Interview with Marv Zander (MZ)
Interviewed by Homer Rudolf
Bismarck, North Dakota
8 September 2004
Transcribed by Amanda Swenson
Proofread by Marvin L. Hartmann
Prairie Public Connection
HR: Okay, Marv, can you tell us your name?
MZ: Marv Zander.
HR: And where do you live?
MZ: In Mandan, North Dakota.
HR: Now you’ve been a musician for quite a while haven’t you?
MZ: I’ve entertained approximately 40 years ago, is when I did my first dance, a wedding dance.
HR: And how’d you get started:
MZ: Um, I was approximately 5 years old and my father went to an auction sale, grew up on a farm, west of Mandan 21 miles. And he came home with this, um, box with a so called accordion in there. And I said what is this, another milk stool? I had no idea what it was, and uh, and he explained a little bit to me what it was. And about oh, probably 8 months a year later, they took me to Mandan and had given me six accordion lessons, every week for a ½ an hour. And uh, the guy that was giving accordion lessons, he told my folks, “Save your money this kid won’t learn anyway”. So, he was right, I didn’t learn anything from him anyway. (Laughter) And uh, approximately 15 years, after I was playing probably 25 years ago, the same gentleman was down in the crowd where we were playing a big wedding over in Mandan. And I went on break, and it was dark down in the crowd, and I couldn’t tell who was down there. And the same guy who was giving me the lessons, came up and shook my hand and said, I got to eat my words, as I was wrong, you did learn.
HR: Was there a lot of music in your family?
MZ: No, there really wasn’t. I was told that my mother had played piano a little bit in her younger years, and I never ever heard her, and we never had a piano. I never, that’s all I heard from her brothers and sisters.
HR: So, when you were younger and you started playing accordion, what type of music were you listening to? What type of music did you hear?
MZ: Um, they made sure that on Sundays, that Dickinson always had their Sunday afternoon, old time music. Waltzes, polkas, and two steps. The folks would always listen to that. His mom was from Glen Ulen area, and they knew people from that direction. And also she would teach us how to dance, us kids. We learned how to dance real well.
HR: And what type of dances did you do?
MZ: We did waltzes and polkas right in the kitchen of our farm house.
HR: Now, what’s your ancestors?
MZ: German, my grandparents came from Odessa, Germany. And my mothers folks I believe they were born here.
HR: So when you started playing, when was the first time that you got a gig that you got paid for?
MZ: (laughter) It was um, it was probably that wedding that... we were still learning, we were very young. It was one of the neighbor girls that got married, and we knew her, we grew up with her, and went to church with her, summer school. So they had um, another guy that, Jim Bower.
HR: You were talking about this wedding now, you said we, who is playing with you and what type of instruments were they playing?
MZ: Jim Bower, also went to the same church we went to. And he was learning how to play guitar, he also taught me how to play guitar, some. And um, I believe if I remember right it was Larry Langang, he is no longer with us, he used to be a butcher at Kist Meat Market in Mandan. And um, we like I say, we were very young and only knew a few songs, so we’d play as long as we could, and probably start over with the same songs, to get through it you know.
HR: What type of music were you playing? Where did you get your musical influence from?
MZ: Um, my brother in law, he’s also passed away, but he married my oldest sister. He had an accordion and he knew how to play a few songs, and he liked that Dickinson music, so he learned a couple songs, so he showed me a few songs, as I was still between uh, six and uh fifteen. And another, so I learned from him, and then the neighbor, John Baehm, Johnny Baehm, he had an accordion, he probably lived a mile, mile and a half from our farm. And um, it was through, it was like four miles to our country school, so we’d stop there, and they’d always give us a little lunch to make it the rest of the way, you know, running and uh it was on foot. And Johnny he played a few songs too, not a whole bunch, but enough to keep me interested. And then, but I’d say Raymond Schmidt, my brother-in-law who passed away, a big influence. Johnny Baehm, he kept me interested. And then later on, and it wasn’t too much later I met Joey Grosz, um, a junior from Napoleon. Which is also, he passed away ten years ago. Um, he was I would say one of the greatest accordion players in the state, as far as, knowing the machine you know. And he taught me how, style, he was very strict, he got mad if you didn’t play it his way. Um, make you do it over, and that’s where I got, the style I got from him. And then I really, Frankie Yankovic style, I really love that style, that’s kind of where, you just keep going with it.
HR: What were some of the names of the songs that you play for a German Russian wedding let’s say. What are some of the songs you’d play?
