Chip Z’Nuff (also known to childhood and internet friends as Gregory Rybarski) is the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll survivor. His band, Enuff Z’Nuff, has been active for over 40 years, releasing over two dozen albums and playing venues of various sizes across the country during that time. For some shows, he’ll even turn the band into a tribute act, The Beatles Rock Show, and the influence of the Fab Four can be heard directly when Enuff Z’Nuff takes the stage today, with songs like “Magical Mystery Tour and “Eleanor Rigby” dotting the playlist, along with Paul McCartney’s “Jet.”
These are all songs Enuff Z’Nuff played in the first 45 minutes of their Friday night show at Leatherheads (12147 South State St., Draper) last weekend, a gig that saw the band form a fanbase of several dozen diehards who were on hand to catch an act that never lost faith, despite countless changes in the look, feel and sound of American rock ‘n’ roll since the release of their self-titled debut album in 1989.
By then, the Chicagoland band was riding high, scoring two hits from that album in 1990 via “Fly High, Michelle” and “New Thing.” Both videos were MTV staples and featured a brilliant look and sound that incorporated a mix of everything that had come before them over the past two decades. There was the tousled hair of bands like Poison, the punk-meets-power-pop sounds of Redd Kross, the glamorous hard rock of Dramarama.
Of course, 1991 was “the year punk broke out” and Nirvana and their kin would take over the rock charts in the short term. While a host of their contemporaries lost their careers by this time, Chip Z’Nuff maintained his band, losing his co-founders along the way, as he cemented himself in a role as songwriter, lead singer, bassist and emcee. His work is part of what makes an Enuff Z’Nuff a unique experience.
At Leatherheads, Z’Nuff bathed in the glow of his fans’ love, reminding them, again and again, of his band’s long history, checking the names of everyone from Tupac to David Letterman. Many songs are accompanied by a short intro, with Z’Nuff referencing past shows in Utah and discolored hijinks in hotel rooms and tour buses within the state limits. Z’Nuff works blue and no one is shocked by what might come out of the veteran artist’s mouth, a throwback style that’s a bit carny circus and a bit Borscht-belt comedic, in addition to his obvious role as rock’n’roll bandleader.
Today, Chip Z’Nuff’s band consists of Tory Stoffregen on lead guitar, Tony Fennell on bass; and Daniel Hill on drums. Together for about seven years in this unit, it’s not uncommon for a member to drop out for another gig, only to come back home later. In fact, one of Z’Nuff’s riffs was a preview of who played in what other projects and when – a jam-packed little information blast in the middle of the show.
The band played for well over an hour before Z’Nuff spoke the magic words, pointing to “Fly High, Michelle” and “New Thing” and for a good 10 minutes the superfans were ecstatic. These were the moneymakers, the tracks that suggest you shell out $20 to see Enuff Z’Nuff on a random Friday night in 2022. Humorously, at the end of the tracks, Z’Nuff pretty much said that the audience didn’t need to beg for an encore as Z’Nuff and Fennell swapped instruments and the rock rolled into a 12-15 minute jam that looped through Edgar Winter, Stone Temple Pilots, Foghat and even a another pinch of “New Thing”. It was an odd match, but the band had completed a 90-minute set almost to the minute.
As the group strolled through the Green Room curtain minutes later, they were rushed by the small audience onto the dance floor, everyone huddled for autographs, selfies and handshakes. hand. Out of nowhere, the AP announced that the karaoke was moving inside the patio, at the request of the police.
Just another night on the road to Enuff Z’Nuff.
Check out all of our A&E coverage here, and while you hang around, subscribe already and enjoy the best of Utah living.