Enuff Z' Nuff plays at Mary's Place Sept. 3

With nearly two decades in the making, Enuff Z’ Nuff (EZN) is still delivering a unique brand of melodic rock to fans worldwide, including those in Rockford at Mary’s Place Sept. 3.

The history of EZN sounds like something out of a Behind the Music episode. Yet, even with the struggles, the band has prevailed.

“It’s not a milk and cookie story,” Chip Z’Nuff, co-founder of EZN, said.

It all began in 1983. The band was formed when Z’Nuff (string bass/guitar/singer) was introduced to Donnie Vie (singer, lead guitar, piano) through a mutual friend. The two sat down and managed to dish out multiple songs in just one night. They knew at this point they were on to something.

At the age of 15, the boys recruited Gino Martino and B.W. Boeski to join the band, and started recording their music on a tape recorder in the basement of their Blue Island home.

In 1985, the band was helped financially by a fellow police officer to record their first demo tape titled Hollywood Squares. That year, they also changed the name from Enough Z’Nuff to Enuff Z’Nuff and recruited Vikki Fox and Derek Frigo to replace Martino and Boeski when they left.

Four years of playing local shows and recording demos finally paid off when the boys got an offer and signed with Atlantic Records.

Unfortunately, the deal went sour when their co-producer filed multiple lawsuits on them, and their image was being lumped with “party rock” due to the video image they were told to portray.

Things got a little better when two of their tracks were chosen for TV shows, and when they got the chance to appear on Late Night with David Letterman and on the Howard Stern Show.

They got the chance to play at the prestigious Radio City Music Hall and began their tour shortly thereafter. Their careers were just starting to look up when they fell apart again.

EZN learned of some suspicious inside financial dealings, and their management advised them to file bankruptcy and leave the label.

The band spent a short period after this struggling with drug abuse problems; however, it wasn’t long before they got back on their feet, recorded 70 songs and signed with a new label, Arista Records.

Right after the signing, EZN changed members yet again when their drummer, Fox, unexpectedly quit. Ricky Parent took Fox’s place immediately, and the band was back on its way.

By this time, bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam were joining the scene, making it difficult for EZN to fit in with the new trend. Arista wanted to drop EZN and give Vie a solo career.

EZN refused to give up, and started recording another album. It was during this time that Frigo left the band for good, due to drug abuse and constant fighting with other members.

In 1995, another album was released, and Martino, the original guitarist from 1985, agreed to fill in for the tour. It was also that year when Chip Z’Nuff launched Stoney Records, his own record label.

During that summer, EZN met their next guitarist, Johnny Monaco, to join the group. He was a great singer and had already known almost every EZN riff and solo. He seemed like a natural replacement.

With the band complete with full-time musicians, they once again began touring around the world.

In 16 years, EZN has been through many members and enough downfalls to last a lifetime.

“The stories are legendary, but at the end of the day, we’re just a rock band,” Z’Nuff said. “We were just surviving on the strength of your playing ability …”

Luckily, EZN hasn’t decided enough is enough and continues to share their talent and love in music with fans all over the world.

In 2005, EZN consists of three members including Z’Nuff, Monaco and Eric Donner (drummer), who has been with the band for a year and a half. Donnie Vie still keeps in touch with the band, but is currently doing his own thing.

EZN has released 13 albums in their history, including their newest release, Question Mark, and have just finished up a two-month tour with White Lion.

Enuff Z’Nuff, with special guests Sugarfuse, perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 3 at Mary’s Place, 602 N. Madison St. Cost is $8 at the door.

Mary’s Place is a 21 years and older bar that is open until 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and midnight Sunday. For more information, call 962-7944.

From the Aug. 24-30, 2005, issue

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