Carlin Nicholson talks about the Origin, Path, and Recording of Classic Zeus
Zeus appeared on the Canadian music scene around 2009 with a handful of recordings that became their debut Sounds Like Zeus EP. Recorded in an informal clubhouse fashion, at their own jerry rigged Ill Eagle Studios, the name of the band originated from a take or song that just had that certain something: Zeus Juice. Sounds Like Zeus, which contained a cover of Genesis' "That's All", gained the group a reputation for a proggish, harmony driven sound that pointed back to certain eddies and currents of sound that haven't been fully explored since the sixties and seventies. Initially Zeus were frequently compared to The Band for a variety of half-relevant and half-irrelevant reasons. They are a group of young men from Southern Ontario who have made a name for themselves playing rock and roll and blue-eyed soul. They were initially known as Jason Collett's backing band, some members had been in his previous backing group Paso Mino as well, until striking out on their own. They have also looked back to their roots when musical trends have pushed forward to the future ,just as The Band stepped away from the vogue of psychedelia. From there, the comparison all but falls apart. Except that history is likely to view Zeus (the band) in a favourable light as well.
Unabashed about their rear-view tendencies Zeus followed Sounds Like Zeus with a full length Say Us (2010) which placed them in the Canadian consciousness and on the radio dial as one of the most exciting live or recorded bands to come along in some time. Touring in support of Say Us, 2011's Busting Visions and now 2014's Classic Zeus, the band have built pockets of devoted fanbases throughout the United States and Europe on the strength of their tireless work ethic, stage show, and gifted songwriting chops. Having weathered the indignities and inedibility of acclaim, the time between Busting Visions and Classic Zeus almost broke the band up. The sound on the new record reflects the end of this turmoil -- it is both redemptive and hopeful -- a mending of fences (if indeed they needed mending) and a more mature, sedate offering from songwriters coming into the fullness of their creative gifts. In the days between their release of Classic Zeus (Sept. 2 on Arts and Crafts) and departing on their Family Affair Tour (with The Golden Dogs and Taylor Knox) co-founder Carlin Nicholson took some time to talk about growing up in Southern Ontario, their community of collaborators and the dynamics of working in a group with multiple songwriters.
Luke C. Bowden: I just wanted to start off with basic biography, like born and raised kind of a thing.
Carlin Nicholson: Sure man, born and raised in Innisfil, Ontario. It's a little town, population not posted. It's called Big Bay's Point and I was raised there my whole life. My grandfather built a small cottage and when my dad got back from Spain and picked up my mom, he decided he would live there. And then in 1990, my dad, he built a monstrosity of a house that stayed in plywood for over twenty years and it was called the Plywood Palace.
It's better than a Mortgage Mansion.
Yeah absolutely, and what he did was he cut the cottage in half put it on a flatbed, put it in the backyard, and that became our first jam space which we called simply the Back House. We sowed all of our musical seeds back there -- Mike O'Brien, myself another band with my brother Liam that we used to play in called the 68's.
What years were the 68's active because I think there's a lot of references to that group but also some confusion?
What is it 2014 now? Zeus' first record came out in 2009. So the 68's were probably active from 1997-2005. Before that I was in a band called Seven Ten Split that Mike was in as well. And actually Afie Jurvanen of Bahamas was the 68's first drummer, and that line-up was me, my brother Liam, Mike O'Brien, and Afie on drums.
The way I understand it Afie, Rob, and Mike went on to be in Paso Mino -- frequently backing Jason Collett -- did you work front of house for Paso Mino and tour with them as well?
Many times, I went out with Jason and did sound for him; I did sound for Paso Mino whenever they're in town. I'll still do sound for my friends; I did sound for The Golden Dogs as recently as six months ago.
Yeah, the first time I met you, you were on the cover of Now magazine and Exclaim! magazine and you were working sound for Kevin Breit and Sisters Euclid at the Rivoli.
Exactly, Dude. It's a good job. I mean, it's a hell of way to make a living but you can keep yourself in it.
