The odyssey rolls on
By Martin Hutchinson
After more than 50 years, the highly-influential band The Zombies are in the midst of a very productive and busy period.
Not only are they gearing up for a five-week tour of the US, performing their iconic album ‘Odessey and Oracle’ (sic) which will be followed by shows on the continent, and then a tour of the UK, they also have a new album out.
Formed in 1961, the band split in 1967 but reformed with two of the original band – Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone – in 2004.
‘Odessey and Oracle’ became a cult hit album and is ever-present in polls of the best albums, and spawned the hit single ‘Time of the Season’.
Recently, their music has been featured in the series ‘Mad Men’, and in last years’ Chanel adverts with Kiera Knightley.
The band also appeared at the Glastonbury Festival, and founder-member, keyboard player and chief songwriter Rod Argent has great memories of the event as he tells me from his home.
“It was our first time there and we loved it, it was great. I’m always wary of festivals because of the control, like you only have 15 minutes turnaround. But the crew was brilliant and the crowd was great.”
Always creative, the band – comprising Rod and vocalist Colin Blunstone, with guitarist Tom Toomey, bassist Jim Rodford (ex-Kinks and Rod’s cousin) and Steve Rodford on drums – have recorded a new album to follow 2011’s ‘Breathe Out, Breathe In’.
The 10-track album is entitled ‘Still Got That Hunger’, and the cover was designed by Terry Quirk, the man behind the distinctive (and mis-spelt) album cover for ‘Odessey and Oracle’.
“We’re very pleased with it,” enthused Rod. “For the first time in many years, we’ve used an outside producer in Chris Potter (The Verve). He got in touch with us and asked if he could produce us.”
And they went back in time for the recording sessions.
“We recorded it in the way we used to – to try and recapture the sense of playing together instead of recording it ‘layered’. In fact, it worked so well that Colin’s guide vocals actually became the master vocals.”
And Rod thinks it is up there with the best of The Zombies.
“I think it’s the best thing we’ve done for many years, because we’ve done it in the way we did, and because we recorded it so organically I think it stands up against anything we’ve done.”