Being a part of the local music scene, although being on the promotional side of it, I can honestly say that I have had the pleasure of meeting many fantastic people, but there are 2 people that exemplify the pure class and professionalism of this scene and they are Dan and Dave Climo of the band Zone 8. The Climo brothers have been an institution on the Pittsburgh music scene for 40 years. The mark that they have made on the culture in music in this city has and will continue to stand the test of time. I am honored to present the interview that I had with the boy’s in Zone 8. This interview is a salute to a greatness and goodness of humanity as much as it is to the musical talent that has graced our stages since 1976. If greatness is defined by the ability to influence people in a positive way and touch their heart thru an expression of music, then true greatness is found right here…………..Dan and Dave Climo.
Rock In The FastLane: How did the band get started and what the plans are for the future, especially with the 40th Anniversary Show coming up?
Dan Climo: That’s gonna be a blast. As far as Zone 8 getting started the four of us were all together in Zilch. Once Zilch broke up everyone kinda went their own ways for a while. Their projects kinda broke up and the 4 of us got back together. We wanted to do something different than what Zilch did. Zilch was more thrashy, hardcore thrash metal. We wanted to do more classic hard rock, 80’s metal.
Dave Climo: With a little anything added in. Maybe even a little softer. There is no path for this band. We just do what we feel.
Dan Climo: There’s an explanation for how the band got the name Zone 8. Obviously we picked out a bunch of names and were trying to narrow them down. The meaning behind Zone 8, I was watching a show called Alaskan Monster’s. It was about Bigfoot. LOL. They were doing these sightings of Bigfoot up there and they zoned it all out in different zones. They said that most of the activity and sightings for Bigfoot were in Zone 8. I thought, “Man, that would be a great name for a band.” That’s how we got the name.
John Fedlock: And after several beers we said, yeah, that name sounds great.
Vic Mannella: When people ask me to describe Zone 8 and the content, I say that we do everything from Foghat and Drivin & Cryin to Slayer and Anthrax and everything in between.
Dave Climo: We cover a wide array of things. Plus original material. Hopefully a cd sometime next year.
Dan Climo: That’s one of the things that we want to get to a new cd. With Chad the new singer and we have a big open space in front of us and we want to fill it.
Rock In The FastLane: That is one of the things that I think is cool is that you guys do cover some great songs. When I first saw you at Peter B’s that night and you did Kingdome Come “Do You Like It,” I was like “Man, I can’t believe that they are covering this; this is a great tune.”
Vic Mannella: I guess what some would consider one hit wonders, but it’s the one hit that these bands had that everybody knows. Like Triumph “Lay It On The Line.” When people hear that intro they’re like “Oh my god.”
Dan Climo: There’s not a lot of bands that cover those songs. We wanted to do like “Say What You Will” by Fastway.
Dave Climo: We do Judas Priest, but we didn’t want to do “You Got Another Thing Coming” because everyone plays that. We figured ok, let’s do “Green Manalishi” or “Heading Out To the Highway”because nobody does those.
John Fedlock: “Painkiller” is one I’d really love to do, but I don’t want to kill Vic or Chad. LOL.
Rock In The FastLane: How about the anniversary show that you guys have planned for October 8th?
Dan Climo: Me and my brother thought about it, man, 40 years.
Dave Climo: Right, we were talking, “Wow, 40 years of doing this.” Since 1976 we haven’t been out of a band.
Vic Mannella: It’s just something that needs to be celebrated.
Dan Climo: He said let’s do a party type thing. We thought about where to have it. We all love playing at Peter B’s. Dan, the owner jumped on it. We turned it into like a celebration with guys that we have played with in the past, guys that we’ve never played with, people that we met along the way; there’s probably 50 musicians involved in this. I want to thank Vic and Hippy for helping out. Especially Vic. This guy really took the reigns and ran with it. As far as getting all the updates.
Vic Mannella: It’s a lot of musicians to coral.
Dan Climo: We had a few drop out along the way, a few add-ins.
Dave Climo: The thing is that it’s going to be an organized jam night, it’s not going to be a free for all. My girlfriend Lisa here, her and Sondra are gonna be getting the musicians to the stage. We will have stage managers that will help get people set-up and plugged in. It’s gonna roll all night. There’s not gonna be any dead time because there is a lot of music to be played, we just want it to roll without any down time.
Vic Mannella: If all goes well, this should go off without a hitch.
John Fedlock: We can only hope. We are musicans and there is alcohol involved.
Dave Climo: For Dan and I this is going to be an emotional night. The musicians that wanted to be a part of this and have come around to and say “I wanna do this.” “I played with you guys 30 years ago.” We made room for as many people as we could.
