MEET THE BAND
Zack Farmer ---- Drums
Mike McGrath ---- Guitar
Jason Holte ---- Vocals
Zack was born in New York, grew up in Duluth, MN, and is currently a resident of North St. Paul, MN. He grew up with music constantly on in the home, with most being from the 50s & 60s, and also 70s rock. His first drum set was given to him on Christmas of '96 and he said the sticks just felt perfect in his hands. As Zack grew up, he gravitated towards, and was mesmerized by, the big booming power and swift fills of John Bonham of Led Zepplin, and when he plays today, he tries to emulate Bonham's conviction and power in his own style of drumming.
Prior to Whiskey Burn, Zack played in a few garage punk and metal bands, but he states that he is having the most fun with Whiskey Burn's formula as a band. He loves looking out into the crowd from the riser and seeing everyone smiling, laughing, and having fun. Zack sums it up best: "Putting the week's troubles aside and being in the moment; that's what I love about being in Whiskey Burn. No matter what has gone on during the week for us or for our fans, we are all there in that venue having a good time......together. Music really does unite"
Mike has been a music head since he got his first record, a 45 of KISS's "Detroit Rock City", which he spun for his Cub Scout troop on his parents' old console........the troopers could not have cared less. From that point forward, all things "guitar" interested him. He's owned a guitar since high school, but couldn't focus on playing until his kids were older. That's when he discovered the peaceful sound of late night solitude......and Irish Whiskey.
After years of sitting alone playing for his dog, he met up with Jason and fell in with a group playing some simple fills and some lead on 90's hits. Eventually, it all lead to Whiskey Burn and getting to hang with his buddies and play music in a band, which had been a dream of his since first hearing that Kiss record. Mike has been influenced by so many musicians in different groups, genres, and decades, but Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Social Distortion, and AC/DC set his four corners of rock. When asked what makes playing music so great, Mike said that answer is easy. "I'm lucky to have the support of my wife, our two amazing daughters, and all our friends and family which makes rocking out even better. I love being part of something that brings us all together! See you on the dance floor!"
Though the band likes to bill Jason as the "Largest Frontman in the Midwest", his love of music began when he was very small. Music was always an integral part of life growing up, as both parents were always dabbling in different bands and musical endeavors. His parents gifted him a drum set when he was about 8 years old, and everything kinda clicked from that point forward. Jason spent school learning many different instruments and participating in the prestigious Hibbing High School marching band, which has competed everywhere from Sweden, to Hawaii, to the Rose Parade.
After a few years' hiatus from music, he joined a local 90s band as the drummer with WB guitarist Mike where they played a few shows here and there, but it wasn't often enough for he and Mike, so they decided to form Whiskey Burn and for Jason to step from behind the drums and out front with the mic. It took a few shows to really get his feet under him, as he recalls: "I didn't know what to do or how to act because I'd spent my life hiding behind cymbals. But something clicked during one of our early shows and I kinda hit another gear. There's nothing better than the crowd singing right along with you so loud that you can't here yourself in your own monitors"
Tony Z --- Bass
Tony Z picked up his first guitar and learned his first chord in his late 30’s. He took a year of lessons on the acoustic guitar and then began playing at his local church. In 2012, Tony and a few others formed the country band, Rural Route 5. When the band needed a bass player, Tony stepped up and said, “I’ll do it.” That day changed his musical world. Tony played bass for the band and managed bookings for next 9 years. He credits his development as a musician to all the great players from that band. Rural Route 5 ended in 2021 having headlined many local music festivals and played alongside some of the most established Twin Cities country bands. Tony is extremely excited to join Whiskey Burn and cannot wait to be part of the Rock’n Good Times.
Larry McDonough --- Keys
To say that Whiskey Burn is lucky to have Larry McDonough holding down the keys is an embarrassing understatement. Larry is a lifelong musician and an award-winning St. Paul jazz composer, pianist, singer, and teacher, who has performed and recorded around the world. His primary creative outlet is with his group the Larry McDonough Quartet as well as solo, and in duos and trios. Larry has performed with legendary saxophonist and composer Benny Golson, Trombonist Fred Wesley, and trumpeter Duane Eubanks, as well as a who’s who of local jazz artists, and was inducted into the Minnesota Rock Country Hall of Fame for his work in the group Danny’s Reasons. His awards include the American Composers Forum Showcase Award for the composition “Strait of Gibraltar.” Larry's music has been played on hundreds of radio stations across the country and around the world........soooooo.....yeah. We are pretty stoked that he's willing to slum with the likes of us. In addition to sitting in with the Burn, Larry also enjoys playing punk rock with local band Saint Small and getting funky with Funkin' Right.
Kevin Lynch ---- Bass, Vocals
July 2019 --- March 2022
Kevin's musical debut was at a Battle of the Bands contest for his old high school. He recalls, "I sang Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit and was instantly hooked. We didn't win, and the review of my singing was actually pretty harsh, but the rush I got from being on stage and feeding off of the crowd's energy was like nothing I'd felt before!" That spark led to a decade of gigging with various metal bands across the upper Midwest. "I tried the singing thing for a while, but I lacked the confidence I felt was needed to be a good front man so I transitioned to bass."
In late 2007, Kevin left the music scene altogether to focus on his family and a new career opportunity. "After a 12 year hiatus, my wife came home from work one day and said she dropped my name to someone who was looking for a bass player and gave me a number to call." He met with the guys and the rest was history. "We just clicked and it was effortless. There were no egos, and that's hard to find with some musicians. Our love of music (and whiskey) was apparent and we just wanted to have a good time rocking with other people, plain and simple!"