Jimmie Van Zant
Jimmie was born in Jacksonville, Florida – a city known mostly in the music circles as “the home of southern rock royalty.” Jimmie’s father: E.C. Van Zant and his brother, Lacy Van Zant is Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny’s father, linking this famous family together. Jimmie recalls his mother having an upright piano at home where she spent countless hours playing gospel tunes. Jimmie began taking piano and guitar lessons back at age 6. Later, in his teen years, he watched and listened to Ronnie Van Zant and the boys’ rehearse in his living room. He became amazed, mesmerized and drawn to their musical perfection. At this time, this musical pairing was known as “One Percent”, but would later evolve into the legendary Lynryd Skynyrd band.
Throughout his later teen years, Jimmie was sidetracked from music and took an interest in fast cars, professional bowling tournaments, and other hobbies. The tragedy of the fateful plane crash of 1977 of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band and loss of Ronnie Van Zant brought Jimmie back to his musical roots. This pushed him to make his own mark in the industry, guided by the lessons he learned from his cousin, Ronnie. He formed his own group and later was signed by a record label, and recorded his first album: “Southern Comfort”, where he dedicated the song he co-wrote: “Ronnie’s Song” as a tribute to his beloved cousin, which he is still demanded to play on tour. Jimmie never looked back and continued to tour with his dedication and drive for the music, performing over 200 shows a year, delivering each performance with a vengeance.
Zohra Van Zant
Zohra was born and raised in South Jersey. As a child, her and her three sisters would sit and listen to a wide range of music with their father. From R&B, rock, soul, jazz from the 50’s on up. Zohra, and her sisters, dreamed of having their own rock band someday.
Zohra and Jimmie married on April 12th, 2002 while Jimmie as on tour and has been with him on tour since. As Jimmie’s supporting vocalist, she also shares the harmony with Laura and the two of them have a unique chemistry that blends with Jimmie’s.
Zohra has her own defined stage presence, and stands on her own as a performer and not not only as Jimmie’s wife.
In addition to performing, she also has a great passion for fashion and plans to start her own clothing line in the near future.
As a child Dave Camarda was introduced to many instruments including sax & keyboards. But it wasn’t until a motorcycle crash, at age 14, that Dave started taking music and guitar seriously. At age 18, Dave made his first dollar for playing music… (Actually it was $20). In the mid 80′s he opened Pine Audio Recording and also started doing session work as a guitar player in Buffalo & New York.
Dave has appeared on more than 75 artists records and has and at least 2000 Spinal Tap moments!!!
Dave joined the JVZ band in 2007. On his off days you will probably find him messing around with music in the studio.
Michael Cannizzaro, a New York native, started playing drums in the school band in 3rd grade. Oddly enough, he started playing the French horn, but was constantly tapping on the music stands. One day his teacher, Mr. Light says the Michael,” do you want to play drums will that stop you from tapping and driving me crazy?”…… The rest is history!
Michael’s very first band was a three-piece consisting of drums, piano and saxophone. All 3 wore matching velour shirts and called themselves “THE VELOURS”. Their first gig lasted 25 minutes and they got paid $15 ($5 each)! From there things started to get better. His next band was called “Metal Edge”, an 80’s cover / original project. The band played various clubs all over Long Island and had a very good response from fans. All throughout his middle school and high school years, Michael was taking lessons from top name drum teachers such as Michael Abbott and “The Good Rats”, Mr Joe Franco. Michael then moved on to bigger and better things. He relocated and met Stetson Howland of the band WASP. Stet and he became great friends and Stetson brought him to Studio Sea in Fort Myers to meet Ricky Medlocke of the world renowned band Blackfoot and today Lynyrd Skynyrd. Ricky took a young Michael under his wing and mentored him in the ways of the music business and recording industry. Michael has multiple recordings under his belt with Ricky as well as movie soundtracks with Ricky for William Shatner. Michael has also uncountable amounts of drum tracks with local bands.
In 1996 Ricky and the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd asked Michael to do the demo tracks for their album “The Edge of Forever” which he accepted without hesitation. He was introduced to members of the band Cinder and had a short stint with them. Michael met four young men in Fort Myers Florida and formed the band, “MRB” (The Mike Rogers Band). they toured extensively up and down i-75 from Fort Myers to the top of Michigan and were known for its funk and rock combination . The next project for Michael was a heavy rock band called “ZONA”. Zona went on to get signed by Universal Records. Michael has been doing recordings with various artists and touring all over the world. In 2012 Michael joined the newly-formed Blackfoot by Ricky Medloke. After a year with Blackfoot, while on the road with he became friends with Jimmie Van Zant of the notable Southern Rock Royalty family, the Van Zants. Michael now plays for the world renowned Jimmie Van Zant Band. Michael States,” it is an absolute privilege and honor to play with such talented musicians as the Jimmie Van Zant band, I cannot wait to see what the future holds…”.
Dave Morris grew up in the outskirts of Buffalo NY.
Noticeably the “hillbilly” type (where he states “I am Appalachian American”) Dave got into playing bass at an early age, after playing around with his sister’s guitar. His notable playing ability has been the staple of different bands throughout his past. He has worked with bands such as Head First, Mother May I, Nix Vega and The Release. Dave’s influences are: Mike Levine (Triumph) Rudy Sarzo (Various) and of course Leon Wilkenson of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Bobby Chet Cook
Bobby Chet Cook officially began playing the guitar on March 14, 1999, studying at Caruso’s School of Music in New London, Connecticut. From the age of 5, Bobby Chet had a fascination with intricate guitar playing. One band in particular, Lynyrd Skynyrd, was an obsession; The far-advanced methods and often obscure music theory of Steve Gaines, the speed and precision of Allen Collins, and the Blues-based, melancholy approach of Gary Rossington offered extreme diversity in technique and provided a curriculum ideal for a budding student. Taking the dynamic of how these three lead instruments would have to coexist, yet not trample each other, and further adding the dimension of a Hammond organ, grand piano or both, Lynyrd Skynyrd helped shape Bobby Chet into a master sound builder and a fan of orchestration.
For seven years, Bobby Chet studied under the tutelage of Eddie Aledia, a consummate professional musician and a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. Learning the essential intricacies of the instrument was the name of the game, at this stage. When Bobby Chet was 12, Eddie advised that there was nothing left to teach but still a lot to be learned- Things that could only be learned through personal development.
When horizons broadened with the likes of Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, and the Allman Brothers, his fascination with the Blues were born; On a professional level, Bobby Chet utilizes his expertise of Southern Rock to enhance the sounds of artists, such as Jimmie Van Zant and Chas Collins, while pursuing an independent career in Modern Blues and Blues Rock.