Up to the hills and far away: Zepparella to rock Nevada City, dirigeable style | TheUnion.com

Up to the hills and far away: Zepparella to rock Nevada City, dirigeable style

Holly West, Gretchen Menn, Anna Kristina, and Clementine (left to right) make up the Led Zeppelin tribute band Zepparella, performing Saturday at Miners Foundry.
Photograph by Max Crace


WHAT: Zepparella

WHEN: Saturday, March 2, Doors 7:00 p.m., Show 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City

TICKETS: $22/adv, $27/door. All-Ages. Tickets are available online at http://www.minersfoundry.org, in person or by phone at the Miners Foundry, 530-265-5040, or in person at Briar Patch Co-Op.

Zepparella, the San Francisco based all female powerhouse Led Zeppelin tribute band, returns to Nevada City Saturday, performing at the Miners Foundry Cultural Center.

More than just a tribute band, Zepparella shows replicate the powerful improvisational musical journey for which Led Zeppelin shows were renowned. 

Led by drummer extraordinaire Clementine, the band is also comprised of singer Anna Kristina, guitarist Gretchen Menn and bassist Holly West. Zepparella brings the passion, the beauty, the aggression and the musicality of Led Zeppelin alive. 

Over the last 16 years Zepparella since has been a band, they have released two live albums and toured throughout the United States performing thousands of shows. In addition to playing in Zepparella, the four members all have other musical projects, but Zepparella will always remain their focus and first love.

“We do a lot of juggling with original projects, but Zepparella is an important piece of our careers for many reasons,” explained Clementine. “The music gives us so much as players, and it’s an ever-evolving process musically. Then, our connection with the audience keeps growing and developing. Finally, it’s just a pure blast. We want to see each other and rock together, and we have so much fun.”

Clementine is the founding member of Zepparella. From the beginning of her musical career, her goal has been to be onstage every night. She tackles the best rock drumming with her own emotionally powerful style, bringing the Motown influence of the John Bonham groove to the forefront. The profound musical connection established with Menn, Kristina and West creates the bond required to do this music justice.

It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip DeFremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that guitarist Gretchen Menn began her path on the instrument. Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, her projects are often unconventional, genre-bending expressions combining elements of classical, rock, progressive, jazz and metal.

On influences, Menn has never tired of her initial inspirations — Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Frank Zappa and Jeff Beck. But she has loved Jimmy Page’s guitar playing longer than she has played the guitar. It was through the music of Led Zeppelin that she found a gateway into music that resonated deeply with her, creating a love for guitar-oriented music, and, ultimately, the guitar.

New bassist Holly West is a self-taught bass player, and is also a blossoming vocalist with rich rock pipes.  West’s debut EP ‘MOKITA’ was released in 2017. She enlisted guitar wizard Gary Hoey and drummer Brady Blade to play on the EP, which was mixed by Chris Bell. Alongside the four original songs, she included a cover of the Zeppelin classic “When The Levee Breaks.” Talk about a foreshadowing of what was to come just a few short months later. West has spent her career playing with various acts around the Dallas area, including Love Stricken Demise and Honey. She has toured with blues power trio Woody’s Rampage.

Finally, singer Anna Kristina returns after a break from Zepparella. She is a soulful, fiery and rocking vocal powerhouse with a sensitivity that can bring you to tears. Her love of music and singing are revealed in her compelling and electric live performances. With a strong background in the classics — from Chekhov to Shakespeare, fronting the popular jazz group “Jazz on the Line” in college, and finally going on to forming performing her own songs in ‘The Anna Kristina Sessions” — Kristina’s deep knowledge and passion of numerous musical genres comes through in her nuanced performances.

Over the years the Zepparella line up has evolved with members leaving and joining the band, each contributing something unique to the group, yet the song has remained the same for the band’s two constants, Clementine and Menn.

“My friendship with Gretchen for these last 16 to 17 years has been a wonderful template on which the vibe of the band has been built,” said Clementine. “Creative relationships can be difficult ones, and from the start we decided to focus on promoting, supporting and loving each other, so that when the hard conversations have to happen, we know that the other person is speaking with our best interest at heart.

“My gratitude for knowing these amazing women, for having the great fortune to have gotten to share this incredible experience with them, knows no bounds. We’ve always supported the band members’ solo careers, and have seen Zepparella as a great platform from which to share the individual voices that make up the band.” 

Zepparella has added several new songs to their already explosive and comprehensive set of Led Zeppelin songs. And now more than ever, Zepparella explores their own improvised magic within the framework of these mighty songs.

“There will always be Zeppelin songs I will be unable to master. Bonham was a genius, a maestro, and a virtuoso. I am not that. This is the reason I see no reason in stopping, no way of getting tired of this music,” says Clementine. “I will love this music forever.”

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