Roy Zimmerman | Satirical Singer and Songwriter
September 29, 2009
Roy Zimmerman is a Californian satirical singer-songwriter and guitarist with outspoken left-wing opinions.
In the early 1980s, he wrote a series of satirical musical reviews which were presented in association with the San Jose Repertory Theatre, including “YUP!” (1984) “Up the YUP” (1985) and “YUP it UP!” (1986). The musicals parodied the excesses of the evolving Silicon Valley culture associated with the term Young Urban Professionals: hence “YUP.” The songs from these reviews — like “Teen-age Computer Tycoon” and “The Bay Area Crawl” and “I Want to Be in a Pepsi Commercial” — have remained in the memory of Bay Area professionals long after they, and Silicon Valley, have ceased to be young.
He was the founder of the Southern California folk quartet The Foremen, which performed at the national conventions of both major American political parties in 1996. Zimmerman then went on to become a solo act, writing and performing humorous songs on increasingly political subjects. Zimmerman said, “There’s nothing funny about World Peace. Social Justice never killed at the Comedy Store. If we ever attain a worldwide consciousness of peace and justice, I’ll be happily out of a job. But as long as there’s poverty, war, bigotry, ignorance, greed, lust and paranoia, I’ve got a career.”
Zimmerman performed his song “Chickenhawk,” an indictment of those who approve of militarism as long as they and no one they know has to be directly involved, at the counter-events to the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. His songs are played regularly on the Doctor Demento show.
Roy Zimmerman lives and works in Marin County with his wife and frequent collaborator, Melanie Harby, and their sons Joe and Sam.