Showing posts with label #Largo Cultural Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Largo Cultural Center. Show all posts

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tom Rush Interview: Celebrating 50 years of storytelling and music

By Ray Shasho

American folk and blues raconteur Tom Rush has been captivating audiences with his deep- rooted acoustic stylings and musical repartee for over a half century. And there is still nothing more profound then witnessing the simplicity of a lone performer onstage with an acoustic guitar and a story to tell. Tom Rush has that rare ability to interpret life stories in its most traditional and purest form.

Tom began his life as a troubadour by performing at Boston- area clubs while attending Harvard University in the early 60s. Rush released two albums by the time he graduated.
By 1965, he signed to Electra and recorded three albums for the record label.

The Circle Game album released in 1968, covered tunes by singer-songwriter counterparts Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor. The release also spawned the self-penned folk classic, “No Regrets.” The song has been covered by numerous artists over the years including … The Walker Brothers (#7 Hit -1975, UK Singles Chart), Emmylou Harris, Fairport Convention, Olivia Newton-John, Curtis Stigers, Waylon Jennings, and Shirley Bassey.  The album cover was photographed by Linda Eastman.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, The Circle Game ushered in the singer/songwriter era.
James Taylor was quoted saying, “Tom was not only one of my early heroes, but also one of my main influences.” 

Tom Rush in the 60s … (Tom Rush at the Unicorn, Got a Mind to Ramble, Blues, Songs and Ballads, Tom Rush, Take a Little Walk with Me, The Circle Game)

In the early 70s, Tom Rush recorded for Columbia Records.
Rush toured extensively throughout the 70s. He became a traditional act at renowned music clubs like The Cellar Door (Washington, DC) and The Bitter End (New York), but also played large arenas supporting legendary rock acts like Loggins and Messina, and Alice Cooper.  

Tom Rush in the 70s … (Classic Rush, Tom Rush, Wrong End of the Rainbow, Merrimack County, Ladies Love Outlaws, The Best of Tom Rush)

After taking a break from touring, Tom Rush triumphantly returned (1981) to a sold-out Symphony Hall in celebration of twenty years in music. The following year, Rush spearheaded what would become a traditional annual musical event at Symphony Hall in Boston. The event mirrored a concept from the Club 47 coffee house in Cambridge, Massachusetts of the early 60s- allowing established artists and newcomers to share the same stage. The concerts would spotlight well-known artists like Bonnie Raitt or Emmylou Harris, (along with then unknowns) Alison Krauss or Mark O’Connor. Tom took the Club 47 concert series on the road …where it’s been ever since. The show has performed at Boston’s Symphony Hall, The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and New York’s Carnegie Hall to name a few.

The Club 47 concert series continues to pack houses, delight audiences, and animate music critics.  Rush says … “It all comes down to a really good excuse for getting some friends together and throwing a party.”    

Tom Rush in the 80s … (Tom Rush: New Year, Tom Rush: Late Night Radio, Tom Rush: Blues, Songs and Ballads -re-release)

In 1999, Columbia/Legacy released a Tom Rush retrospective album that covers his recorded musical history from 1962 to the present.

Tom Rush in the 90s … (Work in Progress, Tom Rush: Wrong End of the Rainbow-re-release, The Very Best of Tom Rush: No Regrets)

In 2009, Tom Rush recorded his first studio album in 35 years. The album entitled, What I Know was recorded in Nashville. The release includes original material along with harmonies by Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Bramlett and Nanci Griffith.

Tom Rush 2000’s and present … (Merrimack County/ Ladies Love Outlaws –re-release, Live at Symphony Hall, Boston, Trolling for Owls, How I play(some of) My Favorite Songs, Judy Collins’ Wildflower Festival, What I know)

Most recently, a video surfaced on You Tube of Tom Rush performing the hilarious/ sad-but- true … Steven Walters penned ditty, “The Remember Song.”  The video has generated over six- million views.

Tom Rush will be embarking on a new tour beginning December 7th from Portland, Maine. The tour lands at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl on January 10th, the Largo Cultural Center in Largo, Fl on January 11th and Big Arts- Schein Performance Hall, Sanibel Island, Fl on January 12th.

