By Stephanie Stevens
I am going to make this introduction a little personal because I feel like I have grown up and watched this Southern California band blossom and create so much insanely fun, quirky and amazing music since the bands start! ZEBRAHEAD started as a band when the explosion in the Orange County punk scene infected the music world. Signing with Columbia records the band brought the world a piece of heaven with the debut album WASTE OF MIND, and the introduction that was given to me into the world that was ZEBRAHEAD. One listen to this album and I was hooked. The energy, the character in the music and just the overall fun creative atmosphere made this disc an instant classic. It’s been 23 years and this album is still a go to listen when I am having an off day and need a bit of a pick me up. The bands whole discography could be used for that, who am I fooling these guys just bring a light hearted, happy ambiance to the world of music.
With 2 million records sold to date, Grammy nominated and the survival of label and member changes the force that is ZEBRAHEAD is stronger than ever; which brings me to that next chapter of the band or as they love to call it ZEBRAHEAD 3.0! with new found excitement the guys just recently told the world about a new addition to the band in the name of Adrian Estrella. It took the guys not even a minute to realize who they needed when vocalist/guitarist Matty Lewis left the band. Estrella is no new comer when it comes to touring and recording and the guys in the band have known him for some time. Knowing how passionate and energized he was about music was a no brainer, but the inspiration infused into the atmosphere is what re ignited the band to create some of the best work in their arsenal to date, and that is going to be one gigantic amount of happiness all rolled up in one. Releasing a new single and Video at the end of the month the guys are ready to stimulate the diehard ZEBRAHEAD fans and make a ton of new ones throughout 2021.
I am honored and so excited to watch these guys take the next chapter into this crazy and fun world they have created. I was able to catch up with Ben Ozz, bass player of the band to ask him about his take on newest member Adrian, did he ever think in 1998 that that debut album would lead to the life they have, tour plans and if the live show will stay as fun and chaotic as ever?
TELL THE ZEBRAHEAD FANS AND THE WORLD WHAT CHAPTER 3 OF THE STORY OF ZEBRAHEAD LOOKS LIKE FROM YOUR VISION AND IDEAS THAT YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN MAKING WITH THE NEW MUSIC
So far Chapter 3 has been really exciting. It has been kind of a whirlwind. We were caught a little off guard when Matty left but decided to try and pick ourselves up rather quickly once we had a band meeting about the future. Our first pick and only pick we came up with was Adrian. So, Dan reached out to him, and it is all history……a blurry one.
INTRODUCE US TO YOUR NEWEST ADDITION MR. ADRIAN ESTRELLA AND DID YOU GUYS MEET?
I met Adrian about 15 years ago when we were finishing up recording “Broadcast to the World”. At the time he was in a pop punk band and his voice blew me away…. So, I introduced him to our management. They already had a manager but, Adrian was the kind of guy you just wanted to help out. Basically, wanted him to know if he ever needed anything we would try to help him out.
WHAT DOES HE BRING INTO THE CAMP THAT YOU THINK HAD BEEN MISSING OR WAS NEVER REPRESENTED AS MUCH AS IT DOES NOW THAT HE IS IN THE FOLD?
His excitement is completely infectious. When he walks into the studio, we could be recording any instrument and Adrian lights up with ideas. You see this excitement and it pulls everyone in….and reminds us how lucky we are to be doing this as a job…. beyond lucky. And honestly his ideas are so new and fresh to us…such a different outlook on everything and it feels great.
I’M SURE WHEN YOU ARE MAKING NEW MUSIC WITH SOMEONE NEW YOU LEARN THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT EACH OTHER WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOU LEARNED THAT SURPRISED YOU ABOUT ADRIAN AND ALSO THE REST OF THE MEMBERS SINCE YOU SAW THEM WITH A NEW ENERGY IN THE ROOM? ALSO, WHAT DID ADRAIN LEARN ABOUT YOU GUYS?
Well, I can’t speak for him…but I know I have learned tons from him in the few short months we have been working together. He reminds me a lot of Dan with his ability to just keep throwing ideas out there. There aren’t many people that can spit out quality ideas that quickly and it is amazing.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THE NEW SINGLE IS BRINGING TO THE NEW CHAPTER OF ZEBRAHEAD AND IF YOU COULD COMPARE IT TO AN OLDER SONG IN YOUR ARSENAL? ALSO, WHEN IS IT OFFICIALLY DROPPING AND WILL THERE BE AN ACCOMPANYING VIDEO?
The plan is for the single and the video to both drop on July 30th. We just finished mixing the song, so the next move is to start working on the video. This might be the first song in a really long time that kind of captures all sides of the band. It would be tough to classify it….it kind of goes all over the place and I love that about it.
WHO ARE YOU WORKING WITH IN THE PRODUCTION ASPECT FOR THE NEW FULL LENGTH AND WHEN DO YOU FEEL THAT MIGHT BE DROPPING?
We have been working with Paul Miner at Buzz Bomb studios for a while now. I have nothing but great things to say about him. He is very talented. His production work just keeps getting better and better.
23 YEARS MAKING MUSIC AS ZEBRAHEAD (2 MILLION RECORDS SOLD, GRAMMY NOMINATED, SURVIVED LABEL CHANGES AND BAND MEMBER CHANGES) TAKE A MINUTE AND IF YOU CAN PUT IT IN A FEW WORDS HOW IT FEELS TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO THIS FOR SO LONG?
Suprising! Honestly when we started it was a chance to see the world for a few years. None of us ever thought we would be lucky enough to still be doing this after all these years.
I WAS INTRODUCED TO THE BAND WAY BACK IN 98 WITH YOUR ALBUM WASTE OF MIND, AN ALBUM STILL TO THIS DAY IS A REGULAR ROTATION IN MY PLAYLIST, LOOKING BACK ON THAT ALBUM WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT IT IN THE CURRENT DAY AND WHEN YOU FIRST FINISHED THAT DISC, DID YOU THINK IT WOULD BE THE START OF THE SPECIAL YEARS TO COME?
To be honest, we didn’t know what to think. It was our first experience in a huge studio, our first experience with a giant record label. We were a little intimidated to say the least. The hope was people would like the album as much as we did….and we could travel the world for a few years and see what was out there. We were super proud of even making it that far….
YOUR STAGE SHOW WAS ALWAYS SO ENERGETIC AND FUN, DO YOU FEEL THAT IT WILL ALWAYS BE THAT WAY EVEN THOUGH WE ARE ALL GETTING OLDER AND WE CAN’T DO ALL THE CRAZY ANTICS LIKE WE USE TO 20 YEARS AGO?
Well, the live show is still the best part of being in a band. So, there is no plan to change the chaos. The idea is to make sure everyone gets to escape a bit from the realities of the world and just smile for a bit. Being part of the show, it definitely works for us…hopefully it translates over to the crowd.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TOUR PLANS ONCE THE NEW SINGLE DROPS AND IF SO, ANYTHING YOU CAN TELL US NOW ABOUT THAT?
Once the single comes out so far, the plan is to keep writing and keep trying to record new songs. Our real big tour plans start in the summer of 2022. I know we are trying to push a few things along before that, like Slam Dunk this September in England…. but so is everyone else…all bands have been home so long people are frantically trying to book up every available room in every town. We are kind of sitting back and deciding to work on music…the rest will fall into place.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ADD THAT I DIDN’T HIT ON IN THIS INTERVIEW OR ANYTHING YOU WANT TO TELL YOUR FANS?
Thanks for coming along on the ride for Chapter 3. We are excited to see you all out on tour soon and thank you for all your support throughout the years!