Arts and Entertainment

Zeke slams into Kitsap

From left: Chris Johnsen, Blind Marky, Donny Paycheck and Diamond Jeff Matz make up the Zeke crew coming to Winterland this weekend. - Courtesy photo
From left: Chris Johnsen, Blind Marky, Donny Paycheck and Diamond Jeff Matz make up the Zeke crew coming to Winterland this weekend.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

When the Winterland opened its doors in the fall of 2006, the intent always in the forefront of owner Tony Winters’ mind was to bring in high-profile local, regional and touring bands. And thus far, the club has been successful.

This weekend, a Seattle-born band of world famous metalcore punks united under the name Zeke will be coming to Bremerton for the first time in a long time, sharing the Winterland stage with locally famous punks Artimus Maximus, The Enemies Of ... and Denver, Colo. band Frontside Five.

And while singer/stringer Blind Marky and drummer Donny Paycheck are the only remaining original Zeke members (of the four-piece band now featuring Jason Freeman on bass and Chris Johnsen on guitar), the music the band emits is still as raucous, furious, heavy and straight-ahead as it’s always been.

As it should be.

“At this point we’re not afraid to do anything,” Paycheck said. “We do what we do ... that’s the only way we can do this thing.”

Formed in the early 1990s Emerald City scene, purposely oblivious to the grunge trend, Paycheck noted, Zeke started garnering a reputation of West Coast thrashmetal monsters, bringing a battering live show with songs played to the absolute limit at Zekespeed. Over the course of the next decade, after signing on with the ‘90s punk rock phenom record label Epitaph, the four-piece released half a dozen albums and toured extensively, playing with legends like Pearl Jam, Iron Maiden, the Misfits and the Supersuckers, to name a few.

But over the course of 10 years, the demands of a world-traveling punk rock band began to wear on the group and when getting together for the music began to feel like pulling teeth, the band called it quits following the release of one of its “Death Alley” CD in 2002.

Symbolically, it was the power of the live show which brought Zeke back together, this time as a three-piece, a little more than a year later. Paycheck was releasing a live Zeke album and the band was tapped to play a reunion show for the release at the Funhouse in Seattle. The vibes from the show were so overwhelming that the band reunited and hashed out a brand new, brazen CD “Til the Living End” in 2003.

Since they’ve got the chance to play and tour with a whole new ilk of artists like Motorhead and Hank Williams III both of which Zeke toured with in 2005. Now, they are coming to Bremerton.

“It’s been a while since we were out there,” Donny Paycheck said of Kitsap. “Just going to the Winterland is going to be a cool thing ... it’s been a long time since there was a place like that to play over there.”

Paycheck has already rocked Winterland with his other band, a Ramones tribute called “1,2,3,4,” as have Artimus Maximus and The Enemies. But this is the first Bremerton spotlight on Zeke in more than five years.

“You know what you’re going to get, you’re going to get a great live, prolific, punk rock show ... and that’s what you want,” Paycheck said. “If not, don’t come.”

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