MZ: O, Du Liebe Augustine um... there’s a Old Wooden Heart that’s been around for two steps, uh, waltzes Little Fisherman, Strassburg, Gimme back my Heart, the Lantlers there’s a few of them, and uh, yeah, this area in Bismarck and Mandan and within a hundred mile radius, seem to be the strongest. And actually right here, cause a I belong to the Musicians Association for probably thirty five years, thirty four years. We had the most accordion players out of any center area. Out of any other place, like Minot, they were short, Harvey, you go all the way around. But we have a lot of them.
HR: Do you think in the way that was influenced by the popularity of someone like Lawrence Welk?
MZ: Uh, Lawrence Welk was on TV, if I remember, I was quite young. Uh, I don’t remember, but yeah, that’s probably the only channel we got out there on the farm you know. That was influenced by Myron Floren. I did get to do with Myron Floren one time, I got to do with Frankie Yanchovik. You know, greats, and that makes me feel quite proud, to be able to get to do that. Because I, you know a lot of people they, work all their live and uh. And another deal you know, you can work hard at something, and uh, and achievements aren’t probably the uh, it isn’t always how much you get paid, and this and that. But I played for a folk fest queen, here in Bismarck, for a radio station. They’ve had the ambassador from Canada here, they had folk fest queen from Canada. Minnesota, South Dakota, Montana, and North Dakota. And um, I greeted them at the airport with the accordion and they were singing In Heaven There Is No Beer when they came off, from there we went to the Radisson, and I played there. I donated the whole night, and from there they went to Commissary south of Mandan, and they had a big supper. And big announcements, and they had me sit, when it came to eating, they had me sit with the Ambassador from Canada. And between the folk fest queens, and uh, took a lot of pictures. And like I say I donated the whole day, but it gave me the best feeling of my life, because they didn’t treat me like an outsider like, he’s just here for entertainment, he’s also part of the party, and it just made me feel so great.
HR: Now when you play at weddings and things like that, what is the makeup of your group instrument wise.
MZ: I play the accordion, and my drummer, Mike Johnson, he’s been with me 7 ½ years he plays the drums and also sings, a real good harmony. The people really like him, he looks like Alan Jackson and he’s a young fella, and he’s got his hat painted, red, white and blue, he takes pride in his work. Colleen Suraustan, she’s originally from Hazen, and then she joined up with us last summer. And uh, she sings for churches, funerals, weddings, and she works another job and she has a family. And she said out of everything she enjoys going out and entertaining, because we do some comedy and kidding around, and the people just love that, because its not entertainment years ago, and if you look back the old bands still go up there and they’ve probably got an 8 to 10 piece band. And the question that you were asking, yeah, I have a three piece band, she plays guitar and is a real good pianist. That was okay, so there’s three of us.
HR: Did you just say, normally we have a trio, an accordion.....
MZ: Accordions, drums, and piano yes, or guitar, yes. Colleen plays the guitar, and she sings and is a beautiful vocalist.
HR: Do you sing any of the songs in German?
MZ: We have probably three or four that we do in German.
HR: In the older days was there much singing when bands played?
MZ: I remember when I was small, and in the bands I seen there was um, like I say a lot of horn players, a lot of brass, and um, they would play their song and hold their horn besides themselves and other band member would do their part, and go blow their horn a little bit. And then when they would get done, they’d all stand, line there and nobody would smile or kid around. It’s like so serious, you know. And we found if you kid around with the public and the people that’s part of it. That’s entertainment also, you know, its not just the music part. If you get so serious with it, then they look at you, because the greatest people in the world.......
HR: You were talking about when you were learning music when you were young, did you ever learn any music from the radio?
MZ: Um, no I didn’t. It was from other live people that would influence me as I went along. But, and it took a long time. I have to tell you one of the first, the few first gigs we played, was down at the Curve in Mott, New Leipzig, and I don’t know how we obtained a booking agent. And he was uh, Ernie Vanilla was his name, I think he might of passed away last year or so. Anyway, he booked us down in um, we played Elgin and different towns. And like I say, we were qualified to play forty-five minutes, or an hour or an hour and a half, we could get by with that. But not a full night of heavy rock and roll, that wasn’t our deal. And this Ernie Vanilla did book us down on the Curve. And we were into the half an hour and there was a big crowd and they were young people who wanted rock and roll. We didn’t know this, we thought he booked for what the stuff we played. The people that were there, they caught on that we weren’t going to make the night, and they started throwing beer bottles and cans, full ones. Yep, I wish I could have caught a couple and used them. But we got out of there quite quick, we were out of there within the hour, and um, back on the road. On the way home I said, at that time we had four piece. And I said guys we’re either going to learn or we’re going to quit. Well everybody quit except me, at that time.
