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ZEKE

An Interview with ZEKE!

by Wendy WWAD

WW: Well first, and most obviously, why the resurrection of Zeke after all these years? Or did you never really go away…just take a hiatus?

ZEKE: No we didn't go away and we weren't really on hiatus, we just haven't been on tour, we have been doing fly-ins to venues and events who inquire and playing in our local region. Then when offered to tour with Antiseen we jumped at it. At this point we are only going to tour when it means something so when it's a cool tour or a band we love then we will do it. So when you see us it will be special not just like seeing a local band but a special event, one you'll want to take off work for.

WW: Who are the current members of Zeke? Are you and Blind Marky Felchtone the only original members? If so, whose idea was it to do this reunion tour?

ZEKE: Mark and I are the only Original members, Chris "Muscles" Johnsen (Camarosmith) is second guitar, Jason Fremman (Los Hornets/Vaccines) is now on bass. This isn't a reunion tour it's just the first tour in 5 years, we don't tour 250 days a year anymore. Mark has a 7 year old and he's a union carpenter, I own 2 businesses with my wife and touring just isn't the number one thing on our plate, as we are getting a bit older.
WW: Having run the gamut, so to speak, what is it like being in a “sober” band? Did it take a while to adapt throughout the healing process and as individuals?

ZEKE: Well, being a "Sober” band is really no different than being a "Loaded" band except for the hangovers and all-nighters. We are exactly the same except maybe a little nicer when you talk with us, haha. I think the healing process was really between Mark and I because I was ready to kill him and he hated me so now we are back to being best friends. I guess if you are hoping to see us fight on stage you might be out of luck. I saw somewhere someone wrote the band that pretend fights on stage, I just want to let people know we were really fighting on stage no bullshit, I wanted to kill him and I think they all wanted to kill me!
WW: How do you think the trip through the 12-step process affect you as musicians, if at all?

ZEKE: I am alive! Musically I have more stamina than ever and I dare any 20-something band to keep up with Zeke's speed musically!

Zeke Poster and photo

WW: You guys have always been known for your fast-paced, aggressive, in-your-face musicianship. What inspires this?

ZEKE: Well the Ramones, Motorhead, Slayer, when we started Zeke we wanted to play the most aggressive in your face no BS music we possibly could, over the years I think it's become faster and more aggressive. I remember seeing “Rock and Roll High School” when I was 12 and thinking oh my god how are they playing so fast and aggressive and just wanting to do that. We just want to be a show you walk away from going WOW that was intense even if it's not your style of music you recognize the power of the ROCK!

WW: Are you guys still on Relapse Records?

ZEKE: Yep, we still owe them 2 records so you will be seeing more records from Zeke, but our idea is to put out a record the brings something to the music scene not just putting out a record for the sake of putting out a record.

WW: I notice that you went through a number of record label changes in your career. What do you think caused this?

ZEKE: I think going from Scotch Pooch to Epitaph was a natural progression as small to bigger enabling us to reach more people, but I think they didn't really know what to do with us, as we aren't commercially viable. I think they thought we would try and be more like Pennywise or NOFX so they dropped us when MTV didn't pick up our blood soaked videos haha. But going to Relapse was awesome. They put out extreme music and try to put out the best extreme band in their genre and they consider us the best in our genre, whatever that is!

WW: How do you think the internet has affected the record label industry, both positively and negatively?

ZEKE: It makes it easier for people to find the types of music they like and not be so dominated by mainstream radio and records, so more people can find good music, but it has really hurt record sales for the industry and for the musician. You don't need to buy my CD. You can just pirate it and therefore makes it hard to sell them at shows, and in the end I get ripped off. So if you’re a fan of music support your bands by buying their music, t-shirts and all of their merchandise or they will cease being a band. Saving yourself some money is what everyone wants to do, but at the risk of losing the music and bands that inspire you to live is it really worth losing them over? Not for me, I would die without music. So I don't really feel it's the Internet hurting the industry as much as pirating, but the internet is what makes it possible. The thing to remember is when you pirate Photoshop from a multi- million dollar company like Adobe it doesn't hurt them like it hurts an underground band who will never have a radio hit. The music is the way they make their living, which is probably a lot less then you make at your job, but yet they inspire you to get up in the morning and go face that 8 hours of bullshit!