Dan Climo: If we could pick everyone that we wanted to it would take a week to get this together.
Vic Mannella: There is going to be a bunch of mini reunions of certain bands from over the years.
Rock In The FastLane: I really think that this says a lot about you guys and the reputation that you have. Your character. You are good guys, down to earth, very personable.
Vic Mannella: When you talk to anyone in the local scene, nobody has a bad thing to say about the twins.
Dave Climo: We’ve had a saying in Zilch that it’s always been a brotherhood, not a competition.
Dan Climo: We have played with a lot of these guys and these bands. We enjoy playing and we like to keep it like a family.
Rock In the FastLane: You guys are one of the best bands on the scene as far as the following and the things that are said about you. It is a pleasure for me to be sitting with you.
Dan Climo: You know Matt Ferrante and Steve Craven do the “Rock For Life Series.” They actually had a show scheduled for this date and they moved the show just so that they can be a part of this. That, to me was incredible. Truly great guys.
Vic Mannella: They are really great guys. We got to play a lot of shows with those guys and they truly are nice guys. Great to deal with.
Dave Climo: We are actually spotlighting them on a few tunes. They moved a whole night for us so we are letting After The Fall do a few tunes on their own.
John Fedlock: Most of this is a mish mash of musicians. For those guys, since they have been extremely supportive of us since the beginning. Getting us on the Drunkin Irish Fest and the Rock For Life’s.
Dan Climo: We actually share a history with Steve Craven. Back in our Shere Khan day’s, Steve was in a band called Hybrid. We had a cd release party with Concrete Jungle up at Kathy’s Rainbow in Mt. Pleasant and they opened up for us. I’ll never forget that.
John Fedlock: That was a long drive, but it was a great stage.
Dan Climo: Sadly, that’s a place that’s no longer around.
John Fedlock: After Kathy’s closed they turned it into a church. Then I think it flooded out and they demolished it.
Rock In The FastLane: It is really cool to hear that history; places that you guys have played and people that were a part of it.
John Fedlock: Sadly, recently, the Altar Bar closed down. I always like playing there. Great stage. I know Vic didn’t care for it.
Vic Mannella: It was a sound thing for me. It wasn’t the sound people, that building had to be one of the hardest for acoustics. All the sound just shot straight up because it was a church.
Rock In The FastLane: Speaking of Altar Bar closing, where do you think that the shows will be moved to? Talk is the Rex is going to handle a lot of the shows.
Vic Mannella: People went away from the Rex because I heard that their rent shot thru the roof. I think that a lot are going to be pushed to the Rex, or Diesel like some of the metal shows have. Or at the Carnegie. Sadly there are more places closing then opening.
John Fedlock: Then you got places like Jergel’s. Great room, big stage, but they really won’t take anyone really heavy. At least locally.
Dave Climo: We would go over so good on their bike night, but we just, they have certain bands that they use and that’s it.
Dan Climo: Funny story about that place, it used to be our old gym. It was Allegheny Athletic Club then Powerhouse before that.
Dave Climo: Actually, our band Zion Cross, the band before this, we did our last show out there. We did a Mayhem For the Mini’s and a few day’s later the band broke up.
Rock In The FastLane: Now that’s a great story there. Used to be the old gym and last Zion Cross show played there.
Dan Climo: When I walked in there I was like “Holy Smoke!” You’d never know it was the gym. They cut the floor out. They did a really nice job.
Rock in The FastLane: How about what got you started and in music?
Dave Climo: I know exactly what started it. I was watching a tv show 1973-74 “Apple’s Way,” Ronnie Cox he was playing acoustic guitar. I said “I wanna do that.” My parents got me an acoustic guitar. It was a $20 acoustic guitar, that’s what started the whole thing. They offered a class for acoustic guitar and I told my brother, get a bass and we start a band. My brother got a bass and we took some lessons at the New Brighton Music Center. A class mate of ours, Jim Jaros, we asked him “Do you wanna sing?” He said ok.
Dan Climo: If you don’t know Jim Jaros, he makes Jaros guitar’s. He’s a guitar builder now.
Dave Climo: That was the first guy I played in a band with. 10th grade. We formed our first band, nothing but original material, no covers. Even though we were all big Kiss fans at the time. We went out and played, our first show was Big Knob Fair in front of a lot of people. We were 16 year old kids up there playing. I can’t remember what songs we were playing.
Dan Climo: I’m sure we weren’t good.
Dave Climo: We had guitars, we had a pa system, we had various drummers in that band. The 3 of us stuck it out for a year or so.
John Fedlock: I would’ve been there, but I was 5. LOL.
