If you’ve lived in Frisco for any length of time, you’ve noticed that everyone is busy. Happily busy, I think, but nonetheless busy. Out and about with activities on a regular basis. Soccer games, PTA fundraisers, Friday night football games, Frisco Square events, dining out, volunteering… In addition to the typical work, pay bills, and raise children stuff!
Among these hustling and bustling Frisco residents are Susan and Ryan Singleton, whom I met this year at my kids’ school. They’re doing all of the above, and enjoy being actively involved in the Frisco community.
After several months of run-ins at school functions and birthday parties, I discovered that Ryan is in a band. Plus, he works in Corporate America, has 2 kids, and coaches soccer. Upon hearing about the band, I pictured him in a coffee house somewhere, performing folk ballads. Nope. He’s in a rock cover band called Passing With Zeros, and if you haven’t heard them yet, you’re missing out on something very cool.
While I appreciate original music, I think cover bands are fun. It’s like hanging out with old friends. Familiar music tends to spark an emotional response, and you can’t help but proudly sing along. It must be said, however, the cover band has to be good. If it reminds me of karaoke in any way, I’m out.
My husband is a fan of everything from Abba to Rage Against the Machine, and I love to hear familiar tunes from decades past. So, on a recent Parents Night Out, we dared to dismiss our bedtime in favor of hearing Passing With Zeros at a Plano hot spot. From the first song in their line-up, we were impressed. They’re awesome.
As lead singer/guitarist, Singleton’s voice is unquestionably strong, and he doesn’t hold back. The band tackled a variety of genres and artists, old tunes, and current ones. Among them, they nailed AC/DC, The Cure, Blink 182, and Bruno Mars (as well as my husband’s aforementioned favorite from his youth, Rage Against the Machine).
It’s not easy to replicate and pay tribute to some of the most well-respected voices and musicians in recent decades, so this is not your average cover band. These guys know how to bring it! Passing With Zeros includes Steve Wilson (bass guitar and vocals), Neil Swanson (lead guitarist) and Billy Walker (drums) are outstanding musicians and the sound they produce will make you want to get up and dance (which I did!).
In between family life, work, and serving on the worship team at his church, this Frisco Dad graciously shared more about himself and the band.
Lifestyle Frisco: Where does the name Passing with Zeros come from?
Ryan Singleton: Steve (the bass player) and I are the founding members of the band. When we started out, I was in a band called Passing Strangers and he was in American Zeros. We just kind of stuck the names together.
LsF: How do you juggle band rehearsals with family/work life?
RS: That’s actually the most difficult thing to coordinate. Trying to find a weeknight that we all have free. It requires planning weeks in advance.
LsF: I’ve heard you describe yourself as introverted, but on stage you’re every bit the engaging lead singer of a cool band. How does this work?
RS: Weird, I know, but true. Especially when I was younger, I struggled to express myself in social situations. But on a stage and through music, I always felt comfortable.
LsF: Of the songs in your line-up, is there one that you hate singing, but you include it because it’s a fan favorite?
RS: Actually no! One of the promises we made to one another when we started this band was that if there was a song that we hated playing, we wouldn’t play it.
LsF: Is there a song you haven’t yet covered, but want to?
RS: Lots of them! Mostly because they’re songs that wouldn’t work in a cover gig because they’re too obscure or just not the right fit. For instance, my favorite band is King’s X. I’d love to play any of their songs, but most folks would have no idea what we were playing!
LsF: Favorite song to perform?
RS: Tough call, but the first two that come to mind are “Uprising” by Muse, and “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.
LsF: How do you memorize the lyrics to so many songs?
RS: My photographic memory serves me well in this aspect. Most of the time if I listen to a song and write down the lyrics, it’s committed to memory.
LsF: Do you have a dream performance venue?
RS: Red Rocks (outside of Denver, CO)
LsF: You guys have played at many cool spots around Dallas. Are you familiar with the Frisco Music Scene initiative, and do you support more local, live music in Frisco?
RS: I haven’t heard of that, but it sounds really cool. I’d definitely support it! I do wish there were more going on music-wise in Frisco. Most of the music scene/bars are south of Frisco because the bars don’t stay open late in Frisco closin by midnight. We used to play regularly at the “Down Under Pub” when it was still in existence and we’d love to return to Frisco.
LsF: Do your daughters (ages 6 and 9) appreciate the cool-factor of having a local rock star for a Dad, or do they completely not get it?
RS: Not sure if they totally get it, but I have a picture my daughter made at school that reads “My Dad is cool because (fill in the blank).” She wrote “he plays in a band” and drew a picture of me on stage playing guitar. I love it, and I keep it on my desk at work!
LsF: I would imagine that it’s difficult to balance work, family life and your passion for music. How do you make it work?
RS: I love playing in the band, but it’s something I do for fun, not unlike other guys who play golf, hunt, fish or whatever. I put my heart into it, but what I’m most passionate about is serving God and being a good husband and father. I play for the worship team at church because it’s an opportunity to bring glory to God using a gift He’s given me. I coach soccer because it’s a great way for me to be involved with my girls, and hopefully make a positive impression on some other kids… and because I’m competitive! My faith and my family are the most important things to me.
LSF: Upcoming gigs?
RS: We’re back at Sambuca 360 on Aug 26th.