Zack Hood plays more often than a trunkload of rug rats, except that he plays music and doesn't get on your nerves. In a typical week, Hood and his band, A Modern View, are in action three times in Santa Barbara.
Zack & A Modern View music is melodious and lots of fun. On Tuesdays, Hood is at Zelo, on Fridays at Soho and on Sundays at the Shake, also called Felix's Cantina.
And Hood can even hold his own Tuesday nights against the ultimate Santa Barbara party--the Wedding Band when it puts in its weekly installment of the 5-year-old gig up the street at the Ketch.
"At Soho, we get the typical 21- to 50-year-old Santa Barbara crowd," Hood said. "At Zelo, we get more of a college crowd and the young entrepreneur crowd. But the Shake is where I get the real funky, down-to-earth crowd. It's the cutting edge of what I'm all about."
Hood is a native Michigander who lived in Pasadena for 10 years before moving to Santa Barbara. His music is often described as world beat, but his last tape, "I and I," features a lot of reggae.
"The music scene in Santa Barbara is very eclectic," he said. "In L. A., it was very trendy. In L. A., I had to play more reggae to make out down there, but my pulse is more R & B and jazz. I'm using Santa Barbara as my foundation to break out to the world, sort of the way Prince used Minneapolis.
"To me, world beat music is a combination of reggae, jazz and soul. My music is a new world music. I don't just concentrate on one style, but I blend it."
As with most musicians, the past was fine with Hood, but the future is what's happening and the next project is the Big One.
"We're a five-piece band now," Hood said. "Now we're more of a live performing band than when the tape was made two or three years ago. The music is more personal and less synthetic."
A man on a mission, Hood, 35, has been a musician for nearly 20 years and holds no dreaded day job.
"I started out as a musician back in Michigan when I was 16 because this dude told me I looked like a sax player," he said. "At the time, I was really into Kool & The Gang. I had three older brothers who were all into drugs, and I was lost and needed a goal in life. And I decided this is what I needed to do.
"After I moved to California, I went to LACC (Los Angeles City College) and my instructors gave me a lot of confidence."
But then again, getting signed out of these parts has, so far, proved difficult. Rumors continue to fly around Spencer the Gardener as the "next big thing," but Toad the Wet Sprocket remains the only signed band out of Santa Barbara. Hood hopes to be next. Already some of his songs have been featured in movies, including "Glitz," so perhaps he's on the right track.
* WHERE AND WHEN
Zack & A Modern View will play Friday at Soho, 21 W. Victoria St., Santa Barbara, 965-5497; Sunday at the Shake, 525 State St., Santa Barbara, 962-1432, and Tuesday at Zelo, 630 State St., Santa Barbara, 966-5792. All shows begin about 9 p.m. and cost around two bucks.