ou never get a second chance to make a first impression and I have the sneaking suspicion that the band ZFG had that very saying in mind when deciding what the band's first single was going to be. Their anthemic debut single SPECIAL is a thick slice of pop rock heaven that combines no nonsense metal riffs with a funky rhythm section. On top of these proceedings is the soulful wail of lead singer JULES GALLI. Pop smarts such as this don't grow on trees, especially in today's musical climate. In the case of a band like ZFG, pop smarts are simply a matter of good genetics. The band's founders, guitarist TREV LUKATHER and bassist SAM PORCARO, are the respective sons of STEVE LUKATHER and MIKE PORCARO of the band TOTO. Of course, illustrious musical chops aren't limited to these two. Drummer JOSH DEVINE has worked with ONE DIRECTION and lays down one mean thunder clap while lead singer JULES GALLI's vocals give the music that R&B sheen that made ADAM LEVINE a big deal in the first place. ROCKWIRED had the chance to speak with founder and guitarist TREV LUKATHER regarding the band and their new single. Here is how the interview went.
I'm at a loss for words when it comes to your new single SPECIAL. It feels like a pop rock classic right out of the gate. I truly think that the song is going to take you guys places.
We're all hoping the same thing. We're all kind of shocked by all of the love that we got from the song and we're just taking it all moment by moment and being grateful for it.
CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO FOR SPECiAL!!!
From what I understand, SPECIAL is the first taste of an EP that you guys will be releasing soon, right?
Yes, there is an EP on the way. What's cool about the music business now is the freedom of it. There is no rush. We are just signing with a label as a singles deal but there is no EP deal for now. We want to make sure that we're going to put something out that it is something that we are going to be extremely proud of. At the moment, we're writing so much material that we would hate to release this EP and then realize that we could've added this and that. We want it to be just perfect. That being said, we're going to be releasing more new music sooner rather than later.
And of all of the material you have out now, why was SPECIAL earmarked as the single?
SPECIAL was a song that we were absolutely stoked about. My godfather LENNY CASTRO actually came in and played percussion on that song. It was just kind of a shot in the dark that LENNY wrote me a random text at the time and instantly I thought of how cool it would be to have LENNY come in and play on this track with JOSH our drummer. That's like the holy grail of percussionists. So I asked LENNY if he would and said to just give him a time and day for him to come into the studio. We couldn't believe it. He came in and killed it. He played eight different instruments and did just one take for each one. When he was finished, he was out of there and our jaws had dropped. We couldn't believe how cool that was. He single-handedly brought a whole new groove to the song and now we want to use percussion on every song from here on out but this is LENNY. How are we going to top him? Where do we go form there? We were absolutely stoked with the final product of SPECIAL. Everyone that we played it for loved it so that was how we decided to make it a single. I think it was a good decision to do that.
And given the musical pedigree of both you and SAM, is the music that ZFG is putting out self-produced or is there someone helping you guys behind the recording console?
We did six songs with a group called HEARTBEAT. They are two guys out of Woodland Hills and they have a studio called TREEHOUSE. Those guys were very close to us as far as the early recording sessions for ZFG. They helped us out because they are our friends and they heard something in what we were trying to do. After we finished our first song, we decided to move forward on our own and truthfully that is the whole mission behind a band like ZFG. Separately, all of us had these separate musical projects going on and each of them was completely different from what we are doing now and truthfully, I never felt that it showcased who we were as players, songwriters and musicians. It was HEARTBEAT that introduced JOSH and I and because of that, JOSH and I became roommates. When we decided to go into the studio, I was writing a bunch of crazy rock riffs and I knew that we had something. I said,"Let's go crazy with this thing! No holds Barred! No Rules!"So we decided to go into the studio and make some crazy music. We didn't know what to call this thing. After the first day of tracking at TREEHOUSE STUDIOS, they [the producers] asked us what we were calling this thing. We said "Zero Fucks Given" and the name just stuck from there. They produced six of our songs out of those sessions and right now, we're in the studio producing ourselves. Now we have access to a killer studio in North Hollywood and we've been having a blast, man! SAM and JOSH are both engineers as well. A lot of the newer stuff we're making is self-produced but there are six songs that have been produced by HEARTBEAT.
And that's one hell of a vocalist you guys have in JULES GALLI.
What a find, right? JULES and I kept bumping into each other through the Hollywood jam circuit. There is this open jam at VIPER ROOM on Sunset and there is this jam that happens a SAYER's CLUB which is a fancier venue in Hollywood. SAYERS has this killer house band and they'll bring up some up and coming singers to sing with them. JULES was always an R&B, soul and pop singer. He was not doing any rock stuff. Every time I saw him perform he blew me away. We knew each other and we were friends but we never thought of working together. I know he was doing his solo thing. This is how the universe trips me out. When JOSH and I were looking for a singer for this project, We just happened to come across JULES' post on INSTAGRAM of him performing like he was AXL ROSE or MILES KENNEDY. When I saw it, I was like "Oh my god!"So I hit him up and asked him if he had ever done any rock projects and he said , "No, but I always wanted to do one."
