Music News and Interviews

Legendary 60s Rock band coming to the Triangle

Rod Argent in 1961 asked his family, friends and classmates to start a band. At the time, they couldn’t have predicted their impact and longevity. This cornerstone of British 60s rock music, The Zombies, are still performing and recording music.

I had the privilege of interviewing Rod Argent who is a vocalist and keyboardist for the band. Here is a few questions I asked him regarding their newest album. Note that the interview has been edited for this blog.

Q: So, I wanted to talk about your new album. I think the biggest achievement of “Different Game” is it standing out from the rest of your music. I think a lot of older bands, stick to their guns, to a fault. And they’re kind of stuck where they used to be, like decades ago. Y’all experiment with the formula. How do you all have that forward thinking mentality when making new music, but also making sure it fits within like The Zombies catalog?

A: Well, we never worry about it sticking within The Zombies catalog to be quite honest. Because as I said, right at the beginning, we always do things the same way. I don’t know any other way of doing it. It’s just me playing around on a piano. You never know where the idea might come from. You could hit a chord sequence that you think, oh, that’s tasty. And oh, God, I really want to write something around that. And strangely enough, the very first song on the album, “Different Game”, my wife and I went to the bar festival in Leipzig, just before the COVID, actually.

The last performance on the festival was in St. Thomas’s church, where (Johann Sebastian) Bach was for the last 10 years of his life. And he wrote the massive thing called Mass in B minor. And I have to tell you, there were 2000 people in the church. It was packed. And it’s a huge musical piece that you’ve got two organs, one on each side of the church. You’ve got two choirs ,you’ve got soloists, and you’ve got an orchestral section as well. It was so loud. I mean, most people listening to classical music think of it as being relaxing and everything. This is the reality of how it used to be. This is like a rock and roll concert, and it is fantastic. And, and there was this one section in called the Sanctus in the Mass in B minor. And it just blew me away.

When we got back home, just for fun, I kept playing it. Then I sort of kept playing this little chord sequence, which was part of it. And then I suddenly found myself singing a tune over it over it. I wasn’t trying to do that.(…)You know, it’s me in the studio, where I am at the moment, just just having fun, really, and making something work.

Q: You talked about wanting to work with an orchestra at one point, which I find kind of interesting. You have one song in the new album(Different Game), which is mostly just strings(I want to Fly). When you’re talking about your inspirations and what you kind of aim for. I feel like this, album feels a very balanced. And It delves into so many sounds. When you all get together, will you all have like a general idea of what genres y’all want to touch on? Or is it more just like, what the band members were kind of feeling at the time?

“I Want to Fly” by The Zombies from YouTube

A: It was to some extent, the fashion of how we were recording and what we were recording. So when we recorded maybe two or three tracks, you naturally think, oh, for balance, it will be great. I really fancy writing a song that is much more stripped down, you know. And at one point, I thought it’d be great to just have a track with just piano and vocals on the album. And that was the original idea for it. I think what had happened, I can’t remember what track I’d heard. But I think I’d heard an Adele track where it was just piano and her voice. I thought this can really work.

And I was just thinking in terms of some of the tracks we’ve recorded, and thinking that will be a nice balance. So that sort of can dictate it to some extent. But we recorded that. And this is what goes on when you’re recording. I love playing on acoustic piano. And Collin’s vocal, I loved his vocal, I thought it was great. Then I thought you know what, it would be great to score some strings. And I scored that arrangement myself. I said, just leave it, let’s just leave it there and keep it really simple and stripped down. And in the end, we added a little bit of bass on it, very subtle bass. And that was it.

The Zombies have an extensive catalog and they continue to innovate. The Carolina theater is a beautiful venue and you will have the opportunity to see old and new members of the band. They will be coming to Carolina Theater on March 31st(Sunday).

If you want to check out the full interview, here is the Youtube and Spotify link.

Rod/The Zombies Interview on Off The Record by DJ Veil
Rod/The Zombies Interview on Off The Record by DJ Veil on YouTube

-DJ Veil

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RECORD LABEL: Columbia Records

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