"If Izzy and the Catastrophics had been the band on the Titanic, they’d have blown that iceberg into cubes for drinks on the ledo deck.” -Brian Baker, Citybeat Cincinnati.
Stitching together rock n’ roll, swing, surf, honky-tonk, and bebop, Izzy and the Catastrophics are a profoundly exciting and challenging group. Often compared to rockabilly greats of the past, Izzy and his boys are carrying the tradition into the 21st century with flair and frenzy.
Rooted firmly in traditional American roots music with the chops to nail it and the grit to deliver it, Izzy and his boys are on a lifelong mission to heal the world’s disenfranchised ears by exposing audiences to the glory of their own cultural lineage. Spiritually bound to professional principles yet prone to avant-garde interludes and playfully vulgar stage banter, the band is rapidly building a subculture from every facet of society. Izzy’s shows are as likely to be filled with excitable counter-culture kids as with sentimental old drunks. If there is a common thread connecting everyone who cares for live music, Izzy and the Catastrophics are it.
The band has toured constantly since 2008, playing over 250 shows per year in America and Europe. They have shared the stage with everyone from Snoop Dogg and Reverend Horton Heat in Orlando to the unmentionable punk bands of Anaheim. Their most recent album, Lucky Dragon Swing Buffet: Dinner Price,was largely recorded during a month long stint in New Orleans, with guest appearances by some of the hottest young players on the emergent Trad Jazz scene. During the filming of their debut music video for Mambo on Your Grave, the group rode a full-sized Mardi-Gras float illegally through the mausoleum-laden cemeteries of New Orleans.
Amassing talented players from all over the world, the band has had many lineup changes. With each passing member, the band and the players have expanded and deepened their passion for playing music.
The one constant has always been Izzy Zaidman, veteran guitarist of Wayne "The Train” Hancock’s band. Fronting the group with swagger and zest, his masterful guitar playing is surpassed only by his witty songwriting and razor-sharp stage banter.
Chapman Sowash leads the horn section on trombone and cornet. A prominent figure in the Trad Ska scene, Chapman hails from Cincinnati, Ohio. A rotating member of the Toasters and the Green Room Rockers, he has also guest-starred with the Slackers, Westbound Train, and the Aggrolites.
Drummer Mikey "Smiley” Cannon, formerly of popular San Diego Latin-Reggae group the B-Side Players, is gaining a reputation nationwide for his bebop chops, cowboy hat, and winning smile.
Saxophonist Emiliano Vernizzi hails from Parma, Italy... where Parmisan cheese comes from. Emi has mastered the nuances of American saxophone playing from Sammy Butera to Charlie Parker. He has performed at dozens of festivals in Europe with some of the biggest names in Jazz including legendary drummer Max Roach and saxophonist Steve Grossman. His attention to stylistic detail and perfectly executed growls earned him a most cherished position in the Catastrophics lineup.
Hailing from Seattle, Ethan Sobotta stands behind the bass. He brings a diverse wealth of jazz, funk, orchestral, and rockabilly experience to the Catastrophics' musical palette. He has also been seen performing with The Wages of Sin, Zizzy Zi Zixxy, and The Pornadoes, among others.
With a full domestic tour schedule, plans for a high-profile European tour in March 2012 and the release of their next album Lucky Dragon Swing Buffet: Lunch Price in the works, Izzy and the Catastrophics are heading into 2012 with vigor. Come all ye faithful to your nearest watering hole and see the boys live.
Chaka Khan! Spirit of the Wolf!
No matter what group of able players is backing him, Izzy Zaidman -- known just as Izzy on swingin' circuits -- is a one-man powerhouse of retro guitar fun. As the longtime axman for Wayne "The Train" Hancock, he perfected a rollicking style of guitar-picking that sounded like it was swiped straight from the Sun Records vaults.
As a frontman in his own right, though, Izzy's amassed a cult following of fans across the country thanks to his distinctive live shows. As a bandleader, he's part foul-mouthed lounge lizard, part Andy Kaufmanesque comedian, and, most of the time, a fiery force of rock 'n' roll. And swing. And honky tonk. And a little classic country. And basically every other musical genre for which a pompadour and bright lipstick are perfectly appropriate.
This is straight-up fun, no chasers, and Izzy returns to South Florida this Saturday when he performs with a new backing band, the Catastrophics, at the Poorhouse. Though he's come through previously with the outfit the Kesstronics, this grouping features a fresh lineup. Most notably for subcultural types, that includes trombonist Chapman Sowash, who's done time with favorites of the trad ska scene like the Toasters, the Slackers, Westbound Train, and the Aggrolites.