He studied violin from age 4 to age 7, playing a violin made by his grandfather, an immigrant from Bavaria in the late 19th century, who was both an architect and a violin maker.
At age 7 he was moved to Healdsburg (a rural town in Northern California) where he lived until the age of 17. He attended and graduated from both the grammar school and high school there. During this time he studied piano and trombone with private teachers. In 1956, through 1958 he was selected to play trombone in the California State High School Orchestra. Also in those same years he formed a 4-piece rock and roll band in which he sang and played piano (sax, bass and drums). This group played for local weddings and school dances.
In 1958 he returned to San Francisco and studied music for two years at San Francisco City College. Theory and history. He began composing at this time and studied privately with Robert Morton. He also played trombone in various jazz ensembles and big bands in the city. In 1959 He received an AA (Associate of Arts) degree from San Francisco City College.
From 1961 to 1966 he attended San Francisco State College (now University) where he studied theory and composition. He received at BA (Bachelor of Arts) in Music in 1964 and an MA (Master of Arts) in Theory and Composition in 1966. Private lessons in composition with Henry Onderdonk.
In 1965 he began writing songs (words and music) for his own voice with harmonica and guitar and to date has written over 800 such songs.
In 1966 he received a Fulbright Scholarship to study composition in Rome, Italy with Gofredo Petrassi. both privately and in master class at Santa Cecilia Academy. In 1967 the scholarship was renewed for a second year. During this time he began to perform his solo songs in various folkclubs in Rome.
In 1968 he left the academic world and moved to London where he began to seriously pursue his songwriting and singing. He lived in England for two years, first in London and then in Oxford, playing gigs under assumed names, posing as a Canadian, since he was not granted a work permit. He also worked in various recording studios as an arranger and musician. In 1969 he recorded his first album Ten Songs By Tucker Zimmerman produced by Tony Visconti for Regal Zonophone Records, EMI.
“While living in England I wrote 150 songs, but I couldn’t get a single artist in London to sing one. My album had come out in December of 1968 - Ten Songs by Tucker Zimmerman - and was going absolutely nowhere. I learned later that the record company had signed me simply to keep me out of action for three years. They put me in their deep freeze so that I wouldn’t offer any competition to the other (British) singer/songwriters they were promoting. I wasn’t able to record again until 1971 when my contract with them expired.”
From 1970 to 1984 he played hundreds of solo concerts all over Europe, especially in Belgium, Switzerland and Germany where he was regarded as a « song poet ». During this period he also continued to write songs and recorded 5 more LPs.
In 1984 he stopped touring as a solo performer. His creative output from then until 1996 was divided into two media : musical composition and the writing of fiction.
In 1996 he returned to song writing and performing, first with a blues band, and then with his own Nightshift Trio. He writes poetry/fiction and to compose music for various acoustic ensembles.
Tucker Zimmerman : vocals, 12-string guitar, harmonica, piano, harpsichord, melotron
Tony Visconti : electric bass, 6-string Spanish guitar
Shawn Phillips : sitar, electric guitar
Rick Wakeman : organ
Aynsley Dunbar : drums
Edited by headey on 17 Sep 2013, 16:29
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