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Reader Spotlight: Peter “Janus” Zarate

Peter 'Janus' ZarateMeet Peter “Janus” Zarate, a bassist from San Jose, California who counts a “old top hat with modified goggles” as part of his gear. Peter is our player in the spotlight for July 26, 2011.


I’m a San Francisco Bay Area native and left-handed bassist with a penchant for the peculiar and the macabre. I’m also a lover of science fiction and steampunk – two passions that I’m able to express through the music I play. I’ve been with Vernian Process, one of the steampunk music scene’s early pioneers, since 2009.

My style is a combination finger-style grooves, hard-hitting pick-style playing, and crazy effects when the moment arises.


San Jose, California, USA

Day gig:

A fun little medley of activities: full-time law student, part-time intern, full-time band manager, part-time web designer. I guess you could also call it an overtime juggling act.

Years experience:

A little over 5 years

Bands & Gigs:

I’m the bassist for Vernian Process, a San Francisco-based steampunk band. We’re heavily inspired by the sci-fi works of Jules Verne and other authors. The music is a fusion of prog rock, neoclassical, goth, post-punk, tribal rhythms, carnival tunes, and more, blended together in one strangely appropriate package.


  • Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray (Left-Handed)
  • Gallien-Krueger Fusion 550
  • Gallien-Krueger Neo 410
  • Tech 21 NYC Red Ripper
  • Electro-Harmonix POG
  • Electro-Harmonix Stereo Electric Mistress
  • MXR Carbon Copy
  • Old Top Hat with Modified Goggles

Why I play the bass:

As a kid, I naturally followed the bass and rhythm elements in any music I listened to. Over time, I started seeking more and more bands with creative bass grooves, and it inspired me to start playing bass.

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

Playing bass left-handed. There aren’t many of us out there who do that, as most lefties “convert” to right-handed playing at a young age. As beginners, we’re subjected to peer pressure to convert, and as developed musicians we often get weird looks when others notice that we’re “backwards.” I don’t mind, however. More often than not, the fans respond positively, and the Southpaws in the audience are always excited to see a fellow lefty on the stage.

Aside from that, my other superpower would be my ability to perform in full steampunk gear without roasting alive. I could probably cook a turkey in my outfit if I leave it on a brightly lit stage long enough.

My influences:

The awesome oddballs of rock: Roger Waters, Les Claypool, Steve Harris, Simon Gallup, Martin Mendez, Geezer Butler, Justin Chancellor, Jeff Caxide, Juan Alderete… and a bunch of others I can’t recall at the moment.

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