The Zen Road Pilots are a three-piece bluesadelic rock band in the classic tradition. They combine the psychedelic blues of the sixties with gorgeous melodies, and hit songs with free-wheeling jams that inspire the mind and motivate the feet.
Add two world-class singers, and you have yourself a huge sound in a very small package. The driving force behind this band is the rock-solid rhythm section, comprised of the intricate bass playing of Ira Walker and the dynamic instinctive drumming of Tom “Fee” Falletti, who have a lock on the pocket.
Soaring over this sturdy foundation are the high-flying guitars of Monty Byrom, who deftly combines ripping psychedelic guitar riffs with sweet, soulful melodies. The members of the Pilots are three-quarters of the popular eighties rock band, Billy Satellite, which had a couple of hits on Capitol records with their songs, “Satisfy Me” and “I Wanna Go Back”, for which they made videos that showed on MTV in its infancy. They did very well but got caught in a shake-up at the record company that prevented their follow-up effort from ever reaching the street. Billy Satellite broke apart in the ensuing mêlée, and while each of the members of the band went on to great successes of their own, they always felt that they had let something special slip away.
Flash forward twenty-five years to the present, where their reunion has found them inspired to create new music together born out of brotherhood and bonded by time. In the years between, Monty Byrom was the front man for two successful bands over the next ten years. After a very well-received debut album on Mika/Polydor Records with his band New Frontiers, he made his mark as the talented lead singer for MCA Records’ phenomenon, Big House. The sultry country rock and blues band dazzled the industry with gold sales of their self-titled debut album in 1997, capping their successes with a 1998 Academy of Country Music nomination for “Top New Vocal Group of the Year”.
Later, Byrom joined forces with Eddie Money, producing and playing on five of his albums, and has had the good fortune to write and record with several top artists, including Brent Mydland of the Grateful Dead, Rita Coolidge, Bernie Taupin, Beth Hart, Barbra Streisand, Don Felder and Timothy B. Schmidt of The Eagles, Motown’s Waylon, and many others. Most recently, Byrom has been filling-in for his long-time friend and mentor, Buck Owens, who passed away not long ago, by singing with his band, The Buckaroos. Ira Walker’s journey led him through stints with Bay Area bluesman Sy Klopps, and The Trichromes, featuring Neal Schon from Journey, Bill Kruetzman of the Grateful Dead, and legendary lyricist Robert Hunter, but it was his crafty independent release, “Yahoo Bar-B-Q”, that won him universal acclaim among his peers. He has also written and performed with a star-studded list of music icons, including Steve Miller, Eddie Money, Carlos Santana, Brian May, and Joe Satriani, among others.
Most recently, Walker was nominated for a Grammy as a producer, and he has been honing his singer/songwriter chops with impressive solo performances of his unique style of blues, soul, and rock. Fee Falletti immediately found a home with longtime musical partners, Danny Chauncey of 38 Special and Brad Gillis from Night Ranger and Ozzy Ozbourne in the world-famous Alameda All Stars, and became one of the friends in Gregg Allman and Friends. After a year in Tom Johnston’s Doobies offshoot, Border Patrol, he helped form the rock band Barking At Flies with Montrose lead singer, Paul Holgate.
The Zen Road Pilots combine a relentless rocking attack with heartfelt, honest performances. Whether up-tempo or down-in-the-pocket, this band rocks hard. Their songs are uplifting and moving and will invite you to become Pilots of the Zen Road.