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INTERVIEWS ZAK DANIELS AND THE
ZAK DANIELS OF THE ONE EYED SNAKES
TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THE CD SNAKELAND,
BEING 33 (THANK GOD FOR PHOTOSHOP)
ROCK N ROLL ESCAPISM
There was a time when rock music dominated the airwaves and let you escape your crappy job or your crappy homelife and education (depending on how old you are) There was a time when rock n roll was all about fun. Sex and fun. The drugs were optional but not discouraged like they are now in these all too politically correct times.
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
It's funny though. If there was ever a time for some good old fashioned rock n roll escapism...Fuck! Aint it now?
We're inthe middle of a war that looks as if it will have a longer life span than our own planet and people seem to care more about the going's on of privileged celebrities. If people ain't gonna get political about it, why not PARTAY!!!
ZAK DANIELS AND THE ONE EYED SNAKES is the soundtrack for the hedonism our great society could use a little more of. There's no preening, whining or false posturing here. Their CD SNAKELAND is a rockin good time filled with hard and heavy rock n roll gems like SILICONE, HOLLYWOOD SLEAZER, SOUTHERN BELLE, and LEG JAM. This is rock n roll that makes the sex feel better, the car cruise at 120 miles an hour and makes living your life seem a little more stimulating...Once you've gotten over the hangover.
ZAK DANIELS spoke to ROCKWIRED over the phone on a Sunday night. Here is how it went.
How did it all begin for the ONE-EYED SNAKES?
The name, you mean?
As far as the guys getting together. It sounds you guys have been together a while before the name came along.
Three of the members, myself included, have been together since 2001. Bass Players keep changing. You know that old joke about bass players, right? What black and brown and looks good on a bass player?
Never heard that one.
you coud insert lead singer there too. Insert whatever you want there. The bass players have changed a few times but the current bass player has been with us now for about six years now. This is probably the most permanent that the ONE-EYED SNAKES have been.
I've got the press release, but how did you guys settle on the name ONE-EYED SNAKES? Just for the sake of my readers.
Pretty good story there. We were hired to do a soundtrack for porn flick. a XXX rated porn flick and when the work was completed, they asked me to pick a fictitious namne for the credits. I was really proud of the music. I wanted to use my real name but they didn't want me to use my real name. I came up with ZAK AND THE BUSHWHACKERS and they said "No, that's too crass." and I said "Too crass? It's a XXX rated movie." So I came up with ZAK AND THE ONE-EYED SNAKES adn they said that was too crass also. I couldn't believe it. What I came up with for the credits was ZAK AND THE VENETIANS. So in the end I think I stuck with the ONE-EYED SNAKES for the bands name just to screw with the people who said that we couldn't use it.
Well your music stands out among porn music.
There's this thing about rock and porn you know?
Yeah. They also make Christian Rock. It makes you wonder if Christian Porn is next.
I've got a song called PORNOGRAPHIC CHRISTIAN, but that's another story.
What got you into being a rocker?
Actually I think when I was five years old I knew what I was going to do. There was no doubt. I think the spark was anext door neighbor who had a reel to reel recorder and my mother brought me over there one day and this kid recorded me singing DAVY CROCKETT. I was hooked. It was magic to me that you could do things like that. I think that was when I knew that I wanted to make records.
From there, was ther some kind of influence that guided you a little bit?
Seeing THE BEATLES on ED SULLIVAN. I'm old remember. I'm 33 if they ask you.
Two years older than me.
You look great ZAK!
I keep celebrating the anniversary of 33 every year.
So it was THE BEATLES that got you going?
I was already into music at that point but that really got to me.
I was wondering because in listening to the CD, I hear alot of CHEAP TRICK or even a GREAT WHITE influence and I was wonder seeing as how you are 33 if you were ever involved in the LA rock scene of the 80's.
Well, I like CHEAP TRICK. GREAT WHITE I had never heard of until that thing witht he flames you know?All I know is that one song they did.
Yeah, the title escapes, and I'm younger than you are.
By two years. I'm probably older than dirt. Thanks for Photoshop. I look good in allof those 8 x 10 glossies and shit! I loved CHEAP TRICK. Escpecially there first album. It had a real rawness to it. There sound got a little homogenized later on.
As does a lot of rock n roll the older it gets. It's kind of like preservative.
But I thought tht first album really kicked ass. They weren't really a big influence on me as far as what I eventually became sounding like. They way I sound changes with every recording I do because of the songs and the moment they're written in. I was influenced by THE BEATLES, and THE STONES and THE BRITISH INVASION. I was also inspired by the folk movement and the more mellower acoustic sounds like JONI MITCHELL and BOB DYLAN. I don't know if you can truly draw a line between your influences and the soundtrack of your life. I never said that I wanted to sound like certain person 'cause that just makes no sense to me. It wouldn't be special and it wouldn't be a gift.
Now here is the part of the interview where I want you to briing props to your fellow musicians. Who are they and what do you think they bring to THE ONE-EYED SNAKES?
JIMMY 'THE KAT" KATSIKIDES, the guitar player, is magical. i saw him play in another band and went "Wow! I want that guy in my band!" and somehow he ended up being in my band. He was so much better than the band he was in and I was able to lure him away and we've been good ever since. That was like 1990 or 1991. He's my right hand man. He co-produced both of our albums: the first self-titled album and the new one, SNAKELAND. He's definitely half the sound of this band. The druumer DOUG LAVARY is an Aussie and his first band was THE VALENTINES which boasted the original singer for AC/DC.
In fact, they scored a record deal under the name THE VALENTINES. Recently, there was a book released on AC/DC where they show a picture of THE VALENTINES and there's DOUG- 14 or 15 years old and one of the youngest people to ever get a record deal. He's a great drummer adn a great background vocalist. Our newest member is the bass player ORION LINDMAN. I saw him playing in a trio and he just amazed me. And that's it. That's how we go the line-up.
Was there a succession of bands for you before THE ONE EYED SNAKES?
Nothing national. There were a lot of local bands. One was called TANGENT and the other was called XY STONE. But there was this one called THE RAZZ. Remember KIM FOWLER. He was responsible for signing THE RUNAWAYS and MOTLEY CRUE. Anyway THE RAZZ was looking for a lead vocalist, so I went in to audition having only heard this song that KIM wrote, about twice. When I got into the studio the tracks were recorded like 10 minutes earlier. I went in and recorded my vocals in one take and KIM says, "all right you're the lead vocalist." The next day, the song was on KROQ.
I'm just now finding outthat SNAKELAND is you second album. What do you think has changed?
The first one I think was sonically and meticulously super-clean. I was proud of it. I wasn't going to release it until it was perfect. I still love it. We had two hits off of that album and for an unsigned band with no budget, that's pretty unheard of. One of those songs SKY BOY was on the charts for 21 weeks. This was around 1998. We went on tour and got treated like gods in all of the little towns that we played. Now you have clear channel owning all of these littel stations and it's a lot harder now to get the music on the radio.
Are there any songs on the new album that stand out as favorites for you?
I like the way the song SILICONE came out. That'll probably be the first single. The ballad SHY GIRL is possible going to be the second single. Curiously, the last song, LEG JAM is the only song on the album that was written with the whole band. Usually I write alone.
What do you want someone towalk away with after hearing the music?
Male or female?
Hopefully they're walking away with telephone numbers or a piece of us. Hopefully people are thinking "wow! we had a good time. That band rocks!" That's the best compliment.