Order tickets for the Ponte Vedra Beach show at or call (904) 209-0399 for more information.
Order tickets for the Largo show at or call (727) 587-6793 for more information.
Order tickets for the Sanibel Island show at or call (239) 395-0900 for more information.

I had the great pleasure of chatting with Tom Rush recently about the tour, and just about life in general.
Here’s my interview with a pioneer of the onstage concept of …a man, his guitar, and a story… singer, songwriter, and musician … TOM RUSH.
Ray Shasho: Thanks for being on the call Tom … so how are things?
Tom Rush: “Well, it’s snowing again now, it’s just blowing around in the air … but I think summer is finally over.”
Ray Shasho: Not down here in always sunny Florida.
Tom Rush: “Sure … go ahead and rub it in.”
Ray Shasho: But you’ll be down here soon performing three shows in the “sunshine state.”   Besides the upcoming tour, you’re also compiling the talent for an upcoming Symphony Hall concert.  
Tom Rush: “Yup, the 28th of December. This is my fiftieth year of recording and doing shows.
Ray Shasho: Congratulations!
 Tom Rush:  “Thank-you! It’s king of depressing actually. (All laughing)  We’re going to do the show to kind of put the end-cap on the fiftieth year.”
Ray Shasho: Have you lined-up all the guest artists that are performing at the show yet?
Tom Rush: “I’m getting there … pretty close. I’ve got Nanci Griffith, Jonathan Edwards, Buskin & Batteau, and trying to line up a couple of more. I’m hoping this will turn back into an annual event; I use to do these every year back in the early 80s, and then Symphony Hall started using the dates for Pop shows between Christmas and New Years and I couldn’t get a date from them. But now they’ve opened up again, so I’m hoping I can do it again next year and maybe keep doing it going forward. But we’ll have a good time.”
Ray Shasho: Tom, I’ve been disgruntled with the music scene for quite a long time. Growing up in the 60s, we had the best of the best, and most of us probably thought it would never end.
Tom Rush: “Well I think the good news is, these days there are a lot of music scenes, which has nothing to do with the industry … with a capital I, and the industry is kind of circling the drain. I’m sure you’re aware; a number one record today sells about ten percent of what it did about twenty years ago. It’s all gone over to the internet, and that’s good news for the working musicians and bad news for the superstars.”
Ray Shasho: And there aren’t many record companies left so it’s almost impossible to get a record deal.
Tom Rush: “Again, the good news is, sensible new musicians don’t want a record deal … they’ll do it themselves. They can connect with their audiences on the internet; sell their product on the internet. There are acts that can sell ten thousand seats today who have never been on the radio. So, it’s kind of exciting.”
Ray Shasho: I miss those days of hearing a song on the radio and running down to your local record store to buy the record.  
Tom Rush: “That was a good model, the record company, the radio stations, and the concert industry working together in symbiosis … but it doesn’t work that way anymore.”
Ray Shasho: I chatted with Roger McGuinn (The Byrds) and he seems to be happy with being in control and not depending on record companies.
Tom Rush: “It is hard to start out now; even though you’ve got an infinite amount of shelf space on the internet, it’s hard to get peoples attention. So Roger and I are fortunate that we’re going in with an existing audience. But given that we have an existing audience; it’s a great way to keep in touch with them. The Symphony Hall show for instance, I wondered how was I going to get a promoter to put up fifty or sixty grand to take a chance whether we could sell this Hall. And what am I going to have to give up in exchange for that investment. So I thought what about a kickstarter campaign … and we filled half the Hall before it went on sale. So we’ve got all the bills paid going in, and it’s a good feeling. They’ll also be doing a six camera shoot at the show; some folks will be doing a documentary on me. So it will be a lot fun. Tickets aren’t on sale yet but will have all the news soon.” 
Ray Shasho: Tom, were you part of that Greenwich Village music scene with Maria Muldaur … Bob Dylan, and all those great artists?
Tom Rush: “Not so much, I was up in Cambridge, Massachusetts … there was a different music scene up there. The Greenwich Village scene, everybody wanted to get matching shirts and go on the road. Up in Cambridge, it was much more of an amateur scene. They were just doing it for the love of the music. A few of us went on to become professionals but not very many. It was mostly typewriter repairmen, psychopharmacologist, and people who just loved to get together to play music for the fun of it, and really had no intention or desire to go professional.”
Ray Shasho: So what was your big-break leading you into a professional music career?
Tom Rush: “I had a couple of friends with radio shows on WBZ in Boston, and they were 50,000 watts clear channel, these guys would get fan mail from New Zealand, and had regular listeners in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, just a huge-huge audience. I didn’t understand that at the time … what 50,000 watts clear channel meant. They’d invite me to play some songs on their shows and had no idea what type of audience I was playing to. I still get a lot of people saying, “I use to hear you on WBZ!”
