Bassist Rozzano Zamorano's Death Leaves Huge Void in Music Scene
Houston's music community is still reeling after popular bassist Rozzano Zamorano was found dead in his Montrose apartment late last week. Friends say Zamorano failed to show up for a gig with Vince Converse last Friday night at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, leading police officers alerted by his family to break down his door and discover him unconscious in his bed. Zamorano had just celebrated his 44th birthday the previous weekend at a gig with his band the Fondue Monks, also at Dan Electro's.
Photo courtesy of Greg Davis L-R: Fondue Monks Denver Courtney and Rozzano Zamorano
"Rozz to not show up at a gig -- that never happened," says Fondue Monks singer Denver Courtney, who had been Zamorano's bandmate since the group formed in 1991. "I've been onstage with Rozz when he had a 103-degree fever and was puking off the back of the stage."
After that birthday gig, Courtney says he and Zamorano had lunch the following Monday, and the bassist was excited for the future. The two had been talking about making another Fondue Monks record, he says, which would have been the R&B/funk-rock band's first new release in a decade. But that was the last Courtney says he ever saw of Zamorano, whose death cuts straight to the quick of an old-growth ring of the modern Houston music scene. This is a big loss.
After Courtney saw Zamorano, he says he thinks the bassist talked to a couple of people and posted a message or two on Facebook the next day, and that was it. "Musicians can kind of disappear for a couple of days and nobody pays really pays attention," Courtney notes, so no one really thought to look for Zamorano until he missed a gig.
When that happened, according to the singer, Zamorano's father and brother Ronnie (the Fondue Monks' drummer) drove over to the bassist's apartment and saw his car in the parking lot, at which point they called police. Although an autopsy has not yet been peformed, friends say they think his death may be a result of Zamorano's severe sleep apnea, which was also exascerbated by his weight.
"He needed to have surgery, but he needed to lose a bunch of weight to have it," offers Warehouse Live talent buyer Jason Price, who says he met Zamorano one open-mike night at Instant Karma in 1999. Price often booked Zamorano's projects as opening acts such as his eponymous jazz-fusion trio before the Rebirth Brass Band at Warehouse Live, the night before the Dan Electro's birthday gig. The show wound up selling out on walkup sales, Price says.
"When I called and told him, 'Your trio can play,' he was beside himself just because he knew it would be a good opportunity," he recounts. "One of the hard things is looking [back] at my text messages and Facebook stuff saying, 'Dude, that was the best show...thank you for putting me on these killer gigs.'"
A mountain of a man whose size was matched by his gigantic talent on the bass guitar, Rozzano Zamorano was a native of Corpus Christi but attended Spring Branch Elementary School with Denver Courtney, years before they reconnected and started the Fondue Monks.
"The first time I ever met Rozz was on the playground, and he was challenging anybody to a footrace," says his future bandmate. "And to see Rozz back then, he was just his little-bitty guy, but he never backed down from anything."
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