Born and Raised in New Orleans
It all started for Eddie Zip at the age of two. His mama, a piano teacher, taught him piano while still in his diapers. Zips grandmother was a great ragtime piano player. She had family jam sessions every Sunday in her living room in New Orleans until he was about thirteen or fourteen years old.
Eddie turned professional in the 60's, singing and playing piano, trumpet and base. He worked in New Orleans and traveled to surrounding states, and of course worked on Bourbon Street with his band and Mac Rebennack. Eddie also worked with Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, Earl King, Ernie Kador, Shirley & Lee, Jessie Hill, Smiley Lewis, etc. He also worked the big concerts that came to town as house band. For acts like Sonny & Cher, Rufus Thomas, Hermans Hermits, Dusty Springfield and more.
Eddie signed a contract with a Texas entrepreneur, to go to Houston Texas for a year, where he worked with his band. He also worked with Johnny Clyde Copeland, Albert Collins, Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, BJ Thomas, Skip and Flip and Chuck Jackson.
Back in New Orleans, Zip was approached by James Brown to go on the road, but declined and stuck to original plans to go to Hollywood with his band. When he arrived Mac Rebennack had a hotel room, a record session (the first night) and a gig with Rebennack, Leslie Milton (great New Orleans drummer) and the worlds greatest female trumpet player Clora Bryant. But Zip also had his band with a deal with RCA. He penned a song for Victor and was the first single, "I Don't Know No More". A law suit followed as soon as the record started to happen.
So Zip signed with Don Costa who was at the time producing Frank Sinatra and arranging for Sinatra, Streisand and Paul Anka amongst others. Eddie worked with Don and world renowned arranger Sid Fellow (Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles etc.) During this period he took the band to Vegas to work Caesars Palace. He also worked Honolulu, The Hollywood Factory, the Whiskey and so on. Then Louie Prima flew Zips band back to Vegas to offer them a deal playing with Louie. (Eddie loved Louie) but it wasn't his thing.
During this same period Eddie recorded with Mac, now Dr. John and played on allot of
the doctors first historical albums. He played on Mac's first gig as Dr. John at a Love In at Griffith Park in California. Eddie said "it was really something to see, hear and smell." Free love free drugs. Zip said, "he knew Mac would make it from that first gig on. He knew the Dr fit right in.
One of Eddies favorite people was Billy Preston. Eddie's first association with Billy was recording some gospel albums for Capital Records with Billy and "The Ladies of Song." (Billy's mom), Willow Dorsey, and other gospel greats. This was the early 70's. Later in Zip's career, he and Billy had the same manger. Eddie said "it was great music and fun times."
Also, around this time, Eddie met Bobby Womack and also shared another manager with Womack. Eddie's band opened some historical gigs with Bobby and also recorded with him. Zip still has record business and associates with Womack to this day.
Some of Zip's favorite people he worked with during this time, the 70's, Jackie Wilson, (innovator and everybody's idol, including Michael Jackson), Earl Garner ( that was a trip), Joe Cocker, Delbert Mc Clinton, Mason Williams and more.
Eddie knew Allan Toussaint back in the 60's but did some major projects with him also in the 70's. Zip contracted and played base on Toussaint's first album as an artist for Warner Bros. Also on that record Eddie played Trumpet and composed arrangements. Dr. John was the guitar player on the project. Zip and Toussaint are still good buddies.
One project that had allot of highs and one big low was when Lowell George hired Eddie and his band to do Lowell's first and only solo tour. Eddie speaks reverently of Lowell George. Lowell used to come and sit in with Eddie's band. Zip said "one time when he got to the gig early, no one was there yet accept for Lowell. Who was standing on stage at attention with his guitar and amp on and ready to go. After that, they opened in Chicago, to sold out crowds, it was like that every night. Lowell was set to cut two Zip songs in LA. But, unfortunately Lowell passed away two day before the end of the tour in Washington, D.C. Zip said" I have never gotten so close to anyone on a four week tour, he was a great guy. I'm still sad."
Zip did allot of great things in his career. But, he said one of the most memorable was spending two day's with Ray Charles. Zip met Ray and gave him two songs. The next day Ray's office called Zip and said "Ray wants to meet with you and cut your songs". Eddie spent that afternoon and evening with just him and Ray. Zip Said, "Ray asked me to play the piano for him". "He wanted to hear some more New Orleans piano." So Eddie played, then said, "Ray, will you play for me". Ray said, "I'll play with you". Ray and Eddie played fifteen or twenty minutes. A duet at the same piano. Zip said, "it was chilling, but what a time to not have a tape recorder with me".
During all of this time Eddie had been playing for allot of TV shows. He started first with Happy Days in 1974, then Lavern and Shirley, then Mork and Mindy, Family Ties etc. He worked for Paramount for over a decade. Zip played the music on and off camera. He did almost all the Gary Marshall productions. Eddie met and worked for allot of movie stars. He did sessions for good buddy Nick Nolte, worked for Rod Stewart, Elton John, Melissa Ethridge, his dear friend Doc Severenson, his buddy James Woods, Bette Middler, Gregory Peck, Bert Backarack, Jonie Mitchell to mention a few.
Eddie had Al Cooper in his band for a while in Hollywood in the 80's. Zip liked him and said, "he was good". One gig in particular there was allot of piano players that would come to see Zip and his New Orleans piano stuff. A fan told Eddie one night "you always have pretty descent piano player's (laugh) ready to jump on stage when you want a break", yeah, there's Joe Sample, David Paich, Herbie Hancock, Sly Stone, Henry Butler, Stevie Wonder". Zip laughed and said, "yeah, they want my gig"
Zip met Sly Stone about 1984 and did allot of recording together. They became good buddies. Sly would show up and play at some of Zips gigs over the years. One of these gigs was recorded, it was a new years eve gig. Eddie Said, "He's a real musical dude"
Eddie appeared in videos including one that won a Grammy for the Judds, for the song "Grandpa" Zip along with his TV credits was also seen on camera in commercials, movies and did the music for three or four movies. Zip said, "it was kicks"
Someone saw Eddie Zip at a festival and told Stevie Wonder about him. Stevie heard Zip and hired him to play his birthday party. They became friends and not long after that Stevie asked Eddie if he wanted to record an album for him. Zip agreed and he did the album. Eddie said, "still waiting for it to come out, Stevie takes ten years to release his own albums, it might take twenty years for mine" Stevie also wrote a song for Zip and Eddie recorded it. Stevie would come by Eddie's gigs and sit in. Zip said, "he liked to play Rocking Pneumonia and that New Orleans stuff.
Eddie returned to New Orleans finally. Zip says, "to rest and charge up his engines." Back to work on Bourbon Street. He met Andrew Jaeger and worked at his renowned establishments in the French Quarter. Then Eddie went full circle and went back to San Francisco to open one of Jaegers great venues, and is returning for a one year anniversary.