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An Interview with The Zeroes


Band name:

Dunc The Zero/The Zeroes. I am guitar and vocals. The other Zeroes are Ali Zero - bass, and Ginge - drums. Louie Zero sometimes joins us on backing vocals and shakermaker.

What do you play?:

Original ear worms - we call it Latino Punk but it's probably power pop or something! We also do covers, but in our own way (ie simplified!).

Is there a story behind the band name?:

We had the usual arguments over band names; one of my favourite suggestions was The Dinnerladies - I thought we could all come on stage in those 70's housecoats that my gran used to wear. Ended up with The Zeroes and subsequently found out that there was a US punk band back in the day called The Zeros (no E) who were of Mexican origin and were therefore literally Latino Punks!


How long have you been playing?:

My dad bought me an electric guitar when I was about 13, so... shit.... nearly 40 years. I ought to be much better!

How long has the band been together:

The Zeroes have been around since 2003, but me, Ginge and Ali were in a band together at school, which was 100 years ago. We were called Bananas on tha Moon.

How did the band get together?:

I worked at MK College with Dr Tom Zero - he was just plain old Tom Zero back then. He and I had a jam or two and then he asked if I knew any decent drummers, so I asked Ginge. He didn't know any, but said he would have a go! Only joking - I immediately got Ginge involved as he's fab. We'd been playing together in a band called Inman not long before this and were missing gigging, so he was keen to get stuck in. We had two rules when we started the Zeroes - one was that we would insist on doing some original stuff, and the other was that we would only play covers that we liked rather than just trying to play what the venues expected us to play. I like to think that we've stuck to that and it's worked - you see people reacting to some of the covers like 'wow, I forgot about that' or 'oh my god, I can't believe they're doing that'. The best ones are when we come up with something that they love but nobody else covers - 'A Forest' and 'Killing Moon' in particular both seem to do the trick for some people.


Did you play before lockdown?

Yeah man! We played at New Year before you were officially open, and a few times since. I've also done 'Solo Sundays'.

What was it like?

It fucking rocks!

Did you play a gig under the Tier restrictions?

Yes, we set up acoustically in the doorway for one gig and have played to the all-seater crowd too.

What was it like?

Cool! The punters are brilliant and I quite like the fact that they are something of a captive audience when it's all-seated. They have to listen to my lyrics! It's obviously not the same as full-on dancing and shouting, but it still feels like a shared experience. We've had a blast every time we've played - band or solo, lockdown, tiers or 'normal'.


Have you gigged at all?

Nearly all of our gigs have been at the Crooked Crow! We had a couple of odd dates elsewhere in between lockdowns, and I did a New Year's Eve gig live on Facebook using my teenage kids as subs for Ali and Ginge.

Have you written any lockdown songs?

Yes - I wrote one called 'How Was Your Lockdown' at the end of Lockdown One. Rather sadly, it ends on a prediction of the second wave. It's somewhat critical of the government, I'm afraid! It's available on iTunes, Spotify etc. Did a video too...

I also re-jigged the lyrics to a song I wrote years ago with my other band, 'Who Cares Anyway...?' to make it about lockdown. We recorded it remotely, including contributions from our guitarist who now lives in Australia, and made a video. It's called 'It's sunny outside (and we're gonna get pissed)'.

How tough has the lockdown been on the music industry?

It hasn't really affected amateurs like us as we're lucky and have our day jobs. I think there's a lot of bands out there that will be struggling though. We might come out of this with just the big names and the 'local' bands left, which would be a bit crap.

Do you think the lockdown will have changed the industry… if so how?

There might be more awareness of how little bands make from downloads etc, but I'm not sure that will change the approach of the big streaming companies. On a positive note, maybe it's making people more adventurous and creative; they have to explore new ways of getting stuff out there.


What’s your favourite song in your set… why?

My favourite original at the moment is 'Betamax' because it starts all slow like a 1950's smoocher and then goes a bit mental, and I'm really pleased with the lyrics. There's a stop where the crowd are all meant to shout 'ATARI' but they haven't got the hand of that yet. When they do it will make my day. Fave cover is Girl From Mars by Ash just because it's a banger, with 'Can't Take My Eyes off You' in second, when everybody's pissed.

What song would you love to cover but as yet don’t?:

Let me consult my list of ideas! How about 'A little respect' by Erasure? We haven't done 'Gangsters' since Tom left, so maybe that's due a revival.

Is there a song that sums up your experience of the Crooked Crow… if so what?

'Laid' by James. It was used in a really early episode of Shameless, and in the words of Frank Gallagher, you 'know how to throw a fookin' party!'

Is there a song in your set that goes down better at The Crooked Crow than perhaps it would at other venues?

You lot are always so open to hearing the original stuff and you even sing along, so it has to be one of our own. I think the Crow Bar is the only place where 'Banzai' has ever been not just appreciated, but actually requested!

What’s your best or most embarrassing band story?

We did an international tour once! Tom Zero comes from Malahide, near Dublin, so he set up a gig for us in a boozer where U2 did their early gigs. We flew out on the Friday, stayed with Tom's relatives and got absolutely arseholed, and then dragged ourselves to the venue for the gig on the Saturday. Considering our hangovers, it went pretty well. Tom had arranged for us to borrow gear and it was all top quality stuff - I was playing an amazing Gibson guitar which I managed to whack on the ceiling at the end of the gig in my exuberance, thankfully without breaking it. Unfortunately U2 weren't there, or I expect they would have asked to join in.

What’s your worst gig (performing or viewing) & why?

Against our better judgement, we played a wedding reception for someone who didn't know us and who, it turned out, wasn't really into the kind of music we play. We did our thing but really the bride just wanted us to finish so she could put her ipod through our PA system and blast her shit music out. It was busting our speakers and the other people there weren't really into it, but, y'know, she's the bride, so we just gritted our teeth and took the money.


What’s your favourite joke?

I told my wife she'd drawn her eyebrows too high. She seemed surprised.

Who is the singer you would most like to punch in the face?

Well, I saw a video clip of Matt Handcock doing 'Don't Stop Me Now' at some Tory karaoke event - if that makes him a singer, he's top of my list. Unless Boris sings in the shower or something...

If you could play anywhere and anything, where/what would it be?

I always wanted to duet 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light' with Kylie, and I expect she thinks the same about me; let's make it at Glastonbury... no, at Bradfest!

Who would win in a fight, a gnome with a machete or a badger with num-chuks?

Badger, obvs, cos Brian May and Anita Dobson would pile in too.


Plans for after lockdown?

Gigs, gigs, gigs, I hope!

Longer term aspirations for the band?

Massive success on the streaming and downloads, a world tour and mega-stardom! Or just to keep getting out there and doing it

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