‘Parking lot payday’: Zach Selwyn is cashing in on his music knowledge

click to enlarge ‘Parking lot payday’: Zach Selwyn is cashing in on his music knowledge
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Zach Selwyn kicked off “Parking Lot Payday” on July 12 outside of a Metallica concert.

As an entertainer, Tucson native Zach Selwyn never knows where his next job is going to be.

He was pleasantly surprised when, for that “next job,” it is hosting AXS TV’s “Parking Lot Payday.”

The series four-episode season sees the longtime musician and his crew riding into concert parking lots and giving attendees the chance to cash-in on their knowledge of their favorite bands.

Airing 5 p.m. Tuesdays, the inaugural season features 30-minute episodes spotlighting heavy metal godfathers Metallica (July 12), rock legends The Rolling Stones (July 19), chart-topping favorites Imagine Dragons (July 26), and pop music’s Coldplay in Santa Clara (August 1).

“The producers of the show knew of my band and thought I would be a good host for this,” he said. “I’m very honored to have this show and to be a part of it.

“I think they’re trying to do some sort of ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ meets ‘Billy on the Street’ with ‘Cash Cab.’”

Selwyn said he was amazed by the concerts he was able to see with “Parking Lot Payday.”

“Chris Martin can rock a fricking stadium,” he says. “They give you these LED bracelets and it’s like everyone is singing along on some warpath toward freedom.”

He said he thought Metallica and Imagine Dragons were impressive, too, as was Allegiant Stadium, where he saw James Hetfield and Co.

“After the Imagine Dragons’ show, I thought I better do more pushups,” he says, referring to the band’s penchant for playing shirtless.

“Allegiant Stadium, though, is everything it should be in Las Vegas. It’s just an incredible experience. I used to think that stadium concerts were never really my thing. The Greek Theater and Hollywood Bowl are more my thing. After seeing these bands in stadiums, that’s a whole different ability to control that audience.”

In “Parking Lot Payday,” fans can answer up to 10 multiple-choice questions specifically pertaining to the band performing that night.

The first question is worth $5, and that amount doubles with each question that follows — resulting in a possible grand total of $2,560 for contestants who manage to correctly answer all 10 questions.

To aid them in their quest, fans will have the option to ask for a hint, text a friend, or search for the answer on their phone for 30 seconds if they get stuck. A contestant can choose to walk away at any point with the money they have won, whether it is merely $5, $80 or the entire pot. Once a fan answers a question incorrectly, they are out of the game and lose all of their earned money.

“The first $5 question is always pretty easy like, ‘What’s the name of the lead singer of The Rolling Stones,’” he recalls.

“If you don’t know it’s Mick Jagger, you shouldn’t be playing this game. Midlevel questions are like, ‘Which album features a birthday cake on the cover with a spindle of a vinyl record player?’ Then people have to start thinking. If someone says, ‘Let It Bleed,’ you move on to the next level.”

Selwyn’s diverse credits include leading roles on series like “Around the Horn” (ESPN), “Attack of the Show” and “America’s Secret Slang.”

His formative years were spent near Cloud Road, and he attended University High School.

“Growing up, I was into hip-hop and ’50s music,” Selwyn says.

“I was raised on that, then I got into the California country vibe of things. I’ve always been a fan of all kinds of music.”

Selwyn lives in Hollywood, while his parents remain in Tucson. He returns a couple times a year.

“I’m a big fan of the Old Pueblo,” he says with a laugh. “When I come home, I have to hit all the spots—first things first, Eegee’s. Sabino Canyon, have to go there, and then sometimes I like to sit in the pool and do nothing. It’s just nice to be in the desert.”

For now, he’s focusing on new music and “Parking Lot Payday.”

“I, admittedly, didn’t know a lot about Imagine Dragons,” he says. “I’m amazed that people know the fifth song on the third album. My Imagine Dragons knowledge is limited to ‘Believer.’”

“Parking Lot Payday”

5 p.m. Tuesdays through August 1


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