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PLAYING FOR NEIGHBORS By Ellen Donker

Skyfactor comes to Maplewoodstock

Before moving to South Orange two years ago, Bob Ziegler had already been to Maplewoodstock, thanks to some local friends. As a member of the band Skyfactor, he was impressed that a small town such as Maplewood put on such a large event.


“You get up there and you see the crowd, you see the stage and you see all the vendors, and this is a big deal,” he says. “You know, this is not like a little farmers market. This is like a big concert.”

When Ziegler moved here, he applied to have the band play on his home turf at Maplewoodstock, but it didn’t get in. This year, its fortunes changed. It is scheduled to play on the festival’s second day.


The band started as a duo with Ziegler on vocals and Jon Rubin on guitar. Meeting on a rooftop in the East Village one night at the suggestion of mutual friends, they jammed for a bit and even wrote a few songs. Sensing some good chemistry, the duo played together for a few years before deciding to go for a full band sound. They added Rubin’s brother Cliff on bass and Jason Taylor, Ziegler’s friend and former bandmate from the University of Michigan, on drums.


The band has been together for 20 years and is working to put out its fifth studio album this winter – all original music, and its first on vinyl.

“We’ve really been acoustic-based for most of the past four albums,” Ziegler says. “But on this album, Jon’s playing a lot more electric guitar. We have some piano on there. We touch on a lot of different genres.” He adds that there’s some rock, pop, soul, blues and even country.

Ziegler says Skyfactor plays about one gig per month. “We’ve played all the festivals in the New York metro area, you know Pleasantville Music Festival, Take Me to the River Festival in Hastings. We’ve played most of the clubs in the city at this point. Bitter End is one of our favorite home bars.”


Marveling at the longevity of the band, Ziegler says, “Luckily, we found four guys that, despite our having kids, careers … we’ve been able to keep it going and play at a really high level. I think it’s just because we all really like each other. It’s really become a family. We just enjoy creating music together.”

You can catch Skyfactor’s 30-minute set at 3 p.m. on July 14. Ziegler hopes to play about seven songs, with four or five from the new album. To find out more about the band, visit skyfactormusic.com.

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