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Revisiting Big Bad Zero before the Vegas band’s reunion show

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Big Bad Zero plays December 17 at Tommy Rocker’s.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Who are they? Singer/guitarist Nick Mattera, guitarist Dave Meeks, bassist Dan Gauthier and drummer Rob Whited. Mattera, Whited and Gauthier formed the band in 1996, and Meeks joined in 1998. Steve Bonacci will fill in on bass for the reunion show, although Gauthier might take the stage for a song or two.

Big Bad Zero

Why do they matter? Big Bad Zero was one of Vegas’ big musical hopes in the late ’90s, releasing a 1999 self-titled album on national label Eureka and playing around the country alongside big-name acts like Train, Collective Soul and Better Than Ezra. The group’s catchy, upbeat alt-rock was right at home on radio, where single “Crumble” saw some minor chart action. “That was kind of our anthem,” Mattera says.

Where can you listen? “Crumble” and the band’s entire debut, along with later self-released albums Your Beautiful Mistake (2002) and Imagination America (2005), are available on iTunes, Spotify and other services.

What made the timing right for a reunion? Although the band called it quits a decade ago, the members have remained friends and collaborated on other projects, and Whited initiated reunion talks after listening to old BBZ music on tour with The Killers (he’s their drum tech). “I think I appreciate those songs more than I did when we wrote them,” Mattera says. Although current plans just call for one show, Mattera doesn’t rule out future gigs or even new music. Bonus: Mattera says there could be some old band merch for sale, for anyone who missed out on a BBZ T-shirt in the ’90s.

Big Bad Zero With The Pure Mess, Jeff Mix. December 17, 9 p.m., free. Tommy Rocker’s, 4275 Dean Martin Drive, 702-261-6688.

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Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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