By Barry Barbe

Summer band camp is an opportunity for teens and adolescents to explore their interest in music while honing their instrumental skill, hardly the place you’d expect to be the impetus for a polished mix genre rock band to be formed.

That’s until Znora.

For Adrian Negrete and Josh Montano, their like interest in music and specifically classic rock and blues led to their collaborative creation of the Tucson-based band, Znora.

The trio, comprised of guitar, bass and drums, is increasing its profile and fan base as the winners of the first “Take the Stage” contest for the Pure Imagination Festival May 17-18 at Watson Lake in Prescott.

With Adrian on guitar and vocals, Josh on drums, and Johnny Rohde on bass, the trio submitted a live performance video through Instagram to be considered for the final slot for the festival to play along with national acts such as Tanya Tucker, The Flaming Lips, and an eclectic mix of seasoned professionals including local favorites Ponderosa Grove and The Galactagogues.

With submissions from across the country, the field was narrowed to 10 acts. Fans were able to vote online, and once the votes were tallied, a panel from Further West Productions, host and creator of the Pure Imagination Festival, made the final determination as to the best group to represent the festival.

Their Prescott debut follows another epic event when the trio took the stage with Sammy Hagar, Quiet Riot and Nancy Wilson at Alice Cooper’s annual Christmas Pudding in Phoenix in December.

Playing various venues, fairs and festivals throughout the Southwest, the group’s sound is a fusion of classic rock and blues, with a high energy funky mash up of originals. Add to that their own take on well-known covers, and the group’s performance promises to be a complementary and standout addition to the two-day festival.

Unlike most participants for the event, the combined age of Znora is 53 years. Johnny, the youngest at 16, and Josh is the elder statesman at 20.

Having a young start can definitely beneficial, but it also comes with its challenges.

For instance, Adrian’s mom plays guardian when the group performs at venues that do not serve food or have an age requirement. And the group rehearses in the family garage.

Drawing from legendary musicians, the band is named after Zenora Hendrix, Jimi Hendrix’s grandmother. “I really like the name and the connection, but decided to drop the E to become ‘Znora,’” Adrian explains.

As to their other influences, Josh Montano credits a plethora of drummers who have the ability to rock hardcore solos, but can also adapt to the more subtle sounds of popular jazz. Diversity is not lost on the group as they continue to develop their own unique sound with high-energy jam sessions and crowd-pleasing performances.

“For our original pieces, they tend to start during a jam session or such during rehearsal. Sometimes starting from a chord progression, or a riff that sounds interesting and then I’ll put the lyrics to it. Then the three of us collaborate on the finished piece,” Adrian says.

While Adrian and Josh have been together since the group’s inception, Johnny joined the group on bass at the age of 15, just last year. With not yet five years under their belts, the trio has made an impressive impact with standout reviews from concert goers and seasoned veterans alike.

For the time being, Adrian and Johnny are finishing up high school, and Josh attends Arizona State University.

“We’re rehearsing as much as possible and playing as many gigs as we can, and are excited about where this could all lead, and super excited about Prescott,” the trio says.

For information, tickets, and band bios, visit

And, check out Znora on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

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