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One could easily say that I’ve been a Zao fan for years. When I was offered the opportunity to sit down and hang with the guys, I jumped at the opportunity to return from my hiatus from Racket Magazine. So come Friday, June 16, 2006. I get off work and pick up my buddy Travis, and head down to Pomona for what would turn out to be a pretty rad night. Once we get there, we decide that we were hungry. We take a nice stroll down to a little pizza parlor called “Angelino’s”.  I had the Philly Cheesesteak, while Travis ordered the vegan pizza.  The atmosphere was awesome (not to mention the servers were all gorgeous girls), and the food wasn’t bad at all.  So after our quick meal, we decide to make our way back to The Glasshouse for an interview and a rockin’ show.  Once inside, I met up with Zao’s tour manager, Jason, who took me to the back so we can do the interview. The interview consisted of “Knockin’ ‘Da Boots”, babies being run over by lawnmowers, naked relatives, and White Trash Chocolate flavored Pop-Tarts.  After reading the interview, you will soon understand that I will never be the same again…


(From left to right; Marty, Dan, Jeff, Scott; Photo by Nicholas Mack)

RacketJeff: Before we get started, I just want to know a quick question. Do you guys get easily offended? If so, too bad!  I’m asking these questions anyways.
Scott (Mellinger; guitar/vocals): Um, well as long as you don’t talk about our drummer’s penis, we should be fine. He tends to get uptight about that kinda talk.
RacketJeff: Damnit, that was my first question too! Looks like I’ll just have to skip that one…
Scott: yeah, or at least wait until he leaves the room…

RacketJeff: OK then. Are you ready for possibly the raddest interview you have ever done?
ZAO: Yes, yes we are.

RacketJeff: Have you ever punched someone in the face for Jesus?
Scott: NO!                                                                                 
Marty (Lunn; Bass): I’ll have to go with yes! (Chuckles)

RacketJeff: “The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here”… What was done differently for your sophomore release on Ferret, than any other record you’ve done?
Dan (Weyandt; Vocals): We actually took time to write the songs
Scott: We pretty much recorded it live, all of us recorded at the same time.

RacketJeff: What is the craziest (or most obsessive) thing a fan has done for you?
Scott: They threw panties on stage
RacketJeff: Were they actual panties, or thongs?
Scott: They were panties, with wet spots on them! (Mild laughter)
Dan: Oh yeah! One guy cut his hand off with a lawnmower; he got out of the emergency room and still came to the show. Oh! And sometimes I’ll let people stick their fingers through my plugs (motions his index finger through the huge hole in his earlobe) (laughter)

RacketJeff: Explain your stance as far as your band being a Christian band or not…
Marty: Well, Jesus used to play keyboards in the band, but he got kicked out about five or six years ago, so we are…
RacketJeff: So, Would you describe your sound as "Jewish ska-core?"
Jeff (Gretz; Drums): Well, I’m Jewish, so therefore we cannot be a Christian band, and it would just be offensive to me.
RacketJeff: Ah, so Jewish ska-core is right then?
Zao: Exactly!
RacketJeff: Sweet! Works for me!

RacketJeff: Does Axl need to stop fucking around and just hire Izzy and Slash again?
Jeff: Absolutely not, “Chinese Democracy” is going to be the worst record ever made and I cannot wait to hear it!
Dan: The worst record that took ten years to make, ever! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: Beavis or Butthead? What does your choice say about you?
Scott: Beavis, man this just goes back to High school. So yeah, Beavis, because he’s a freak and that coincides with how stupid and freakish I am.
Dan: I’m a Butthead fan actually
Jeff: I would say Beavis
Marty: Stewart! (Laughter from everyone)
Jason (tour manager): Free Winger shirts for everyone! (Laughter)
Marty: Mr. Anderson! (does undecipherable Mr. Anderson impression)