Dan Climo: Here it comes.
John Fedlock: I would’ve been there, but I wasn’t born yet. LOL.
Rock In The FastLane: That was the perfect platform for that.
Dave Climo: For 16 year old’s to be up on that stage. That was the first time we were ever on stage in our life. Here where are on this big stage, it was an outside stage. There had to be 2-300 people watchin us. I was like “Man, I can get used to this.” That’s how it started. We’ve been doing it ever since.
Rock In The FastLane: That’s the main thing is starting. There are a lot of great musicians out there who never take a shot. It takes a lot to put yourself out there, it takes a lot.
Vic Mannella: It’s definitely a rush. It’s not for everybody. Of course I got the best seat in the house.
John Fedlock: Yeah, you got the wall of Climo in front of you. LOL.
Dan Climo: Depending on where we are and how much room we have.
Vic Mannella: Yeah, people don’t even realize there’s a drummer. They think it’s a drum machine.
Rock In The FastLane: How about you Vic? How did you get started and what got you started?
Vic Mannella: My Dad. My Dad’s been a drummer for 50 plus years and he used to take me to his jazz gigs. I was 5 years old, 6 years old. I’d sit right behind him on the stool. I’d say “Hey, it’s that guy from the Muppets, Animal. LOL. By the time I was 15-16, he bought me my first drum kit. My first drum stool was a kitchen chair. He’s really motivated me and put all the good habits that I have, he’s instilled all the good values in me. He’s playing in the 40th show. 2 songs.
Rock In The FastLane: How about you John? How did you get started?
John Fedlock: For me, I was always banging on pots and pans as a kid. Then I saw my cousin Jason who’s kinda like the older brother that I never had and he played “Cat Scratch Fever” on my Grandmother’s acoustic guitar and I thought that was the coolest thing. I was about 9 years old then and I was playing air guitar to a song on the radio and my Dad stopped at a music store. He said your birthday is coming up and said here you go. I actually quit for a few years between 9 and 12. I wasn’t an instant rock star and I didn’t sound like what I heard on the radio. Then I moved away and didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood I was in. So, I figured, hell, I just start playing guitar. Plus, I’ve known these guys forever.
Dan Climo: We’ve been together for 12 years now. Just in a band situation.
John Fedlock: That’s just in a band situation. We’ve really known each other for about 20 years.
Dan Climo: Vic was one of these guys that when he came in to audition for Zilch, me and Dave knew right away he was our guy. He was like very first day it felt like I’ve known him for all of these years.
Vic Mannella: I am the blue collar version of the movie “Rock Star.” I was a fan of Zilch. I saw them 4 or 5 times. Saw them with Joey. I thought that these two were as cool as hell. When Kevin left Zilch and I got the chance to audition for them, I was Ripper Owen’s. I was a fan. It was cool.
Rock In The FastLane: What were some of the songs that you guys started with as Zone 8? We know that Zilch was thrashier and Zion Cross was more of the style that you were looking for.
Dan Climo: Zone 8 was actually the tail end of Zion Cross so we brought along the Zion Cross cover songs into Zone 8. We had to make it different than Zilch and we wanted to make it more bar friendly. Song’s that people recognized. Like “Say What You Will” and “Monkey Bars.” Hippy hates “Monkey Bars.”
John Fedlock: I hate that song.
Dan Climo: When we play “Monkey Bars” the women just jump to the dance floor. Everyone knows that song. That’s why we kept it in. One of the newest one’s we are doing is on Offspring song called “Gone Away.”
Vic Mannella: For some reason I had that song stuck in my head. The first practice with our new singer Chad I started playing the beginning of that song and Chad jumped up and said “We Gotta Do That!” I said ‘Ok, put it on the wish list.” He said “Really, I already got a song on the wish list.” That’s how things are born in Dave’s garage.
Dan Climo: We have a wish list. We don’t necessarily follow that order. Like with the Offspring song, Chad liked it and everyone liked it so it’s probably going to be the next song that we do.
Dave Climo: That and the Anthrax song “Monster In The End.” We are going to start working on that too.
Rock In The FastLane: Are you going to debut it the first night with Chad?
Vic Mannella: I’m sure that it will be ready by November 5th.
Dan Climo: We will have “Gone Away” for sure. I’m not sure about the Anthrax tune. We only have 6 practices before that show. I’m sure that if we beefed up a few practices we can have that ready, but I’m not sure. Chad has a lot on his plate to learn right now.
Vic Mannella: Right now we have an existing list of 40 songs plus 10 originals from other bands that they were in that we haven’t even scratched the surface on. He’s coming along great. We are bringing him along slowly and it’s working out well. That’s the connect that we found with him. He finds his range and connects with the song. It’s the first time that he’s sang the song and it’s almost show ready. It’s a good problem to have.
