How to honor the legacy of a band deemed sacred? To tread on holy ground is perilous, and must be done with the intent and spirit of a disciple — Pay attention to the intricacies of the magic, explore the far ends of the innovation, strive for ever-growing ability, and let the purity of the love for the music drive it all.
Singer Anna Kristina is a soulful, fiery, and rocking vocal powerhouse who has stepped into Zepparella’s Plant spot for a second time. Anna was with the band for 5 years, became known for her performance in the band’s 15 million-view “When The Levee Breaks” video, took a 6-year hiatus, and now returns in 2018 to front the band. Her career has spanned acoustic, jazz, soul, and rock, and her charisma and power deliver captivating performances every night. About her brilliant harp playing she says: “Getting a chance to blow on the harmonica is an added bonus! Plant isn’t just a singer he’s a musician. He brings his blues background and natural percussive feel to his harmonica playing as well and I love getting lost in that. Playing the harp allows me to express on a whole different level and it’s so freeing.”
It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip DeFremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that guitarist Gretchen Menn began her path on the instrument. Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, her projects are often unconventional, genre-bending expressions combining elements of classical, rock, progressive, jazz, and metal. On influences, Gretchen has never tired of her initial inspirations—Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Frank Zappa, and Jeff Beck. But she has loved Jimmy Page’s guitar playing longer than she has played the guitar. It was through the music of Led Zeppelin that she found a gateway into music that resonated deeply with her, creating a love for guitar-oriented music, and, ultimately, the guitar.
Drummer Clementine is the founding member of ZEPPARELLA. From the beginning of her musical career, her goal has been to be onstage every night. Pursuing that goal has led Clementine to constantly tour the US and Europe in projects as diverse as Bottom, AC/DShe, The House Of More, The Solid, Francis Bakin, Stars Turn Me On, and Beaux Cheveux. She tackles the best rock drumming ever written with her own emotionally powerful style, bringing the Motown influence of the Bonham groove to the forefront. The profound musical connection established with Gretchen Menn (guitar), Holly West (bass), and Anna Kristina (vocals) creates the bond required to do this great music justice.
Bassist Holly West began her musical journey full-steam ahead, more recently than her stellar playing belies. Her unstoppable will and drive have propelled her to this moment and her place in the powerhouse Zepparella. She is a self-taught bass player and a blossoming vocalist with rich rock pipes. Her time on stage has been well spent, developing an impressive attack, impeccable feel, and a technique that seems to have come completely naturally to her, not to mention her dazzling stage presence and joyful performance style. Her influences span the rock gauntlet, from Clutch and the Rival Sons to Slash, ZZ Top, and of course, the mighty Zeppelin.
Anna Kristina -- Lead Vocals
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Anna Kristina is a soulful, fiery, and rocking vocal powerhouse with a sensitivity that can bring you to tears. Her love of music and singing is revealed in her compelling and electric live performances. Her effect on you is magnetic: you feel it the minute she steps on stage. One producer has remarked that "Anna is a rare talent who combines passion and versatility. Whether it's acoustic, jazz, pop soul, or rock, she brings an authenticity and pitch-perfect energy to her performance." You can hear it in her new original album "Soul Truth".
Anna Kristina has been immersed in music all her life. On Easter Sunday, her first day on the planet, her parents brought her home which was held by her father while they listened to the first movement of Beethoven's 6th Symphony, "Pastorale." The music never stopped in her home. Her soulful artist mother and deep bass-and guitar-playing father had music playing constantly in the home. Among others, she was influenced in those early years by the sounds of Bach, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Cream, Simon & Garfunkel, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O'Day, Chet Baker, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Steely Dan and her favorite Stevie Wonder. They were all her first teachers, and she sang along and harmonized with all of them constantly.
From her first day to the present, she has been a continual student of music. And has done much of her training and learning in the "listening" and the "doing." At age 5, her parents introduced her to that addictive little stick known as "the microphone" and let her sit in with her father's jazz band during a jam session. They jammed on "Hush Little Baby"…five times at her Insistence …and she was hooked.
Anna wrote her first song at age 5, started piano at age 6, and continued writing songs on piano. She performed at her first festival at age 11, started playing saxophone at age 12, and won her first musical award at age 14. She has a natural talent for percussion instruments and is currently rocking the harmonica. It's hard to nail her down to one style and she's always felt like a bit of a musical traveler.
