and the catchy lyrics.
While still relatively new to the touring scene, Zox has been up and down the East Coast several times and just returned last month from a cross-country tour. “In the past six months we’ve done about three months far from home and three months here in the northeast,” says Miller.
Despite the fact they play mostly at colleges and clubs, Zox has built quite a reputation for its unique sound. With their debut album, Take Me Home, Zox is traveling and trying to make an impact on the college scene. And although Miller says, “We are still playing primarily new audiences that haven’t heard us before,” Zox has little chance of being forgotten by those who have heard them.
As far as contracts and labels go, it isn’t necessarily something these guys are pursuing at the moment. But they aren’t stopping their development as a band.
“If we quit before I thought we had taken it as far as it could go, I think I would regret it for the rest of my life,” Miller said.
Katie McGinniss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.