Instruments: piano, electric piano, samples, synthesizers, trumpet, vibraphone, percussion.
Stephen Roberts started his musical life playing trumpet in grade school through high school. Desperate to start a rock band
in junior high, he convinced his mother to purchase a cheesy tiger-stripped drum kit from a very un-hip music store. After
assembling the greatest local talent available to a junior high kid, the band immediately followed in the footsteps of many
legendary acts and broke up after one disastrous rehearsal. So after accomplishing his first goal, Stephen then thought
maybe he ought to learn to play drums and spent the next few years accompanying an equally cheesy portable phonograph cranked beyond its limits playing the hippest record in his small collection, Chicago! Stephen fancied himself a drummer having enlarged his self-tutorials to include Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Genesis records that he picked up while working for several local record stores. This also prompted him to begin enlarging his collection considerably. He then did what other like-minded oddball musicians of Louisville did; join up with Chris Lee’s band, Myopia, eventually teaming with Joee Conroy and other Chris Lee alumni for the Sonic Decay and Crusader Rabbit projects. After Conroy left for California, he joined with Mike Sary and Jeff Jones (organ/sax from Myopia, Sonic Decay and Crusader Rabbit) to form Festung Amerika. They wrote, rehearsed and played several gigs and following the pattern carefully crafted from previous bands, broke up. Stephen and Mike Sary continued to write and plan for a new band. After looking high and low for a keyboard player Stephen said “I could do this better than any of these other guys” and promptly bought a Roland Polysynth which was the new technological wonder at the time. This really opened up his writing. They founded the great progressive rock band French TV, which still performs to this day. Stephen quit after recording the first record and enrolled at the University Of Louisville School Of Music, achieving “conservatory” training as both a percussionist and pianist. Armed with his new-found qualifications as a musician he promptly retired. He founded ZNR as a label and mail-order catalog releasing records by French TV, The Rascal Reporters, Mastermind, Radio Piece 3 and Ut Gret among others. He got married and got a real job with a steady paycheck selling stereo equipment and had two beautiful and talented daughters and all was quite fine thank you until, Joee Conroy asked him to play just one gig with Ut Gret. The next thing you know there were regular rehearsals on Tuesdays and equipment upgrades and “we need you to get your trumpet chops together on these Raymond Scott arrangements.”