Forget the Sheriff: Zach Deputy @ Tobacco Road

3-2-11      Photos

The sun was still beating down when a big white box truck backed up to the rear entrance of Tobacco Road. Inside was a mess of stuff from electronic equipment and guitar cases to boxes and mannequin bodies sporting skimpy women’s swimwear.

Deputy’s small road crew was busy unloading and putting together a complex rig of pedals, samplers and microphones when Deputy sat down for an interview (Check back tomorrow for the full transcription of the GMNS exclusive interview with Zach Deputy!)

Deputy spoke about everything from his musical origins and influences to how he’s liked South Florida, it being his second time or so making it so far down the panhandle.

He had little sleep the night before. Leaving the Boca gig at the Funky Buddha, heading to a late-night jam session at a friend’s house and shooting down to Miami can do that do a man, especially on an already grueling tour schedule.

Jesse Jackson

At about 9 p.m., Deputy’s jam station was up and running, and a skinny Jesse Jackson sat amid the myriad of control panels and pedals to play an opening set using only one mic and a clean electric guitar.

The Miami music scene veteran warmed up the gathering audience with his brand of folky tunes. Little by little, the people trickled in paying their $10 to enter the cabaret and witness the one-man-band create his unique blend of funky jams.

Meanwhile, Deputy was out by his truck with his road crew and a few fans, hanging out and putting together a set list for the night.

“Anything you want to hear?” Deputy asked a couple girls out by the truck with him. He put his set on paper on the hood of the truck and started to make his way up to the stage.

The process seemed simple enough, just walk a couple yards to the cabaret entrance, up the stairs and onto the stage, but it seemed that every two steps he took, Deputy was swarmed by another group of girls eager to meet the man behind the music. It must have taken at least fifteen to twenty minutes to get from the truck to the stairs, but Deputy was cool with it.

Zach Deputy

And honestly, who wouldn’t be cool with getting mobbed by girls?

But that’s not it. He was really cool with it. One thing about Zach Deputy, he really loves his fans. He could be exhausted from the road or tired from just having played a three-hour gig, but he’ll still warmly greet each and every person that comes to shake his hand or steal a hug. He’ll take the time to talk to any of his fans. He’s just that type of person, warm and friendly. Despite his somewhat intimidating appearance—tall, wide and with a great lumberjack beard covering much of his face, many of his fans that meet him say he’s like a big teddy bear.

Even after being stopped again and again by folks eager to meet him, Deputy still made it to the stage precisely when he meant to, at 9:30 p.m. By then, the cabaret was nearly full. Halfway into the room, there was barely space to move through, but that didn’t matter once the music started. Deputy started with some chords and looped it. Then he beat-boxed into a microphone and looped that. Then he electronically altered his guitar to loop a bass line. He kept stacking sounds in his own special way to spin the best feel-good grooves you could imagine.

And before long, everyone was getting down.

Charity Veragas, Zach Deputy

The ladies grooved the best. Their hands waved in the air. Their eyes closed. Wonderful smiles parted their lips. Their hips swayed sensually as Deputy sang, “What ever happened to a slow dance? What ever happened to sweet romance?”

Some danced with their guys’ hands around their waists, their foreheads touching and eyes meeting in the soft, colored light that filled the dark room. The love was everywhere. The positive vibes surrounded and penetrated everybody in the room. It was a Zach Deputy show. That’s just how it goes.

Promoter Andrew Kenward of did a great thing in bringing Zach Deputy down to Miami. Its part of his ultimate goal to host more national acts at Tobacco Road.

“We’re trying to make it not just a local hole,” said Kenward.

Kenward is also talking to Matt Beck from Brotherly Love Productions about working together to channel more national music all the way down to South Florida.

So far so good—Zach Deputy drew in a great crowd for his show, and that’s only the beginning. Kenward hinted that more top bands running the jam and festival circuits would be making the trip down to our corner of the world.

Zach Deputy

Deputy played two sets, the throngs tucked inside the tight cabaret space dancing and sweating until 12:30 a.m. After the gig, Deputy stepped outside for some fresh air and mingled with some fans while his road crew packed up. They were fixing to boom up to Orlando that very night—no rest for the Deputy.

A girl wearing a long skirt and dreadlocks homed in on Deputy with open arms. “I just need one more hug,” she said. Deputy took the tiny girl into his great arms and hugged her. “You know, if you’re interested in a one-way trip to Orlando, you can ride with us,” said Deputy.

“When are you leaving?”

“In about forty minutes.”

The girl thought about it and consulted her phone.  “Okay, I’ll go. What’s your number?” Deputy gave it to her. She laughed.

“Oh, look at me! I already have it,” she grinned.

And like that he was off again, plus one, to another show in another town. No rest for the Deputy. He goes off like a modern Johnny Appleseed, planting peace and love wherever he goes.

And he wouldn’t have it any other way.


About clazaga5

I am a music writer. I graduated from FIU's School of Journalism and Mass Communications in April, 2011. I've always had a passion for music. Since high school, I've been involved in a few bands and written a good number of original songs. I loved going to shows and seeing live music. So when the notion struck me to combine the two, it seemed only logical that I write about live music when and wherever I find it. This blog is what came of that notion.
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