If Zach’s life were a mobile in a child’s nursery, music would be its axis. Hanging from the mobile would be a small ukulele, a collection of vintage organs and pianos, a broken accordian and other sound makers. There would be more than just musical instruments dangling down. There would be an old man’s sweater, a furry pilot’s cap, a ball of clay for shaping, and a walking stick.
Growing up in Saratoga, CA, early inspiration came from Zach’s grandmother Mabel, a church organist, and father Chuck, an ex-rocker and member of “Admiral Nelson and the Oppressed Seamen.” Zach’s future became clear during high school when he sparked a lifelong friendship with fellow musicians Dan Lebowitz and Steve Adams (aka LAG). Discovering the power of performance, the trio began playing jazz, powerpoprock, bluegrass and everything in between.
The transition from musician to performer occurred seamlessly during time spent at the University of California Santa Barbara. Destiny led LAG to Augusta, Georgia where they were indoctrinated into the world of funk and soul by the godfather himself, James Brown. Zach’s world expanded that summer and his voice as a songwriter began to unfold.
Back at school, the group evolved into a variety of projects before emerging as the Animal Liberation Orchestra. Formed in 1998, ALO has been Zach’s primary musical vehicle over the last decade. The band’s deep repertoire of material has endeared legions of fans with Gill’s powerful vocals giving it all a soulful stamp. Best known for live prowess, the band has also released three critically-acclaimed albums; most recently 2007’s, “Roses and Clover.”
In 2005, he joined forces with college pal and emerging superstar, Jack Johnson. Accepting an invitation to join Jack’s band, Zach diversified the group’s trademark sound with his multi-instrumental zest, vocals, and dancing skills. In 2008, they will set off again on a world tour in support of Jack’s fourth album, “Sleep through the Static.”
While ALO and Jack Johnson continue to tour, Zach nurtures his muse by constantly writing and recording music. Recently he collaborated with Aimee Mann and Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads) on a composition, “At the Edge of the World” for the Paramount Pictures documentary, “An Arctic Tale.” His music was also featured in the “Curious George” film and soundtrack. In 2008 Zach will release his first full length solo project with Brushfire Records.
Amidst all of these projects, his most pivotal roles are as a husband and father. He can often be found in his Creativity Lounge, shaping clay and recording holiday music with his 7 year old daughter…(check out the 2007 season favorite, “I smell grandma’s figgy pudding”).