Zack Pomerleau was just 4 years old when he started playing the drums. He was 14 when he formed his own musical group, the Zack Pomerleau Blues Band. 

Now 16 — and an experienced performer who plays drums, guitar, piano and harmonica — he’s on his way to the International Blues Competition in Memphis with his band. 

The competition is a big deal for any adult musician, let along a teenager. But then, Pomerleau has been playing with adult musicians for years.

And he’s been playing as long as some of them, as well. 

Name: Zack Pomerleau (with a K!)

Age: 16

Hometown: Auburn

Grade: Junior year

What do you play? I play the drums, guitar, piano, harmonica and I sing. I’ve also been known to play a mean ukulele.

How did you get started in music? I got my first drum set Christmas day of 1997, I believe. My mom and dad noticed I was hitting things in time with whatever music was playing, so of course they bought me a set.

How long did it take you to go from
random banging to making music?
Probably when I was 7 or 8 we
upgraded the set and I started getting lessons.

What kind of music do you like? Jazz, blues, classic rock, anything with meaning behind it or talent/skill.

Have you done any gigs? Yes, I have played many places with my band and also alone.

Tell me about the band: My band includes Sam Berce and his dad, John, on bass. Sam plays the meanest slide guitar you’d ever
hear. Currently we’ve been getting Bub Lynch to drum for us.

Do you get nervous playing in front of people? I get stage fright, but I get very excited; stage exhilaration is what you could call it.

Do you also compose? I do write some of my own music. It’s usually more acoustic and poppy, though.

Who’s your favorite musician? It depends on the instrument. Drums would be Gene Krupa. Harmonica would be Paul Butterfield and Howard Levy. On piano and guitar, there are way too many to list.

You really have a favorite harmonica musician? That is correct. People
find the harmonica to be a toy, but in the hands of guys like Levy or
(Jason) Ricci they can do things a saxophonist can do.

Who’s your biggest influence? Other that those guys, my mom and dad. Also, my grandfather, who passed away in 2004 I believe, keeps me loving it. He was a musician himself. Also, my grandmother, whom I never met. It’s spiritual I suppose, but I’d like to think she enjoys what I do. 

Do you have other interests besides music? I am a writer and I love to
play pool. Poetry is one of my favorite things other than music.
Shooting pool is, well, just for fun.

What do you want to do after graduation? I’ve been thinking about going for psychology or music.

Psychology or music. Those are very different career paths. Why those? Music is more obvious, but psychology because I am
interested in why people do certain things and how they create morals.
It’s just wanting to know what makes our minds work. What makes them
OUR mind? It’s very much curiosity. If I could I’d love to be a doctor
who helped deliver babies.

I heard you build your own guitars. Is that true? Well, sort of. Me and my dad a summer ago built a guitar from parts from a company named Warmoth. So not completely by us, and it is only one.

Best guitarist — Jimi Hendrix, Slash, Chet Atkins or Lenny Breau? Definitely not Slash. Jimi was good, but not THAT good. Chet Atkins said it himself: Lenny Breau may possibly be the greatest guitarist ever.

Zack Pomerleau, 16, of Auburn, built the guitar in the foreground with his father and also plays the drums and harmonica.

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