So after months and months of the two of us putting it off for some reason (I got a new job, Zach had another kid, we’re lazy sometimes) I finally was able to get Zach Davidson of Vendetta Red on the phone for a quick Q&A Session about the return of Vendetta Red and the new album! Here’s the transcript from the phone call (I’ve put the questions in Bold so you know where they start):
Curtis: I don’t have a ton of questions, but first off – What’s changed in the last few years that made you guys want to go back to Vendetta Red?
Zach: I was writing a lot of songs that were more like Vendetta Red than they were like Sirens Sister. And then some kids had started a rumor that Vendetta Red was back together and playing a show. Somebody texted Leif one time and was like “Dude, where’s the secret show?” and Leif’s like “We’re not playing a show” and they go “Yeah, you are!” so we said “Well no, but that’s not a bad idea”. On top of that, jammin’ with these guys is pretty fun. It just felt right, you know? It felt like more people kind of “got” the music these days, unlike 6 years ago. More people gave a shit now. That’s something that happens to band when you’re out fucking beatin’ the street, working your ass off – people could give two fucks. Then you kill the band and people start saying “Oh, that was good. I wish they were a band again”. So then you go play a place, that you played like a hundred times when you’re really going for it and no one cares, you go back there after a couple of years and it’s packed.
C: Okay, now kind of on a personal level, since [Vendetta Red] broke up and you went to Sirens Sister and now coming back, You’ve since gotten married and had a couple of kids. How’s having a family affecting the career?
Z: Having a family is essential. I’ve always wanted a family, but I didn’t really know how much I wanted it or what to do to acquire a family because it’s something that I never had growing up. I always wanted to do music, so I think having a family allows you to be the kind of person you’re supposed to be. It’s a kind of a support system, like a foundation for you to grow around. It’s just wonderful to have a support system around that love me, and people that I love and am responsible for. It takes you out of yourself a little bit and you focus on other human beings and what they need to survive instead of focusing all on yourself.
C: Right on. So on another note – Did you think, when you were preparing for the reunion show in March, almost a year ago now, that you would be back in the studio doing another album?
Z: Umm, yeah. I kinda had an inkling. Getting to play with Jonah, Burke, and Leif is like… You have so much creative energy going on that you can’t help but just bang out eleven amazing songs, really. So yeah, I kinda did.
C: Well that’s good for us! Now what’s the major inspiration, or kind of drive, behind this album?
Z: Well there’s like a reoccurring theme about the birth of this evil God that’s created from selfishness and random acts of depravity. All of that negative energy just coalesces in another dimension and just bursts. So there’s that, but it’s not necessarily a concept record this time, it’s just kind of a reoccurring theme and subject matter. There’s that and then there’s like the typical Vendetta Red semi-political, semi-personal and always a bit ambient and poetic kind of lyrics. But it’s really fun! This record has a lot of beautiful exuberance and when you listen to it – Terry Date made it sound like our band. It just sounds like we’re having a fucking blast. So, I think that the theme behind this album is “WOO-HOO!”
C: Well actually my next question was gonna be along the line of “Sisters” [of the Red Death] in terms of a concept album, but you already answered that. But I did notice in the songs that I have heard, both when I heard the new music at Bumbershoot and when I heard the new single “Blank Screens, Etc.” that I also noticed a kind of Hollywood depravity theme to it as well.
Z: Oh yeah! Lyrically speaking for “Blank Screens, Etc.” it’s me being fucking fed up with the vapid, shallow fucking garbage. So I’m calling out how we fucking glamorize and exult these fucking shallow celebrities. When I hear about “Miss Thing”’s, you know, $7 million divorce while people are fucking starving. I hear about “Miss Thing”’s $13 million wedding ring and I’m sitting here like “WHY IS THIS PERSON FAMOUS? What good is she doing for the planet?” And it just makes me sick to my stomach.
C: I noticed that with, what was the other song? There was something about the Hollywood tours.
Z: Oh yeah! “Fuck Me on Star Tours”! Yeah that’s kind of a double entendre if you will. So “Fuck Me on Star Tours”, you know you go to Hollywood and you pay to get like the “Star Tour” and you can see where fucking Dipshit McGee lives and there also used to be a ride at Disneyland called “Star Tours” and so the joke is “You can either hold my hand on the ferris wheel, or you can fuck me on Star Tours”.
C: So what’s the name going to be for this album?
Z: Well right now we’re stuck on two. It could be “Lightyear Anniversary” or it could be “Scriptures”. We still have a couple of weeks to figure it out, but I’ll let you know.
C: So how is bringing Jonah* in to the mix? Kind of changing things up a bit?
Z: It’s great having Jonah around because he has zero tolerance for self-indulgence. So he’s just like “No! Is this part rocking me? You might be rocking out playing this part, but this part isn’t necessarily rocking me”. So it’s great to having him around. Musically he’s just fantastic, he has great instinct, his chord choices are fantastic. He has a lot of experience playing in killer bands with killer musicians. Shit dude, you kind of wanna impress him. Playing with our rhythm section, you kind of want to impress those two guys [Jonah & Burke]. You have to be good.
C: Understandably so. So what was it like working with an established producer like Terry Date**?
Z: Oh dude, it was fantastic. I have wanted to make a good record with Terry Date forever. I own probably 20 albums that he made. Out of my top ten records, he’s probably made at least three and that’s fucking saying a lot. He’s everything you want in a guy who’s able to tell you do a better job and not make you feel like a piece of shit. A guy with great instincts for how to really bring the best sound out of your voice. It’s been really a fantastic experience. We became really good friends and I would like to make another record with him.
C: Yeah, I met him at the Halloween show. He was a great guy, I liked him a lot. So do you happen to have a favorite song on the new album yet?
Z: Yeah, I think that my favorite song is called “Aurora Dive Team”. Burke wrote this riff that, to me, it sounds like Pixies on speed. So that’s right up my alley if you wanna make me stoked about anything. It just really worked out for vocals, and me and Jonah kind of share vocals on it. It’s a really fun song, but we haven’t played it live yet so you’re in for a really fun song.
C: Is there a date for releasing the album, and who is it going to be through?
Z: It’s probably going to come out in spring or early… you know if it comes out in summer time we’ll be ahead of schedule. That would be early for a typical record release. We’re trying to find a decent record label and put it out through them, but we won’t wait too long. We may just put it out ourselves and sell it online.
C: Yeah, I noticed that the single seemed to be doing pretty well.
Z: Yeah, I’m just stoked people like it. I mean, it sounds like Vendetta Red so I’m happy.
C: Well I really dig it, but that’s really all the questions I have. The last thing I ask is that I know that other people have to wait to get the album, but when am I going to get it?
Z: Haha, I’ll hook you up with a few tracks next time I see you.
C: Killer dude, sounds good. Thanks again for taking the time to chat tonight.
Z: No problem dude, we’ll be in touch about taking some pictures soon.
And thus ends the interview. I’ll go ahead and link on here to the new single “Blank Screens, Etc.”, both at iTunes and CD Baby (if you’re not an iTunes user). That being said, Thanks again to Zach for talking with me and I look forward to this new album!