The Zombies started playing in the music industry as a band in the 1960s. Back then, original members Collin Blunstone, lead singer, and Rod Argent, keyboardist and songwriter, were just in their teens.
Fast track to 2015—or five decades later—both Blunstone and Argent continue to keep their legendary group very much alive. In fact, they just performed for 60’s music loving Filipinos on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum despite continuous rains brought about by Typhoon Falcon.
The duo, together with their recruited members bassist Jim Rodford, drummer Steve Rodford, and session guitarist Tom Toomey will return to the stage tonight for their last performance in Manila at the Solaire Resort and Casino.
After their Philippine tour, The Zombies will finalize their latest studio album set for release this year.
“These things, like recording a new album and performing on tours, makes us feel energized,” enthused Collin this week at a press conference at the New World Manila Bay Hotel, the band’s residence for their stay.
Talking more about their upcoming album, Collin told members of the press, “With technology, everything has changed [in the music industry]—and it’s changing all the time. But with this album, to a large extent we’ve gone back to the way that we used to record. We were all in the studio at the same time, playing at the same time. We would take about five takes and we’ll choose the best one. It was great fun and I hope we could always record like that [in the future].”
For Argent, he was excited with the fact that the yet-to-be-named record will have 10 new songs that he wrote and composed—except for one that he allowed Collin to make.
Asked what the general theme or sound their avid listeners could expect, Argent replied, “The sound is much fuller. I think this band is the best band I’ve ever played with and I think it comes across. But there is much resonance from the early material I would say because we’re the same players, the same singers, and the same writers. I had written most of the materials so I think a lot of the feelings are the same.
Argent wrote “She’s Not There,” “Time of the Season” and “Tell Her No,” three of the band’s most-loved hits.
The Zombies actually disbanded in 1968 shortly after the release of their album Odessey and Oracle, which eventually became their best-selling record of all time.
Recalling the story, Argent told The Manila Times, “At the time, the album wasn’t successful, [so]we disbanded. But years later, it started to sell. And in fact, it sells more every year now.”
“Rolling Stone even named that as one of the best hundred albums of all times—and to think how many thousands of albums are released each week.” enthused Blunstone.
So was the success of Odessey and Oracle the reason why they got back together again in the ‘90s?
According to Argent, this wasn’t the reason at all. First clarifying that they never actually stopped making music—he formed another band and even wrote soundtracks for TV and movies—Argent revealed that it was a charity show that brought him and Blunstone together again.
“I had a friend who was a jazz musician and wanted to do a charity show. When I did the show, Collin was in the audience. So he got up and sang ‘She’s not There’ and ‘Time of the Season.’ We enjoyed it so much as if it were just two weeks when we last played.
“So we added six gigs for fun and that somehow turned into 15 years of touring the world. We’ve managed to come to the Philippines two more times [since disbanding],” he added.
Now on their fourth visit to the Philippines, Collin expressed, “The Philippines is now a country that we’ve learned to love. Unlike when we first came here—we were just 20 then and we were scared—we feel more at home now and we have friends already. Now it’s special.”
The Zombies’ Manila Concert is presented by Solaire Resort and Casino and Steve O’Neal Productions.