"Tragically poetic" is the term most often used to describe the life of Neva Dinova bassist Heath Koontz. In a bold yet wry move, Koontz nicknamed himself 'Zero' several years ago, and for good reason. Having battled demons the likes of which no mortal will ever know, the five-foot three Koontz has gone as far as having his middle name, Glenn, legally eradicated in his struggle to free himself of the curse he believes was placed upon him at birth. At the age of 18, in an attempt to pull himself out of the depths of gloom, Koontz decided to pursue a music career with his best friend Jake Bellows. He drew up a contract that bound himself and Bellows to their band for life. In a cruel twist of fate, this contract was signed before Koontz was promoted, after seventeen years of loyal service, to Kitchen Manager of Grandmother's Family Restaurant in Ralston, Nebraska.
"Even twelve years into my job, never in my wildest dreams did I guess that I could have a lucrative career in restaurant management. I figured that playing music was my best bet for success, that's why I signed the contract. Two years later, I'm promoted to Buffet Manager. Another three years, and I'm Kitchen Manager. And to think that I could keep going, all the way to Upstairs Manager, if only I could fully apply myself. But a contract's a contract, and I'm bound by my signature to a life of mediocrity," said Koontz with a deep sigh.
Making the best of a grim situation is characteristic of the courageous Koontz. Having accepted his lot in life, he quickly turned his attention to saving those around him from a similarly bleak fate. In addition to his managerial duties at Grandmother's, Koontz has become a mentor, therapist and shoulder to cry on for the troubled female youth whom he manages.
"I have a dark, dark past and these girls know that I can relate to whatever crisis they may be going through. If one of these girls has a fight with her boyfriend, I'm going to be there. If she needs advice on how to leave an abusive relationship, I'm going to offer it," he said. "Some of the people who work with me call me a hero, but I'm just doing what any terribly mysterious, enigmatic dashing young man who had been dealt a severe blow in life would do. No, I'm no hero, but I am ZERO."