You've mentioned a number of the bands you've been in. The one band you mentioned was The Golden Dogs, which obviously you and Neil overlapped. There's a pretty tight bond between Zeus and the Golden Dogs. To me Dave Azzolini is a really singular figure in contemporary Canadian music. Maybe that's just me, but I mean a lot of people think The Golden Dogs are one of the best live bands in Canada. I guess what I wonder is what did you learn as a band leader or as a songwriter from Dave Azzolini in your tenure as a Golden Dog?
I learned a lot of actual musical technical skills from Dave right out of the gate. I played bass and keyboards in the 68's, the band I was in at the time, and it's pretty much the same role that I play now in Zeus. So for me to go in and play guitar for them was a totally different thing and I kind of jumped at the opportunity because, like you say, they're so wicked. I was, like, this is amazing. I wanted to see more of Ontario and more of the country. I didn't tour the country with them but I did a lot of shows in Ontario with the band for a little more than a year in 2008. It was amazing. Dave's amazing. I mean, I've always kind of been natural to a leader position in the 68's at least and it was to me it's like someone's got to be the leader. Even if they don't want to be and didn't necessarily ever want to be but there are so many things that need to get done. It's not so much just the things that need to get done but it's the things that need to get spoken up about. So, all a good leader really is in a group that like, a diplomatic band situation, is somebody who is good at starting conversations about what needs to be talked about and things that need to get done. I played that role. Dave leads in a similar way but I found him to be an insane driving force. He had a really good way of getting people jacked up. The way he is on stage, it's pretty damn intense. I don't know how I'd fare in this day and age I don't know if I'd be able to hack it. At the time, I remember being blown away, thinking to myself, wow, this is really cool, I like the way Dave operates. And Jess too. They're a two-headed, insane, golden machine, full of rock and full of spirit. Both of them are unbreakable, that's the word I'd use for both of them.
Their day is coming.
Their new record is amazing. I mixed it myself at the Sloan space.
We'll get into that in one second but first I want to get into Classic Zeus. I don't want to put words in your mouth but I'm going to put some words in mine. There's feelings that Classic Zeus gives me across the board. Themes like redemption, healing, catharsis, salvation, love and loss. All of those. More. I wonder before we talk about the songs you brought to the table, was there a thematic idea behind this record? Was there anything in this record that you were emulating in other reocrds that you admired?
Kind of. I think this album has a lot of different sounds. I think that's how we approached recording a lot of these tunes like the time we spent on them and the ways we carved them out in the end, kind of thing. In a strange way it came from, in some part, the cover EP that we did.
The supplemental to Busting Visions (Deluxe Edition 2013)?
Yeah, we did it in between these two, like we recorded five songs in November.
You need to incorporate those songs into your stage show by the way because it would be so awesome sauce and I don't understand why we don't get to hear (Flaming Lips) Fight Test, (Big Star) Ballad of el Goodo, and (R. Kelly) Ignition (Remix) - that's an encore for sure.
Yeah, Neil did that for an encore with Afie on drums for the Bonfire Ball tour. It was awesome. It killed every night. We played the Stone Temple Pilots one (Vazoline) one time in Thunder Bay and I'm tellin' you, there was some puzzled looks coming out of the crowd. But, it's fun. We throw them in every once in a while. We're thinking of maybe tossing in You're the Inspiration by Chicago because we just played that at Mike's wedding. Neil just goes hand-held on it, it's just incredible.
We gotta get into Classic Zeus. I've got the record out in front of me. White cover, pastel pictures of yourselves. You probably imagined this record like a two-sided LP, right? It seems like there's a side A and side B. So, what's going on on side A and what's going on on side B?
I guess it's mostly musically. When we picked the songs that were going to go in the order they're going to go in it's always with the flow in mind in terms of musicality and tempo and all that. It's just whatever flows and whatever feels good. I don't think we ever put a lot of thought about what the songs are about to be honest. We don't really talk to each other about what our songs are about.