I gave him some riffs hoping that he would come up with something and the next time I saw him, he came up with full melodies and lyrics and perfect pitch. When we heard it, we realized that we had something. When we finished the first song that we worked on, which was the song WHOLEHEARTED, JULES called me and said "This is special!" And we all agreed. People can feel the realness of this band because it is real. We truly made this music out of us being friends and having fun making music. We just wanted to see where the whole thing was going to go. By the time we all decided to be a band, we were just too excited and blown away by what we were doing that we wanted to make this a band and it's crazy how fast it happened and how well we work together and write together. JULES will come over and I'll have a bunch of riffs ready and he just starts working on stuff. We'll all come up with a bunch of ideas and find the right hook and find the right spot. JOSH will come up with come cool arrangements on the acoustic bass. Before you know it, we'll have three or four songs written in a night. Every song that we've done we are always giddy about at the end of the day. We're on this solid connection and I don't know what it is. The energy around us is killer.
Talk about the other members of ZFG. What is it about each of them that makes this thing work?
I can't say enough good things about each one of them. SAM and I grew up together. Obviously, our dads were in the same band together. I'm a little older than SAM and I've known him his whole life. He has this killer instrumental funk jazz band called GROOVE SAUCE and SAM just became an unbelievably great bass player through that band. His playing is on fire. It's just like his pops. He even looks so much like MIKE. I had played on the album for DIAMANTE She was doing a run with STEEL PANTHER about a year and a half ago so they asked me to put the band for her together. For some reason, I had never played with SAM in all the years I knew him. I thought it was a great idea for SAM to come out and play bass. The first rehearsal for DIAMANTE was the first time we had played together. The connection between SAM and I playing together was so deep. It was around this time that HEARTBEAT, the guys who produced our first six songs, introduced me to JOSH. JOSH and hit it right off the bat. He knew about my music and my playing and I knew him from ONE DIRECTION. I saw some videos of him playing drums and he is a monster player. We connected as friends and it took six months for us to jam together and when we did we realized that we had a band. He's just an unbelievable groove player but he's not overbearing. We encourage him to come up with some crazy fills for these songs. We don't want him to hold back. JOSH showed me some GO PRO footage of him playing with the ONE DIRECTION guys and he was just gospel chopping throughout the entire set. It was insane. You don't even think that he's overplaying. He's also just a gem of a guy. He's one of the nicest human beings I've ever met. JULES is a very spiritual guy. He and I have so many similar beliefs. It's not religious. It's just the energy around everything. He's a beautiful soul. He goes through a lot of emotional stuff and through that, he channels some incredible lyrics and incredible melodies and his performance always comes off a truly heartfelt. When we recorded SPECIAL he was going through a breakup. Originally, SPECIAL was a happy song and then things didn't turn out so well between him and the girl he was seeing at the time and after all of that, the song didn't mean anything to him anymore. So I suggested changing the song around to where he thought she was "special" but realizing there is nothing special about her because she's not the one for you and she doesn't deserve you. So we changed the song. JULES expresses himself very openly through the music. At this point I want to send that chick a fruit basket because we got a lot of great different feels on that EP because of that girl. Now, JULES has a new girlfriend that hes super happy with so We'll probably get another EP with happy lyrics.
You guys came together in the recording studio but soon you guys are going to be road dogs. You'll be touring the country with ADELITA'S WAY. Have you ever met those guys before?
Never met them. We've reached out to them through social media and they seem super cool. We're actually super stoked to be going out on the road with them. It's our first tour ever as a band. We're about to make it happen and we couldn't be more excited.
Are there any dates on this upcoming tour that have you particularly excited?
All of them really. Each date is going to help build us up as a band more and more. But I would probably have to say SABAN THEATER in Los Angeles because by then we will have returned to LA with 25 shows under our belt. And SABAN THEATER is such a fucking cool place.I've seen shows there so playing on that stage will be a lot of fun.
What do you hope will be the takeaway of ZFG's music?
As artists what we do is provide an escape for people. It's a moment of escape for us. What we do with our music isn't about us. It is about who listens to our music and who connects to it. All we can do is express ourselves on stage. Our music is going to give people a little bit of angst because it's rock music but it is also music that you want to move to. We are the band of 'mosh' and 'move'. You want to mosh but you also want to move to it and dance to it. I just want people to smile and escape and have a good time listening to our music. It is made out of love and I want people to feel the love.
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