Zeus from Highland Park

Zeus and his guitar

The past week I’ve been reading the book Outliers, The Stories of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. The basic gist of the book is very successful people, outliers, owe their success to a few proven factors: time spent practicing their craft, dedication and luck (class, unique historical moments, when they were born etc.) Anyways, I immediately thought of this book when I went to the Rite Aid on York and Ave 64 this evening and spotted this young dude playing his guitar and singing outside the front door.

I’ve seen him all over Highland Park, at the farmer’s market, the library, on Figueroa, all sorts of places and he’s always with his guitar. I thought to myself, it’s not too many young people that would have the dedication and gumption to stand in front of Rite Aid playing on a Monday night. But it seemed to be paying off, I saw a man go to his car, get money and come back to put it in the already-full-of-bills of hat. Nobody does that in Highland Park, c’mon! Make an extra trip to give someone money? They wouldn’t even do that for their mom! Something about this dude’s spunk was admirable and piqued my interest so I asked him if I could interview him for the blog. He was really nice and said yes, even though I interrupted his song. It’s okay it was a Beatles (gag) song.

What’s your name?

That’s your stage name?
No, my real name. I was born with it. [laughs]
How old are you?
How long have you been playing guitar?
Seven years
How did you get into music?
My dad played classic rock guitar
Is your dad from Highland Park?
Yeah, but he doesn’t live here anymore. He lives in Bellflower [laughs]
How about you?
I’ve lived in Highland Park my whole life.
Where do you usually play?
In front of supermarkets, farmer markets, anywhere…
What kind of music do you play?
[He shrugs and then exclaims] Rock n roll!
I play in a band too, called Liquid Love Ghost (add them on FB).
Thanks! (I drop a dollar in his hat, what a cheapskate, huh?)

And that concludes our Rite-Aid interview!

A review of Zeus from a friend of mine who lives in HLP:

He was playing in the park next to my apartment on a particularly shitty day…and something about it just made me so very happy, to see him making music in the park while I was fuming away. I stopped and smiled and said, “You just made my whole day!” and he said, “I did? Awesome.”

One last story about Zeus. I was in a local library, checking out books of course, when I saw Zeus in the library surrounded by a group of friends and quietly playing his guitar. The librarian went over and told him to stop. But he kept playing, so she told him he had to leave. He continued to strum his guitar while walking out, a small gaggle of teenage girls trailing behind him…

Good luck to Zeus and all the other aspiring young musicians of Highland Park! Remember The Beatles played every night for eight hours at a time to perfect their sound. Zeus has got a leg up on the competition already!

18 thoughts on “Zeus from Highland Park

  1. Zeus should post his songs on YouTube. With a little hair re-do he can be the next Justin Beiber discovered on YouTube.

  2. Zeus is a fixture around here. I really like being able to hear his musical development over the past couple of years. And YES he LOVES playing THE BEATLES. But then again, didn’t we all go through that phase when we were teenagers?

  3. I really appreciated reading this blog. Zeus has a few recordings scattered around the internet. Check his band out through one of the following links:

  4. I know Zeus. He has an amazing talent. My son Eric is the drummer for Liquid Love Ghost, so I’ve seen the magic countless times. Zeus loves the classics, and he plays them with the passion that us old dudes love to see. I look at this young man as a person that has something special, and he isn’t shy to play his music anywhere. The music scene is full of people that are wishing they had an ounce of the talent, and the respect for the people that created those great tunes, that Zeus, Eric, and Alex, the band’s bass player have… Check this band out live, they are truly an amazing experience. Rock On Baby!!!

  5. Hey you kids stop hating on the Beatles,

    ‘even though I interrupted his song. It’s okay it was a Beatles (gag) song.’
    ‘But then again, didn’t we all go through that phase when we were teenagers?’

    If it weren’t for the Beatles, you’d all be singing Pat Boone tunes!

  6. To Zeus’ friends and family: So glad you found the site! And I’m quite happy to promote young musicians like Zeus who take their music to the streets. Good luck to all of you in your efforts!

    To Crazy (u got that right) Old (yes, it is rather old) Dr. Pepper (or whatever): Yeah, yeah, the Beatles, blah, blah…I concede they were good, ground-breaking, musical legends etc. but so were a lot of other bands like, say, Joy Division. The Eastside needs a Mexican Ian Curtis. 😉

  7. Nice. Just heard their stuff. Not bad. Its nice to see underground bands in the east not obsessed with metal or punk.

  8. Out of college, money spent
    See no future, pay no rent
    All the money’s gone, nowhere to go
    Any jobber got the sack
    Monday morning, turning back
    Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go
    But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
    Oh, that magic feeling
    Nowhere to go
    Nowhere to go

    One sweet dream
    Pick up the bags and get in the limousine
    Soon we’ll be away from here
    Step on the gas and wipe that tear away
    One sweet dream came true… today
    Came true… today
    Came true… today…yes it did

  9. So is his real name “Jesús”? I got called Zeus a lot in junior high because the kids thought it was funny that our gringo teachers pronounced my name “hay-‘zoos,” which sounded like: “Hey, Zeus!”

  10. indeed his name is zeus,
    and i’am so proud of this boy and his inmense pasion for music and talent musically
    i have see him growing musically since his was 12 years old, and i got to say how impress iam the way he scratches his guitar and commited he is with music.
    i do believe that he really gonna make it one day “big time” but for thay iam patient
    to see that happen.
    keep scratching that guitar of yours zeus ….like i always tell you. and when you feel blue ….play those blues like the way, you know how to do it.

  11. beatles (gag)… really? what planet are you from? Have you ever heard the music? I guess your band will still be playing on the radio 50 years after they’re done. Show some respect.

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