WW: How / when did you hook up with Joe Buck?

ZEKE: Mark and I met him while playing with Bob Wayne on the Hank 3 tour. We became fast friends, so the last time he came to Seattle we played a couple shows with him and he asked us to record that song with him, really pretty simple.

WW: What do you think is significant to band’s longevity?

ZEKE: Good Music, There will be highs and lows but do it for the love of music and no matter how many people show up you will always be satisfied.

Photo by JOHN LEACH. Looking for photo work? Give John a call @ 206.501.5656

WW: What do you guys do in your “off time”? When you aren’t handling Zeke business?

ZEKE: Well I book a club in Ballad called the 2 Bit Saloon 2bitbooking@gmail.com punk/metal shows. My wife and I own a hair salon and a barbershop here in Tacoma both run under the Supernova name. I also play in a Skynyrd Tribute band and play casinos and classic rock festivals.

WW: If you could go on tour and only play 5 places, where would they be and why?

ZEKE: Austin, because it's still the music capital of the U.S. and the BBQ ain't bad, Eindhoven, NL because it's the Rock City of Holland and an amazing scene, Spain, because everyone is nuts there especially for Zeke, Japan, where lines are around the block for us, and Seattle because no matter what it's still my home.

WW: You guys have been highly influential in reference to up and coming bands. Why do you think this is? Why does Zeke have such staying power?

ZEKE: I have no idea; maybe they think heroin is cool?
WW: If Zeke had a mission statement, what would it be?

ZEKE: Rock like this is your last show ever, put on the best show you possibly can!

WW: What, if any, side projects do you guys have going on?

ZEKE: The Stoker Brothers consists of Zeke plus a couple other members.

Rank and Revue Interviewer Wendy WWAD rocking the fuck out at a ZEKE SHOW

Rank and Revue Owner/Interviewer Wendy WWAD rocking the fuck out at a ZEKE show.
Photo by JOHN LEACH, a recent Seattle transplant to Austin. Looking for photo work? Give John a call @ 206.501.5656

 

WW: How do you balance family life with your rock-n-roll life?

ZEKE: I try and bring my wife with me, but my kids are grown now so I'm free to move about the cabin.

WW: What kinds of cars do you guys drive?

ZEKE: Mark has a Harley, but I sold my 68 Mustang when my wife got sick, so I have a 99 GMC pickup.
WW: Favorite colors?

ZEKE: Black, Black and Black as seen in many photos.

WW: What first inspired you to play an instrument?

ZEKE: My parents are musicians and my grandmother as well. They said I was playing my uncle’s drums from the time I was 2 so that's a hard question. I can't remember ever not playing.

WW: If stranded on a deserted island and could only have 5 albums (sic) / CD’s…that you could play, of course, what would they be?

ZEKE: Ramones “Leave Home”, Black Sabbath Volume 4, Kiss Alive 2, Rocky Erickson Best Of, Rush “All the World’s a Stage”.

WW: What is your definition of success in rock-n-roll?

ZEKE: My success is measured by the love of music. I have been fortunate enough to play with Mark and been able to create some awesome music that fans of Zeke love. We are lucky enough to be able to still put out records and still play shows for our fans and love it. Damn it if that ain't success I don't know what is. We aren't getting rich, we aren't rock stars but we are successful at making music and pleasing our fans!

WW: What can we expect from Zeke in the future?

ZEKE: More records and more shows, but remember I said if they matter so don't forget to take work off when you see we're coming to town!

WW: Parting words of wisdom to your legions of fans?

ZEKE: We love you all, and thanks for supporting us and showing up to our shows, we'll see you soon!

Photo by JOHN LEACH. Looking for photo work? Give John a call @ 206.501.5656

 

 

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