It happened. The Zombies came together at our desert oasis and played a set worthy of a million date shakes. They also chatted with each other, the audience and then to someone we really like. Click here to listen to The Trap Set conversation with living legends Rod Argent & Colin Blunstone of The Zombies — recorded at Ace Hotel & Swim Club— and read on for a peek behind the sonic curtain by the inimitable Joe Wong of The Trap Set.
The music business is rife with disappointment. It’s rare for truly great artists to receive critical acclaim or financial reward commensurate with their contributions, especially in their own time. Formed in 1962 in St. Albans, The Zombies began their career with a string of singles such as “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No.” In 1968, they recorded their classic Odessey and Oracle album but ended their initial run as a band — due to apparent lack of popular interest — just before the single “Time of the Season” became an international smash. This may seem tragic, but as Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent explain, the fact that The Zombies never reached the popular heights of their contemporaries is a blessing… and the reason why they are among the only British Invasion bands left standing.
Colin, Rod and a couple hundred lucky fans descended upon Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs on September 21, 2018 for an intimate, career-spanning conversation, followed by a rare, acoustic performance. Rod and Colin discussed their childhood in rural England; the development of their musical skills; the formation of the band; how songwriting credit caused an uneven distribution of royalties; self-financing Odessey and Oracle; working at Abbey Road and borrowing John Lennon’s Mellotron; their brilliant post-Zombies solo careers; and why eluding massive fame may have spared the band the tragic fate that befell many of their contemporaries.
Although it’s taken decades for the band to receive the same accolades attributed to many of their peers (they are set to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, decades after becoming eligible), their influence is undeniable. Generations of artists (many of whom were in attendance) ranging from The Shangri-Las and Tom Petty, to The Foo Fighters and Mary Timony have cited the band as a major influence. And in retrospect it’s easy to see why — flawless songwriting combined with a matchless delivery, a sublime balance of melancholy and joy. After our conversation, Rod and Colin proved to everyone lucky enough to be there why — nearly 60 years after their formation — The Zombies are the greatest band in the world.
Joe Wong is a composer (Russian Doll, Master of None, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before), drummer (Parts & Labor, Marnie Stern, Mary Timony), and podcaster based in Los Angeles. As the host of The Trap Set, Joe has had wide-ranging and oftentimes, frank, intimate conversations with over 200 musicians ranging from Fugazi to Phil Collins.