Anna went to college and a graduate program at UC Santa Cruz where she leaned into singing and theater. She performed the classics: from Chekhov to Shakespeare to Sam Shepard. These experiences helped develop her stage presence. She was also accepted into the highly selective class "The American Musical" taught by the amazing witty songwriter Tom Lehrer. The class deconstructed and performed classic American musicals biweekly. In her freshman year, she was asked to be the singer in "Jazz on the Line," a group of young improvisational jazz musicians. The band, later renamed "2AM," gained immediate success doing tours and sold-out venues such as Yoshi's and Kuumbwa Jazz Center, during and beyond her college years. Most of their material was original music, giving her the opportunity to deepen her writing skills on the group's five albums.
After college, she moved to San Francisco gravitating more toward being a solo artist and band leader. She forged a new path doing all kinds of gigs with her own bands, trios, and combos playing all styles of covers and originals. Her band "Midnight Snack" gained a strong following in the Bay Area. Keeping in the feel of the stripped-down percussive sound, Anna's current intimate "Boutique Duet" called DNA Sings, was featured at the Silicon Valley Ted Talks, has played at San Francisco clubs and festivals, and recorded the CD "Driving it Home." Anna strives to stay authentic and to make any song she sings her own.
And as much as she loves singing and restyling the classics, Anna says "There is nothing like performing your own songs." Her band "The Anna Kristina Session" features her original music, and was showcased in several San Francisco clubs and festivals including The Fillmore Jazz Festival, inspiring the comment "Her charm and charisma were only outdone by her at times lyrical, at times gutsy, at times brassy renditions of original and classic jazz and rock tunes."
She has shared the stage with legendary rock and entertainment stars such as Mickey Thomas and others. Anna has lit up notable stages worldwide.
Anna has just released "Soul Truth", her 7th studio album, all original material, drawing from her blues, soul, jazz, and rock inspirations.
Gretchen Menn -- Guitarist
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Rapidly gaining praise in the world of instrumental rock and beyond, Gretchen Menn isn’t your average guitar hero on the rise. She once flew regional jets to support her six-string habit. She has studied, in equal parts, the music of Mozart, Beethoven, Steve Morse, Frank Zappa, and Jimmy Page. (Regarding the latter composer, she performs the music of Led Zeppelin all over the U.S. with Zepparella.) Perhaps Michael Molenda, Guitar Player Magazine’s editor-in-chief, described Gretchen’s solo music best when he said that she “seeks the unknown by blending disparate jazz, prog, and world-music influences into a tasty, guitaristic thrill ride.”
Gretchen’s second solo album, Abandon All Hope, was just released in December, 2016. A concept album based on Dante’s Inferno, it marks a significant evolution in her compositions as well as guitar playing. Since the release of her first solo album, Hale Souls, in July of 2011, Gretchen immersed herself in study to expand her skills not just on the guitar, but in composition and orchestration. The result with Abandon All Hope is an almost double album-length work of intensely compositional, instrumental music which evokes the epic journey through Dante’s circles of the underworld. Accompanying the music is original libretto text from Michael Molenda and haunting images from Max Crace.
Apart from demolishing her mother’s violin with Pete Townshend-like vehemence at age three, Gretchen’s passion for all things guitar didn't fully surface until her early teenage years. It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip de Fremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that Gretchen began her path on the instrument. Her father, noted writer and former editor-in-chief of Guitar Player Magazine, Don Menn, was quick to point her in the direction of the greats as soon as she expressed interest in guitar.
While earning a degree in music at Smith College, Gretchen’s adventurous approach to her education would foreshadow her approach to the guitar. She convinced a professor to allow her to launch a special studies project on the music of Frank Zappa. Her analyses of “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango” and “The Girl in the Magnesium Dress” showed an interest in genre-bending composition that would manifest later in her original instrumentals.
After college, Gretchen began considering her career path, and how she might prevent a situation she sought to avoid: tainting her love of music with the necessity of paying rent. The solution? She went directly from college to flight school, and two years later was flying regional jets for the airlines. Yet she was never without her guitar, and after a year at the airlines, she found life incompatible with the focus she needed to truly pursue music. So she relinquished her position in the jet and embarked on a more direct approach to her musical goals.
She joined various musical projects and constantly sought out new challenges. In 2007, she recorded Unbreakable Strings with Sticks and Stones, a high-energy, instrumental trio. In 2010, she played in Lapdance Armageddon, an aggressive acoustic duo with Jude Gold. In 2011 she wrote, produced, and recorded her first solo album, Hale Souls. She continues to tour internationally with Zepparella.
Gretchen continues to study guitar, composition, and orchestration.