We never ever really do. It's very rare. Every once in a while someone will be like, what line are you singing there? The person will tell them and they'd be like, huh, cool. We don't really talk about it you know. Each song means a lot to a guy but to be frank with you too, when I write a song I write the lyrics and music all in one go. It usually comes out in about 20 minutes or a half an hour. Maybe I write a bit and come back to it in a hour and finish it. I don't put a lot of thought into it. I look over the lyrics and quite often I'll contradict tenses and so I'll correct those but for the most part, I write the lyrics. Like, when I'm writing the song, I'll sort of sing nonsense lyrics and just sounds of what sort of syllables I want to hear and often I'll make up words.
Neil described that earlier as the Paul McCartney thing. Like Bonnieview worked well for that progression.
Yeah, McCartney always tells his scrambled eggs story for Yesterday. I don't necessarily have that. Mine is a little more cryptic than that. There'll be a theme that I constantly come back to in the lyric, something like, 'whenever I'm gone', something like that. You'll just keep coming back to that for a hook. Then I'll basically go through my demo and even though I'm not really singing anything, some are words, some aren't words, but I'll just take, basically, like the syllables mostly at the beginning and endings of the lines and retain those and make words for them and once I start to get that down then I start to see what the song is actually about. Sometimes, I'll have an idea for what I want to write a song about but nine times out of ten, the song is written from whatever syllables or whatever catch phrase I've kept, the one singular catch phrase that I kept coming back to when I was writing it, it'll often be about that. I'll look at that and I'll say, oh, okay, that's what this song is about.
I had an exercise once a long time back when I took an old album that I recorded, it was a 68's album -this was after we'd done another one- and I went through it with a book and I actually analyzed each song like a psychiatrist might to find out what I was going through at the time. That's how detached I actually am from my own thing but it was really interesting because I found out a lot about what was going on in my life at that time and I found out what the songs were actually about and this was years after. So I've got this similar thing going on there you now, you take a song like Everybody's Got One I had the chorus to that one in the demo it's something like 'everybody's got one/ everybody wants one'.
But they want two.
Yeah but they want two. And that's the... it's got a bit of a double meaning as well they want to or they want two as in two is better than one. I still don't really know or care whether it was one or the other people can take it as they will and I haven't decided I think I wrote two in the lyrics, did I?
No no it's two in the lyrics.
'Don't you want two everybody's got one' yeah so its kind of like in a way its like don't you want to?
I think people get the entendre I hear what you're saying. Everybody's got an Iphone don't you want two?
For sure exactly. When I wrote the lyrics and sent them into the label for them to print them I decided on that and who knows why. Then you come back to it later and finish up the lyrics and that one obviously has a lot of just sort of thoughts and feelings in it: "Rock & Roll is everywhere stick to what you know/ I believe in what I feel and what I want is real". That kind of stuff is very much a feeling of being on the road with the boys and sort of 'this is what I'm good at and I'm 33 years old so let's hope it works'.
Yeah but its funny because Neil and I were just talking about the mysticism in Dave Gahan's songwriting for instance... he also told me what a huge Michael Jackson fan you were which came as a little bit of a surprise.
But there's something mystic about 'Rock & Roll is everything' or 'everywhere' right.
It doesn't surprise me to be honest to hear you say that Classic Zeus is like a series of cascading choruses that the independent songwriters didn't necessarily talk too much about what the emotional meaning of the song was, ya know?
We kind of got lucky that there was a through point.
And what was the through point?
I think you kind of pinpointed it earlier I mean you got Take Your Past And Throw It On The Fire basically saying whatevers gone wrong fuck it let's just be together and do this right. And then you've got Straight Through The Light that talks about 'after all that we've been through I see know reflection of me in you maybe all this... whatever the words are (sings) 'maybe all this time I've done all my cryin'' or something like that. It's basically like a little bit of whining a little bit of questioning as to we've done all this I still don't see where the hell we're going. 'I don't see you in me'. So there's a bit of a whine going on there I guess. What's my other one First One In, last one out.
Just for clarity's sake let's go through what are the Carlin tunes on this record?
Straight Through The Light, First One In, Come Home and Everybody's Got One
Then by subtraction Mike's tunes are?
