Zebrahead are a well established addition to the yearly touring schedule. Religiously returning to our shores at least once a year, the band did not disappoint in 2011. For the second year running the band rolled into Glasgow and brought the snow with them; but we’re willing to forgive them for it. Prior to their show at the Arches at the beginning of December, guitarist Matty took time for a little chat in the venue’s modest kitchen.
“I’m full, I just ate and I think I need a shave. Should I shave, what do you think?” Since Movember’s just over it’s nice to see some normal facial hair, so I’d keep it for now. “Oh, okay. Well then I won’t. Thank you! I’ll do it tomorrow. But I’m good, I’m good.”
“Sick,” laughs Matty, talking about the current tour. “Everyone’s been sick. We’ve been ill. The first couple of weeks we threw up a lot. I have done at least twelve times this tour – not alcohol related. Alcohol related throwing up is okay because you know what you’re getting yourself into. But then after that, we had the cold for weeks and we’re now on the downward edge of our colds. The shows have been fantastic; it’s been great, actually. I think the last time we played Scotland it snowed too. Well that’s why as soon as we play and shower we’ve got to get out of here.”
“Actually Attack! Attack!’s not on this tour anymore,” he adds, referring to their support. Paige were filling in for them while Army of Freshmen took the main support slot. “It’s cool touring with AOF since they’re friends, so it’s always good touring with them. It’s pretty hot in here. It’s always cool touring with bands you know that are friends because you don’t just play the shows, you also have to hang out. You want to be able to hang out with people that you like, that’s always good. It’s a good tour for us to have [Army of Freshmen] along and it’s a good tour for them to step on ours. I think so far the crowd’s been awesome to them and awesome to us and it’s a good choice.”
“This is a six or seven week tour, something like that,” he continues. “I can’t go longer than that; it’s tough. This is the limited laundry that you get when you actually get it. The dryers at the venue don’t work, the washers don’t work. It’s just tough being away from home for six weeks at a time. And, that’s a lot of shows to play. We’ve already had… shit, I don’t know how many. We’ve only got about a week and a half left with just two days off and it’s very tough on your voice. It’s a lot of alcohol to drink, and we do it!”
“We actually have a bar on this tour, but ours is a tiki bar,” explains Matty, following the mention of the Bowling For Soup onstage bar. “And if you notice in there [he points to washing machine] there are Hawaiian shirts; those are our show shirts. We’re bringing a Hawaiian theme to this tour, just for this tour, because it’s cold outside and we’re from the South West of America. The guys are from Orange County, I live in Vegas and we have really expensive pyrotechnics as you’ll see and awesome stage props. They’re highly elaborate. It would be nice to have an inflatable shark. Let’s just say that instead of one inflatable shark, we have multiple inflatables.”
This summer, the band released their latest record ‘Get Nice!’ How have they found the response to it? “It’s been great,” he notes. “I thought it went well all over the world, actually. Hopefully people are still buying it, downloading it, stealing it – I don’t care as long as people listen to it! It’s gone pretty well. We play five new songs in this set from the record and they go over pretty well, so. I think we didn’t want to suck.” Well, I think you achieved that. “Well, thank you! I mean, honestly, we didn’t go into the record thinking anything less. We just wanted to make a good record; it wasn’t a case of ‘we have to have it like this’ or ‘we have to have it like that’. We just didn’t want it to suck and we thought we did it well.”
“Well, this is our first tour for this record,” continues Matty. “We’re probably going to do Japan in January, Australia in February, Germany in February/March and probably festival season. We probably won’t really think about the new record until after the new year, most likely after the January/February run.”
“It’s true,” comments Matty on the fact Zebrahead marks their 15th year in 2011, “which is weird because we’re only 24 years old…”
“It is weird because it’s very fortunate for us and other bands that have been around for so long,” he continues. “It’s tough being a band today. The life span of bands is usually less than ten years, even five years for most bands. I think we’ve got pretty awesome fans all over that world who have helped us stick around for so long. I think that’s really helped and we owe it all to them.”
“The year was great for Zebrahead,” he adds. “We put out a new record that we like and we feel that most seem to agree with that. We’re just looking forward to touring for the rest of it and then seeing was 2012 has to say. Festival season is always fun. I love coming to festivals, they’re always good. Most of 2011 was writing and recording the record. It’s mainly been the record, then the festivals and now we’re out here. There’s not one thing I can point out as being awesome, but it’s been a really good year.”
With talk of festivals, we refer to the notion of being starstruck (even Jaret of Bowling For Soup has had those moments this year…) “I don’t know,” he laughs. “For some reason I don’t get that at all. I don’t know whether it’s my personality or not because I picture everyone taking a shit. Everyone shits. Axl Rose taking a shit; yeah he’s nothing special. I did say hi to him once at Download. I like Guns N’ Roses 89-90-91. Yeah, that’s awesome. I haven’t really heard any of their newer stuff. I think I’d be more starstruck with athletes over musicians. I don’t know why. I take it back: if Natalie Portman were here right now, I would be very starstruck. Natalie Portman would definitely do it for me.”
As for the future? “We’ve got a new video for ‘Blackout’, which just came out… a live kind of thing on our website… Yeah keep up on that! We’ve got nothing in the works right now. January, February, March is booked already. Japan, Australia and Germany. March push April we might do something in the States. June, July, August we’ll be doing Festivals. After that back here one more time maybe before the end of the year.”
You can read our review from their Glasgow show here.