Zane Carney - Carney

Who Am I ?


August 2011

1: Who am I?

The fact that I don’t know whether to be funny, fictional, factional, or a combination of all three with this answer probably gives the best hint. I like thinking? Wow, that’s about the best I can do…

2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?

I play lead guitar in Carney and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark on Broadway. So, I’m a guitarist by day and guitarist by night which makes me a very lucky guy.

3: Where are you from and where are you going?

I’m from NYC, moved to LA, moved back to NYC, and I’m slowly making my way to somewhere in the deep south that involves some sort of Main Street and a lake.

4: Who is your biggest hero?

Long answer: musically, there a so many. Lots of guitarists -Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Page, Joe Pass, Django Reindhart, Bill Frisell, Ry Cooder, Buddy Guy, the list could go on for a while. Lots of composers and orchestrators as well. My love for jazz music has turned blossomed into a love for digging as deeply as I can into any musical moment. I think that’s why I love “classical” music so much. You know when you had that one record that you could play a thousand times and hear something new each go around? Well, when you have 80-100 instruments involved and someone with a deep and passionate musical mind exploring new possibilities (this is what I think of when I think of “classical” music that utilizes an orchestra of some sort) you can play that record a million times. I think that energy and newness is my hero.

Short answer: Kobe Bryant. Love how self-motivated he is. I wish I was more like that.

5: What book is your bible?

Although I’m deeply entrenched in my searching-for-answers-and-truths phase, I would still say The Bible would be that book for me. While from some vantage points it seems to have lots of inconsistencies, I’ve rarely picked it up and flipped to a random page without feeling some sense of hope. And I feel that it speaks it’s core moral/love concepts very lyrically and beautifully through its stories and parables.

6: What are some things you love?  And some things you hate?

I love: having a guitar in my hands especially when I’m alone and free to explore and learn new things, listening to orchestral music too loud in my room, having the NFL back after the lockout, more romantic comedies than I should, space to think, space to move so I can be productive, the 5% of the time where I really AM productive, coming up with a guitar part to an already great song that helps express the song even just a teeny bit more, and the idea of owning a white house where I can listen to 1930′s jazz as I look into a Southern midsummer’s eve while doing the dishes (I stole this idea from The Notebook I think…).

I hate: anger and the iPhone auto-corrections that caused the anger in the first place.

7: What is your raison d’être?

To get to the point where I don’t have to Google “raison d’être” to learn that it apparently is NOT pronounced “raisin day-EAter.” Wait, I have to Google it again to figure out what it actually means…

In all seriousness though, I guess I would say I have no idea. I have dreams and goals but I’m not quite sure why I’m actually on this planet–I’m not convinced that anyone can know the exact reason for his or her existence. In fact, the idea of people not knowing their exact purpose but still fulfilling it excites me, so hopefully that’s true?

Wow, totally dodged the question; the answer is not guitar or music, I can tell you that, even though I love both of those things passionately. Hmm, I’ll have to think about that one for another couple of decades before I have the sketch of an answer.

8: What is your favorite color?

Blue. Reeve chose red and I chose blue when we use to watch Double Dare as kids – actually he chose red so I was forced to choose blue. Oh, older siblings, you get us every time!

9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?

Superman. In fact, I think he is the only superhero that made it onto a birthday cake for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the duality stories that Batman and Spider-Man have. They’re a little easier to relate to because they struggle with a lot of demons and real human experiences, but the idea of a superhero being pretty much invincible excited me a lot more as a kid I think…

10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?

Before I lived in NYC for this second go around as an adult, I would always get Ray’s on 11th and 6th and Gray’s Papaya in the village before heading back home to LA, so maybe a tie between those two?

11: What turns you on?

Gentle kindness.

12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?

What song are you listening on your iPhone right now as you finish typing this last question/answer? And my response would be:

Wes Montgomery’s “Full House” of the album of the same name. So good, but “S.O.S.” is my favorite song on this album. Wow, I totally answered that question as though someone actually asked it…what a weirdo!

We all live inside the bubble of history. Everything we do has been done before. Waving hello, walking upright, chewing gum, flipping the pillow over to the cool side on a summer’s night… hell, even love is older than the dirt covering the roots of the tallest redwood, but try telling someone not to fall in love. So, yeah, a few mates with guitars and some songs and something to say—that’s nothing new. But if it’s Carney… just go ahead and try not to fall in love. Best of luck to you.

Anyone can ape and mimic, but to conjure takes a kind of magic. Rock and roll is the very history of repetition, picking the past up and dusting it off, passing it off as your own. Carney makes no bones about the bands they love and loved, but these are not influences worn on sleeves, this is the work of careful craftsmen in tune with invisible muses. First single, “Love Me, Chase Me,” is a potion derived from extracts of Beatles, Doors, Zeppelin, and Hendrix, but the wisp of white smoke rising from that test-tube is some other element, newly discovered.

“It’s cinematic, it jumps around to different places, and in the span of five minutes, it sort of sums up what we’re capable of as a band,” says guitarist Zane Carney of the song. “We’ve always wanted someone to listen to our music and immediately feel like they’ve been transported to another place,” adds lead singer, Reeve Carney. “That’s what I love. I like having a cinematic approach to music. I prefer things that feel a bit imaginary.”

Fitting then that Reeve was handpicked by director Julie Taymor (Across the Universe) to portray Peter Parker in the upcoming Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. With music composed by U2’s Bono and The Edge, Spider-Man offered Reeve the kind of mentorship any young singer would cut a deal with the devil to get. “Reeve was everything we could have hoped for: an amazing voice and a truly charismatic presence,” says Bono. (That might be one of those things Reeve likes that “feels a bit imaginary,” but this is real.)

Along with drummer Jon Epcar and bassist Aiden Moore, Carney’s debut album Mr. Green Volume 1 is a kaleidoscopic summoning of music from multiple epochs and worlds beyond. Whether it’s the flirty Gallic cabaret of “Amelie,” the toy-store music-box lullaby that opens “Nothing Without You,” the waltzing velvety title track, or the 7-minute rafter-rattling blues epic “Testify,” Carney sounds nothing like a new band. This is a haunting, like a ghost sifted up through ancient floorboards. To even call them a “new artist” would betray the full-stride breadth of their abilities as songwriters and performers. They are happily, confidently, already ahead of themselves.

“I never like to stay in the same place for too long,” admits Reeve. “I always strive to do something I haven’t done before. In that way, this album is exactly what I’ve always wanted to make, but the next one will hopefully move in a whole different direction.” “I don’t want fame or glory,” adds Zane. “Making music is already such a gift. That’s what drives us. We know what moves us and we want to share it.”

Carney has built a big tent. All are invited. It’s a spectacle of infinite surprise. It’s imaginary. It’s real. It’s everything that rock and roll is supposed to be. It might just be the sound of that bubble of history bursting. Try not to fall in love.


Carney’s Website

Myspace Page

Twitter: @zanecarney

Questions by PMc Magazine

Edited by Meaghan Coffey

Photography by Hadar Pitchon

Design by Jillian Mercado

Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”


Zane Carney, New York, NY, 2011, Photography by Hadar Pitchon

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