HR: What’s the most when you play a thing like we’re going to do in Strassburg tomorrow. What’s, do you get requests? What’s the more requested song people want to hear?
MZ: Oh, You and Me Has Got It, a real old country tune, that’s gotten real strong. And the one before that was the Little Girls Waltz the Strassburg Waltz is awfully popular down there to you know, within an 80 mile radius of Strassburg, they usually ask for that.
HR: Now um, do you ever play, I know Vic Schwan does. Do you ever play like for weddings in the church, for the processionals before a wedding, that sort of thing?
MZ: I’ve played a couple through the years, just a few numbers they requested.
HR: What would those songs be for like a wedding?
MZ: They’re slower two step songs, feeling songs, you know. Personal songs, people that they pick, that they normally want there.
HR: So when we do this thing tomorrow in Strassburg, will there be some things you have never seen before?
MZ: I think I’m going to be scared tomorrow. No, I won’t be scared, its just uh, a little different, and its one of those deals that I feel so proud again with you people, of doing all this, putting all of this together. It’s something that needs to be, needs to be put down in record, kept alive, we have a the younger generation. And that is the greatest area for that, and I’ll stick to this 100 mile radius, because when we play weddings and anniversaries, there is still a bunch a young group of people they’re probably 6, 7, 8, or 9. They get out and dance the polka like crazy, they really enjoy it. So I mean, we have to keep this alive, for a while you know.
HR: When you were young were there women in bands very often at all, because you have a woman now.
MZ: I don’t remember of any women being in bands, any bands at that time, as I grew up, no I don’t.
HR: And there was no piano either then?
MZ: No, it seemed like, what I remember is once I played the piano, and there was a guy on the piano. They always had the piano there at the clubs, bars. We did barn dances, schools, halls, there were dances all over.
HR: Tell me about a barn dance, how does a barn dance differ from when you go to a club like the Blue Room?
MZ: Well you want to make sure you get a shower ready when you get home, so you can shower up, because it gets pretty dusty and stuff. It doesn’t differ too much, it’s just the atmosphere of having the home. The old barn, I’d say that’s, to me I kind of felt that’s where it came from, like um, originated, the music, that type of music, from farms the old style the old towns, small towns. And they’ve kind of, they’re dying down some, the transportation nowadays everyone gets around quicker.
HR: And the barn dance would be held on the second floor?
MZ: Yeah, upstairs. And some of them, some of the barns were actually set up with stairs, so you could carry your stuff up there. Walk up nice and walk down, and I’ve been through some where they put up a ladder. And everybody would crawl up, and half of them would fall down, and through the night some more of them would fall. But um, they were all fun, very very fun. You know, just an atmosphere having hay and dust and the old barn, you know.
HR: And would people be drinking there? I mean, would they be selling drinks or would people bring their own?
MZ: People would bring their own beer or whiskey or whatever at that time. I think everybody carried a little bit of schnapps, and maybe a pint of whiskey, and for young people a pint goes around a long ways.
HR: And how did you get paid?
MZ: Oh ah, I played for three dollars a night already at that time, I played for three bucks. Bars, bars at that time when we started we would get ten dollars and all you can drink. Well, some musicians they really took advantage of drinking, by the time the night was over, they couldn’t play. So I mean, I said, I’d rather sooner have the money, than drink rather than, so there was a little different.
HR: Okay, so we’re talking about getting paid for doing the barn dance, now did they ever pass the hat?
MZ: They would pass the hat, but there wasn’t a whole bunch of money around. If I remember right, it was mostly for the entertainment enjoyment of the bands also. It wasn’t going out, money making deal, there were more of like parties you know, private parties.
HR: And what time period are we talking about when you are playing barn dances for three dollars?
MZ: (laughter) Thirty five years ago, thirty five years ago when we started playing. Yeah, thirty eight years ago, when we first started playing.
HR: What nights did they have barn dances?
MZ: They would be, they would start Friday night, Saturday, sometimes Sunday nights, because if a band was playing on a Friday or Saturday night, they kind of wanted a bunch of musicians around for that party, so they do it on Sunday nights.
HR: And generally that would be a trio then?
MZ: That, and ah, whoever would bring, it kind of turned into a jam session. Sometimes, you know somebody would want to sit in, bring their guitar and sing a couple of songs.
