Rod Argent/The Zombies

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Kevelle Wilson 0:15
Hello everyone, you are listening to WKNC 88.1 raleigh, we are student run organization over here at NC State. I am Kevelle Wilson, and this is off the record. Welcome back everyone to a new episode of Off The Record today of legendary keyboardist and vocalist with us, Rob argent. From the bands, the zombies Argent and his solo career. Thank you so much for talking with me today.

Rod Argent 0:40
Oh, it's a pleasure, thanks.

Kevelle Wilson 0:45
So you've had a varied and extensive experience in the music world, you gone from starting the zombies, forming origins and having a long solo career, and now you reunited with your original band, I wanted to know kind of how creatively you keep reinventing yourself based on whatever kind of space you're working on. And how do you approach?I don't know, how do you kind of approach those different projects?

Rod Argent 1:13
Well, really, in exactly the same way, every time.I've very early on, I found out that my, the place where I felt most comfortable was music. It was where it was sort of a feeling of home to me. I was an only child up to the age of 11 When I got a beautiful sister, which was absolutely great. But growing up, you know, and beingwith very happy with my parents, but not having any siblings around me. I really, I really found a home in music, really. And it was all sorts of music. I mean, it's not I was born in 1945. So for the first 10 years of my life, reallythe popular music that I heard wasn't really very inspiring. I mean, it was it was people like Perry, como and, you know, and all sorts of Balladeers. Yeah.Butat the same time, I got involved, I loved classical music. And my dad was alsoa dance band leader, a small dance band leader, from the age of 17, to the age of 83. And I just heard here on their pieces of music by Duke Ellington and who remained a hero for my whole life, actually, I absolutely love his music was really, really great. And I love his approach to music as well. And strangely enough, you can look back, and he's started off his first band, which were called the Washingtonians when, when he was a kid, and with other friends, and those friends became really seminal figures in the, in the, in the music industry in jazz.And, and, you know, so it was just the way that Dave Grohl recently said, Listen, if you want to play music, just get into a garage with some friends and suck, you know.And then, you know, get yourselves into a situation where things are starting to work. And that's what people have always done. And that's what certainly in popular music, you know, where they don't come up through FLAME notation, et cetera, et cetera. They're finding out always for them selves, the ways through, and it's extraordinary when you discoveryou know, harmonic things that work. You feel like you've discovered the secret of the universe. You know, although you've just discovered that babies are three core trick for the first time, but because you've found it out for yourself, it means so much more. And it leads you to other things. And, you know, I think that's a real real advantage. But also,at the time, when I was 1011 when I was 1156. I heard Elvis sing hound dog.You really have to be back in those times to realize how that sounded. I mean, I'd never heard anything like it. I mean to me a little bit later on, because I'd never heard any black music really not at all. I just heardyou know, as I say the crooners and Sinatra everything, you know, I liked Sinatra, that's great.But I always felt that it was my introduction to black music by proxy, and unbelievably when you hear him now, he even fooled a lot of black guys who are on the on the what they used to call race stations.You know, they thought they thought he was a black guy singing hound dog, and, and they couldn't believe it when when he wasn't. It doesn't sound like that now, but in those days, it was it was very different time and Isoon discovered that Big Mama Thornton was the first person to record her on. I like it blew me away her version.And it very soon led me into obviously the the ratio was around he wasabsolutely electric. I mean, it was absolutely wonderful.some very exciting things going on. But at the same time I'd heard some, for me early post bop jazz from Miles Davis quintet. The one just before kind of blew, that had John Coltrane and caribou Adly. And while I was being knocked sideways by Elvis, and all the early rock and rollin the same way, I was completely obsessed with those early things that I heard from Miles Davis. So I was listening to classical music. I was listening torock and roll. And I was listening to jazz. And, and it all felt to me like,I don't know, water from the same Well, you know,it just, it just hit me. And it hit me where it felt great.You know, you're more likely to react to things like that when you're in your early teens or adolescence. You know, it's just a fact really, things just seem so much bigger.And more wonderful when you first discovered them. But I do even to this day, I believe that was a wonderful time to start off in music. So the thing was, that right from the beginning, I alwaysI always tried to do things for real. I only ever wrote things whichI wrote it because I was getting excited by what I found out, and what I could actually write and make it work. And it seemed like magic to me if something was if I actually compose something. And I thought, You know what, that sounds like something good. I couldn't have told you why.And she's not there was just about the second song I ever wrote, actually, the first song was a song called it's all right with me, which still unbelievably, it was the first thing we ever recorded. And it still gets an awful lot of streams even that, you know, way back. But I never changed my approach. And the extraordinary thing is that the hit records we had and some of them were huge. I mean, she's not there was the firstEnglish band song after the Beatles to get to number one. It was number one in Cashbox, in 1964. And I know that because I was on the Nine O'Clock News in the UK.So just eight, eight years after hearing this magical person from another universe, which was Elvis, and I saw a little clip of him from America. And in those days, America really, honestly did feel like a different galaxy, actually.It really did. I mean, I know.I know, I'm skipping from bits a bit. Butwhen I first went over in 1964, and we played the Maria Acacio. Suddenly, we found ourselves playing with some of our heroes, people like the drifters, Benny King, Patti LaBelle,and we thought, Oh, my God, we can't, we can't play with these guys, because they're gonna think that we're completely imposters, they don't think that all we're doing is a sort of watered down version of American music. But of course, because it went through the English filter of all the things we were hearing over there, and doing what we thought was theirs, us doing the same sort of things as we loved hearing coming from America. It really sounded really quite different. Until then it did. And if you were doing for real, which is what we've always done, they really responded and respected you for it. And I know that we we went on stage for our soundcheck on the morrow Acacia we we only did two songs two or three songs. And that's all the bands did. We it was six shows a day from early morning till 10 o'clock at night, and the Brooklyn Fox over the Christmas in 1964. And as soundcheck was right after Patti LaBelle, and we saw this magnificent sound coming, you know, from these great singers. And then we had to go on and we had to sort of still on the stage and play what we thought was our anemic white music, you know, but, but they didn't hear it like that. And Patty became a real friend. And she introduced us to so many things like the first time I ever heard Aretha Franklin, she said, there's this new kid on the block. You've got to check her out, Aretha Franklin, and we never heard of her. And we were knocked out, you know, and she introduced us to the music of Nina Simone, for instance, she talked to us endlessly about coming up in the black churches in her house. She used to sing there. And she used to say you got to come along with me. And we never managed to do that. We were only over there for a littleWhilebut but it was, but we were doing it for real. And all through my life, whatever I've done, I've never done it to be in inverted commas. Commercial, I've always thought, I've always thought I remember the first records I ever bought. And at the time, a single was in English turns was six shillings and eight points, which is,oh, my God, it's I don't know how you would equate that now even toAmerican currency. ButI thought I had to save up for that. And I thought, if you can do something that feels real to you, and moves you to the slightest extent, you've got a chance to reaching out and touching somebody else in the audience, and they might go out and buy it. What that meant that the records we made right from the beginning, the record companies always liked them. But they never thought they were commercial. They I mean, the very first record we have out and she's not there, they said, Decker said, Well, we liked the record, but it's not really commercial. So they put it on a subsidiary label, you know,it went to number one. And then when, when we recorded,for instance, time of the season, we had, we had to deal with CBS. But Clive Davis said, Yeah, I liked the album, and liked, I liked time, the season, but it's not commercial. But that became one of the top 30.UK records of all time at one point in, you know, some of the major magazines, soand it became number one all over the world. So, but we've always done that through and right up into our new album, now, different game,we went into the studio, and it was the same process as ever, I would get something that I thought started to work over get Colin over, we'd go through it together. And if it worked for him, then we would take it to the band. And then if it worked for them, we would record it. And that's that's the whole story, really. So everything that I've done in my life has really been with that approach.I kind of wanted to touch upon kind of what you said a little bit earlier.