RacketJeff: If you could be any flavor of Pop-Tart that was to be consumed by Britney Spears, what flavor would you be, and why?
Scott: White Trash Chocolate baby! (Laughter)
Marty: Uhhh, yeah I can’t top that one dude…
Dan: Strawberry Arsenic Flavor (laughter) or Strawberry rat-Poison (mild chuckles)
RacketJeff:  I think Kevin Federline semen would be her favorite flavor, but that’s just what I think.
ZAO: Yeah dude! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: Which hand do you use to pee? Are you a "switch hitter”?
Scott: I don’t use any hands, I just let it go! I mean, I have such a small dick I don’t need to hold it.  It’s just right there! (Laughter)
Marty: Right
Dan: Left
Jeff: Both hands! (Laughter) I need both hands to hold that thing! I mean, have you ever seen those fireman training videos? You know, when they’re hauling that hose… something similar to that! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: How much blow would you say you do a night? In terms of Euros, please.
Jeff: It depends on how many hookers are there. You have to do it off a hooker. If there isn’t a hooker there, then the quantity definitely decreases. (Laughter)

RacketJeff: Don’t you just want to kick the Strokes’ ass?
Scott: You know what? I actually kinda like them, but I would kick their ass anyways.
Jeff: Not really, they don’t offend me nearly as much as Nickelback… I’d let them go.
Dan: I think I would rather beat up Panic! At The Disco…
RacketJeff: Aww man, I actually kinda like Panic! At the Disco, don’t kick my ass please…
Dan and Scott: Ohhh, get him! (Laughter)
Marty: End of interview! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: Is being on Ferret Records a subtle form of masochism?
(Uproarious laughter from band)
Marty: Ohhhh, well then!!
Dan: Actually I think it would be a form of sadism. Well wait, which one is self hurting?
RacketJeff: Masochism is self hurting; sadism is hurting others around you.
Dan: Then yes, it is a form of masochism. I think we’ll all go with that answer! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: Is your song "Truly, Truly, This is the End" based on what you say when you get the happy ending at a massage parlor?
Jeff: I thought they called that the “full release”? (Laughter)
Marty: Yeah, ‘cause that the song on our next record…
Scott: In fact, I believe we are going to title the whole album “Full Release”; the cover will have Dan laying on a massage table!
RacketJeff: Sweet! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: What’s the worst band name you’ve ever heard? And No, you cannot use Zao.
Jeff: Hands down the worst band name I’ve ever heard and I’ll stand by this… I’ve never heard them, so nothing against them musically, but Scary Kids, Scaring Kids… Worst band name I have ever heard!
RacketJeff: Well, they are one of the worst bands I have ever heard, so…
Scott: Fucking HOOBASTANK! I can’t stand that fucking name!
Marty: Four or five guys stand around for months trying to figure out a band name. And when those four or five months are over the best band name they came up with was Hoobastank. I mean, that was the number one on everybody’s list… (Laughter)

RacketJeff: What is the dumbest thing you have done for money?
Jeff: Uhhh, joining Zao! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: If you had a bomb, do you think the guys in Pantera would hang out with you?
Scott: Shit! I would put a bomb in my asshole to hang out with Pantera!
Dan: Yeah, and I would put the bomb in Scott’s asshole to hang out with Pantera! And that’s the hard part! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: Since fundamentalist Muslims are all straight edge, do you think there’s a terrorist out there who writes it "xALxQEADAx?"
(Uncontrollable laughter)
Dan: It’s safe to assume that the answer for that one would be “belly laugh” (laughter)
Just put belly laugh there.

RacketJeff: Isn’t it true that the west coast is gay and the east coast rocks hard?
Marty: For us, for Zao, the west coast is cool. Our shows are way bigger. We have more fans out here, so I would have to say the exact opposite.
Scott: Yeah, the kids out here are more real and the east coast just tries to not be gay. Marty: Yeah, they try to be tough, but basically they love the wiener. (Laughter)

RacketJeff: What was it like working with Steve Albini?
Scott: What kind of question is that? What happened to all the cool ones?!
RacketJeff: Hey, I had to throw at least one typical question in here!
Jeff: He’s a pretty big dick! He wouldn’t let us do anything that we wanted to do. He made us make it all noisy and stuff…
Scott: Yeah, he pretty much said “If you don’t do a raw record, then I’m not working with you!”
Jeff: Yeah, we wanted to do a lot more emo stuff, and he just wasn’t having it. Basically we had to make it sound like Dillinger Escape Plan or something. We hate our record, it sounds like garbage…
RacketJeff: Sarcasm I am assuming?
Jeff: Oh yeah, very sarcastic… He was amazing to work with! (Laughter)
RacketJeff: Man, you were good. You said that with such a straight face, I couldn’t tell…