Ray Shasho: I associate timelines of my life with music. Like… where was I when I first heard a particular song being played on the airwaves etc. Or in your case, through my teen years … every time I’d pick up the Washington Post entertainment section … there you were performing at The Cellar Door in Georgetown.
Tom Rush: “I’m being told over and over… “You’re the soundtrack to my college years …or my time in Viet Nam …or whatever, so people are coming to hear the songs they are familiar with, and God bless them, but if you want to do new stuff, you’ve got to sort of shoulder aside some of the older stuff. I still do a lot of the old stuff onstage … some Joni material, The Circle Game, “No Regrets” …which is my song, “Driving Wheel,” songs that people associate me with, but I also manage to squeeze in new material, and the good news is that my crowd seems to love it.”
Ray Shasho: I truly believe …a lone singer onstage with a guitar and a story to tell imprints an everlasting impression that a band of musicians just can’t compare to.
Tom Rush: “I do agree, and there aren’t many people doing that anymore. It’s an interesting discipline to be able to get up with just a guitar and hold people’s attention for a couple of hours.”
Ray Shasho: “I enjoyed the “What’s Wrong with America” video on your website. Do you think musicians should publicly endorse and campaign for a candidate?”
Tom Rush: “I’ve avoided that. On the one hand, I think my job is to give a person a little vacation from everything that’s wrong with the world, so I try not to get political onstage; I have been doing this, “What’s Wrong with America” song, which is quite different. I think even rich people will get a laugh out of it. But I think in general, I shy away from politics onstage.”
Ray Shasho:  Tom, I ask everyone that I interview this particular question. If you had a ‘Field of Dreams’ wish to collaborate or play with anyone, living, or in the past, who would you choose? 
Tom Rush: “That’s a tough one …but I’d love to be able to sit in the audience and listen to Robert Johnson or Josh White. I did get to see Josh White play; he was one of my idols. I’d love to see Lead Belly and some of the old blues guys that aren’t with us anymore. That would be a treat.”
Ray Shasho: It’s a shame that many of those incredible blues players weren’t appreciated back in their day as much as they are now.
Tom Rush: “That was one of the interesting things about the Club 47 in Cambridge; they made a point of going out and finding these guys. A lot of them had retired, and most never played for a white audience before. They’d bring them up to Cambridge and these guys would be sitting in front of a bunch of white college kids. It must have been like going to Mars. But the kids loved it and a lot of the blues guys got a second career out of playing for college kids.”
Ray Shasho:  Tom, did you ever have it in your heart to pick up a ‘Strat’ and just wail away? (Laughing)
Tom Rush: “I tried playing electric for awhile and it just didn’t work out. My reflexes are centered on the six string acoustic. I just played the electric too hard and it sounded awful, so I gave it up.”
Ray Shasho:  I love “The Remember Song” because it’s so true … and based on the audience response, I think people can really identify with the lyrics. (Over 6-million views on You Tube) Are you surprised how popular that tune has become?
Tom Rush: “That was kind of a surprise …yea. My web guy was putting up some stuff on You Tube and I said …let’s put up “The Remember Song” people might like it. It didn’t cost anything, what the hell. And it’s the one that took off. It’s a song for our times.”
Ray Shasho: Do you have a favorite tune you like to perform onstage?
Tom Rush: “Not in particular, having been added it for fifty years; I have enough of a repertoire that if I get bored I can swap it out for something else. And then there’s new material coming along, either my songs or music I find on other peoples recordings. So, no, I don’t think I have a favorite. I like mixing things up, doing some silly stuff, along with serious stuff, up tempo, and some quiet things … it keeps me interested.”
Ray Shasho: What I Know is your latest release, do you have plans to record in the studio again soon?
Tom Rush: “I’ve got about three or four projects going at the same time and I don’t know which one is going to make it to the studio first. I wrote a kid song for the first time ever … and not necessarily kid songs but silly songs coming along. It would be a fun project to do; I could probably whip it off in a day. But then there are collections of other things, stuff that I’m writing, songs that I’ve learned from other people. I had so much fun working with Jim Rooney and his people down in Nashville, and I’d love to get back in the studio with him.”
Ray Shasho: They’ve got some amazing players down in Nashville don’t they?
Tom Rush: “Oh boy … working with these guys is like having a magic carpet ride. There are fifteen tracks on the CD and six of those are first takes. And I was actually disappointed they were first-takes because I wanted to do them over and over. (All laughing) It just felt so good. Every other house down there is a recording studio. You can get really top quality recording studio time for cheap.”
Ray Shasho: Your wife ‘Renee Askins’ is an author who wrote a book called “Shadow Mountain” …can you talk about her book?
Tom Rush: “It’s a good book … fifteen years working to get wolves restored to Yellowstone Park, and got the job done against overwhelming odds, because it was not popular with the ranchers who have a very disproportionate amount of power out there.”

