Zach Dresch: Man About Town

by Sonja O’Steen

You’ve probably seen Zach Dresch at a standup comedy show, or perhaps on late night TV, or even as a part of the crowd at local music shows when he’s not playing the drums in his own band, The Disarmed.

Since he can remember, Dresch has had music in his life.

For the first half of his life, his parents were either in bands together or separately. His father, Mike, was inducted into the South Dakota Rock and Roll Music Association Hall of Fame in September. 

He grew up listening to the grunge of the 90s, think Nirvana and Soundgarden. Grunge was his mom’s jam. His dad was into hair metal. The Disarmed is a combination of these various genres.

“Our lead singer’s favorite band is Iron Maiden, so we’re kind of a mashup of everything,” he said.

And while he is knowledgeable about a plethora of music, Dresch admits that he doesn’t know it all.

“I have traces of decades of music that are just grayed out and missing from my consciousness,” he said. “[My girlfriend] flipped her shit because I didn’t know any Jefferson Airplane. Of course I know who they are, it’s just not something I listened to.” 

Dresch himself has played the drums for about 20 years. He got his start playing in “basically a Van Halen tribute band” in high school. He said they wrote some originals, but it was mostly Van Halen. He backed away from that band when he was a junior in high school.

“My parents never told me not to smoke pot, but at 16 they thought I was too young to be hanging around with other bands who were doing it,” he said. 

With that guidance, Dresch has kept himself away from the seedy underbelly of rock n’ roll. He doesn’t partake in drugs and very rarely drinks alcohol.

“My dad taught me what not to do,” he said.

Hands in Many Pots

Despite being in the public eye more often than not, Dresch keeps his hands in so many things because he would get bored doing just one thing. “If I only did stand up, I might have quit by now, or at least taken a very long hiatus.”

But he also does so much to keep his anxiety in check.

“Sometimes I get anxious about the standup. And then I get anxious about being anxious. And then I get depressed about being anxious. It can be a vicious cycle,” he said.

People sometimes ask him why he airs his personal life the way that he does.

“We all break down sometimes,” he said. “I just want to be open about it.”

Supporting Fellow Artists

The Sioux Falls music scene has become more supportive in recent years. When Dresch isn’t performing, he’s usually out watching his friends’ bands or watching other local comics. He said it’s all about the respect of the art.

“We have so many great artists in this town. I love to go out and support them whenever I can,” he said. “It’s all about respect for the art. We all go to each other’s shows, which is really cool.”

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