Dan Climo: He fits right in to. We’ve met him before, but we never knew him. He’s a real friendly guy.
Rock In The FastLane: What band’s was he in?
John Fedlock: Catalyst, The Zoo, Arrgh. He’s a well-rounded musician. We welcome that. He plays guitar in the other band. We want him to play guitar if he wants to with us. We will bring an extra amp if we have too. As you can see even before we started the interview we were joking around and stuff, that’s just who we are. We are just a bunch of normal guys. There are some people that don’t want to be a part of the whole family thing that we want to convey.
Vic Mannella: It has got to be more than just playing tunes; you have to enjoy who you are around. It has to be that way, to me.
Dan Climo: We have bonfires, we have parties, cook outs, drink beer and have fun.
Rock In The Fastlane: It’s great to see that you guys get along so well and that really helps manifest the creative process. It’s a lot easier to introduce new tunes and have them received by the other band member’s.
Vic Mannella: Because of that I think that’s why the songs that we tackle all come so easy. We’ve all worked together for so long. There is a willingness there to try new things.
Dave Climo: Normally if someone wants to do a song, we will do it.
Vic Mannella: Hippy and I are the 80’s thrash kids. The twins go back a little further to the 80’s hard rock stuff.
Rock In the Fastlane: How about when you guys do a show; you have a set-list ready to go. Do you follow the set-list to the T or do you kinda wing it based on the crowd?
Dave Climo: We usually follow the set-list. We have deviated from time to time. If it gets closer to the end of the night and there’s a time issue, we would bump up some of the bigger tunes.
Vic Mannella: When you are at a local show someone is bound to yell out “Slayer!!” Fortunately, we can accommodate those needs.
Rock In The FastLane: LOL. I’m sure that they would have to twist your arm to play Slayer.
Vic Mannella: My absolute favorite band of all time.
Dan Climo: The “Freebird” thing is not gonna happen.
Rock In The FastLane: What about brand of instrument that you guys prefer?
Dave Climo: Gibson all the way. I use Gibson Explorers they’re my favorite. I like Gibson Flying V’s, I have a Les Paul. Gibson’s to me, thru a Marshall, it doesn’t get any better. Talk to Slash.
John Fedlock: Right now my current love affair is Paul Reed Smith. I’ve run the gammet, but Paul Reed Smith is my thing. As far as amps go, I went to different amps, but I’ve always come back to Marshall.
Dan Climo: Fender basses for me. I started out playing Fender basses. I’ve veered off the track and tried all kind of different things out. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, but I’ve always come back to Fender’s and that’s pretty much all I play. I’m playing out of a Martin bass amp right now, which I love. It’s pricey, but I love it. If you’re serious and you’re playing out live, I want the good stuff.
Vic Mannella: I love the sound that our guitarists have. The crunch, it’s great.
Rock In The FastLane: What about the stuff do you guys listen to now, if I was to turn on your I-Pod?
Vic Mannella: Slayer, Overkill, Iced Earth, Anthrax, Exodus. I’m all 80’s thrash.
Dan Climo: I’m a big 80’s metal guy. You’d see Ratt, Iron Maiden, stuff like that. That’s what I’m into.
John Fedlock: For me, Winery Dogs, Circle to Circle, Savatage, Anthrax. Those 4 are in a regular rotation.
Dave Climo: Van Halen, Accept, April Wine, Coney Hatch. Anything Van Halen. When that band hit, I was like, that’s what I wanna do.
Rock In The FastLane: I just want to conclude by saying, that I am a fan. I started this using one basis and that is from a fan perspective. I appreciate what you guys do and I will support you to the end of time.
As I conclude the interview, I just want to point out what these guys truly are and that is just a fantastic group of people. This is a union that is based on the principles of family. These guys live every moment of this band thru these eyes and that is what makes this last for 40 years strong. Everything that becomes a success in any form starts with the foundation of good people and that is why the success of the Climo Brothers and the success of Zone 8 will be a constant. I cannot say enough good things about Dave and Dan Climo, Vic Mannella and John “Hippy” Fedlock. I am honored to know such a fine group of musicians and even more so a fine group of genuine people. So, as the 40th anniversary show looms, I say “Please get out to Peter B’s on Saturday, October 8th and honor 2 guys that truly deserve the accolades that will be given to them. This music scene is a family and the Climo Brothers are everything that symbolizes that.” A SALUTE TO 40 MORE YEARS OF MAKING US ROCK…………….
Categories: LOCAL SCENE