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Sat, Sept. 21

Local ‘Lingo’ promises ‘Major’ reunion at Jerome’s Spirit Room

John Ziegler holds up a poster for this Friday’s Major Lingo reunion at the Spirit Room in Jerome, along with a poster for the band’s “final” show in 2012. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

John Ziegler holds up a poster for this Friday’s Major Lingo reunion at the Spirit Room in Jerome, along with a poster for the band’s “final” show in 2012. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

It may not be a Pink Floyd, Guns & Roses or a Police reunion, but local Verde Valley music fans may want to dust off the cobwebs from their Major Lingo dancing shoes for a reunion show at the Spirit Room Friday night.

The last official show of the World-music, happy dance band led by minstrel John Ziegler was to a packed crowd at Jerome’s Spook Hall in December 2012.

The local band was made of the singer/guitarist Ziegler, lap-steel guitarist Tony Bruno, drummer Steve Botterweg and bass player Sally Stricker.

Ziegler explained Monday that Bruno has “signed off for the moment” from performing, so local guitarist Nick Michael will fill in for Bruno at Friday’s show.

“Nick (Michael) grew up listening to Tony Bruno of Major Lingo, who was the ‘Major’ in our sound,” Ziegler said of Michael, who is half the other band members’ ages. “Nick’s playing is elegant,” and especially great on slide guitar.

Questions about a Major Lingo reunion “comes up a lot,” Ziegler continued. “’When are you getting back together?’ We thought it’s worthy enough to call it a reunion,” Ziegler said.

Seeing people “turned-on” by the original Major Lingo songs “felt great,” Ziegler said Monday. He and the band were rehearsing 20 original Major Lingo songs later in the afternoon.

Ziegler’s youthful enthusiasm still remains even though the mullets and tank top t-shirts of Major Lingo yesteryears are gone. However, what Ziegler wants to recreate is the excitement for his audiences that were family-friendly so children could come and dance.

Ziegler said he still gets emails and personal words of encouragement and requests for some of the 200 Major Lingo songs at his other bands’ performances.

Periodically over the years, Ziegler said other band members filled in, but these were the four core performers of the band that became popular in Arizona and in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

Major Lingo played 30 years together almost to the day of their last show, he said. It’s been seven years “since we let it rest,” Ziegler said. “We all felt good about it.”

Major Lingo band members have played in other bands together since, but this will be the official reunion on Friday, he said.

Ziegler said in the early days people would make cassette tapes of Lingo shows. Later, Major Lingo put out about six CDs “and they must be out there somewhere,” Ziegler said with a smile.

Ziegler still has in his possession a small pamphlet-size book called Lingo Lyrica, The Lyrics of Major Lingo, filled with copyrighted songs, hand drawings and old photographs.

And on the wall at his Cottonwood home still hangs a poster from that last Jerome show at Spook Hall.

The 8 p.m. show is at the Spirit Room in Jerome on Friday, May 24, and billed as Major Lingo with Nick Michael. As far as future shows, Ziegler said they would have to see how the reunion show goes.

Frizzy and Edgy and the C&J Mining Co. will perform a few songs before the reunion, Ziegler said.

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