The Zombies will release new album Still Got That Hunger next week (9 October). Not only can you listen to the album in full pre-release below, but the band’s Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone have written us their personal guide to the record.
Rod: I actually wrote the first two lines of this song (I’m moving on/ like a ship sailing wind-blown/ August moon, can you tell me where I’m bound) way back in 1977, when I felt absolutely devastated on hearing that Elvis, the most magical guiding light of my early rock’n’roll years, had died – and then never developed them further! Thirty eight years later I decided to develop and complete the song, and I love the way it’s now turned out. It’s no longer about Elvis, and for some reason the month has changed from August to April, but that was its genesis!
Chasing The Past
Rod: In this, one of my favourites, I think, I particularly love the way that you can sort of hear baroque elements, jazzy improvisation and a real focus on harmony co-exist in one song. These were just the combination of elements that would quite naturally characterize our recordings back in the sixties, and now, as then, none of it was self conscious – we just get excited by the process of putting a track together, and this is what comes out! I also love that Colin still has that lovely sweetness of voice in the verses, combined with real strength when he hits the high harmony sections.
Edge Of The Rainbow
Rod: When I have my music collection on shuffle – as I often do! – it won’t be long before a Ray Charles church and blues drenched song comes up, from the beginning of his career. I’ve never lost my love for his early stuff, and wanted to write something which harked back to those days. I particularly remember the recording of this track. Before we started the album, we decided to self impose a set of limitations on the recording process, to try as much as possible to capture a sense of performance; firstly by making sure everything was recorded live, with no click track, and no layering of tracks. As few overdubs as possible, and always a guide lead vocal. This was an experiment, but worked so beautifully for us that even the “guide” vocals turned out to be masters, with minimal messing! And even the solos, which we thought we’d have to examine and replace, turned out to be pretty much excl;usively the ones we played on the original live takes. This song was one of those that we knew we had within the first few takes. Again, I love Colin’s natural performance, and the way his voice really soars on the high climax of the song.
Rod: This song was written entirely away from the piano, and recalls the experience of our very first trip to America – we opened a ten day series of concerts on Christmas Day 1964, at 8 o’clock in the morning; the Murray The K Christmas Show, at the Brooklyn Fox Theatre. Six shows a day; two songs a show in the company of such wonderful artists as Ben E King, The Drifters, Patti La Belle and the Blue Belles, Chuck Jackson, Shangri- Las…. We were scared at how some of the fantastic, iconic, soulful black artists would react to us, but we didn’t have to worry. Patti La Belle in particular took us to her heart, and the lines in the song “ She took me to Aretha Franklin, showed me so much soul/ And helped us join the party with our English rock/n/roll” are absolutely true. She spent hours chatting with us, said we just had to check out Aretha (who was yet to make her mark with the wonderful Atlantic soul stuff), and introduced us to the music of Nina Simone.
I Want You Back Again (2015)
Rod: One of the joys of being able to resurrect The Zombie marque again is being able to perform some of the early material, that, in many cases, we realized we never played live at all the first time around! “I Want You Back Again” is one such song. We started to play it on stage when we heard a cover that Tom Petty had recently recorded. We loved his version, and thought “Why aren”t we playing it?” We’ve had such a ball on stage ourselves with the song, and felt that it’s really developed, whilst staying absolutely true to the spirit of the original: so felt we just had to put it down!
And We Were Young Again
Rod: We were all fond of this song, and were really looking forward to capturing what we felt we had in rehearsal. In the end, its spirit proved very difficult to pin down, and we were feeling very tired and frustrated at the end of a long day, when we decided to hit it fresh the next morning. As a last token, we did “just one more take” before going home, and were so tired, we couldn’t really judge what we had. Listening fresh in the morning was a revelation – just that last take, probably because we had absolutely no expectations of it, turned out to have the feeling we’d been trying all day to capture. Again, love Colin’s voice on this one, and Tom’s beautiful intuitive guitar solo.
Rod: One of the first songs written for the album; we perfomed this a few times on our U.S. tour earlier in the year. It’s a simple rocker, with an emphasis on the elements of harmonies and some joy in improvisation – just as in all the other tracks on the album, the solo was played live with the complete backing track.
Now I Know I’ll Never Get Over You
Colin: I first recorded “Now I Know I’ll Never Get Over You” with a string quintet a couple of years ago but I think it has adapted really well to this band arrangement. The lyric was originally triggered by the idea of bands living on the road for so much of the year when they’re always longing to get home only to find on finally arriving home they struggle to come to terms with living such a different way of life. It’s usually only a very temporary problem but at the time it can seem very real!!
Rod: For the second time, a song on the album where the first several lines – this time four – were actually composed in the mid seventies; this time in 1975, when my daughter Elesa was born. I never finished the song then, but thought this album was the perfect opportunity, as Elesa has given us a beautiful grandchild, Henry, who is now three. So this song, now about Henry, gives me a chance to complete the sentiments begun all those years ago! In tune with its simple intimate nature, we decided to record it just as voice and piano.
Beyond The Borderline
Rod: The sentiments in this song can actually apply to many situations, but the original inspiration was actually a huge British sporting success, which happened within the last few years. I’m not going to say what it was, but the band happened to watch it on TV, all together, while we were on tour in America, and it struck me what a fantastic feeling it is when something unites people emotionally so powerfully in that way, and how important it is not just to let it slip away. The point for me was to try to capture in the feeling of the song something of the feeling that was in the air that evening…..
And that’s the album! I have to say that one terrifically important element, if you are going to try to record an album successfully in such a “live” way, is to have a great producer just holding things together in the control room. Chris Potter fulfilled that essential role for us, and made the whole experience, for us, not just successful, but hugely enjoyable!
For more, including the band’s forthcoming tour dates, head to Thezombies.net