RacketJeff: True or False: Cops is the best TV show in the world.
Scott: Definitely fucking true!
Marty, Jeff and Jason: False
Dan: Actually, Maury Pouvich is now my new favorite show because today, while I was watching it… There was a forty-year-old lady who ran over her two year-old niece with a lawnmower! (Laughter) And they showed pictures! So today, Maury Pouvich became my new favorite show, because any show that involves people running over babies with lawnmowers… I mean, you just can’t beat that!  It doesn’t get better than that! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: Have you ever been in the same room when another one of you was humping a girl? If so did it turn you on?
Scott: I have only dreamed of being in the same room as Marty when he was humping a girl! (Laughter)
Jeff: That would definitely turn me on! (Laughter)
Dan: Hey! Nobody in Zao humps! We knock ‘Da Boots! It involves Marvin Gaye records and Courvoisier. (Laughter)

RacketJeff: What is your drink of choice?
Dan: Diet Coke and Jim Beam.
Jeff: Rum, when I can get it.
Scott: Seven and Sevens
Marty: Just a beer…

RacketJeff: How many times have you seen a naked relative?
Dan: Too many! (Chuckles)
Jeff: Uh, not enough…
Scott: Just enough to get me excited! (Laughter)
Marty: Uggggh, I got nothing after that! (Laughter)

RacketJeff: What are your feelings towards In N Out burgers? What would you order if you were there right now?
Jeff: I just really like the name… it’s really dirty. I don’t know if I have ever had one though…
Marty: I just think it was annoying how it was hyped up to be this tremendous burger joint. Like the best burger joint of all time, so there was all kinds of hype surrounding it and… it just didn’t live up to the hype.
RacketJeff: Kinda like X-Men 3?
Jeff: I thought X-Men 3 was awesome.
RacketJeff: (thumbs down)
Zao: (in unison) OOOOOOOOOHHHHH!!!

RacketJeff: Time for the “typical question”: Tour, how has it been, and any craziness?
Scott: You know, we try to make it as crazy as possible…
Dan: We’re not attractive or good dressers which doesn’t really help out with the women situation, so there’s not much craziness (in somber voice)

RacketJeff: Any exciting ZAO news you want the fans to know about?
Scott: Russ Cogdell is never coming back! (Laughter from band) That’s pretty exciting!
Jeff: Yeah, he’s like Clayton Bixby’s protégé (laughter)
Dan: yeah, he doesn’t have time for the band anymore. He is working on his first major PowerPoint… (Laughter)

RacketJeff: This is a question I always ask with mixed responses…Ummmm, can I have free stuff?
Scott: If we gave you a CD, would you give it a good review?
RacketJeff: Always!
Scott: Alright then, you can have a CD!
RacketJeff: Sweet!
RacketJeff: I’m all done here, is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Jeff: Alright, I got it!  Are you a Christian website?
RacketJeff: Uhh, no!
Dan: Do you favor the finger in the butt hole during orgasms?
RacketJeff: Actually, I am more favorable to big flaming dildos. You know, the bigger the better.
Dan: Well our tour manager has big fingers, so… (Laughter)
Scott: Could you possibly get some girls to come back here and take their tops off?
RacketJeff: Have you seen me?  I have about as much luck getting girls naked as Dan does. (Laughter)
Scott: Then we are done here!
RacketJeff: Cool deal, I got what I wanted out of the deal…


Needless to say, this interview rocked pretty hard. The show rocked even harder.  Zao tore through their set playing both new and old songs, appealing to fans of any time span. The only really bad thing about the show was the unbearable heat emerging from all the bodies crammed on The Glasshouse dance floor. Not only did Zao have incredible energy, but the fans did as well. Overall, I would have to say that the night was very enjoyable. 

If you haven’t yet, check this band out live, and check out their newest release “The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here”, it rocks as hard as their live set.  For info on Zao, check out www.zaoonline.com, or www.myspace.com/zao. They will be coming through your town with Throwdown after their stint with Demon Hunter, so prepare to be rocked!

Shout outs to the dudes in Zao for making me laugh my ass off.

-By Jeff Curtis