TR+ Extended Interview – Welcome Back: The Zombies
Rod Argent loves performing, but don’t expect Eminem to get up and get down with them. Then again….
Formed in St Albums in 1961, The Zombies had a flurry of international fame in their teens. By 1968, however, they were broke, burned out and wouldn’t reap financial or cultural rewards until 30 years later.
Founders Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone went on to achieve great individual success, but their perfect harmony has brought them back together for a second reunion album.
Still Got That Hunger. Says it all, doesn’t it?
I think it does. We’ve been playing in this incarnation for some time now, but the thing that drives us is the same as when we were eighteen years old. It’s the excitement of writing and recording new material and getting what we feel is a real result out of it. I love it when I hear our old stuff on the radio, but if I hear a new track, you know, the excitement goes up twentyfold.
How do still find fresh things to write songs about?
I don’t know – it’s all a bit of a mysterious process, as it always was! A song can start from a little melodic idea, or it can start with a little lyrical idea. There’s one song on the album called New York, which came to me one day when I was in the car and I suddenly started thinking about our very first entry into America, when we were just nineteen. We did the Murray The K Christmas Show in New York, and we were playing with some of our heroes. We were pretty scared, actually.
The second verse of the song actually sort of sums it up:, ‘I walked into the Brooklyn Fox that snowy Christmas day, and Patti and her Bluebelles simply stole my heart away. She took to me Aretha Franklin, showed me so much soul, and helped us join the party with our English rock’n’roll.’ That’s exactly what happened. We only did two songs, as all the acts did on the show, and we were playing with Patti LaBelle, Ben E King, The Drifters, The Shirelles, as well as The Nashville Teens, who had also come over from England.