"We're not political, we're not out to save the world, if you listen to the lyrics it's just about being yourself and having fun. We're not sad, we're not complaining that the world's treating us like crap. Sure, there are a few songs which do bring up a few points of concern, but mostly we want to keep this upbeat." -- Zebrahead
Initially it was hard for the five young musicians from Orange County to get Noticed. Zebrahead had served their apprenticeship in the O.C. punk scene, but perceived a way ahead that didn't toe the line. Or jump on the bandwagon either...
The band came together over the summer of 1996, five young musicians from La Habra, who had all been aware of each other in the same high school without ever being actually acquainted, found themselves in separate bands using the same warehouse as a rehearsal site. Inevitably practice would run-over, or somebody would turn up late, and in a gradual process the five found themselves jamming in ones and twos to kill time downtime, until finally all five put in one faithful session together. The results were electric, a realization that they shared the same ideas... and the same lack of excitement about the bands they were currently part of.
zebrahead wanted to combine elements of rap, which was the key to doing something both inspirational and unique. The band already had a frontman and trading lead vocals with a rapper would put a completely different spin on things.
The result was a succession of high energy shows, which won over almost everyone who saw the band. The buzz was tremendous, and before the band had even played outside Orange County major labels were fighting over them. Producer Glenn Ballard fell in love with the band and recruited them for his forthcoming "Clubland" movie, building a complete scene around a performance of their song "Check" at Billboard Live, which will also be featured on the upcoming Java/Capitol soundtrack album. It was a great accolade for such a young band, but more was to come when they won the "best Orange County band" category in the 1997 L.A. Music Awards, an event made even more exciting for the fivesome when they got to meet a longtime hero at the awards ceremony, Tommy Chong of "Cheech & Chong" fame.
Waste of Mind, Zebrahead's debut album for Columbia Records, is a thirteen-song collection that spans the modern-music lexicon, fusing punk- edged rock and hip-hop in exciting new ways. The band employs two vocalists -- singer Justin "Goldtoof" Mauriello and rapper Ali Tabatabaee -- whose distinct and powerful styles give Zebrahead a unique and wonderful sound.
"Me and Ben and Ed started practicing together a couple years ago," say Justin. "And then Greg came in. And we were thinking how great it would be to not just have regular singing, but to have someone rapping, as well.
"Ali, who we all went to High School with, came on in and we tried to get a new sound going, just get a different edge. Once we tried it out we all left our other bands. It's got the best of both worlds."
Waste of Mind was recorded over two months in early 1998 in Sherman Oaks, CA, and was produced by veteran studio ace Howard Benson, who's also teamed in the past with Sepultura and Motorhead, and mixed by legendary engineer Chris Lord-Alge, whose resume includes everyone from Green Day to 10,000 Maniacs.
"There's so much talent in the band it just amazes me," says Justin. "Everybody has such diverse influences, and when we all put in our parts it turns out to be something pretty unique, and pretty special."
"Everybody brings in their own influences to the music," adds Ali. "I was always more into the rap stuff. I used to listen to N.W.A, Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Quest. But once I started hanging out with these guys I started also listening to a lot of new stuff, like Superchunk."
"My taste ranges," adds Justin, "but I'm always a sucker for a good melody. I was really into punk as a kid, bands like Descendents and Green Day, that were punk yet had good melodies. It had a big effect on me and my writing."
It didn't take long, once they had a few blowout club shows under their belts, For Zebrahead to get noticed, both by O.C. kids and by the record industry. A 10-song self-titled recording (known as the "Yellow" album) was released in early 1998 by Orange County indie label Dr. Dream Records, and contains early versions of some of the songs found on Waste of Mind, as well as some live tunes.
One of the early believers in the band was Alanis Morissette's producer, Glenn Ballard, who cast the guys in his upcoming "Clubland" film. Their high-energy song "Check" will also be featured on the Java/Capital Records soundtrack.
