If you like loud and fuzzy rock n roll, odds are you’ve heard of Zig-Zags. Throughout the years and release after release, Zig-Zags have perfected their signature sound that blends garage rock with 80s thrash. Most of their home-grown magic comes directly from their live show.
Thankfully for those who haven’t caught a Zig-Zags live show, a recording is available! After being released on various formats, Zig-Zags: Live On KXLU has found its way on vinyl thanks to Nomad Eel Records. I had the opportunity to chat a bit with Zig Zags’ Jed Mahue ahead of the vinyl release, and it went like this:
Aaron: For those out there who don’t know, who or what’s a Zig-Zag!?
Jed Mahue: At this point, I’m not really sure how to answer that question. I was talking with my friend the other day about bands having this identity and the members having specific roles they play and the audience relating to different members. Like “Oh I’m a Keith Richards type” Or “I’m more of a Mick Jagger” Not that I would compare myself to the Stones but I guess what I’m getting at is we’re just a band, and I don’t know if “who” we are matters to people anymore. “What” we are changes all the time cause we were writing all this thrash metal shit a couple months ago and now everything that comes out of my guitar sounds like Wire or something more angular.
What influenced you guys to play? Was there a moment where you said: “Hey I want to do this for a living”?
Being a kid in the ‘80’s where music and film and everything seemed so huge is what got me started. Heavy Metal and Horror Movies. As far as Zig Zags, I started the band with Bobby the original drummer cause all of our friends in LA were playing kinda folky quiet music and they were better musicians anyway so we had to come up with our own thing. I’ve made more money as an actor in like 3 days than 7 years in the band so I don’t know that you’d call it a living.
How did you guys get hooked up with Nomad Eel Records?
We met Damon at SXSW years ago at one of those free all day shows. We kept in touch here and there over the years and when he rang me up to do this record I was immediately into the idea.
Whats so special about this particular recording that made you want to release it as a live LP?
Well the circumstances were a bit odd. We had driven 27 hours straight to Austin from LA and played a week of shows at SXSW. As soon as we got back we went in and recorded this record at KXLU. We were fried and glad to be home and a little loopy so there’s a looseness to the recording that’s really rad. Also, however, they mixed it gives it this old-school quality especially in the vocals. The fact that this is the first lp on Nomad Eel and that there are all kinds of crazy color variants and we have a sick etching by our friend Alex Matus makes it that much cooler.
How do you feel your live performance differs from the studio performance if any?
Live we just kinda wing it. Soundchecks help but hanging out for 5 hours afterward when you’re trying to quit smoking sucks. We basically just do what we do in our practice space when we play live. As for recording, nothing too crazy. Everything is usually done live. I want to track drums one day and then overdub from there but there’s never enough money or time to do shit the way you want so you just do it however you can.
What are you currently listening to?
Same shit I always listen to Dwight Yoakam and Metallica.
Whats next for Zig-Zags?
Well, this live record and then we got a comp called “Sweet Times” coming up outta Germany soon. Right now we are writing the next album, Then do another US and European tour. Would be rad if we could go out with somebody and open up for them. See what the fuck we been doing wrong this whole time. Would be killer to go to Australia.
For more information on Zig Zags, please visit them on Facebook
For more info on Zig-Zags: Live On KXLU on vinyl, stay tuned to Nomad Eel Records