HR: Would it happen very often?
MZ: Not real often. If I remember right, its um, we probably did two or three a year, and there were some other ones going on other places, so. But with, there was halls, schools, everything, every weekend it was like, every Friday and Saturday night there were dances all over. You know, its like now, their all old buildings with grain out there, sitting empty.
HR: So was this in the ‘50s, 1950’s?
MZ: No, it was later than that.
MZ: ‘60s yeah, later sixties.
HR: When did you see a it tail off? Was there a time when through the years um....
MZ: Little by little, it was like a staircase but it went down, little by little, stretched out more. It was kind of like a heart, beating you know, slowing down, and that’s how that went.
HR: How would people dress for a barn dance, was it casual?
MZ: Oh yeah, very casual, they would come in, in probably what they wore to the field the day before. Some would clean up and some wouldn’t, everybody just kind of did their own thing.
HR: What was the age range?
MZ: Oh, there was a few elderly people there, I would say any place from 15-75, some of the older parents you know, they would show up. I did do a barn dance probably 2 years ago, I can’t remember their, Kargess out of Hazen, south of Hazen. And they had a, I’d never been to this farm before, and they called and said they were doing a little barn dance session, and um, so we went up there and took my accordion and electric piano. So I get up there and there was a heck of a lot of people, and I think they do this annually. And it really was a big turn out, and they passed the hat, and I just went up for the fun. And they gave me some money for it, and I gave them some back, the gal that called me, I said, you put in your time and work too so. Kargess was their last name.
HR: So this was like the old time with the hay around and everything?
MZ: Oh yes, and they did a little square dancing, they round dances, no matter what you played they were dancing to it. And there was a lot of people, so it was a lot of fun.
HR: Do you see people still dance polkas?
MZ: Oh yeah, um, there are certain areas that I know of, that we play at they have no interest in. They don’t do a lot of dancing. And then you get into a certain areas, you take Harvey, Rugby, and you go all the way around, you know. Pick up Jamestown, Valley City, kiddie corner and back and forth Steele, Drake, you get down to Napoleon, Strassburg of course, all of them. We play polka fests all over, Aberdeen is great, they still want a good old, old time music. And when people see an accordion, they say, oh polka music. It’s not always polka music, we do super good country music. We do country music as well as some of the country artists, you know. So its polka, country and waltzes, two steps and so. So there is a lot of entertainment there.
HR: Have you ever do any dances back in Strassburg, and Harvey, would there be a certain different type of dances between those two places?
MZ: Not really, there is still like German people. I speak German quite well, and we found that people that would hire us for that type of music, still wanted the same kind of music. When we get called, there’s little towns that I’ve never heard the name of before. And this has happened this year, and we get to that town, and on the way you travel a lot, you do a lot of traveling. Storms or whatever, we’re there, winter or summer. It makes me wonder before we get there, are these people gonna like our music? Maybe its just the people that have hired us, and the rest haven’t heard us you know. And when we get there, they have just a great time, they say, this is super you know. It is neat to go to new, different areas.
HR: Had you usually been with just your own bands, have you been the leader? Or have you played with other groups where people are in charge.
MZ: I’ve had my own band, all my entertaining days. I had the priveledge of sitting in with Chemileskies, when they came up here they needed an extra accordion player, because they won’t entertain with two, they’ve called me twice. I’ve gotten to play with different bands, if their accordion player was ill and couldn’t make it. But I’ve had my own band all these years. Marv and the Moonlighters is the name of the band, and I’ve had that name, many many years.
HR: You started early at 15 you think?
MZ: Yeah, pretty close. It was a long time ago.
HR: Now, if another accordion player heard you playing, and didn’t see you, would they know that was you playing by yourself?
MZ: Yes they would. Belonging to the Musicians Association and knowing every accordion player around here, we’ve met them all. We have annual picnics, annual doings, Christmas parties and stuff. So you meet just about everybody. I will say this, I met a guy, just probably three days ago, Josh Wangler, a young fellow, he looked like he was a young teenager. And his uncle, they came to our house to look at, we had a storm here a couple weeks ago, and Wangler came down to look at the damage. And I asked this kid if he knew me. He said yes, you play accordion. He says he does too. I said why don’t you come on into the house, I’d like to hear you. This guy is good for a young fellow. I mean he played like Josh Grosz for all the years I’ve put in, I was very impressed. So I got to meet a young guy, I says you better stick with it and get after it, it’s good old time music.