Lapdance Armageddon (2010)
Conversation with Francis Bakin (2009)
STICKS AND STONES
Unbreakable Strings (2007)
THE HOUSE OF MORE
The House of More (2006)
Clementine Moss -- Drummer
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Hard Rock/Funk/Pop drummer Clementine adds her powerfully passionate style to every project. As a founding member of the road-dog metal band BOTTOM, she developed a heavy-hitting, dynamic sound. As Phyllis Rudd in AC/DSHE, her athletic and exciting playing helped garner the band top-grossing status in the Bay Area, and throughout the States and the UK.
Clementine is the founding member of ZEPPARELLA. She tackles the best rock drumming ever written with her own emotionally powerful style, bringing the Motown influence of the Bonham groove to the forefront. The musical connection established with Gretchen (guitar) in AC/DSHE creates the bond required to do this great music justice.
This connection seeded another project, THE HOUSE OF MORE, an original music project with all four original members of ZEPPARELLA. Compared to Pink Floyd, Tom Waits and Fiona Apple, Clementine contributed not only the drumset and songwriting collaboration, but also most of the lyrics to the debut album.
When THE HOUSE OF MORE paused, Clementine continued writing and ended up with a solo project, FRANCIS BAKIN. Writing the words and collaborating on the music with Gretchen Menn, a 10-song debut album was released in 2009. The songs are a combination of live and electronic drumming, slide guitar (Gretchen Menn and Ted Savarese), fretless bass (Robert Preston) and things that go “Boing.” The song “Cold Snap” won second place in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition in the Lyrics category.
Feeling the need to take advantage of the Bonham education in an original project, Clementine started another band in 2009, this a hard-rock machine ala The Cult and Black Crowes called THE SOLID. With guitarist Justin Caucutt (Baker’s Dozen), bassist Greg Randolph (Greenhouse Effect) and vocalist Brian Hagman (Black Lamb), the debut 5-song EP features the heavy groove that Clem has become known for.
When The Solid ended, Clem and Justin started STARS TURN ME ON, a songwriting collaboration that draws on country, soul and rock influences. The 11-song record was released January 1, 2012, and features Clementine on vocals, Justin on guitar, and Jim Bove, Judah Collins, Robert Preston and William Cameron filling out the other instruments. Clem and Justin perform the songs both as an acoustic duo and a full band.
In 2014, Clementine released The Collection, a compilation disc of various songwriting endeavors with guitarists Gretchen Menn, Jude Gold and Justin Caucutt.
TOURING/SHOWS: From the beginning of her musical career, Clementine’s goal has been to be onstage every night. BOTTOM was a touring machine, playing 320 shows in 2000 (8x around the States), the Warped Tour in 2001 alongside an evening club tour, 8 weeks and 10 countries in Europe in 2002, and a nearly continual live existence from the beginning of the band to the end. In AC/DSHE, Clementine flew and drove to events around the country and to the UK. ZEPPARELLA plays constant club shows and private events throughout the US. STARS TURN ME ON is playing regularly throughout the Bay Area.
Made In Voyage (Mudflap Records 2000)
Feels So Good When You’re Gone (Mans Ruin Records, 2001)
You’rNext (Smallstone Records, 2004)
Live at 19 Broadway (Bonny Boy Records, 2005)
A Pleasing Pounding (What Are Records?, 2008)
THE HOUSE OF MORE
The House of More (self-released, 2006)
Conversation with Francis Bakin (self-released, 2009)
Arrivals and Departures (self-released, 2009)
STARS TURN ME ON
GoldRush (self-released, 2012)
The Collection (self-released, 2014)
Clementine is often hired for session recordings, and her drumming appears on many releases. For a partial list of such projects, see clemthegreat.com.
Clementine plays Ludwig drums and Paiste cymbals.
Holly West -- Bassist
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Bassist Holly West began her musical journey full-steam ahead, and more recently than her stellar playing belies. Her unstoppable will and drive have truly propelled her to this moment and her place in the powerhouse Zepparella. A self-taught bass player, she is also a blossoming vocalist with rich rock pipes. Holly's debut EP ‘MOKITA’ was released in 2017. She enlisted guitar wizard Gary Hoey and drummer Brady Blade to play on this stellar EP, which was mixed by Chris Bell. Alongside the four original songs, she included a cover of the Zeppelin classic “When The Levee Breaks.", Talk about a foreshadowing of what was to come just a few short months later.
Holly has spent her career playing with various acts around the Dallas area, including Love Stricken Demise and Honey. She has toured with blues power trio Woody’s Rampage. Her time on stage has been well spent, developing an impressive attack, impeccable feel, and a technique which seems to have come completely natural to her, not to mention her dazzling stage presence and joyful performance style. Her influences span the rock gauntlet, from Clutch and the Rival Sons to Slash, ZZ Top, and of course, the mighty Zeppelin.