“They had separate releases in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana; the wolves have flourished now and have been taken off the endangered species list in all three states. Each state is managing them very differently; Wyoming is managing them very badly. There basic policy is … just shoot them … every chance you get.”

“When she got the job done, Doubleday asked her to write a book about it, and she did, and it’s an excellent book. A women’s take on … why it was worth it, what it was really all about underneath it all, our relationship with wildness and wilderness … it’s a really a nice piece of work.”
Ray Shasho: Tom, thank you so much for being on the call today. But most of all … for the fifty years of great music and storytelling that you’ve given to all of us. We’ll see you in Florida!
Tom Rush: “Well thanks … I’ll keep doing it, if you keep listening!” 

Sign up for the Tom Rush Newsletter on Tom’s official website at
Order the latest release from Tom Rush What I Know at
Order author Renee Askins (Tom’s wife) incredible journey … Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild at

Tom Rush In Concert/ Florida dates …. Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl on January 10th, the Largo Cultural Center in Largo, Fl on January 11th and Big Arts- Schein Performance Hall, Sanibel Island, Fl on January 12th.
Order tickets for the Ponte Vedra Beach show at or call (904) 209-0399 for more information.
Order tickets for the Largo show at or call (727) 587-6793 for more information.
Order tickets for the Sanibel Island show at or call (239) 395-0900 for more information.

Contact classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho at

GREAT HOLIDAY GIFT! Purchase Ray’s very special memoir called ‘Check the Gs’ -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business … You’ll LIVE IT! Also available for download on NOOK or KINDLE edition for JUST .99 CENTS at or   -Support Ray so he can continue to bring you quality classic rock music reporting.
~~Pacific Book Review says Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray.  So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book!  It’s a great gift for your “over-the-hill” friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Zombies are coming! U.S. 50th Anniversary Tour launches from Florida

Rod Argent and

Colin Blunstone

By Ray Shasho

An interview with the legendary voice of The Zombies Colin Blunstone:

British rock group The Zombies commemorated a half-century milestone in 2011 and are continuing the celebration with a tour of North America in 2012. The U.S. tour officially launches from the Largo Cultural Center on July 27th and will be The Zombies only Florida appearance on the tour.