Throw It On The Fire, Miss My Friends, Old Enough To Know and then Neil's are the rest.
That's a pretty equitable balance between multiple songwriters. Everybody's playing to their strengths. I presume when I see your live show that whoever's taking the lead vocal wrote the tune. I do notice in the liner notes it does say: 'All songs were written and performed by Zeus' with additional musical contributions by... Is that sort of... This is a tough question but obviously you guys get compared to The Band a lot and obviously things went real sour there.
But there was really only one songwriter in that group and I think the debate has always been around should arrangers in a band that workshops songs over time - like Don't Do It sounded a million times different from when they started it to when they ended it. You know what I'm trying to say?
Yeah yeah for sure.
So it's that Lennon/McCartney thing. Lennon wrote Strawberry Fields, McCartney wrote Dear Prudence but they both wrote everything.
They both wrote everything yeah.
So we're touching on two of your biggest influences I would think The Beatles and The Band. Is part of the logic of attributing the songwriting credits to everyone a way to be truly democratic and leaderless as a band?
I think in a way. Its also just cleaner and I think that it establishes a solid unity in the group. I mean all our royalties are split so for us I guess its just a strong incentive of unity and a really good team. Its an interesting thing because as you can tell our band doesn't necessarily work that way. We definitely.... say Mike came out with a tune he went to record it with somebody else it wouldn't sound like a Zeus tune. So in that sense the only way to get the songs to sound like a Zeus song is to record it with Zeus. So if I was to take any of my songs and record them with anyone else they would sound like my song but it wouldn't sound like Zeus so there is something there that is unreplaceable in terms of how the final product comes out. In terms of the actual song being written its kind of like a three fold answer; sometimes a guy will come in with a complete picture, Neil comes in with a complete picture often I sometimes do as well; I sometimes deliberately don't finish a song because I want to finish it with the guys; Mike is probably third on the list in terms of that, often he'll come in with a full song but often it will be carved into something different, sometimes he'll come in with just a little bit. In the beginning Mike and I used to really work on songs a lot together and we would just have a couple little snippets - we still write together a lot but it's like when you have three songwriters and you release an album every two years and every guy gets you know four songs maximum, maybe three maybe two and a half. Do the math.
Its healthy competition.
It works out for the listener.
We don't even think of it that way to be honest. There was a time when we were really democratic. If you look at our other albums its exactly right down the middle. Everybody has the exact amount of songs the same as the other guy. And that's how we set out to do it in the beginning. For this record we really just recorded 30 songs something like that. We just took the songs that were the right songs to make an amazing 11 track album, which is another unique thing about this record.
That makes sense because you've obviously got some songs in your back pocket like Refusal To Die and Hot Under The Collar (7" A side, 2010).
Oh 100% and there's a song of mine called Lion's Pride that didn't make it on
And that's an instant Zeus classic kind of a thing?
Oh dude I've got a tune... Mike's got a tune... it's been trying to get on a record for like three records. Lion's Pride's a pretty frigging rocking tune and to be fair that tune and Permanent Scar and Fever Of The Time were the three songs that actually started this band. Cause it was- Mike was working in Paso Mino but that was kind of on hiatus and he was working with Feist a little and all that kind of stuff. And the 68's were on hiatus and Mike and I started recording songs together and in amongst that first batch of tunes was How Does It Feel?, Permanent Scar, Fever Of The Time and Lion's Pride. Those four tunes and they were recorded with Dave Azzolini and Taylor Knox. So those were kind of the first and Zeus' first show, as you may remember, was Taylor, Dave, Mike and Me and Neil was in the crowd waving his lighter around piss drunk listening to River By The Garden during like the solo outro type thing and he was just loving it. That was our very first show, at the Rivoli, opening up for Pete Elkas.
Who's on the new record.
Who's on the new record but he actually recorded that song back in the Say Us (2009) sessions if you can believe it or not.
What is the track that he's on? There's a vocal I don't recognize on one song.
