Zero Interview Glossary

Note: All entries subject to disputation, verification, or augmentation at any time without notice. All information should be considered hearsay unless otherwise indicated or confirmed. Void where prohibited by law.
Zero Records


Greg Anton

Drummer, pianist, composer, co-founder of Zero. Also lawyer and former chicken-farmer.


Adopted his monicker fronting a band, Banana and the Bunch, as a teenager in the early '60s. Former bass player for the Youngbloods, former keyboard player for Zero, former owner of Scott Wood Gibson-style F-5 mandolin, present-day rhythm guitarist for Steve Kimock & Friends.

Howard Danchik

Zero soundman.

Martín Fierro

Tenor saxophone player, former member of Mother Earth, Legion of Mary, and Reconstruction, among others, in Zero since 1985, plays also in Steve Kimock & Friends, and fronts his own jazz band, the Martín Fierro Quintet + 1. Known for his stage outbursts and lunatic wisdom, originator of the expression Shut Up!

Jerry Garcia

Robert Hunter's late long-time song-writing collaborator, lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead, leader of the Jerry Garcia band, former guitarist for Legion of Mary and Reconstruction, former member of the Wildwood Boys.

Keith Godchaux

Late, former Grateful Dead pianist, former husband of Donna, former member of the Heart of Gold Band and the Ghosts, first hired Steve Kimock to work in band with Greg Anton.

Nicky Hopkins

Late, great British session pianist, former member of Jefferson Airplane, former member of the Jerry Garcia Band, played in some capacity with Zero, participated in original Zero demo sessions with Steve Kimock and Greg Anton.

Robert Hunter

Poet, translator, co-author of the better part of the Grateful Dead repertoire, Zero lyricist, solo performer, webmaster, sage, and survivor.

Steve Kimock

Self-effacing guitar prodigy, a man with an ability to express, uncut, pure emotions through his fingertips, nay the muscles of his entire body, with only a taut guitar (or similar tool), custom-tampered electronic devices, and a band of listeners.

Donna Jean Godchaux McKay

Singer, a former Muscle Shoals session vocalist (backup singer on Elvis's In the Ghetto), former Grateful Dead vocalist, former wife and bandmate of the late Keith Godchaux, now touring with a new album publicized at her web site.

David Nelson

Former Wildwood Boy, occasional Grateful Dead studio sideman, member of the Jerry Garcia acoustic band, and co-founder of the New Riders of the Purple Sage. Plays with Hunter and Rothman at the office Christmas party every year.

Chip Roland

Mind-melting, inside of organ tampering with, New Orleans voodoun messing with, Morrison tune bringing in and singing Zero keyboard (mainly B-3) player since the Psychedelic Guitar Circus sessions, sits in with Steve Kimock & Friends, and fronts his own play around downtown San Rafael Namedroppers band.

Sandy Rothman

Former Wildwood Boy, former Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band member, occasional Robert Hunter journal appearance-maker.

John Cipollina

Former Quicksilver guitarist, Dinosaur, Problem Child, Fish & Chip, one of Terry's Pirates, Gravenites collaborator, Dead guest on Not Fade Away/Mona type excursions, early addition to Zero, died in 1989 of emphysema, still a member of Zero.

Judge Murphy

Throaty blues-eyed soul voice of Zero, whom Martín Fierro calls "the Yosemite Sam of rock and roll."



One of the earliest Robert Hunter-Zero collaborations, a mid-tempo love song with a classically sweet-toned melody line. When first introduced, controversy among fans boiled for months on whether Judge was capable of restraining himself from bursting into song when ordering a salad dressing.

Chance in a Million

A song whose lyrics apparently derive from Hunter musing on Greg Anton's lament about the tough music business. The music for the song is based on the outro of a take of Theme from Nancy Germany. The lyrics have inspired a semi-cryptic bumpersticker available at shows, abbreviating "greater than zero divided by one" in mathematical terms. The following line is "chance in a million is better than none."

8 Below Zero

End of the World Blues

Hunter's postapocalyptic psychedelic blues ("and the sun stares down, like a big red eye") with a touch of populist sentiment ("lost my job, to some younger guy"), mindbending in concert.


Fairly straight-ahead rock 'n' roll, based on a double-time version of Home on the Range, from the new album.

Gregg's Egg's

Home on the Range

Robert Hunter's Marin County take on the traditional lyric, in which he dreams of a range "where the people don't change."

Pits of Thunder

A sexy funk throb that leads out into space as often as not (or to the planet of riddim), usually has a huge drum-solo intro, and frequently last ten to twenty-five minutes. A common show opener.


Roll Me Over

Spoken For

A Hunter song on the new album.

Tangled Hangers

One of Zero's eight or so core instrumentals, overtly jazzy, appeared on the second studio album, Nothing Goes Here, and the first live album Live: Go Hear Nothing.

Theme from Nancy Germany

Instrumental recorded on Nothing Goes Here whose name derives from an anecdote described in the interview.


Grateful Dead

A man dies too poor for burial and his body is left on the roadside by his humiliated family. A traveler comes across the undignified repose of the corpse and gives the remains a sanctified burial. Later in his travels he encounters misfortune or obstruction but finds help unexpected and aid from a stranger, who in the end reveals himself to be the grateful spirit of the honorably buried dead.

Steve Kimock & Friends

Literally Steve's friends, and a sort of alternative universe early Zero (minus Cipollina and Anton, and with Banana on rhythm guitar instead of keyboards). Already drawing bigger crowds, with its murderer's row of Kimock, Fierro, and Roland.

The Youngbloods

With Jesse Colin Young they popularized Get Together ("Come on people, now, smile on your brother/Everybody get together, try and love one another, right now").


"Start from nothing, and... see what comes up."

Zero Records

Chance in a Million

Nothing Goes Here

The second album, all studio cuts except for a live Gregg's Eggs (complete with manic banter by Martín on the intro), recorded after Cipollina's death (except for the live cut, included on the album partly for that reason).





Maritime Hall

Hiring hall in San Francisco right near the Bay Bridge, featuring roots, reggae, rap, psychedelic, jazz, and other music for the head. Site of short-lived Family Dog revival in 1996.


Chut Up

see Shut Up

Front Street

The Dead's San Rafael recording studio, where Greg and Steve first worked out a core group of Zero instrumentals. A famous illustration of its '70s-era atmospheric charm - it's in a sketchy area - is the cover of the Dead's Shakedown Street album.

Gibson (

mandatory minimums

"more instrumentals"

Shut Up

see Chut Up

Copyright © 1997
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