On April 27th of 2012, a historical blue plaque was unveiled at The Blacksmith’s Arms Pub in St. Albans to commemorate the initial congregation and foundation of The Zombies in 1961. The plaque symbolizes the significance of the band to rock ‘n’ roll’s past, present and future.
The current lineup of The Zombies features original lead vocalist and songwriter Colin Blunstone (also Alan Parsons Project), original keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter Rod Argent (founder of Argent), bassist and vocalist Jim Rodford(Argent ,The Kinks), drummer Steve Rodford and Tom Toomey on guitars.

As part of the British Invasion wave of the 60s, The Zombies recorded their first big hit, “She’s Not There” on Decca Records and released it in 1964. The song was a #1 Hit on the Cashbox charts and a #2 Hit on Billboard’s Top 100 in the U.S.
In 1965, the band made their first Television appearance in the U.S. on NBC’s Hullabaloo. The Zombies featured their latest single, “Tell Her No” another Rod Argent composition. “Tell Her No” peaked at #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
The Zombies, “I Love You” a tune penned by original bassist Chris White became a Top 20 Hit for the California band, People, in 1968.
Also in 1968, the band recorded one of their most significant releases, Odessey and Oracle. Recorded at Abbey Road and Olympic Studios for CBS Records, the album spawned their huge hit, “Time of The Season” in early 1969. The album became critically-acclaimed and one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest album’s of all-time. “Time of The Season” became The Zombies biggest hit #3 on Billboard’s Top 100 in 1969 and almost two years after the bands split.

After The Zombies disbanded, Rod Argent formed classic rock’s Argent with Jim Rodford. Zombies’ original bassist Chris White was also instrumental to the band as songwriter. Rod Argent and Chris White collaborated on their biggest hit, “Hold Your Head Up” #5 Hit from the album All Together Now in 1972. Argent split in 1976; meanwhile band members Jim Rodford and Bob Henrit joined The Kinks.
In 2010, the original Argent lineup reunited and played five concert dates around England.

After the break-up of The Zombies, Colin Blunstone established a successful solo career and released his first effort entitled, One Year in 1971. He eventually signed onto Elton John’s Rocket Records and released (3) albums, Planes (1976), Never Even Thought (1978) and Late Nights In Soho (1979).
Blunstone appeared on Dave Stewart’s hit cover tune, “What Become’s of The Brokenhearted” (1980). He also appeared on several Alan Parsons Project albums including, Ammonia Avenue and Eye in the Sky. Colin sang the hit single, “Old and Wise.” Most recent releases by Colin Blunstone include Echo Bridge (1995), Out of the Shadows (2003) with Rod Argent and As Far As I Can See (2004) with Rod Argent.
Since 1991, there have been brief Zombies reunions featuring several different lineups, but longtime mates Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent solidify the working elements of the band.
Original guitarist Paul Atkinson passed away in 2004.
In 2008, to mark the 40th anniversary of Odessey and Oracle all surviving members participated in a series of concerts at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire Theatre.

In 2011, A brand new Zombies album was recorded entitled Breathe Out, Breathe In and received rave reviews. Colin’s vocals are exquisite … these guys sound like they’re still in their 20’s. It’s an incredible album. The title cut has striking similarities to the heyday of Steely Dan.
Colin Blunstone is currently finishing up a solo project called, On The Air Tonight with a possible release date in October of 2012. He’s excited and extremely grateful to be able to continue to do what he loves to do best.
I talked with Colin last week from his home in England about the upcoming U.S. tour, his new solo project, the latest Zombies release, and of course the British Invasion.

Here’s my interview with songwriter, guitarist, and legendary voice of The Zombies … Colin Blunstone.
Ray Shasho: Hello Colin how are you doing, you’re calling from England today?
Colin Blunstone: “I’m doing excellent … yes; I’m calling from just outside London, quite close to Wimbledon actually. It’s been raining off and on this afternoon, I think the games have been literally stop and start except for the center court because it now has a roof on it. But the weather is not very good at the moment.”
Ray Shasho: Colin, I’ve always been fascinated how Americans were captivated by the British Invasion and later British rock and its derivative genres … glam, progressive etc. But it was the Brits who were seduced early on by American 50’s rock ‘n’ roll and the very early blues artists. And in all actuality, it was extremely difficult for Brits to even know what music was coming out of the U.S. …is that right?
Colin Blunstone: “Radio was very different here in the 60s, the BBC was national and there were only two radio stations and very limited on what you could here. One station was very serious and the other played sort of light classical music like 1930s orchestras and things like that. Also there was a limit and they could only play so many records … they were limited, it may have had something to do with the musician’s union or something like that.”