That's the one First One In there's all these harmonies, these super-sick three part harmonies that are in the background and in the chorus. [Sings]: "The first one in, you don't have to tell me now/ last one out".
I thought it was Afie at first to be honest.
Yeah it kind of sounds like an Afie part but yeah that's Neil/Mike/Pete singing backup for First One In.
I wanted to talk for a second about this Classic Zeus, it's obviously a bit of a play on words. You've just talked about really how on this outing in a way you've returned to the 'classic' Zeus line-up which is to say what became the original Zeus recordings had a looser quality to their birth and obviously Taylor Knox and Dave Azzolini and Jessica Grassia played on all those tracks. So was this sort of a conscious thing to bring them back into the fold on this recording or was it just the right people in the right place, that kind of a deal?
That's the kind of a deal exactly. Basically Ill Eagle (Studios) is a rotating door of musicians within our circle of friends you know you've got like you say: Taylor Knox, The Golden Dogs, Wax Atlantic, Jason Collett whoever happens to be around.
Danielle Duval yeah.
Let's spin out the Ill Eagle Family for a second is there anybody else we're missing?
Yep probably. Let's see whose kicking it in the Ill Eagle family. There's William Delray he used to have a band called Sex & Moving Parts, he's kind of changing his band name all the time. Then there's just a butt whack of people that are friends that are recording, I've kind of stayed busy recording albums without drifting out of my friends circle for fucking six years and that's just the way it is. Every time I turn around somebody else has a record that they want to do or they want to record something or they want something mixed. It's an awesome beautiful thing and I remember stopping at the three year mark and thinking to myself I've been doing almost back to back albums whether it be performing for them, recording for them, mixing for them, producing for them, whatever kind of thing for this long and I haven't even put out a Craigslist ad [laughs]. Everyone's just... there's people around... There's people around that need help and want help and I'm glad to be a part of a lot of what I've done. Ill Eagle's a really special place and in part I should touch back on what we were talking about before - Permanent Scar, Fever Of The Times and Lion's Pride.
That was a time when we had a really big circle, we had Paso Mino who was added to that list, the 68's were always busy and it was really frustrating to me that we weren't all working as a team. Everybody, everybody was working hard at their own thing but there was this wall, not necessarily of secrecy, I don't know if it was that people were too timid or not wanting to come forward or too possessive of their own art or any of that bullshit. But when Mike and I set out to do those recordings, I may have even said the words to myself 'fuck this let's just go in and get busy'. Then Mike and I would just go into the studio every day single day with no agenda and who cares. We would decide what we were going to record, let's say we had an ipod with one of those split earphone jacks and we used to both just listen to my demos and his demos and we'd decide what should we record today. It was a real carefree time, it was a beautiful time to make music but a lot of it was spurred from a basic frustration that we weren't all working together. Now we are and it's a wonderful and beautiful thing. And here we are in 2014 we're going to play at Lee's Palace on the 27th of September it's going to be Taylor Knox, The Golden Dogs and Zeus. Now we're doing it you know? Now we're keying in onto it and we have been for a while but at that time I was very very frustrated. You can't come out and tell the other bands you know 'this is wrong, we're not doing this right guys, we're all trying for the same thing here, we're all going to make each other better'. That's what people miss sometimes. For any bands out there that have other bands around them I gotta say 'they will only make you better don't be worried that your little precious song is not gonna turn out the way you want it to'. You'll always have final say. You need to surround yourself with the right people and you need to love those people and as long as you respect them musically then they will give you what you need to get better. Your songs will be better, they will be enriched by the people you respect and love and ultimately you will come out with something you love more in the long run. Absolutely.
I've heard you in different interviews or in person trying to cultivate a vision for Ill Eagle as a kind of Motown North which would make you into a de facto Funk Brothers or Booker T. and the MG's or whatever.
Is that sort of where you see this phase or the next phase of your career is helping other artists to cultivate their vision for what they want to produce and being a bit of a hit factory?
It's possible. I definitely don't think it's a hit factory.
I don't mean in the traditional sense.
