Zen Guerilla look set to hit the UK in November this year and boy will it be a riotous event. Describing themselves as "really heavy Motown with a twist" is just the start and the live reports from America suggest the most exciting punk rock affair in years. Not that Zen Guerilla are a new band - they've been in the business for 10 years, were signed to Jello Biafra label and are now signed to Sub Pop. Read on and find inner peace:
Q: In essence "Shadows On The Sun" is the first introduction of Zen Guerilla in the UK. What can we expect?
A: Its really heavy Motown but with our own sort of twist on it. Baby blues, soul, gospel mixed up in a blender with our own sort of interpretation of it. Were in no means any kind of retro band and we definitely update it 2001. I think what's really moved on from the early days is that we've managed to capture the live sound onto vinyl and if your comparing this record with our previous ones there just a whole host of new flavours in there.
Q: As you said before there's just so many flavours. On "Evening Sun" I can even hear a bit of the Doors thrown in for good measure?
A: Oh yeah - really!!!! The other guys it reminded them of Elvis and Roxy Music before that. That's the beauty of music, its up to the listeners interpretation. I actually wrote that song for my mother who always bugs me that she listens to our records and can't hear the vocals. I wrote that song for her so she could play it while she's working in the garden.
Q: I believe you used to live in the UK years ago. As someone who has experienced both cultures what would you say are the main differences?
A: The British are really proud and rightfully so - their heritage and contribution to the world. The Americans are a bunch of young kids. Nu money and Nu ideas and very cocky like a young teenager - that's how I see it!!!
Q: It must be pretty chaotic both in the studio and especially on the live shows. I heard you never have a set list.
A: We've been playing together for 10 years. Its not like all the time we go up on stage without set lists and when we go out on tour we have 3 sets we pick from. Its like Set A, Set B, and Set C and those are pretty much imbedded on us from rehearsing. Its a case of regurgitating a statement that you've memorized.
Q: You used to be signed to Alternative Tentacles records (Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedy's label). Do you find it dis-heartening with all the trouble that happened with them?
A: Its a shame all around but its not really any of my business. Biafra is a friend of mine and I've met East Bay Ray but that stuff happens in music when money gets involved. The music remains the same, the integrity behind the music remains the same and as you get older needs change and there's children. Its sort of like an ugly can of worms you feed upon or move on and wish the best for all involved.
Everything's about ego's and fallout's. I'm sure everybody in every walk of life has them. The people in the bakery store have problems with ego's. Unfortunately its just part of being human. Rock & Roll is unique in that you get to perform in front of people and have to get off on that.
Q: Do you still have heroes after all this then?
A: That happens to the best of them. It happened to the Smiths and many other band I respect have gone through similar things. No-one is superhuman and no-one is perfect. You try to keep your heroes....most of my heroes are dead and never achieved that level of recognition that the Dead Kennedys. I really idolize Otis Reading and some of the ground breaking black artists who were spot-lighted but never were house-hold names.
"Shadows On The Sun" is out now on Sub Pop