“But they played lots of live music, orchestras, bands, but not rock bands … and this is when I was growing up. Then of course we all had Elvis Presley and all the wonderful artists that followed him. And then I think a bit later on we really began to understand about Little Richard and Chuck Berry … and then later still there was Motown, Smokey Robinson, and all of the other wonderful and talented bands, and we were very-very influenced by American music.”
Ray Shasho: Colin, I would like to wish you congratulations on your Fiftieth Anniversary, can you believe it’s been that long since the inception of The Zombies?
Colin Blunstone: “It kind of crept up on us; it’s really funny no one was counting. Someone remarked about it and we thought you know what they’re right. We’ve been together since 1961, so it’s been fifty years since last year … fifty and half years now. Outside the pub where we met, in St. Albans where we come from, they unveiled a blue plaque on the wall of this pub called The Blacksmith’s Arms and it said, “On this spot the five original members of The Zombies first met in April 1961.” They had a wonderful ceremony and the traffic stopped while they unveiled this blue plaque on the side of the building and it was really exciting for all of us.”
Ray Shasho: So the pub is also still in business after all these years?
Colin Blunstone: “It is …absolutely! When we met outside there in 1961, we were only sixteen years old and weren’t allowed to go inside the pub because we were too young. But yes, it’s a big pub on the main street in St. Albans and you could probably get two or three hundred people in there … it’s a big building.”
Ray Shasho: Did The Zombies perform a Fiftieth Anniversary concert at the pub?
Colin Blunstone: “We never performed there. It was mentioned … would we perhaps perform on this day of the unveiling of the blue plaque but nothing really came of it. We did two or three short speeches and just meeting a lot of friends and drinking a few beers really. But it seemed like a really lovely day.”
Ray Shasho: Colin, talk about the current band lineup for the Fiftieth Anniversary Tour in the U.S.
Colin Blunstone: “Myself and Rod Argent the original keyboard player, and of course Rod wrote all the hits for The Zombies and later had a band called Argent who also had quite a lot of success. On bass there’s Rod’s cousin Jim Rodford, it’s sort of a family band really. Jim was with us on our first rehearsal and helped arrange it. He was in the biggest local band and we borrowed all the amplifiers and drum kits from his band. And that’s how we were able to have our first rehearsal. We asked him to be in the band at that time but he was already committed. So it took us nearly fifty years to get him in the band. (All laughing)”

“Jim’s son Steve Rodford is on drums, so that side of the stage is all related. On the other side is me and our guitarist Tom Toomey, he joined the band a few years ago and has been touring with us ever since. He’s a great acoustic and electric player and one of the really good harmony singer’s in the band so there are very full harmonies when we play.”
Ray Shasho: I was excited when I first learned Jim Rodford was going to be in the band. Jim played with The Kinks for quite awhile.
Colin Blunstone: “Jim was in The Kinks for twenty years and has played on some of their biggest albums as well. He’s also played with just about every artist you could imagine.”
Ray Shasho: It’s a terrific lineup and we’re looking forward to a fantastic show.
Colin Blunstone: “I think people are going to get quite a pleasant shock because they might think they’re going to go and see a 60s band just going through the motions. All of these players are sensational players and we take no prisoners when we go on stage. We give it everything we’ve got.”
Ray Shasho: Of course, The Zombies will be playing all of their biggest hits on the tour but the audience will also be pleasantly surprised by the band’s latest material Breathe Out, Breathe In. The album’s enticing tempo is performed by as you say …“sensational players.” The title cut has a Steely Dan-ish feel to it.
Colin Blunstone: “A lot of people have said that and I take it as a huge complement because I’m a fan. It’s had sensational reviews in Europe and America and being very well received all around the world. We’ve always played from the heart and played the music that appealed to us, and played it to the best of our ability. That’s how the original band recorded in the 60s and that’s how we record now.”

