Sceneazine Jan.15 - Feb.14, 2015 - Page 4

Sceneazine.com Zr. King by Jenny Johnston E stablished in 2013 in the far east side of downtown New York City, Zr. King is an explosive sonic collision of raucous rock’n’roll swagger, catchy melodies, relentless anthemic hooks, and a powerhouse live show. The band channels a diverse mix of their classic progenitors (Led Zeppelin, The Who), mid-nineties mammoths (Alice In Chains, Soundgarden) and contemporary rock monsters (Muse, Queens of the Stone Age). Their debut album, A Potentially Lethal Game of Chance was released on March 11, 2014. What would happen if Tom Waits wrote a rock opera and hired Keith Moon to play drums, John Paul Jones to play bass, Lemmy to play guitar, and Chris Cornell to sing? And probably like a Zombie Robot King. Where did your band name come from and what’s the reasoning behind it? When we first put this band together, we were jamming without a name – but we had a list ten or so pages long of ideas and options. We knew we wanted something lean and succinct, but also intriguing. Then a good friend of ours, Lauren Stockner of Ellestock Page 4 Presents NYC/LA, booked our first gig (well, basically told us: “I got this gig, you’re playing it”) – so now we were under the gun! After spending a great deal of time poring over the list, we landed on Zombie Robot King. Which shortened to ZR King – and that looked like an abbreviation for “Zoctor” – and thus, here we are as Zr. King. Plus, it’s a lot easier to establish a presence and buy domain names when you make up the words. Even if some dude in China owns your domain name…until it expires. And that’s what happened. So when did you guys start as a band. Has anyone played in other bands together? The first iteration of Zr. King took shape in early 2012, while Brandon, Derek and Griffin were playing in another NYC rock outfit called Social Hero. That band had a similar sonic footprint, but we wanted to go in a different vocal, lyrical and stylistic direction, and began jamming on the tunes that ended up becoming the first in the Zr. King canon. We knew Matt from his prior group The Minor Lift – Griffin actually had the pleasure of playing guitar with them when they were between members, and our old bands shared bills on occasion. The history between Matt and Griffin goes back a good ten years, and when we needed someone to help with the vocal and guitar needs in this band, he was the only guy we considered. Who are some of your influences? Would you say that’s where you get your sound? We’re kind of schizophrenic when it comes to influences – all over the map. We love the classics – The Who, Zeppelin, The Beatles, Aerosmith, Motörhead; we love the hard rock bands of the 80s and 90s that we grew up on – Ozzy, Metallica, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, and we love some of the modern day acts that carried the torch into the 21st century – Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, Red Fang. Then again, we also love Bowie and Cheap Trick and James Brown and Parliament. And we’re definitely influenced by our peers and bands we’ve grown up playing with. I think that all that musical exposure definitely contributed to the sound of the music we make, but because it’s so varied and vast, we don’t really sound particularly like any one of those bands on the whole. There are different flavors of them here and there, and it all adds up to the maelström that only we can sound like. Do you guys play shows often? Do you have any upcoming shows? We love to play live! But, we also try to be cognizant to not overdo it here at home, especially as we’re trying to get the word out and raise awareness. Since our album came out back in March, we’ve tried to keep our shows here in NY to one every six weeks or so, because every show here has a cover, and we don’t want to charge our friends all the time. We’ve done the east coast and mid-west touring thing in the past, which was always a blast, but if there isn’t enough groundwork to make people excited to come out to the show, all that leg work isn’t really productive. We do try to have hang-outs at our rehearsal space so friends and fans can come over to rock out and hang with us. Our next show is Friday, January 16th at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn, and we’re working on other gigs in February and March. If someone asks