The Zombies may well be the oldest of the new 2019 Class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, but the historic British Invasion band, whose signature hit “She’s Not There” topped the U.S. charts in 1964, is neither the least visible–nor the least appreciated.
Indeed, The Zombies, whose original incarnation comprised lead singer Colin Blunstone, keyboardist/vocalist Rod Argent, bassist Chris White, drummer Hugh Grundy and late guitarist Paul Atkinson, strongly held their fourth place position (out of the 15 total nominees) with over 330,000 votes in the RockHall’s online fan poll, just ahead of The Cure, and well in front of superstar Janet Jackson, not to mention critics’ fave Radiohead. Now all these artists will take the stage together, along with Def Leppard, Roxy Music and Stevie Nicks, to join the pantheon of greats in the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Brooklyn NY’s Barclays Center on March 29, 2019…remarkably 50 years to the day from when The Zombies’ “Time of the Season” rocketed to the top of the Cashbox singles charts in America.
And while The Zombies harken back to the early 1960s, they’re remarkably as active now as any contemporary rock act—if not considerably more so. Now made up of Blunstone, Argent, guitarist Tom Toomey, drummer Steve Rodford and bassist Søren Koch, The Zombies have just wrapped their first-ever major theatre tour of Germany and Scandinavia – a 27-date Winter jaunt as special guests of Uriah Heep – following a round of West Coast dates (which included stops at KAABOO Del Mar and an opening slot for Arcade Fire at LA’s Greek Theatre), plus a 23-date North American tour and full U.K. run earlier this year.
On January 20, they return to their hometown of St Albans, England, for a memorial tribute show at The Alban Arena, marking the one year anniversary of the passing of their longtime bassist (and Steve’s father) Jim Rodford. Following a brief Blunstone solo U.S. tour in February, the band then regroups for the On The Blue Caribbean Cruise later that month, to be followed by shows in Florida, New Orleans and Texas through March.
Meanwhile, as summer’s tour schedule is being set, The Zombies are writing material for their next album, a follow-up to their acclaimed studio albums Breathe Out, Breathe In (2013) and Still Got That Hunger (2015).
But also in the works is a Zombies documentary being developed by Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Alan Sterling Deutsch, who will have his hands full when it comes to telling such an important and continuing story.
After all, the band has influenced everyone from Tom Petty, who covered their 1965 B-side “I Want You Back Again” on his Live Anthology album and wrote the foreword for their 2017 coffee table book The Odessey: The Zombies in Words and Images (which focused on their landmark 1968 album “Odessey and Oracle”), to Dave Grohl, who hailed Odessey and Oracle as a masterpiece (and said its track “Care of Cell 44” changed his life), to Eminem, who based his “Rhyme or Reason” track from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 on Odessey’s huge hit “Time of the Season,” to Post Malone, whose recent Beerbongs & Bentleys track “Same Bitches” uses its famous lines “What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? Is he rich like me?”
Earlier Zombies hits live on, too, in commercials like last year’s Chanel spot featuring “She’s Not There” and this year’s use of “This Will Be Our Year” in the new season of the Golden Globe winning TV Series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” on Amazon Prime.
This veritable Zombies’ resurgence essentially began in 1999, when Blunstone, who had performed with artists including the Alan Parsons Project after The Zombies broke up in 1967 (before the release of “Odessey and Oracle”), re-teamed with Argent (who had likewise achieved ensuing success by way of his band Argent and its enduring 1972 hit “Hold Your Head Up”). Since then, the band has toured the U.S. regularly, performing before audiences of all ages and in all types of venues, notably including the annual South by Southwest cutting edge music gathering in Austin, where they first appeared in 2013 at the famous Waterloo Records store in front of over 2,500 young people who spilled out into the next parking lot.
The Zombies’ packed tour schedule and growing fan base, besides garnering all sorts of media coverage (everything from Paste Magazine to CBS This Morning’s Saturday Sessions) and its solid showing in the RockHall fan vote, is also reflected in their extensive and successful merchandise line, with items ranging from popular black-and-white Zombies t-shirts (worn on stage by Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz) to blankets (Instagrammed by Heart’s Ann Wilson earlier this year at Florida’s 30A Songwriters Festival).
“The last 12 months have been extraordinary!” marveled Argent after The Zombies’ latest RockHall nomination. “We’ve had a panoply of lovely comments, written or delivered in person, from so many favorite and iconic artists–many of whom have taken the trouble to come along to watch a show in one of the four U.S. tours we’ve undertaken during that period. To our amazement, they’ve even quoted us as a major influence!”
Noted Blunstone: “When the band first started way back in 1961, I would never have dreamed of this kind of recognition–and even after all these years it’s still a thrill to be nominated by such a respected and revered institution!”
Or, as both White and Grundy said in referencing another beloved song from “Odessey and Oracle”….“This Will Be Our Year”!
THE ZOMBIES TOUR DATES:
Feb 10th – 15th – On The Blue Cruise, Miami, FL
Feb 16th – Southwest Florida Event Center, Bonita Springs, FL
Feb 17th – Sunrise Theatre, Fort Pierce, FL
Feb 19th – Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, FL
Feb 20th – Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Feb 21st – The Plaza Live, Orlando, FL
Feb 22nd – Amaturo Theatre Broward Center for Performing Arts, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Feb 25th – House of Blues, New Orleans, LA
Feb 27th – The Height Theatre, Houston, TX
Feb 28th – Paper Tiger, San Antonio, TX
Mar 1st – Kessler Theatre, Dallas, TX
Mar 2nd – Mohawk, Austin, TX
COLIN BLUNSTONE SOLO TOUR DATES:
Jan 31st – Daryl’s House, Pawling, NY
Feb 1st – My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel, Roslyn, NY
Feb 2nd – World Cafe Live – Downstairs, Philadelphia, PA
Feb 4th – One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME
Feb 5th – City Winery, Boston, MA
Feb 7th – City Winery, Washington, DC
Feb 8th – City Winery, New York, NY
Feb 10th – 15th – On The Blue Cruise, Miami, FL
For more information on The Zombies:
I grew up in a household full of rock music, studied journalism in college, and then became a scientist.Although my science career has served me well, music has always played a major role in my life. I grew up reading "Creem" magazine; I play several musical instruments as a "hobby";and it seems a camera has always been in my hand. Now, I am combining what I love the most--music and photography--serving as editor of Rock At Night. I travel between the US and UK seeking my dream! My motto: life is short...no regrets. Chyrisse