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      Rock/ Hard Rock/ Alternative/ Metal/ Raggae/ Funk
      Hayden ~ Vocals Rob ~ Lead Guitar Donny ~ Rhythm Guitar Joe ~ Bass Mike ~ Drums In a time that is monopolized by bands of the latest trend, cookie-cut and nearly indistinguishable from each other, Manna Zen stands out, from their name to their music, their live performance an... read more
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      Bio

      Hayden ~ Vocals

      Rob ~ Lead Guitar

      Donny ~ Rhythm Guitar

      Joe ~ Bass

      Mike ~ Drums



      In a time that is monopolized by bands of the latest trend, cookie-cut and nearly indistinguishable from each other, Manna Zen stands out, from their name to their music, their live performance and even their ever-growing fan base. These Florida rockers aren’t trying to top any other act out there, but carve their own path in the journey of music, and bring you along on their ride. With an idiosyncratic sound that spans a variety of genres, and lyrics that tattoo a permanent place in your subconscious, Manna Zen has a little bit of what even the most fastidious music connoisseur is searching for. Jacksonville’s X102.9 FM says : “Manna Zen (is) one of the most original bands… And (the) ZENation are crazy fans.”


      Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines Manna as : “A) food miraculously supplied to the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness B) divinely supplied spiritual nourishment; a usually sudden and unexpected source of gratification, pleasure, or gain”, and Zen as “ a Japanese sect of Mahayana Buddhism that aims at enlightenment by direct intuition through meditation”. It was these two words, from vastly different spiritual beliefs, that front man and founder Hayden Vega felt applied to the creation and fulfillment of music. He says “Music is what feeds the soul, like Manna from Heaven, and quiets its discord, like the best meditation.”


      Manna Zen has been a staple in the Jacksonville, Florida music scene for a number of years, struggling with the often experienced process of filtering through different musicians before finding the perfect sound. Hayden, along with rhythm guitarist Donny Luckel, and drummer Mike Negron, kept the fires burning until they found bassist Joe Kemplin and lead guitarist Rob Schulte. Each member brings to the group their own unique sound, preference, and prodigious experience, ranging from influences such as Led Zeppelin and Incubus (Vega), Type O Negative and Mudvayne (Kemplin), Dream Theater and Pantera (Negron), Goldfinger and Finch (Schulte), Slayer and Metallica (Luckel). Such eclecticism merges together to create a musical experience unlike any other. The best example of this can be seen, heard, and most importantly felt, at any of the band’s live shows, where the fan base, the ZENation, is growing in number. At each concert the finished set is echoed by chants of the band’s name as fans clamor for more of the sound they’ve grown to love. Here is just some of what the people say:

      "We are fans of (Manna) Zen at the X(102.9). They are the most creative band on the local scene, by far." - Aaron Schachter , program director at X102.9, Jacksonville's New Rock Alternative

      “I became an instant fan... They mix so many genres... It reminded me of the first time I heard Linkin Park. Fresh, different, but I knew instantly that I liked it and I wanted to hear more! The band interacted well with the audience and it made for a really fun time.” – Melissa Landrum, Rock Concert Travelers

      “Though their alternative rock feel may not be new, Manna Zen’s lyrics and style definitely are… A good crowd jumping audience… This is a band you can’t help but air drum and play air guitar to. It’d be a shame if Manna Zen wasn’t featured on the next Guitar Hero.” – Kendall Norman, examiner.com

      “It’s Manna Zen’s unique sound that I love. Other bands just seem to mimic other bands with no touch of their own. In contrast, Manna Zen has such flair. It’s music I can’t put in any genre.” –Jill Arthur

      “Some bands have that ‘don’t touch me mentality’ but (Manna Zen) doesn’t mind mingling with their fans. Their music is awesome… moves the soul and shakes you up.” – Cherity Rebancos

      “What I love most about Manna Zen is they don’t fit into just one genre. They can have me jumping one moment to a rock beat, the next swaying to a ballad, then dancing to a funky raggae type mix the next. Their range is so broad and they draw their fans in with them. These guys are what music is about. They know their fans are the reason behind the music, and they give them a show each and every performance to keep them craving more. Once you have experienced a Manna Zen show, you instantly become a fan.” – Sherry Harps

      “The guys (in Manna Zen) have so much energy… Together they make up what I feel is the perfect band… I love going to shows. Their songs are amazing and deep, have meaning and purpose.” – Allison Smith

      “Manna Zen plays their shows for the people… They play with their hearts and souls when they perform, ‘cause to get the sound of music like they have, you have to play from within.” – Daryl Knickerbocker



      Manna Zen has been privileged to play with such amazing acts as Godsmack, Seether, Stone Sour, Puddle of Mudd, and many more at the Welcome to Rockville fest. They were the only local Jacksonville band chosen to play X102.9's Rock on the River II with Sick Puppies, Panic! at the Disco, The Airborne Toxic Event, AWOLNATION and Hugo. They've shared the stage with a host of other notable acts like Paramore, Tantric, Adema, Taproot, Alien Ant Farm, Helmet, Days of the New, Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, LA Guns, Stevie Stelleto, Hed PE, and NONPOINT. A top 3 finalist for X102.9’s The Big Ticket Fest, the band has graced stages all over Florida including the historical Florida Theatre, Metropolitan Park, the Jacksonville Landing, The Sea Walk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach, Freebird LIVE, The Coliseum in Daytona Beach, Brewster’s Pit, and a host of other venues. Their first album, a self-titled release, was recorded in Orlando at the prestigious Full Sail Studios, and garnered local and regional attention. The buzz has already begun over the release of their new album, coming in the fall of 2011.

      Known for their love of all music, and their faith and support in the local and underground music scene, Manna Zen’s next stop is a city close to you, and a lasting place in your heart and soul. Prepare to be swept away on their journey.

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