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Meet the band

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Our Story

The original members of ZEELUND a 1975 east county band, were formerly in a band called SMILES, also an east county band with band members from Granite Hills, Grossmont and El Cajon Valley, high schools. A few years later ZEELUND was founded and developed into a club band that played the music scene in San Diego County, playing clubs such as the Iron Horse in La Mesa, Park Place in El Cajon, Mammoth West and Halcyon, in the Sports Arena area, the Bacchanal in Kearney Mesa, the Public House in La Jolla and many others until they broke up in 1977. Many of the band members went on to play in other bands, while others went on to finish their education and get married.

In 2013 two of the band members Jon Ohlson and Pete Craig thought it would be fun to meet up with their drummer Jeff Mattazaro to catch up. It was fun getting together and discussing the old times. At the same time Pete and Jon started getting together a couple times a month, to have dinner and play some music. It was at one of these dinners, where they discussed getting the old band back together for a jam session. Jon reached out to former band members, Jeff Mattazaro, and John Cartmill, who also still lived in the area, and the four of them arranged a time to get together, and play some music like the old times. Unfortunately, our former Zeelund bass player lives in Colorado and our former lead singer had since passed away. This meant at some point we needed to find a bass player and lead singer.

 

It was a great evening and they found that the “Group Chemistry” that originally brought them together, was still present 40 years later. This initial dinner turned into a twice a month get together with Janis, Jon’s wife providing a wonderful dinner, drinks and then the guys jamming in their living room for another couple of hours. Still, we needed a bassist and a lead vocalist. John who was also playing in another band at the time, said he would check with Paul Backes, the bassist and see if he was interested. Turned out he was, so we now had a bass player. The band kept practicing and landed a Sunday gig at BNS Brewery in Santee.  It was at this show that John’s daughter Mackenzie, who is an incredible vocalist, sat in on a few songs and killed it!  Unfortunately, MacKenzie was playing in another classic rock band in town. The cool part was that after the show, MacKenzie said she would really like to play in the band with her dad. At last, we had everyone we needed!

The band continued to practice developing a great song list and was ready to go. The band was fortunate to book initial gigs at BNS Brewery and Downtown Café and the rest is history.  During the 2 years of Covid, the band practiced by performing driveway concerts for the neighbors, who were grateful to have some entertainment during the pandemic.

The band has now been playing for 7 years and can often be found playing around San Diego County. You can find their schedule and where they are performing here!

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