HR: Have you heard an accordion player, well you say this guy plays like Marv Zander, and this guy plays a lot like Vic Schwan?
MZ: You can tell the difference in Dickinson, they have a different style, everybody up there has a different style. And definately there are some people that everybody isn’t going to like as much as the other ones. But I will give every accordion player, every musician just as much credit, they probably tried harder. I know I tried very hard to learn to get where I got, and everybody has put their efforts in no matter how good they play or how much they play, so there’s a lot to it. The accordion I feel is one of the most hardest instruments to learn. You have your key board, that's one insntrument, the right sides like a piano. You have you two bass keys, that’s the first two runs in the base side. Then the other four rows are rhythm. So you have, base, lead, and rhythm. So you’re running on three machines at the same time.
HR: Now do you mostly play by ear?
MZ: Yeah, I play all by ear. If I had to play by note, it would take me a little bit, just a minute people, stop dancing now, I gotta catch this next note, I’d have to learn all over again.
HR: How many numbers do you think you know?
MZ: It’s gotten right now, to if I hear something on the radio and I like it, I can pretty well pick up the accordion and play that song. I have 8 CD's out right now, all different songs on that CD. And we’re working on one right now with the song, You and Me on there right now and God Bless America. We’re taking the songs that we got most requests for in the past here, we’re trying to make a CD of that all, so people instead of looking for all of them, to try and find this and that, they get the combination of that all in one.
HR: Are we ready to pick up the accordion?
HR: I’m going to ask you though, when Vic Schwahn comes up for his interview, um, would you go home and get your other accordion that you play? Because what I would like to do, because, after we finish interviewing Vic, you were talking about the two different styles. (pause) Okay Marv, a question came up, would you play with different people like Frank Yanchovic, or is he slower or faster?
MZ: Frankie, uh, he had a moderate a little bit slower. There are some people who play it too fast, and you get a lot of complaints, and you don’t want to drag it out too much, or you lose the people that want to perk it up a little bit. So you got to get right in between them kinda, but the Yanchovic style that speed for the waltzes, polkas it was uh, in fact later on, I’d like to show you the difference in uh, you can play something fast and it probably sounds so right. When you do a CD, for listening it’s alright, but for dancing, people want, I’ve heard this through a lot of dances.
HR: Sexy back part, there you go.
Background noises, and them talking about nothing, while Marv is getting ready to play the accordion.
HR: Okay Marv, why don’t you tell us about the accordion that you got there?
MZ: I bought this accordion probably 25 years ago,
20 years ago. And uh, it’s I took the name off the back
and the serial number and I went down to the library and looked
it up, and Foss, Fossner and stuff, they were the first to build
accordions. So, the closest I could get at that time, I checked
it out lately, in the last 5 years. And the accordion seems to
be about 120 years old. And they build them that time, they hand
cut them, hand carve them. Everything is 45’d and finished
by hand, and now they press them out by machines. And they are
ivory the keys or pearl, I mean the real stuff, it’s not
plastic, as you can tell. And this one here it shows that you
have a 3 or a 4 so you have a high pitch or a low pitch, the accordion
sound is pretty well had it for all the years it’s probably
played a lot of tunes you know a lot of dances in the year, and
the straps are shot playing a lot of tunes you know. Playing accordion
And um, the accordion you know consists of a 120 base, you have a like, I said before you have a lead, the bass in front you have a bass. And in the other four rows are rhythm, so you actually have like three instruments in one.
HR: How does that feel to hold that, is it fun?
MZ: Oh yeah, this one is lighter than most of them. Some accordions are real bad, they are uncomfortable, you can’t play them. Not only the sound but they’re awkward, they’re probably like this, and when they would build them, they’d put the keyboard way over here even if you set the straps, they come up, and the accordion should come down where your keyboard is right by your leg here, and that’s where they come in most comfortable. This is quite uncomfortable feel of accordion.
HR: But does it feel fun to hold, you know something that old?
MZ: Something that old (laughs) I wish it sounded better, but yeah, it’s um. I bought it at an auction sale, if I remember right, I paid probably 70-75 dollars for that. I got a guy now who wants to give me a hundred for that. But I think I’ll hang onto it, until he comes up to 101 dollars now yeah. But I’ll hang on till I get a little more.
HR: Yeah, that’s quite elaborate everythings towards the keyboard, what is that, a bridge? What do you call that there?
