Drummer’s house gone, but reggae show will go on | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Drummer’s house gone, but reggae show will go on

Rick Chandler

Don Zay plays at Whiskey Dick's on Friday, June 29.

Don Zay has had better weeks. He’s staying at a friend’s house now, sleeping on the sofa after having lost nearly everything he owns when his house was destroyed in the Angora fire. The losses include his treasured drum set, a new, Gretsch five-piece that he had purchased only six months ago.

Zay is scheduled to perform with his reggae band, Ancient I’s, at Whiskey Dick’s Saloon in South Shore on Friday night, along with DJ Bliss.

“It’s a devastating thing to lose your home, but my first thought really was that the music always must go on,” said Zay, who has lived in Lake Tahoe for the past six months. “So I’ll borrow a drum set and we’ll go on as planned. I never really considered canceling the show. In fact, the fire has made me want to go on more than ever.”

Zay lived in the View Circle area off of Lake Tahoe Boulevard, near where the fire started on Sunday. He was renting the house with a couple of roommates, but the fact that he didn’t own it doesn’t make the loss any less painful, he says.

“I was finally putting down roots after having traveled around quite a lot,” he said. “You get to a place where you’re calling someplace home, and getting used to have your stuff in a certain place. Sure, it hurts. But I have my life and I have my friends and I have my music, so you keep things in perspective and be thankful for that.”

Ancient I’s began just more than a year ago when Zay and a friend began performing acoustically on the beach of the Sutter River, near Chico, where they lived. They soon decided to form a band, which today includes Zay on drums and vocals, Curt Davis on guitar, Chris Hill on bass and Matt Beauchard on keyboard. They’ve been working steadily ever since, playing Northern California locations from Chico to North Shore, Sacramento and many others.

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“We’ve just been working hard getting the music out there,” Zay said. “I’d like to see a lot of people on Friday come out and support reggae music.”

Ancient I’s was inspired by the meditative sounds of St. Croix reggae bands such as Ras Attitude and Midnite, but also performs old ska-sounding tunes (faster rhythms) to mix it up. DJ Bliss, another South Lake Tahoe resident, will be spinning roots, reggae, ska and dancehall between sets to make the night complete.