"Glenn's been great from the beginning," says Ali. "He saw us play a show at the Viper Room in L.A., and he really dug our music. He got us into the movie, had us filming for it and everything, playing in front of a hired crowd. None of us had done anything like that before."
"'Check'" was actually the first song we ever wrote together as a band," recalls Justin. "We started out with that killer bass line, then wrote the music around it. The chorus actually started out as 'take a bath, kid.' It sounded pretty good, but that song has come a long way since then."
Another component that sets Zebrahead apart from most other groups is the Overall positive attitude that's extolled in their melodic songs. "We try to have a positive outlook on life," says Ali. "I notice that a lot of the music that's out there lately is focused on the negative, and that's one of the things about Zebrahead that I like. It's OK to be happy, and to look on the positive side."
Among the highlights of Zebrahead's young career are slots on the Warped Tour in the U.S., and of course the the guest appearance on Waste of Mind by by one of their biggest fans, porno legend Ron Jeremy.
"I've always found the guy to be quite fascinating," laughs Justin. After one of our LA shows he came backstage to eat the free pizza with us and we decided to have a get- to-know-Ron session. We plan on calling the next album "Ron's Greatest Hits."
This biography was taken from Zebrahead.com
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live at Wrzburg'12 | Reviewer: Diana | 2/14/13
First I'd like to correct the post below.
ALI is a great RAPPER.I'm sure he's not what you said.;)
But I agree with you;),they ARE great,and I also listen to them everyday.They are a part of my life,they are a part of me.
And when everything is Fallin Apart and the Hell (That)Is My Life,they cheer me up make me say "Hello Tomorrow" and "Goodbye To Yesterday".When I feel Alone,the make me realize there are others,who also Feel This Way,and make me go Back To Normal and Move On.
But also when I'm alright,they're musik stresses my feelings and I just want to shout "HELL YEAH!".
Really I love you guys. Keep on rockin'.;)
PS.:Greg,thanks for your plectron.<3
LOVE YOU 5 | Reviewer: Ari | 12/20/12
OMG......... i heard about zebrahead summer of 2010 by my freaky boy baby sitter i was 11 i may be punk emote but music is my escape and..... zebrahead i listen to you every day i even have a HUGE crush on ALLY (raper and guitar player) I LOVE YOOOOUUUU!!!!! iv been to plenty of concertes and iv listened to EVERY song and can't wait for the new album panty raid 12-19-12 :) xD
Zebrahead Back-up | Reviewer: Joey | 11/17/10
Zebrahead is the best band I know.I've also heard of them through Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. I also went on YouTube and heard Anthem, which is my favorite song by them because it is a party song and it straight up is a really good song. Thanks to Zebrahead for making great music and representing Orange County!
I LOVE ZEBRAHEAD | Reviewer: SilverHedgie | 6/27/10
Like someone else had mentioned, I found out about them because of the song "His World" from SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2006, and then one day, just for the hell of it, I went on YouTube and typed in Zebrahead and listened to the first song that I found (Which I believe was Rated U For Ugly). And then I fell in love. And now they're my favourite band XD
Wow | Reviewer: Oogtra | 4/28/10
You guys are simply amazing. Your songs are good but when you go full out rock etc it just blows my mind away.
I hate how a majority of people only like your music because you guys did a Sonic song. They just listen to a few songs but dont get the full Zebrahead expierence. You guys are truly amazing, and deserve way more credit then what your getting.
LOVE LOVE LOVE | Reviewer: Audrey | 3/10/10
I was stationed in Korea from 2003-2004, I use to get ready every day for work and every night to party listening to these guys. I love their music, they are by far my favorite band and have been for years.
A Sonic Connection | Reviewer: BoomTheHedgehog | 8/3/07
I actually discovered Zebrahead from the song "His World" that appeared on the "SONIC The Hedgehog" soundtrack. I wouldn't be surprised if other people found out about Zebrahead from that as well.
gotta check these guys out | Reviewer: tails | 5/19/07
i've actually never heard of zebrahead until i heard his world a couple months ago. these guys seem interesting...i need to check out some of their songs
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