Vocals & Guitar
Hey, I'm Martin Zander. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri on June the 6th, 1962. I've always loved music, and always wanted to perform music. At the age of 7, my brother Sean and I used to put on shows for the neighborhood kids, even though we didn't know how to play. I guess I knew then that this was what I wanted to do. My influences then were mostly my mom's Motown, R&B, and Soul records.
I began my music education at McCoy Elementary School in KCMO when I signed up for band at the age of 10. I wanted to play saxophone, but everybody wanted to play saxophone. So I settled for the French horn. I took to it immediately, and was absorbed, but it was more or less a school activity rather than a true passion. I did play in band from 7th to 10th grade.
Which brings us to the guitar....which is my true passion. I started playing guitar by accident, really. My parents bought my brother, who was much more openly into music than I, a guitar one Christmas. At the time, he had other interests, and so nobody really played it for a few months. One day I came home from school, and picked it up, I was about 15 years old. I started to play with records, and learned how to tune from my father, who played when we were younger.
I was completely taken over. I totally lost interest in everything else, and focused on the guitar. I would play to rock records and try to figure out how to play the songs. Primarily, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Boston, and some punk rock stuff like The Ramones, and The Sex Pistols. All of this was by ear, and with no formal training to speak of.
In the summer of 1977, I hooked up with life-long friends Dan Finnegan, and Jay Dunn. We began practicing and formed a band, which we named Opus. This band later became a little more metal-edged, and we re-named ourselves Blu Prostitute. We basically were a basement band that did parties. We lived at two households together, and played music for fun and recreation.
At 21, I was married, and decided to take a break from the band. Dan went on to do his own studio work, and later would re-join with me in a band called The Bidets. Jay moved to Texas to run a business with his brother.
My marriage was short-lived, therefore so was my break from music. (and let that be a lesson to all of you youngsters out there, never give up on your dream, and don't get married too early!)
After my divorce, I began working at a jazz club in KCMO called City Light, where I bartended. At City Light I met tons of Kansas City musicians. One of them being my first real mentor, Clarence "Sonny" Kenner. I began taking lessons from Sonny, which he barely charged me for and usually gave me double the time. Aside from being a great educator and a great guitar player, I think he just liked my attitude. I took lessons from Sonny for two years, and began sitting in wherever I could. I can't thank Sonny Kenner enough for what he did for me, and when he passed away on January 23,2001, I not only lost a great friend, and teacher, I lost an idol.
Aside from Sonny, I met a lot of musicians at City Light that were very supportive. People like Brian Hicks, Frank Smith, and David Basse. I really think that period really helped plant the roots for a lot of the music that I play now.
I continued to play, mostly at home, until I met Jimmy McAlister at an eclectic restaurant owned by Lou Jane Temple called Cafe LuLu. This was a very artsy/music-theater oriented restaurant that had an open-mike night on Monday nights. It was put on by members of the staff, and local artists. I had heard that Jimmy had toured and was a great guitar player, but little did I know how good he was, or the extensive musical resume that he had. Jimmy instantly became my hero, and we joined together with the help of infamous Kansas Citian, Larry "Fats" Goldberg.... and The Bidets were born.
The Bidets began as a hoax, or mock band for us to participate in the open-mike night at Cafe LuLu. It later became the band in which I started playing professionally. Some of the members of The Bidets have included Jimmy McAlister, Brian Hicks, Larry "Fats" Goldberg, Rob Andrew, Trisha McAlister, Jay Dunn, Mike Kelly, Dan Finnegan, Joey Walsh, Todd Michael Claypool, and of course, Missi Lehr.
Missi initially began by singing a couple of numbers a night with us, and evolved into being the singer and the only singer for me. I can't imagine being in a band without her.
After five years of playing together and several member changes, The Bidets dis-banded. It was the end of an era, and WHAT A RIDE!!
Jay, Mike, Jimmy, and Missi, Thank You........!
Which brings us to The Allied Saints.
Joe Walsh, (a former Bidet), headed a band called the Extras. The Bidets and The Extras played a few of the same venues. Since Missi and I didn't have a show on New Years eve 2000, I gave Joe a call, and asked if he would mind if we sat in. That show, kind of started the whole thing. I knew it could be something special.
With the dis-banding of The Bidets, Missi and I found ourselves with no band, and a real itch to play live. We began doing more and more shows with The Extras. With the departure of drummer Dennis Dorrell, and the addition of Mo Burks, we decided to set goals and give it a shot, and The Allied Saints were born.
All of The Saints have diverse musical backgrounds and influences, but when we come together, it's magical. My role in the band is lead and rhythm guitar, vocals, songwriting and arranging. Some of my huge influences are Jimi Hendrix (isn't he everyones?),Buddy Guy, James Brown, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Thackery, and Tommy Castro.
That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. And MAY THE SAINTS COME MARCHIN' IN!________________MARTIN