For this episode, we are being attacked by a Goddamn Zombie from New Jersey, and their mind-munching melody “Hurrah, Huzzah“, off of their debut album, Handbook for the Recently Diseased. I chatted with Will Bozarth, who is the arranger for the band, who creates “perhaps 90% of the music. On our debut album, “Handbook for the Recently Diseased”, I wrote everything musically except for the bulk of “Hurrah, Huzzah!” and the eerie music under the spoken word tracks. I program the drums and keyboards, then record the guitar and bass.”
Then there’s Zombi T. Astral, “the lead singer and primary lyricist of the band. That’s just the standard title that you’d expect to read in the liner notes of any album ever. Ultimately, he’s the one that brings the show to the audience at every appearance we make. He has the props. He has the blood. He has the makeup. Without him, Goddamn Zombie would be infinitely more stupid than it actually seems.”
I chose “Hurrah, Huzzah” for our Horror Addicts to listen to, but I’ll admit that it was hard to choose a song from the band to play, as I agree with Will’s succinct analysis of their songs: “they all kick ass and will rip your socks through your anus.”
Seriously, I’m going to need some new socks. Then again, he described their hardcore style as follows: “uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh If you put 26 styles of music in a blender, put the goop in ice cube trays, then put the frozen mixture in to a glass, then poured liquid funeral music over the crazy ice, drank it, then promptly vomited everything out in to a dirty toilet… that’s what you’ll get… oh, from the point of view of a zombie. Yeah.”
They recently played a tour with some bands they admire. “The only ‘tour’ that we’ve done thus far was on May 6, 7, and 8th of 2011. We had the honor of sharing the stage with Novembers Doom and Woods of Ypres on those three dates. They are two of my absolute favorite bands ever… David Gold, THE guy from Woods, passed away in December of 2011. It was a shock to every last one of us, and I’ll cherish every moment that I got to share with that guy. I’m not going to get too personal about it, but we’re 3 months away from it being one year… that shit sucks. On that tour, we played in: Worcester, MA at Ralph’s, Brooklyn, NY at Europa, and Wilmington, DE at MOJO 13.
“Besides there, we’ve played in Peachtree City, GA (right outside of Atlanta), assorted venues around Philly and NJ… We were supposed to play in Indianapolis, IN, but that wound up having to be converted into a solo acoustic performance by myself. We’ve got some stuff cooking coming up.
“As for places we’d LIKE to play? Anywhere, honestly. Each show takes a lot out of us, so the conditions have to be right. We’ve played most of our gigs over the last 2 years without payment, and that’s going to change coming in to the new year. In all seriousness, my dream gig since the band started was to play at Rock & Shock in Worcester, MA. It’s a fairly large Horror and Metal themed convention… We have the honor of playing Saturday night of their convention this year! We’re opening for GWAR and DevilDriver on Saturday October 13!”
“That’s a tricky question. People don’t really know how to respond to us unless they already know the music. Fan-wise? All I can say on that matter is I’ve been learning not to rely on how our fans react, mainly because the only reaction they give us is online. Getting the local people to support us live has been a pain in the ass for the last 2 years, and it seems like only two people have pried their asses out of their chairs to see us… Yes, that’s you Laura James and Mike Dadura. We’re eternally grateful for you two. Sure, a lot of people “support” us online, but that doesn’t exactly generate to album or ticket sales. Prying their asses out of chairs to come to a gig seems like an impossible feat nowadays, so we’ve decided to primarily focus on horror conventions and zombie-themed events. They have a built in audience that seem to enjoy what we do, so it’s definitely a better feeling than playing for 1 person, the sound guy, and the bartender.”
Are there stories from any gigs that stand out? “Our fog machine set off the fire alarm at The El Bar in Philly half way through our sound check, and they kicked us out. Does that count? They let us come back and redeem ourselves, though. That first show of the 2011 tour was pretty awesome. We had a decent reaction from the crowd, and just being able to perform in front of two of my favorite bands? I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything.”
I always love to hear the story behind band names. What was the inspiration behind “Goddamn Zombie”? “Sorry to disappoint you with this one, but it isn’t really that fascinating. I work overnight at a retail store. Someone asked me if we had ‘any of those zombie movies’ because he ‘loves them goddamn zombie movies’. I wrote it down and saved it for a rainy day.”
It may be hard to choose, but which of your songs is your favorite? “Probably ‘Human Reflections’. That damn guitar riff follows me around to every musical project that I do. I also wrote the lyrics to that one, so I might be biased. Our new CD titled Gory Hole has been in the making for over a year now with various ups and downs, causing the delays. We’re getting close and close, and we have various donations from some VERY cool people (Laura, Adolfo, Derick, Kevin, Gary, Jami just to name a few) to help ensure that we will release a stellar product. I promise you all that we will get this mishmash of crazy to your ears in due time. We wanted it for this Halloween, but it’s looking like possibly November at this point.”
Who are your favorite bands, and who has influenced your music? “Here’s a list of bands that I’d put in my current ‘favorites’: Nevermore, Candlemass, My Dying Bride, Solefald, Green Carnation, Anathema, Devin Townsend (anything he does, really), Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Dark Angel, Death, and Ace of Base. Zombi usually mentions KISS, Alice Cooper, Adam Ant, Britney Spears, Mich Simoni, and DomRocks.com. Musically, you can hear bits and pieces of all of them.”
How long have you been writing, composing, or playing? “I got my first guitar 12 years ago, but I’ve been playing music since the mid-90s. I wrote a ballad to my German Sheppard, Rinny, on a piano when I was 6. I took a long break and started writing music that sounded like a shitty version of Metallica, so basically stuff that could’ve been A-Sides on St. Anger. In 2003, I started a band called Distorted Mind. We had a pretty strong local following, and even had our EP distributed in a lot of places. Now, it’s zombies. ZOMBIES! Zombi’s been decomposing for years, too.” Rimshot.
Do you listen to podcasts, and if so what kind and which ones? “I don’t always listen to podcasts, but when I do… it’s Without Your Head Radio, East Coast Horror Radio, Valley of Death Radio, and Novembers Doom’ss’sss’s’s’s’s’s”’s’s’s’s’. They cover various horror, convention, and metal news.”
When you aren’t working with the band, what do you like to do? “I’m a total autograph nerd. I’m flying to horror conventions around the country, going to New York City at least once a month to wait out by stage doors… It’s so much fun. Other than that, I have other music that I do. I have depressive acoustic music which I’m also recording as a doom metal release. I recently released a lyric book from selections over the last decade.”
Finally, what advice do you have to new bands? “We’re all out of our minds.”
The band will be making the following appearances:
September 22: Infect Scranton (Taylor, PA)
October 13: Rock & Shock (Worcester, MA. opening for GWAR and DevilDriver)
October 20: The Fallout Shelter (Aliquippa, PA. playing with The Wakening, Joey Molinaro, and my acoustic stuff will open the show)
October 26: Psycho Trail (Medford, NJ. we’re playing with Jody Price, who is Vincent Price’s grandson)
October 31: Psycho Trail (Medford, NJ. playing with Death For Hire
November 15: Chicago City Limits (Schaumburg, IL. playing with Maggot Twat, First Jason, The Ugly, and Grave Robber. This is the pre-party for Days Of The Dead)
November 16: Reggie’s (Chicago, IL. opening for Novembers Doom, EARTHEN, and more TBA)