I know what you mean... [hesitates] I think there's a lot of people who come to an album, or record enough songs that it could be a great record and they don't really know where to go with it. So you know I don't think we're like god's gift to recording albums or anything. Quite honestly when I listen to albums I find to be super slick and basically perfect sounding records, not necessarily to my ears but to industry standards quote unquote.
Are there any from this year you'd be willing to mention? To my ears Jenny Lewis' (The Voyager) and The War On Drugs (Lost In The Dream) are both 'super slick'.
But there's a good kind of slick too. It's hard to explain. For me... I think people come to me to mix their records and to record their songs because of what they've heard obviously, the stuff already that I've done. I think they come to it because all of those frequencies that get eliminated in the process of making something sound perfect I don't really know how to eliminate to be honest. [Laughs] I just put the songs together to how they sound good to my ears and that's pretty much the end of it. I don't really know... I know some tricks but I don't know a lot of the tricks that other dudes use to make songs sound perfect. I believe that the way that it's recorded at the time is ultimately how it's gonna come out in the end. You can do some work to it to make it go one way or the other- I kind of think it should be relatively continuous to how you recorded it. So I've just been getting better and better and you learn something every day. I learn from all types... I love the group. I love the unity. I think that strength in numbers is the way to go in terms of bands linking up with other bands. Hands in Teeth that's another band that I recorded recently. I just love it. I love every time another... ohhh... Jay McCarrol what's his band called (Brave Shores). Look it up they got a nice record deal on their hands. I don't know that we're any kind of hit factory, we're not pulling any magic tricks but whatever. We're just recording tunes in I think a traditional way which I think is what draws people to us and our song sensibilities again they're not magic tricks they're simple and I think we're honest about how we feel. We push for ideas that we feel strongly about. Nobody wants a yes man in this studio especally Paul McCartney.
I appreciate you've taken as much time. Two more questions, the first maybe a little bit pointed. The influences that are consistently tied to Zeus are the 3 B's: The Band, The Beach Boys and the Big Star.
And the Bee Gees.
Yeah, and I know you're a big fan of the Superfriendz and Matt Murphy (Superfriendz, Flashing Lights, Lil' Orton Hoggett, Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico) is obviously an iconic figure in Canadian Rock.
And also Dr. Dog is also an American, I would think Zeus counterpart.
I was a little surprised to learn, not so surprised to learn, that you're a big Michael Jackson fan. Neil was saying how he's a big Depeche Mode and Junior Boys fan. I guess for the sake of your listeners people would be interested in hearing how diverse your listening tastes are. What are maybe some of the non-analog references in your music?
You mean like not old bands?
I mean old or new. What bands are you not embarassed to say are influences?
I'm not embarassed to admit any. I'm a huge fan of all the following bands: ABBA, AC/DC, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Rick Astley, Whitney Houston, Madonna... let's see what else do we got... Let's go down the list Elvis, Johnny Cash. I should really just be going over my ipod... I love St. Vincent, I love Beck, Beck is huge influence for Mike and me. Really big. Nirvana was always one of my biggest musical crushes. I liked Pearl Jam a lot back in the 'hood. I was listening to New Kids On The Block at the same time that I was listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Loved the New Kids.
Step One, we can have lots of fun. Step two, there's so much we can do.
Step Two... The song Tonight was killer for me it fucking blew my mind and now I look back and I realize he's just ripping off George Martin and Paul McCartney in the hugest way. I look back and all those little horns [sings horn parts] I look back now and it's a joke it's a complete rip off of the Beatles. But you know what? I was into the New Kids before I was into The Beatles. So I didn't know any better.
Carlin you've been incredibly generous with your time but I did have one last kind of pointed question. Zeus is a multiple songwriter band, and it strikes me as a very democratic band, but every band has a business and a musical leader and I guess the question really is Carlin are you Zeus' leader? Are you the leader of the band? Or is it a leaderless band?
