Ctrl Z brings blend of eclectic rock to Local Flair stage

It was a sunny but windy day in Riverfront Park under the Expo ‘74 butterfly near the Gondola, and the ladies of Ctrl Z were imagining the possibilities – what if life had a Ctrl Z key?

Puffing a mint Nat Sherman slim, though she rarely smokes, guitarist/singer Char Z said, “You could take back that flippant comment.”

“That drunken night,” said bassist/singer Val Z, sucking down an American Spirit, like she often does, and playing with a G.I. Joe action figure she found in a flower bed.

“That left turn,” Char said.

Despite what the name implies, the Ctrl Z songstresses are more concerned with the future.

Saturday night at 8 p.m., they’ll perform at the 2nd annual Local Flair Street Fair in the arts district on the 1000 block of West First. The event lasts all weekend and features a slew of bands (see Nightwatch on page 6 for details).

But even that’s not far enough into the future.

They’re focused on finishing a first full-length album, “Undo Hardship,” before the summer’s end.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Char said.

She and Val started their first band together more than 10 years ago, before they could even play their instruments.

“I was tired of watching other bands. I wanted to be onstage and be my own groupie, so we started learning to play,” Char said.

Flash forward to 2002: Char and Val had been through a bunch of bands separately and about a half-dozen drummers together before forming Ctrl Z. Char had just moved back from Seattle (where she laid background vocals on The Makers’ “Rock Star God”). She had a P.A. and space to practice; once they found a drummer in Christopher Z, the puzzle came together.

Ctrl Z is a mix of influences, including 1980s punk, surf, new wave and well-rounded country twang.

Char and Val seem to be a perfect counterbalance to each other. That day at the park, Char was wearing a dress, as usual, and Val, as usual, was not. Val is gruffer, and Char, elegant. That same subtle contrast translates to their live show.

“My stage moves wouldn’t go over well in a dress. Char is more stoic when she plays guitar,” Val said.

“Onstage, she pretends she’s practicing, and in the band room she pretends she’s onstage,” Char said of Val.

Not that they are night and day. They agree, for example, that they don’t mind being described as a female-fronted rock outfit.

“There aren’t many of them out there. Yeah, you feel a little gypped when people like you because you’re girls. Maybe that’s what turns them on at first. But later, they may find that they really enjoy our music,” Val Z said.


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