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Centereach resident Randy Jackson keeps party rockin' on Facebook

Centereach resident Randy Jackson of the rock band Zebra performs daily on Facebook Live during the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: Randy Jackson


Singer/songwriter Randy Jackson is making the most of the COVID-19 quarantine. The frontman from rock band Zebra, who resides in Centereach, has made a point to play daily on Facebook Live for his fans.

“People say they look forward to my show every day and that means a lot to me. It’s something consistent they can count on,” Jackson, 65, who accompanies himself on acoustic guitar, said in a phone intereview. “But to be honest, I look forward to it too because it’s an escape for me. It’s made my voice stronger and my playing better.”

Jackson regularly performs at 4:30 p.m. each day plus a bonus 10 p.m. show on Fridays and Saturdays.

“I figured 4:30 p.m. was a half-hour after the stock market closed and probably before the president would be speaking,” he said. “This way I wouldn’t interfere with either of those things.”

Jackson keeps it loose and casual but makes sure the sound is high quality.

“If I’m out of tune at the beginning of a song, I’ll just stop and fix it. It’s not like I’m playing Madison Square Garden so I take certain liberties,” he says. “To perfect my sound, I blend my guitar and vocals through a mixer and treat it like I’m recording a record.”

LONG ISLAND ROOTS

Zebra, who was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2012, made Long Island their homebase regularly performing at legendary venues like Sundance in Bay Shore, The Mad Hatter in Stony Brook, The Roxy in Huntington, Hammerheads in Levittown and West Islip, and Speaks in Island Park. In fact, the band’s last gig before the quarantine was at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh. Throughout his shows Jackson pulls out Zebra classics like “Tell Me What You Want” and “Who’s Behind the Door?” plus covers from Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues.

“I keep mixing it up,” he says. “The sets are always different.”

Jackson plans to bring on his bandmates bassist/keyboardist Felix Hanemann and drummer Guy Gelso to do a full Zebra virtual concert.

“I have an idea on how we can do it and I think it’s going to work,” he says. “We are going to get a new song called, ‘Louisiana Way,’ together and I think it would be great if we performed it for the first time on Facebook Live.”

BIRTHDAY BASH

Jackson was booked to do a private party for Aviva Sala of Old Bethpage, who was celebrating her 50th birthday, at the Social Gastropub in Old Bethpage on April 17.

“I’m a ginormous Zebra fan,” Sala said. “I’ve seen them as much as I can every year since 1986.”

But the event was canceled because of the coronavirus, causing Sala to find an alternative way to party. 

“My friends and I watched Randy’s livestream together online,” says Sala. “He even played some of my favorite Zebra songs [“Take Your Fingers from My Hair,” “Bears,” “The La La Song”] and gave me a birthday shout out.”

As for the future of concerts, Jackson feels he is going to be playing virtually for a while.

“In my opinion, this thing isn’t going away anytime soon. We are going to be like this for at least a year,” he said. “I know I’m not going anywhere until there’s a vaccine.”

RANDY JACKSON

WHEN | WHERE 4:30 p.m. daily and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

INFO facebook.com/randyjacksonofzebra/live

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