“We’ll be playing, “She’s Not There,” “Time Of The Season,” probably be playing four or five tracks from Odessey and Oracle our last album, and then some other more obscure tracks from the original Zombies. We’ll play some Argent tunes and maybe one or two of my solo records which were hits over here but not over there. And probably a little bit from The Alan Parsons Project, I sang a lot with them as well. So there are a lot of great songs for everyone.”
Ray Shasho: What were those British Invasion days like for you Colin?
Colin Blunstone: “Considering that we were all probably eighteen years old, and in the summer we were playing local dates in and around St. Albans and by Christmas we were number one on Cashbox in America, and then playing to huge audiences in New York and doing national TV as well … it was an extraordinary adventure.”

“We’ve often discussed this … when you are young you tend to take things like that in stride and it seems very natural, it’s only when you look back and think my goodness that was a huge change in a very short period of time. But it was extremely exciting, especially going to America because that’s where it all stated. For us to go to America and play for packed houses was just out of this world.”
Ray Shasho: While on tour in America did you meet any of your childhood heroes like perhaps Elvis Presley?
Colin Blunstone: “We went to Elvis’ house and literally there was no security. We went through the gate and knocked on the front door and debated this later whether it was his father or uncle that came to the door. We said … is Elvis in? (all laughing) We told him that we were The Zombies and here from England and would just like to say hello to Elvis.”

“He said, “it’s a real shame Elvis is making a movie in Hawaii at the moment, he would have loved to meet you. I’m so sorry he’s not here but you are very welcome to have a look around.””
“It was such a shame we didn’t meet him but got to stroll around his house, and we found out that he had Zombies records on his jukebox.”

“Some of the groups we played with that I remember are The Beach Boys who are one of my absolute favorites. We also played with Del Shannon, The Shirelles, Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles who were sensational and we had to follow them on stage in New York.”
Ray Shasho: The Zombies recorded at Abbey Road studios?
Colin Blunstone: “We recorded there a lot, and in fact were probably the next band in there after The Beatles finished Sgt. Pepper’s. They finished somewhere in the spring of 1967 and we went in right after them. Geoff Emerick worked on that album, Odessey and Oracle and Peter Vince was another engineer who worked on both albums. It was a wonderful studio and such a great atmosphere and of course very skilled engineers. At the time it was undoubtedly the best studio in the world.”
Ray Shasho: Who produced some of the earlier Zombies albums?
Colin Blunstone: “When we started out we were first introduced to a guy named Ken Jones, he produced “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No” but the main producers were Rod Argent and Chris White in the band, I think in most countries it was being credited as being produced by The Zombies. But there was no outside producer just the band working within itself.”

“That first session we did, “She’s Not There” this was the first time we went into a commercial studio at Decca Studios in Northwest London in West Hampstead, we went into the studio in the evening and recorded four tracks. While we were in there we realized that the recording engineer had been at a wedding all day and was completely drunk. As the evening went on he got more and more aggressive. Very early on in the session and my first time in a commercial studio, and this guy was just screaming down at us while in the studio. And I thought, maybe this business is not for me. We were really lucky because he finally passed out and then we had to carry him up two flights of stairs, a Zombie on each arm and leg and we just pushed him into a black car and that was the end of him. His assistant was Gus Dudgeon who went on to produce all the early Elton John albums and that was his first session in 1964. It was quite a remarkable day actually. (All laughing)”
Ray Shasho: Colin, I always thought that The Zombies could have had the staying power to last through the album rock era of the late 60s to mid 70s. The band was very different than the 45 singles Hitmakers of Top 40 radio. I actually thought the band may even be classified as progressive rock.
Colin Blunstone: “The other guys in the band felt that we completed our artistic circle. We’d run our race and it was time for us to move on to other projects. Of course we’d just finished Odessey and Oracle but we had split before the album was even released. I’m the only one who would ever say; imagine what we could have done next, especially with Rod Argent and Chris White who were really coming into their own as songwriters. I would have been very interested to see what we would have done next … of course hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t in, you can always look back but of course it doesn’t make any difference because it’s never going to happen. I’m not saying it was the wrong decision to end the band but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened next. It’s difficult for me to say this because the other guys don’t feel that way at all. They just feel that we’d gone as far as we could, so I’m kind of the odd one out.”

