Probe Fanzine: Where'd you come up with the name Zipgun?
Robb: We stole it! We're plagiarists. It's a name a friend of ours came up with...
Dan: And we liked it so we took it.
Robb: Yeah, he just blabbed it out one day with "Pipebomb", and
we decided to go with Zipgun. And our record company gave him $50 for the name; acutally bought it off him eventually cause he gave us so much shit for stealing it.
Dan: But he said we could take it at first.
Robb: And the guy doesn't even play an insturment. He's like, "Someday when I'm in a band, I'm going to name it Zipgun."
From left to right: Dan Cunneen, Neil Rogers, Robb Clarke, Mark Wooten
Neil Rogers - Guitar
Mark Wooten - Bass
Robb Clarke - Voice
Dan Cunneen - Drum Kit
Zipgun came together after the demise of the now legendary Seattle drunk punk band The Derelicts. Who released a few LP's and singles on Sub-Pop and Empty records and did a couple of west coast tours down the I-5. But the band truly did, "live fast and
While all that was going on a guy named Robbe Clarke had become good freinds with Derelicts' guitarist Neil Rogers. "Neil and I were working together and he came to me asking if I wanted to
get together and jam. I was a big Derelicts fan, so, naturally I was flattered. We hit it off spending long nights drinking beer by the turntable light." Robb was already jamming with his friends Dan Cunneen (who at one time was also a memeber of the bands The Obituaries and Final Warning) and Charlie Thunders. "Dan and I were looking for something a little stronger, so we pooled together our intrest and started jammin'. Neil brought Mark in to it right away, as he was going to be the Derelicts bass player for about a minute!" Mark came up from Arizona and also played in a slew of hardcore/punk bands. The most famous of the bunch being The Zany Guys. They wound up on many compilations and did some singles.
When Zipgun finally materialized, they hit the jackpot musically and personally and writing was easy. They had their first 7" out well within 9 months of being a band. Originally, settling on the name "Smash", but that was immediately ditched when Zipgun was suggested. It seemed to fit perfectly. Neil had established tons of connections around town from his Derelicts days, and the band found it easy to get good shows, promotion, and label interest. They embarked on a west coast tour with a 7" (Together Dumb) as their merchandise support. Then put
out the split 7" with The Derelicts and did another
west coast tour. After that came the 8 Track Player full length and a thorough U.S./Canadian tour in support of it. They then came home and did two more 7"s and then recorded what was to be titled Baltimore. The tour in support of Baltimore included CMJ (a music showcase held annually in NY) where Zipgun got to play at CBGB's with Rollins, The New Bomb Turks, Gorilla, etc....Very good times for them considering how tense touring could be on them personally and emotionally. But things came to a very abrupt halt on the evening of the group's Baltimore show. After the show the guys drove across town to a friends house to have a couple of beers and hang out. Well they hung out too long giving someone the opportunity to steal their van (plus it's contents), and the rest of their tour right out from under them. When they flew home from Baltimore, the morale was real low and everyone had had it. But, the local community of bands agreed to throw a benefit for Zipgun and raised some money. They were ready and revived to continue on. But some personal
issues were developing in everyone's personal lives that would effect the longevity of the band. Mark became a father and decided he needed to spend undivided time with his family (and no one could blame him), so Mark's departure was sad but cordial. The band continued onwith Andy Spleen, a R 'N' R machine in his own way on bass. But personal stuff surfaced and he left on slightly acrimonious terms, but everyone still remained friends. The final days of Zipgun were getting furious. In came Ian (from the Derelicts) on bass but the group ceased to record
anything after Mark left the band due to ongoing apathy and terminal burden on Robb's behalf. They continued doing local shows and kept a strong momentum going as a band and
in the song writing department. But, relationships and frustrations came to a boiling point and just a few days before they were to hit the road again, both Dan and Robb announced they were quitting. Today, amazingly enough, everyone fom the Zipgun camp remain friends and have healthy relationships. Some are married, some have kids, some have bands for now and some don't.
Where Are They Now?
After Zipgun, Neil and Ian stuck together and formed an amazing band called Glazed and released a single on IFA records (now both the band and label are defunct). Now-a-days, Neil continues to buy guitars and guitar equipment but hasen't yet found anything he wants to commit to. You can catch him doing special guest appearances in a few punk bands around town though. Robb had this to say: "It is always a pleasure to hear Neil play guitar and I am extreamely anxious for him to start something permanent and full time."
As for Robb himself, he sang in Against Medical Advise before forming the punk rock juggernaut know as the RC5 (Robb Clarke Five). The RC5 will have a couple of 7"s coming your way very soon.
After Zipgun, Dan formed The Nightcaps with vocalist Theresa Hannam and guitarist Garth Brandenburg. The Nightcaps have toured extensivily, from Vancouver, BC to Austin, Texas and points in-between. The 'Caps put out a single on their own label Rendezvous Recordings, as well as singles on Sup Pop and Estrus Records. In January of 1998 the Nightcaps debut CD, "Split", was released on Rendezvous Recordings, and distributed by Sub Pop. "Split" recieved excellent reviews nationally
and appeared on the College Music Journal's top 200.
As for Mark. After he left Zipgun he quickly formed a band called The Nobel Firs including Andy Spath (Best Kissers In The World) on drums. The Firs played around town for awhile with great reception, even doing a few shows with Zipgun. But the band eventually broke up and Mark sold his equipment and fasted for quite some time. But duty called again for a slew of Zipgun reunions and he's been playing ever since. He is now in a band called The Outskirts. Robb had these kind words to say about Mark: "Besides being a devoted father, Mark is an awesome bass player and is as funny as they come. He was the cohesive bond that held Zipgun together at very difficult times."
And for Ian, well he was in a heavy heavy three piece called Meathead, who were great! Unfortunately they have called it quits.
Say "Hi" to everyone, Ian.
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