Q&A: The Zambonis

Stanley Cup playoff season is upon us. Perfect time to check out a Zambonis show! The Zambonis are one of the best hockey-related things to come out of Connecticut besides the Hartford Whalers. They were formed in my hometown of Bridgeport, CT in 1991, and if you’re a hockey fan or a fan of the CT music scene, you may have caught one of their shows. They have a pretty extensive resume- between writing songs for some of my favorite NHL teams, traveling around the world, numerous performances at games and releasing records that have received accolades from the likes of CMJ, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and more. The Zambonis will be playing a free show at BAR in New Haven on Wednesday, May 21. I caught up with defenseman/vocalist/guitarist Dave Schneider who gave me some of the best interview answers I could have asked for.

What team(s) are you partial to, or as a hockey-themed band, do you root for all of them equally?

We have 5 members so it is all different. Mato and I (Dave) loved The Hartford Whalers. Cary is a HUGE BRUINS fan. Shawn is a Devils guy and Jon has not watched any hockey since Seinfeld went off the air. That guy is all music.

Have you ever performed while riding on a Zamboni, or possibly even the Olympia-brand ice resurfacer?

Yes, before I answer I just want to make it clear that all of these answers are absolutely true. WE PERFORMED the song “I Wanna Drive The Zamboni” from the top of The Zamboni as it resurfaced the ice at the Staple Center in Los Angeles. This was in front 22,000 people during the intermission of the 2002 NHL ALL STAR GAME.
Regarding the latter half of this question, OLYMPIA? Do you drink Dr Pepper or Mr Pibb? Mountain Dew or Mello Yello? Do you eat BAR Pizza, Pepe’s, Sally’s or Papa John’s? We only deal with the best, the original and the creators of Motorized ice resurfacing Machines.
Have you ever had issues with fans throwing octopus or other sea creatures on the stage during your shows ala the Red Wings?
No but we have had some near death/concussive/rib breaking incidents while either skating at gigs or getting hit with pucks during on ice performances. (again, all answers are true)
I bet you $1000 you don’t get these answers from The tUnE-yArDs or other non-hockey bands)

Do you think the Hartford Whalers should make a comeback as an NHL team?

In my heart, YES, from a business stand point, I just don’t see them making it in Hartford. That hurts deeply to say that but, that is my gut feeling.

You’ve composed songs for the Bruins and the Avalanche- do you have songs written about any other teams?

Back in the day, we wanted to write a song for every team. We wrote quite a few but, we just found other angles of writing songs about hockey/life/hockey/love/hockey than to just write about a team.


You guys are playing the 20th anniversary celebration of NPR’s only national sports show “Only A Game’. How did you guys get that gig- have you been on OAG or NPR in the past?

Many years ago, I was working and the phone rang, “hi, is Dave from The Zambonis there? This is Gary Waleik from NPR in Boston, we would like to do a piece on The Zambonis”. I said, huh, you know one of our favorite bands ever is a band called Big Dipper from Boston and they had a member/guitarist named Gary Waleik, he said, “that’s me”. We proceeded to tell each other how much we loved what the other did, it was a musical love-fest. Gary is the producer their til this day. They have done a few feature pieces on us and have also used our music tons of time.
We really love the show.
It also helps us perpetuate the jock stereotype of what a “hockey band” should or could be. We try not to be stoopit. We also love music as much as anyone in this world and live to record and create.
If you could drink a beer out of the Stanley Cup, would you? If so, what beer would it be?
Uhhh, let’s rephrase this question, when you all drank from The Stanley cup, what type of beer was it. Sadly, Michelob Ultra Light. Happily, we played a whole show with The Cup on the satge and then partied all night with The Carolina Hurricanes and The Cup. Matt Cullen was a member of that team and a fan and a friend of the band. He invited us out to Fargo, ND to play his party and also support his charity he and his wife created that helps out tons of kids called Cully’s Kids. Our drummer had never drank and ounce of alcohol in HIS ENTIRE LIFE. At some point I said to him years before, if you ever get the chance, will you drink beer from The Cup, he replied yes. It was 2.5 ounces for the 6 foot 8 drummer we call Mato but, it counts. Let’s go to the video tape:
Catch the Zambonis Wednesday, May 21 in the back room at BAR on 254 Crown Street. As always, the show is free and the pizza and beer are delicious!

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