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Zeroed Hero w/ Nester

  • FINAL ZeroedHero

Zeroed Hero is a rock band from Madison, WI delivering a satisfying concoction of '70s and '90s style original rock. Expect driving guitars and honest words served with powerful harmonies. 

Dean Kesler - vocals
Chris Franczek - bass & vocals
Steve Truesdell - guitar
Alison Margaret - keys & vocals
Tony Kille - drums

Chris and Dean have been collaborating for decades; music, home improvement, bartending, even dabbling in an online cooking show. They have the kind of chemistry that can only be concocted when best friends fuse with blood relatives. While both are steeped in a broad tincture of rock and roll, they each bring their own ingredients to Zeroed Hero; Chris seasoned his bass chops through cover bands and blues, and Dean extracted his vocal style from powerhouse classic rock and musical theater.

Fitting the diversity of influences on their debut album Love Letters to a Mannequin, the live lineup is infused with an array of badass talent packing more natural flavor than an artisanal ice cream shop. A killer jazz scene voice fresh from rocking a Hammond organ fronting a soul group, Alison plays keys and sings. Steve forged his guitar skills in alt-metal and tempered them touring nationally with reggae and funk groups. Providing the tock to our tic and anchoring our rhythm section is americana and rock veteran Tony on drums.

Live, the group promises a high-energy show with a colorful palate of sounds, driving rhythms, and compelling harmonies. Like your favorite pair of worn jeans, slide in and wrap yourself in the black and blue-collar rock & roll comfort of Zeroed Hero. 

Loss became letters, letters became stories, stories became songs...

With a pent up need for a creative musical outlet after the demise of their previous band, Chris and Dean shifted their attention to a new endeavor and swung for the fence. The ambitious blue-collar duo set out to write a full-length self-funded album at time when most of their peers choose to crowdfund budget EPs.

After a particularly rough patch of significant loss, Dean turned to writing letters as a means to process the disarray. Never intended to be sent, these one-way communications became metaphorically referred to as “love letters to a mannequin” - a concept that would become the foundation for and title of their first full-length album.

Enlisting the creative firepower of long-time collaborator and former bandmate Chris Franczek, Dean set a course for an ambitious journey turning captivating stories into compelling songs. Chris explains, “We take a very riff-based approach to writing. One of us tosses a chunk onto the anvil and we alternate swinging our hammers until it finds a shape we like.”

Dean carried the letter approach over to lyric writing for the album. “The idea of trying to communicate with someone or something no longer available to you provides an interesting creative vehicle,” says the singer. As the writing process transitioned into recording, the pair released their collaborative DNA and reached out to several local musician friends to contribute fresh elements to the project. Chris recalls, “It was a lot of fun and deeply fulfilling to work with a bunch of great musicians who are also really cool people.” Collaborators came from a variety of genres: funk, jazz, blues, americana - nearly everything except rock. The results are an infusion of flavor and texture rarely found on a band’s first release.


This event is intended for UW-Madison students, faculty, staff, Wisconsin Union members and their guests. Anyone can become a Wisconsin Union member

Presented By

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WUD Music

With support from

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UW Credit Union