Colin Blunstone: 'I Didn’t Really Have A Masterplan.'
Triumph & Disaster with Colin Blunstone: The frontman of The Zombies on his Life Lessons, Heroes and his Greatest Triumph & Disaster.
What is your earliest memory of music?
"I had five uncles who were all multi-instrumentalists and when we were all together at my grandmother’s house, we had our own dance band, it was very impressive especially at times like Christmas, when they were all there that's my earliest memory of music. My uncles could each play two or three instruments honestly, they could play the swing bands of the 40s and 50s, trad or play in brass bands they just played all different styles."
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
"Subconsciously I thought school went on forever! I’m appalled of my lack of preparation for the end of my academic career. I did dream there might be a way forward with music, I don’t think I ever felt seriously there was an opportunity until The Zombies won a big rock competition in 1964 and that’s the first time I thought there possibly could be a way forward for us professionally as a band. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t really have a masterplan."
What advice would you give your younger self?
"I didn’t realise at the time that there was a possibility of a lifetime career in the music industry. I honestly thought, especially being in a band or as a singer you’re probably talking a two to three-year career, so I would say to my younger self be aware that there is a lifetime opportunity career in the music business. So it might be an idea to take it a little bit more seriously and professionally to try and widen your musical knowledge and maybe your businesses knowledge as well. In the 60s the management was very aggressive and it would’ve helped The Zombies and myself if we had known a little bit more about how the business worked."
Who are your heroes?
"They fall into two different brackets really, I was interested in music so the original greats of Rock & Roll being Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry are the people who got me interested in contemporary music at the time. Then I was very interested in sport as well, as I’m a lifetime supporter of Chelsea FC but also anybody who has played for England in any sport would be a hero of mine."
How would you describe your musical style?
"I have two distinct careers, one as a singer-songwriter I spend hours playing the guitar and singing at home whilst trying to write songs. Obviously, I’m in a band as well which is different, as Rod Argent is the predominant writer in The Zombies. There are many subtle differences when you’re in a band as opposed to being a solo artist, you have to work differently it’s much more teamwork and the music is probably more rocky compared to when I write it. I’m a musician who is employed in two different genres one is a singer-songwriter and one as the lead singer for The Zombies."
Who would you like to collaborate with? (Past, Present or Future)
"I often think in England, it’s the people who are known by one name: McCartney, Eric, Elton and in the US it would be Jackson Brown and Joni Mitchell. These are the biggest names in music, I would just love to watch them play let alone collaborate with them."
What do you consider your greatest Triumph?
"I think surviving in the music industry it’s not to be sneered at as it’s a tough business. The music industry looks glamorous and not too demanding but it’s a pretty tough old world. I think surviving in the music business over a period of time is something to be a-bit proud of".
What do you consider your greatest Disaster?
"I’ve never been able to sustain a period of hit records in a band or whatever situation I’m in. I would have one or two hits then, by the time you get to the third or fourth I found it very difficult to keep the hits coming. That’s happened to me now four times in my life, I’ve had success but haven’t been able to sustain it."
What did you think of Eminem using “Time of the Season” for “Rhyme or Reason”?
"Oh, I think it’s great, I’m really thrilled when a record or song I’m associated with is covered, sampled or used anyway by other people. I think it’s really flattering and I’ve never understood people who get unsettled or unhappy about it. In principle, I think it’s very flattering and that particular track is great, it’s really good it’s almost like having another hit record in that it introduces you to another generation."
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
"Never give up."
The Zombies are promoting their new “The Invaders Return” tour scheduled for a 10 dates throughout May & June 2020. Tickets available via thezombiesmusic.com/live