Catching up with Zox

Taking it back home
By CHRIS CONTI  |  August 3, 2011

STAYING CONNECTED Zox, Miller, Swain, and Edinberg.

Eli Miller, Dan Edinberg, Spencer Swain, and John Zox are getting the band back together — for one night only. ZOX will return to Lupo's on Saturday, August 13, and we expect a packed (if not sold-out) crowd when the quartet celebrates their tenth anniversary. Expect to hear tracks from all three albums: their '03 debut Take Me Home, The Wait ('05), and arguably their best (and final?) album, Line In the Sand ('08). And the band set up a contest via YouTube where fans could upload themselves singing or performing any ZOX song; the winner will join them onstage.

Aside from the annual hometown throwdowns at Lupo's, we haven't heard much from ZOX since they announced a "hiatus" in 2008, having logged a mind-boggling 1000-plus shows in less than four years, including SXSW, the Warped Tour, and gargantuan international festivals like Reading and Leeds. We caught up with drummer/founder John Zox earlier this week, who filled us in on just what the hell these dudes have been up to. We've seen Swain in action lately wielding his violin with esteemed indie-roots duo Brown Bird (which includes Swain's sister MorganEve), as he did at the Newport Folk Fest and Brown Bird's recent EP release party at the Met (one of the best shows of the year). Swain is now Brown Bird's touring manager and recently returned from a West Coast swing with the Devil Makes Three. Vocalist/guitarist Miller just graduated from Stanford Law School and will soon be working for a federal judge in San Francisco; bassist Edinberg has been living in Brooklyn and commuting to Bridgeport, CT to record with his new band, the Stepkids, whose debut LP will be out on Stones Throw Records (Aloe Blacc, Madlib) on September 27; they'll tour North America and Japan in the fall. Zox recently graduated from Penn's Wharton Business School with an MBA, and will finish his Master's in Engineering (Product Design). Between design consulting stints, he has filed his first patent (for plateware!) and plans to open a multimedia music venue.

We lobbed a few more questions at John Zox.

SO THIS IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE ONLY SHOW OF THE YEAR FOR ZOX? This is definitely the only show of the year for us. With each of us living in a different part of the country and pursuing other projects, it's awfully hard to get our schedules to line up. But we all hope we can continue to make this an annual tradition — the last couple of shows have been excellent reminders of how much we enjoy playing together, and how lucky we are to be able to stay connected with our audience.

CAN YOU PINPOINT A MOMENT WHEN ONE OR ALL OF YOU SAID, "OK, THIS IS IT FOR AWHILE"? It was a grueling schedule, but those were really exciting years. I don't know that there was any one breaking point for us, but there were moments when we'd play down in Charleston, SC and literally one person would show up. Then we'd drive all night to Pensacola, FL and play in a college cafeteria. That's when we all probably wondered how long we'd be able to keep it up — about six years, as it turns out. But I don't think any of us would trade a single year in for any other kind of experience.

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