“Sadly, Paul Atkinson our lead guitarist passed away about five years ago, he had been living in America. He established a very successful career as a record executive. Paul signed ABBA to CBS in the UK, and tried to get CBS in America to sign ABBA but they didn’t want anything to do with them. I asked him years ago what he thought it cost CBS for not signing ABBA and he said about Twenty Million dollars … and that was a long time ago.”
Ray Shasho: Were you asked to be a member of the band ARGENT?
Colin Blunstone: “No, I wasn’t. Rod Argent and Chris White produced my first two albums. Chris also produced the third one. On my first album, ARGENT played on all the tracks that were a rock ‘n’ roll band and then some of the later tracks as well. We were always still working together and that’s true for our entire career. Rod has produced four or five of my albums; I regularly do charity gigs with him, and we’ve kept this relationship going all the way through the year 2000. Then we decided to do five or six concerts and that’s how this came about. I started playing as a solo artist and had six dates coming up and I asked him if he wanted to join me on those six dates. We knew immediately that we had something very special, and we hadn’t really played a full concert together since 1967. We decided to hold this band together that we had, but we just called it Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent and didn’t play very many Zombies tunes because we both had successful solo career. We didn’t realize that there was still an interest in The Zombies and it came as a complete surprise to us ... a very pleasant surprise. But everywhere we went everyone wanted Zombies material. On top of that promoters were billing us as The Zombies, so it wasn’t really our idea it was something that sort of evolved naturally.”
Ray Shasho: I heard you’re finishing up your next solo project entitled, On The Air Tonight.
Colin Blunstone: “I’m going into the studio tomorrow and try and get a running order together, it’s very exciting and a little bit scary because it’s a big commitment to make an album. So tomorrow I’ll listen to it and hear what we’ve achieved. I think it will be coming out in October now.”

“I was just at Rod Argent’s house today actually; he lives about 50 miles away from me. He’s written a new song and so I think we’ve started the first day of a new Zombies album. One new song and that’s how it starts really. He had one completed song and an idea for a second song, and we spent an hour or so going through them and hopefully the beginnings of the next Zombies album.”
Ray Shasho: Is there someone out there that you would love to collaborate with if given the opportunity?
Colin Blunstone: “There’s a female English singer called Judy Tzuke and I really like her voice. I thought that we could sing a good duet together.”
“To collaborate with someone as a writer it would probably be Sting, I think he’s one of the most exciting writers. Sting has written songs that are just breathtaking. My favorite song of all-time is called “Fragile.”
Ray Shasho: Colin, you sound like such a positive person and perhaps a bit spiritual … how do you maintain that positive outlook on life?
Colin Blunstone: “I think it’s easy in a way to stay positive because we just think that we’re really-really lucky at this time in our career to be able to go out and play live, all on the road, and playing the music that we love. I just think that we’re incredibly fortunate and we sort of remind one another every now and again that we are very-very lucky. So it’s easy to stay positive because we’re doing what we love to do.”
Ray Shasho: Colin, thank you so much for being on the call with me today but more importantly for all the great music that yourself and The Zombies have given to the world. We’ll see you at the Largo Cultural Center in Florida on July 27th for The Zombies 50th Anniversary tour.
Colin Blunstone: “It’s been my pleasure Ray, tell everyone that we’ll be playing lots of hits and there will be something for everyone. It’s a great band and I just hope everyone will come see us because they’ll have a great time.”

Very special thanks to Melani Rogers of Publicity By Design.
The Zombies official website
Colin Blunstone’s official website
Rod Argent’s official website
Order the latest Zombies album Breathe Out, Breathe In at

Contact classic rock music reporter Ray Shasho at

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