The Zombies plan to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a North American tour this fall in support of their new album.
The Zombies, helmed by founding members Rod Argent and singer Colin Blunstone, will hit the road in September and October behind their new release Breathe Out, Breathe In.
"There was a clear brief," says Rod Argent says of the new music. "We wanted to use as many two and three part harmonies as possible and lots of Hammond organ, Mellotron and Memotron. We didn't want to recreate the past, but we wanted to capture The Zombies' essence and meaning. Our energy and enthusiasm for making music is the same as it was when we first started and the magic and mystery of the whole music making process, we are still thrilled by it all. So we thought it would be great to celebrate when that all began. I first met Colin outside the Pioneer Club in St Albans for The Zombies' first rehearsal. We didn't know each other but Colin turned up with a broken nose and two black eyes. I thought, oh no, what have we got here? But he was a keen rugby player and had got injured during a game."
"That first rehearsal went really well because we got to borrow The Bluetones, a local St Albans band's equipment. Jim Rodford who now plays bass in The Zombies was in them funnily enough," says Colin Blunstone. "Our own equipment was dreadful though so when we played on that it brought us down to earth. I would judge how well our gigs went by the amount of blood Rod would lose from his thumb when he played his Jerry Lee Lewis runs on the piano. He'd have to press down really hard. These days he still bleeds for The Zombies of course… spiritually though not literally."
Breathe Out, Breathe In was recorded over a year in Argent's own Red House Studios, the band line-up completed by Colin and Rod's touring group – guitarist Tom Toomey, bassist, Jim Rodford and his son, drummer Steve Rodford. Rod would put down lead voice, piano and some harmonies on a demo, the band would listen and then lay down the bones of the song in a day. "Colin and I have been playing with this band for the last ten years," explains Rod. "And during those ten years we've grown into a very tight and sympathetic musical unit and so going into the studio was a really enjoyable experience, we have a telepathy."
"We often just know what the other person wants and needs and means without speaking," says Colin. "There is so much history there, we understand each other and The Zombies are like a cottage industry. We have complete artistic control. We run our own label, we book our own gigs, we provide our own transport and hotels. Rod writes most of the songs, we record in his studio and he produces the record. It keeps it very exciting being at the centre always of everything."
In his role as producer, Rod wanted to "capture the energy of the performance, that's what recording is all about, whether you are laying down a lead vocal or a guitar solo, you've got to gee yourself up and think this is the only chance you've got to do it. It was important to try and get the joy we feel of playing together on the record too. We wanted it to feel very organic, so when you are listening you can imagine us standing there playing and hitting things."
9-Sep Fri Casino Rama Rama, ON
10-Sep Sat Seneca-Niagara Casino Niagara Falls, NY
11-Sep Sun Oneonta Theatre Oneonta, NY
13-Sep Tue Beachland Ballroom Cleveland, OH
15-Sep Thu MusikFest Café @ ArtsQuest Center Bethlehem, PA
16-Sep Fri Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center Silver Spring, MD
17-Sep Sat Keswick Theatre Glenside, PA
18-Sep Sun Tarrytown Music Hall Tarrytown, NY
19-Sep Mon Rams Head On Stage Annapolis, MD
21-Sep Wed Showcase Live Foxborough, MA
22-Sep Thu Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry, NH
23-Sep Fri Infinity Hall Norfolk, CT
24-Sep Sat Wolf Den @ Mohegan Sun Casino Uncasville, CT
26-Sep Mon City Winery New York, NY
27-Sep Tue City Winery New York, NY
28-Sep Wed State Theatre State College, PA
30-Sep Fri Celebrity Theatre Phoenix, AZ
1-Oct Sat Canyon Club Agoura Hills, CA
2-Oct Sun Coach House San Juan Capistrano, CA
5-Oct Wed McPhillips Station Casino Winnipeg, MB
7-Oct Fri Casino Regina Regina, SK
9-Oct Sun Century Casino Edmonton, AB
12-Oct Wed Kamloops Convention Centre Kamloops, BC
13-Oct Thu River Rock Casino Showroom Richmond, BC