I think it's like I said before. I think a good leader knows how to motivate the people in the group. I don't think that there's necessarily... I mean Mike himself has said to me... because I find that the people that I'm surrounded by in our business come to me for important questions. Come to me for answers that they need a definitive answer on. Now. I've always been able to make quick decisions and I'm comfortable in a leadership position. That being said I have been doing this long enough, I've been in this sort of a position in a band that I know I need to take cues and be inspired as well- because I'm also a songwriter in the band, and also I need to feel good, emotionally I need to know that everybody is all in- balls deep. So I learn from the guys too you know I look to Neil for leadership cues he's a very intelligent guy.
And he knows every bit. He knows a correct course of action just the same as I would and where I would make a wrong decision he would make a right decision. The difference is foresight and knowing what questions to ask. Knowing how to get people to think of all different angles. I try to do my best at that but there's often that its those guys that are getting me thinking about something else. I have been in a foreman in the past in jobs back in the day so I have that weird little alarm that goes off in your mind or in your body.
You're a natural born leader.
In a sense I think I am I'm not saying I'm the best or whatever I'm just saying that I have that weird thing that a lot of these types of people have that when there's an alarm that goes off, when you feel that you're getting close to something that you know you need to deal with. Whether it be a phone call that you need to make to somebody that you haven't talked to for too long that you know you need to talk to for something later down the road. Whether it be like do I do this person a favor now? Do I scratch this guy's back now would it be a good idea to do that? Sometimes the answer's yes sometimes the answer's who gives a fuck. But you've got to put it to the panel and you've gotta know when the conversation's over too. So I think that every guy in Zeus is capable of making every decision that we need to make, but I don't think that it occurs to all the members in the band in the same way. Perhaps. And in instances like this or in instances of crisis people look to me for a sounding board or just sort of an inspirational tool and I'm happy to be that. I don't ever claim to be the leader. I sometimes get that at shows too, 'oh who's the leader in your band?' Who's the lead singer in your band? Well I guess technically Neil's the lead singer 'cause he does most of the songs.
The Band got that one too.
Yeah definitely all that stuff rolls off all our backs. None of us give a crap about that. We're all comfortable with our roles in the band. In terms of day to day stuff, tending to artwork that needs to get done, keeping up with emails I do my best at it. But Mike is incredible with that. Today day before the tour him and Jason Haberman our newest member whose also incredible were out making a backdrop for the band for the stage. The last one they made got all messed up and got rolled up in a bad way. So there they are banging that out the day that they need it. We did a video shoot and a photo shoot with a blimp that we filled with helium and went out to the badlands and set it out into the air. There was Mike first guy on the scene painting the blimp getting crazy with it. Mike is a crazy and awesome creative force, a hell of a songwriter and a very gifted artist. I can't do that. I can't do the art side of the thing. I can't draw anything but I know what I want to see and Mike's incredible for that. It all depends on what the job is that's being done and we all just exercise a lot of patience ultimately knowing that when we come together and we come up with something that we're all pumped about its going to be fucking awesome. And its going to be Zeus.
That's right brother.
Zeus On Tour
Saturday September 27th, 2014 Toronto, ON Lee's Palace
Thursday October 2nd, 2014 Montreal, QC Cabaret du Mile-End
Friday October 3rd, 2014 Vankleek Hill, ON Beau's Oktoberfest (Makers of Lug Tread - 'This Machine Kills Imports')
Saturday October 4th, 2014 Kingston, ON The Grad Club (Queen's University Students Only)
Tuesday October 7th, 2014 Waterloo, ON Starlight Room
Wednesday October 8th, 2014 Guelph, ON E-Bar
Thursday October 9th, 2014 Hamilton, ON The Casbah
Friday October 10th, 2014 St Catharines, ON Detour Music Hall
Saturday October 11th, 2014 London, ON Call The Office
Wednesday October 15th, 2014 South Burlington, VT Higher Ground
Thursday October 16th, 2014 Portland, ME Space Gallery
Friday October 17th, 2014 Boston, MA Church Of Boston
Saturday October 18th, 2014 New York, NY The Mercury Lounge
Sunday October 19th, 2014 Philadelphia, PA Ortlieb's
* The author publishes his work at Northern Heads