Zombie Shaker Box Mixes Alice In Chains and Guns n’ Roses And Shakes Them All About. – Interview

Fans of grunge and guitars are in for a treat with this exciting new band from Las Vegas, Zombie Shaker Box. Along with a kick ass name, the band’s sound is 100% kick ass. Kirk, the brain child of this dynamic group, stopped by to talk about the band, their influences and their music.

Q – Thank you, Kirk, for talking to me.

A - No problem, It's My pleasure.

Q – I love the name Zombie Shaker Box. Is there a cool story behind the name? How did it come about?

A - Actually, Yeah I had a friend who had this box made out of fine wood and embossed with some cool artwork and silver. I asked him what it was and he said it was called a Zombie Shaker Box. I loved the name. We put the Zombie slant on it coming out of the box on the EP and then for the CD. He is now actually crawling out of the box, screaming through a mike. The next? I have no Idea. Something with a kilt maybe, lol.

Q – I’ve listened to the new CD, “Encrypted,” a couple times now. There seems to be a heavy Alice in Chains meets Guns n’ Roses “Use Your Illusions” type sound. How would you describe the band’s sound?

A - Yeah. I think you pretty much hit it on the mark. I used to do all the (Black) Sabbath, Deep Purple and (Led) Zeppelin. To this day they’re my favorite bands. So much raw soul in their music. The 80's? I like that you bring up Guns n' Roses. They just kind of put it out there. It was cool. Although In the 80's I felt like there were some great players. I felt and I'm just generalizing this (not everyone, of course) but I think the whole hair, Glam, groupie thing got a little out of control. I think I actually put on a pair of spandex once and was like, "Oh, Hell No." I sang with Marten Andersson from Lizzy Borden and formed a band called Legacy; kind of a European meets American metal sound and it was cool. We were offered a deal, the deal fell through and I went back to Virginia where I am from. I was blessed with a daughter and a whole lot of new music called Grunge that I fell in Love with. The sound was back. The depth was back.

I love those bands. So ZSB is kind of a combination of our influences which I hope come out and yet also stands on its own. I wrote based on my experiences through my own life. Made many mistakes and wanted to write about it. "Get it off my chest" so to speak.

Q – This album actually came out February 2010. Is there new material coming or is this album primarily what gets played on tour? If so, when is the new album coming?

A - Yes, definitely. We are finishing up the writing for the new album now. You know with a first album, there are so many things that need to be taken care of. Not just the writing but the trademarks, copyrights, embedded codes, I mean, I could just go on and on. So when we met Dave from Head First I was able to breathe a little easier and now focus on recording the next album. I think the album should be ready in six months. Still need to support this one, so it's a lot of work right now.

Q – Which songs do you like playing live the most and why?

A - I love playing them all. If I had to pick a few favorites, I love playing "Blow N’ Smoke." It can really take me back to southeast DC. Gangs, drugs. Row houses, just an overall darkness inside and outside of me that I can always seem to feel when we play that song. Not that I want to go back there to those days but I will never forget being chased by gangs and strung out. My phone call to my daughter one night brought some fight back into me. Bless her heart. “Tigerlilly” is about her; I love doing that song. Our relationship has been quite an adventure and to come out of it as close as we are has been special.

Q – Your guitar player, Chris Blakley, adds a lot of Zakk Wylde type late 80s and early 90s riffs. I grew up in that era but I haven’t heard a lot of Blakley. How did he come on board and what does he bring to Zombie Shaker Box?

A - I love Zack Wylde. Can anyone really make their guitar squeal like him? WOW. When I started writing the CD and I think the essence or the really nice thing about "Encrypted" is that, I was pretty much just wanting to do a CD about my life experiences. Wasn't trying to really to do anything more than that. I think the lack of pressure helped me to just write how I was feeling.

I actually wrote a lot of the bass lines and formed a skeleton of the songs. Then I went back east to my old friend and great guitarist Chris Poindexter. We had been writing songs since we were 17. He knew over the phone what I wanted and did an amazing job. Chris Blakley along with two others were guitar players we had through our competitions and always wanted to give it a go. It just never worked out. I really wanted to be able to write with someone who I could sit down with, whether it was electric or acoustic, and feel that vibe or those goose bumps you get when you come up with an idea. We have found someone now, Charl Urso, who loves to write and makes time for it. Of course I have also had the honor to play with Tomo Sugiyama on drums and Cory Kay on bass for awhile now and that has been the glue that has held us together while finding that missing link. Charlie has definitely stepped up to the plate on guitar.

Q – I appreciate that you started this band a long time ago as a solo artist and have slowly surrounded yourself with the right pieces. Is this incarnation of Zombie Shaker Box the one that will take the band to the next level?

A - I think so. I am excited about the new material. To me the person listening has to feel it. I purposely go to my friends who are not musicians and ask them what they think. They don't read too much into it. They just feel the song or not.

Q – I know you guys are doing some shows regionally around Las Vegas. Will there be a national tour soon? (We are around Chicago/Peoria/Moline)

A - We are getting things together to start touring very soon. We will most likely hit Arizona, LA and Colorado first. Then back east along the coast and work our way back home through your neck of the woods. I have been to Chicago and loved it.

Q – Thanks again for chatting. Is there anything you wanted to add?

A - You can order the CD through Best Buy or CD Baby. You can get ringtones through Verizon for "Blow N' Smoke" and "Hideaway" and the full album will be up on iTunes, Amazon, more than 40 sites worldwide on August 2. Meanwhile, you can go to Zombieshakerbox.com, Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Zombie-Shaker-Box/351391867759), Reverbnation (http://www.reverbnation.com/zombieshakerbox) and MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/zombieshakerbox) to check out the band. Thanks for having me. Thanks to all our fans and people like you who really give independent music a true chance at making an impact. It is truly about the music. Peace always. Kirk ZSB.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.

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