Dru Zedder turns up the volume

"The world is full of chaos, and I want to bring a little truth," said musician Dru Zedder. "I think that a lot of musicians have the ability to bring truth or understanding when society tells us how to be, how to act or what to think."

Dru Zedder has a voice like a thunderclap, capable of dissecting audiences where they stand. Booming, but also highly personable, Zedder's goal is to wake people up.

"I can't think of anyone else I sound like," said Zedder, a burly fellow with a rough edge who is also unabashedly philosophical.

A self-proclaimed stoner-rock stylist, Zedder is not a musician easily ignored in the rising tide of more mellow folksy music sweeping the valley.

Zedder began his music career at 15, when his brother bought him his first guitar.

"Ever since then, I've been yearning to make the best music I can," said Zedder.

Years later, Zedder's brother died, which he saw as a turning point in his life.

"After my brother's passing, I really began searching for my spirituality and my calling, in a way. The 'why.'"

These are themes which Zedder explores in his music.

"The music has political and spiritual undertones, but is not religious in anyway," he said. "There's no idol worship of any sort. I think that turns people away from themselves and lost people are looking to other sources, manifested by self righteous behavior"&

166; I think religion can be selfish."

And in terms of criticizing idolatry, Zedder smirks.

"I just know I'd never want my own name to become somebody's swear word"&

166;" he said. "My temple is my guitar.

Zedder says his poetry speaks of common suffering: "Things we all through. Poverty, prejudice, states of loneliness, states of happiness, states of sexuality. Or I just sing about being drunk."

Having been in eight bands, including Stone Grove and 40 Grid, Zedder now heads Locust Sun, with Jaret Kenworthy on drums.

"A lot of bands are a lot of screaming and chaos. I'd rather have chaos on one side but the beauty and the element on the other. Everyone joins in, like a ceremony &

a ceremony of music. It's not all beauty, there's a lot of ugliness, too, but even the ugliness can be beautiful when there's balance."

Zedder came to Ashland in 2005, after burning out on the California scene.

"Most of the bands fell apart due to differences, and various member addictions," he said. "I had to throw out on drummer once, when he developed a meth addiction. It deteriorated his soul."

Finding less drama in the Rogue Valley scene, Zedder is looking forward to working on an album in the near future.

"I love playing music for people," said Zedder. "If I can move their spirit, I feel I can do something to break them out of their coma. People have been coaxed by this homogenized music for the last 10 years."

"In Ashland, there is pretty much just blue grass, reggae and pop. I want to be the one, not to break the mold, but to make people realize that their world isn't so sacred &

but everyone's world should belong to everyone," said Zedder. "I'd like to say it with a lot of deafening feedback."

Right now Locust Sun has a solid canon of about 15 originals, as well as some Doors covers.

"We use familiarity to draw people towards the unfamiliar," he said. "People want raw and energetic. The record industry has suppressed a lot of that thinking so that they can profit from others' gifts. I ultimately want to have my own record label so we can put out music that can reach everyone as long as they have earplugs."

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