Ten minutes into a show by UNZIPT, and you realize this is not your ordinary cover band -- this is something original. Gone are the top-40 covers, the disco, and the standard 80s synth-pop. Much to your surprise, you are fed a steady diet of alternative covers from yesterday and today, sandwiched between alternative versions of the unexpected, and before you know it it’s 2am and they’re still going. In the time that this alternative cover band has been together, UNZIPT has rapidly developed a faithful following on the strength of its high energy, marathon shows, and a unique sound and set list that sets the band apart from all others.
After the breakup of their previous band when the lead singer and bass player moved back to Texas, drummer Michael Sugarman and lead guitarist Andy Head had a shared vision of an alternative cover band that would focus on unique versions of alternative music and unexpected covers. They wanted music that their friends and complete strangers alike would enjoy, without getting bogged down in force-feeding angst-ridden originals about ex-girlfriends and the end of the world. The search for a new voice was on, and eventually through friends of friends, Michael heard of a kid named Justin who was already involved in an original project but was willing nonetheless to come jam in Andy’s basement for an hour or two. When Justin (Georgia), Michael (Texas), and Andy (Maryland) finally got together, it was immediately apparent that the search for a lead singer was over, and the addition of Justin’s vocals and rhythm guitar began to shape the sound that is now UNZIPT.
The band had gigs already scheduled, so they intensified their search for a bassist with an ad in a well-known music publication. The response was overwhelming, but it wasn’t until the last day of auditions when a music-scene veteran from Pennsylvania showed up with the blend of talent, personality and musical taste that they had been looking for all along. With that, David became the bass player, and a nameless alternative cover band was formed.
After a month or two of rehearsal in Andy’s basement (much to the joy and amusement of his neighbors), the band was ready to perform. But the band needed a name. With the help of some good friends, some bad ideas, some cheap beer, and ultimately some girls at Tin Roof, the band voted “most likely to accidentally feel a draft onstage” became known as UNZIPT. True to its name, the guys in the band are serious about putting on a good show without taking themselves too seriously.
UNZIPT made its debut on March 8th of 2003, headlining at one of Atlanta’s better-known bar/music venues to an over-capacity crowd. Before long, UNZIPT had developed a reputation for high-energy, 4 hour-long shows and a set list that alternates between the familiar but not overdone and the unexpected; the band has been playing to capacity crowds at local venues and events ever since.
UPDATE (2012): Michael has since left the city of Atlanta to pursue his dream of dominating the internet with creative and lucrative advertisement schemes.. Andy has taken his legal skillz (still having with that letter "z") and his family to Chicago to give the Windy City a run for its money. "Diamond" Dave Kosko is pursuing new career goals in the ATL and we wish him much continued success in his endeavors. Finally, Justin has somehow transitioned successfully away from UNZIPT and has founded a fantastic band called Radiomaj. They're playing all over Atlanta and the Southeast U.S. so go check them out soon!
There are cover bands, and then there is UNZIPT. And we are never more than a few plane tickets away from a reunion, so keep checking back!
UNZIPT- Atlanta's Best AlternaCover Party Band
The Southeast's premier Party Band!