Earlier this week I trolled off to the local rock bar to catch a bit of Zombina and The Skeletones. I couldn't believe that they were playing there for free and was stoked to get the chance to see them! Their music is great fun, so if you haven't heard of them, then I recommend that you familiarise yourself.
The name, the venue, the make-up (I shall get to this) may mean that you think you are not interested if you're not someone who overdoes it with the eyeliner...but hold on just one cotton pickin' minute there! Despite the 'rock kid' following their sound is, essentially, pop music...just with horror/B-movie stylings. Like The Ramones were pop music (and the influence of The Ramones is not difficult to see in ZATS' song titles). You can definitely hear the punk music that i have absolutely no doubt the band members have in their personal collections but, more than anything, this is rockabilly (or perhaps more accurately psychobilly).
Add to that a few shots of surf rock, the 50s/60s girl group influence in the vocals, a heaped spoonful of Joan Jett and you are left with something that is just a whole mess of entertaining!
A friend of mine, when I told her who I was heading off to see, said that their name made her think of the bands that appear at 'discos' on Scooby Doo...and they sound a bit like that too.
As for the make-up...
...each band member had part of their face painted, making up a complete bloodied skeleton between them. I think that I may be just a bit too old to appreciate face paint; although bonus points to them for effort. I guess I'm just not 'down with' the gimmick...although thankfully the war paint, in this case, is not applied with the same earnest spirit of bands like Slipknot and their entirely ridiculous masks. Zombina and The Skeletones, fortunately, do not take themselves too seriously (there was even, at one point, a dance competition, initiated with a shout of "Contenders...ready. Skeletones...ready!").
Numerous audience members were also bedecked in full Zombina garb of face paint, fake blood and tattered zombie clothes...a veritable plethora of undead. We also had a Johnny Ramone-alikey and, naturally, several mandatory overweight, aging rock dudes.
I had kind of forgotten how fond I am of rock bars (the majority of my friends being gayboys who prefer to listen to Kylie and such!), having been a bit of a teenage (werewolf?) rock kid myself (thank heavens the whole emo thing came about after my time - there was no such collective then, but I was indeed one to mix Hello Kitty and Metallica!). Rock bars are a great place to people-watch, and people are friendly too...the cute psychobilly chicks, the beer (or snakebite?) guts and the fellas whose hair means simply everything to them!
The band arrived late as their car had broken down...as had the replacement car! Zombina (her parents didn't name her that, but she forbade me to write her real name, and I promised) changed from Cramps t-shirt to blue dress and we were off! I was surprised by her Scouse accent; although I have quite a bit of their music, it has never occurred to me to look up any information about them, so I had no idea where the band were from. She was softly spoken and her accent was really rather endearing.
In fact, when I had a bit of a natter with her afterwards, she was a thoroughly nice woman. I asked her my standard favourite album (although it's rather more long-winded than that...if you click the link you will hopefully see what I mean) question and she seemed more than happy to sit and mull it over with me.
Zombina toyed, for some time, between Ramones albums, struggling to decide what would be her ultimate, or definitive choice. When I shared with her my own choice (Sam Cooke FYI - again, see the link above) she finally settled on a Roy Orbison best of. Good call I say! She suggested that I also ask the same question of Doc Horror - actually referring to him as 'Doc Horror', as opposed to Dave, or Steve, or whatever he may really be called - as he is the chief songwriter for the group. His choice would be the (I think purposefully) obscure Charlie and The Hamster Sing The Ten Commandments. Yes, that old party favourite! I did check with him several times that this was definitely his final choice if, as per the proffered question, he could never hear any other music ever again!
I haven't even got to the performance itself, but I think that I have blathered enough for now! Suffice to say that the band were spot on performing together and I would unequivocally go and see them again. Oh, and they did a great cover of Angel Eyes too!
mp3: Nobody Likes You When You're Dead - Zombina and The Skeletones
mp3: I Was A Human Bomb For The F.B.I. - Zombina and The Skeletones
mp3: Zombie Crush - Zombina and The Skeletones (Groovie Ghoulies cover)
www.myspace.com/zombinaarmy (where you can download some mp3s)
and Zombina herself... www.myspace.com/therealzombina
Their albums/EPs can be difficult to find, so you are probably best off doing a Google shopping search. Failing that, it's all available through iTunes, certainly in the UK store:
Taste The Blood Of...
Death Valley High