Hall of Fame for The Zombies

Jan 2019 Hall of Fame for The Zombies

By Martin Hutchinson

FINALLY it has happened. The Zombies have at last been inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

The award, voted for by fans and peers, comes after the band has undergone a bit of a change following bassist Jim Rodford’s passing last January.

“Jim was a mentor to me,” said founder-member and keyboard player Rod Argent. “He was my cousin and he introduced me to rock and roll in 1956. We wanted him to join The Zombies when we started, but he was in anoth­er group – although he loaned us some equipment and was with us at our first rehearsal.”

Jim joined his cousin in the post-Zombies band Argent before playing bass for The Kinks for 20 years. He joined The Zombies when they reformed in the early noughties (and also played with The Swinging Blue Jeans and Kast Off Kinks).


Danish bassist Soren Koch now plays bass in the band.

“He’s doing great,” the affable Rod tells me. “He’s a slightly dif­ferent player to Jim, but he has made a real contribution to the band.”

The family connection hasn’t been entirely cut though as Jim’s son Steve plays drums for the band. The rest of the line-up is guitarist Tom Toomey and origi­nal singer Colin Blunstone.

The band had a couple of hits in the sixties with She’s Not There (the second song Rod ever wrote) and Time Of the Season which was taken from their acclaimed album ‘Odessey and Oracle’.

On the 40th anniversary of the album’s release, the band – with surviving original members Chris White (bass) and Hugh Grundy (drums) – toured the album, original guitarist Paul Atkinson having passed away. But, back to the Hall of Fame; this wasn’t the band’s first nomination for the award, as Rod explains.

“No, this was our fourth nomi­nation in five years. We’ve been eligible since 1986 and we’ve been build­ing up a good follow­ing. (He laughed). I still think we’re an emerging rock band. The nomi­nees are elected by our peers and the industry big-wigs, and of course there is the all-important fan vote.

“It doesn’t seem to be as important in the UK, but in America, it’s like the Oscars©.”

Seven bands and artists will be inducted this time, and with The Zombies, other inductees are Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Roxy Music and Def Leppard – in fact, of the seven – five are British.

“Our fans just didn’t stop vot­ing,” said a grateful Rod. “We ended up with 330,000 votes and fourth overall.”

And Rod didn’t think they would make it.

“That’s right, I was amazed to be nominated again. We were never confident about it, although we were aware of our profile building. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Graham Nash (CSN&Y) and Susannah Hoff (Bangles) all came to our shows, and our last album (‘Still Got That Hunger’) made the Bill­board charts.

“It feels great to have been inducted. It’ll never be deleted.”

The band didn’t find out they’d been inducted until the last minute.

“We didn’t hear for sure until the day before it was announc-ed, although our management in America had indications that we were there.”

And how did he feel?

“I felt fantastic. It’s a huge hon­our. I was completely knocked out and I felt satisfaction that we’d done it. Not just for us, but for the loyal fans who kept voting for us.

“What was really nice was that other bands were happy for us too. I remember that the first interview I did, after we were told, was in America. I was to follow Def Leppard, and during their interview they were talking about how happy they were that we had won too.”

The induction ceremony is on March 29.

“What a great date,” enthused Rod. “That’s 50 years to the day that Time Of The Season got to No.1 in America.”

And who will be going?

“Well, the award is for the five originals; myself, Colin, Chris, Hugh and Paul. All of us – except for Paul of course – will be there, and some of the cur­rent band will be there, too. I think it’ll be a great night.”

The band is busier than ever. In January, they’ll be playing a (sold out) tribute gig in their hometown of St Albans for Jim Rodford, and just before they set off for the induction, they’ll be playing two intimate gigs at The Boisdale Club at Canary Wharf in London to celebrate the induction (March 20 and 21).

And following the induction, singer Colin Blunstone is under­taking a solo UK tour in April.

But what about UK gigs for The Zombies? And is there any new material in the pipeline?

“Well,” said Rod, “We’re hop­ing to start writing and recording a new album in 2019. As for a UK tour, this has been a bone of contention for a while. We have done five US tours in two years, but very little over here. Mind you, our management team is based in the US. But we do want to get a UK tour arranged for sometime in 2019.”

And there is a five-LP set com­ing out in February.

Rod said: “We really want to say a big ‘thank you’ to our fans for staying loyal over all these years, and this award is testa­ment to their love and loyalty.