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Zombies revival continues with touring, TV and increased media attention

Fresh from a 2013 that saw them finally get their first Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination, legendary British Invasion band The Zombies are adding to a veritable second career momentum some 50 years after their founding.

Rod Argent, left, and Colin Blunstone.
Jacob Blickenstaff

The group, which fronts original members Rod Argent on keyboards and vocals and lead singer Colin Blunstone, just completed its most successful tour of the American South, stopping off in New York to appear and perform at the British Consulate as part of the British government’s GREAT Britain campaign celebrating the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion and promoting Britain abroad, and to conduct a master class at the Gibson Showroom for at-risk public school students participating in the Music Unites music education/empowerment program—for which The Zombies serve as ambassadors.

At the same time, The Zombies’ signature 1964 debut hit “She’s Not There” is gaining traction once again via the current national television campaign for Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle and starring Keira Knightley, with more Zombies music to be used in an upcoming campaign for Christian Dior.

Meanwhile, the band’s classic 1969 hit “Time of the Season,” from their album masterpiece Odessey and Oracle, was sampled by Eminem on his latest album, having been featured, too, in last summer’s movie blockbuster The Conjuring. More recently, the band’s “This Will Be Our Year” (also from Odessey and Oracle) appeared prominently in a key scene in an episode this year of Mad Men, inspiring Spin to note that the poster art for the current Mad Men season seems itself partly inspired by the cover of Odessey and Oracle.

All this follows The Zombies’ stellar turns last year at South By Southwest, New York’s Central Park SummerStage, Milwaukee Summerfest and Bumbershoot, not to mention the U.S. release of their latest album Breathe Out, Breathe In and the debut of their first-ever music video for album track “Any Other Way”—and, of course, their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination.

But Argent is most amazed by the response to their southern tour dates.

“It was extraordinary,” he says. “In the Zombies’ original incarnation, and in my second band Argent, we could never crack the southern states. And I thought that when we started this incarnation of the band [10 years ago, after Blunstone and Argent reunited initially as Blunstone & Argent] it would be the same half-dozen people there! But two years ago we played a place in Florida, that I thought nobody would be at—and it was rammed, and I couldn’t believe it! For some reason there’s been a huge increase in the numbers of our southern audiences: Somehow we’ve struck a nerve in what is for me, the bastion of rock—and it’s a most extraordinary thing and I can’t quite understand why.”

“But one thing I always say,” Argent adds, “is that we’re doing this for the right reason. Sure we want to make money, but we’re still excited primarily about writing and recording and performing on stage as we were as 18-year-olds. The feeling is identical.”

Also while in New York, Argent and Blunstone sat down for a Spirit & Flesh Magazine feature. Following a brief Blunstone solo tour, The Zombies will continue performing while finishing a new studio album, slated for release this fall.

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