MZ: That’s a grill. I don’t know if you can see, but it has got little rhinestones all over. Dark blue, light blue, gold, they have gold rhinestones here, they have green rhinestones here, and plain color ones there, and gold trim. So it has a lot of work to it.
HR: Now, is that unusual to see something that elaborate?
MZ: Yes it is. I a lot of people. I know a lot of accordion players they say “Oh, I bought an old accordion, you ought to see it." And I’ve seen them, and I haven’t seen one this old. I really haven’t, you know they get to be 80, 90 years old 70, 60. But to find one that’s all hand made and hand carved with all the rhinestones and pearl ivory and stuff. That’s, this is unbelievable. I can’t believe that I ran into it. And when I bought it I wasn’t even looking at that stuff. But I’m glad to have it.
HR: What you call a piano accordion, can you talk about the difference between a piano accordion and a button accordion?
MZ: A button accordion has uh, round like my thumbnail round buttons all over on the keyboard side. And also a concertina and a button accordion keyboard is like a, you can get the same key (Plays) Where a button accordion, you get a harmonica, you get (plays) you get like a blowing into a harmonica, blowing into a harmonica.
MZ: I guess I can’t answer that, I am not sure where the button accordion came in.
HR: What year is there?
MZ: I’m not sure, I kind of checked this one out, because it looked so different, you know.
MZ: Not too much, only in the last few years with the Empter Family Band. They are out of Jamestown now, but they were originally from the Glen Ulen area. They had a family where they all played button accordions. When we play polka fest there is Earl Melhaff out of Eureka, South Dakota, he brings along, he plays the piano accordion. Most of the day, and then sits in once and a while a plays the button accordion. And I really like the sounds of them. Although we can get these sent in and get them Yanchovic tone as they call it. Have different reeds put in so you get that same sound effect. But they do sound a little different because they are set up different for your fingers and stuff.
HR: So they don’t find as many keys as you do?
MZ: There is not as many keys on there, but they actually cover you know, the full instrument. The need for all the different sound keys.
HR: Is it smaller?
MZ: Yeah, every one I see, has gotten smaller this year. Probably the largest is ¾ size of this accordion.
HR: This is pretty much the size that you play?
MZ: This is um, this was a full size, in it’s day, and that is still a full size accordion. They also make a ladies size, which the keys are ¾ size from this. And I tried playing them and you’re going to miss, you’re not going to hit, and once you get used to you should stay to it. You know it’s not. But they make a ladies size accordion and they’re also downsized. I have an 80 bass accordion that’s downsized like that, but it’s got full size keys, is a Yanchovic tone, and I’ll be playing that tomorrow.
HR: How many different accordions do you own?
MZ: I have 5 right now. A couple little ones. Just for toys, only 5, but I have had 10 at one time.
HR: Do you bring different ones at different jobs?
MZ: No, I usually stick to the same machine. But I have another one that is ready to go in case of something going wrong, so I have time to fix it, you know back up so.
HR: Why don’t you play a little more for us here.
MZ: This accordion (laughs) is tough, not very playable anymore the bellows are bad, the straps are shot.
HR: This is so we can get your finger prints. (laughter)
MZ: Oh yes, I would say approximately 8-10 years ago. They had a, also had an accordion contest and I’m very proud to say that they had a very lot of accordion players there, and I did take first place in the contest. And um, the judges were Bernie Stein, Bill Mastell, and one other accordion player, I’m not sure..... Bob Dohlicheck. And these guys are good accordion players too. And it made me feel so proud to be able to take first place with a bunch of accordion players, and with the judges to also pick me. And for the judges to be able to pick me, I’ve known these people a long time, so, that’s quite an honor to get a trophy and take first place for that.
HR: What would they be judging on, what are they looking for?
MZ: I would say style, um, probably one of the things like you said earlier, speed and music. You know, so you don’t speed on it. Mainly style, I picked some songs that had a little more complicated than other ones too, you know. The easy songs, everybody gets used to them, so you’re not going to be able to do a good show on that, but when you get a new song, and a complicated one, there’s a lot. You can do a lot of bass things on these, you can be a bass player, like a bass guitar.
HR: Would you rather play sitting down or standing up?
MZ: I used to stand up all the time. Now I’ve got a stool that is probably bar stool height and I sit on that with a back rest, it’s comfortable. I used to stand years ago, alot. And now my feet are flat and everything, (laughs) no I’m just kidding you.
HR: Could I get you to do In The Mood one more time?
MZ: Okay, so we’re going to let you loose here, so you can go home and get your other accordion.