Kevelle Wilson 12:12
You kind of said that, like a lot of like when you are like performing on stage like so many of those people, those legends you look up to we're about your age. And you said you got into music when you were really young. Do you think that music is a young person's game? Like do you think young people kind of have control over like what popular music kind of sounds like?

Rod Argent 12:34
Well, I thought music was a young person's game, certainly when we started. And it's like Lenin said, I can't imagine that I'd be doing this when I'm 30.But I mean, I know all the managers and agents used to think we'd better fleece these guys as much as possible, because they're only going to be around for two or three years. And that'sand yet that style of music has lasted longer than any other form of popular music is crazy. And I think the fact that we did it for real, as meant that we wanted to carry on doing it in that way and approaching things that way. And done it for the reasons of a feeling satisfied and pleasing ourselves. And it seems to be that often when we play.Not always, but very often there's a really fairly big young component in the audience, which is fantastic.And people and you get so much energy back in that way. And and that's a rejuvenating thing in itself. But at the same time, I remember a few instances when really young people have come upand said, Oh, man, I really, I mean, I know they're listening to a lot of modern stuff as well. That's, that's great. But they say, really love your stuff, you know, and they might mentioned various things, including some things we've just released. And I think how have they heard this? How do they know this? But it's just fantastic. And I, I remember thinking if we can actually, without specifically reaching out and trying to if we can relate to someone about the same generation, as when we started and had our first successes. Well, that was something that we would never have looked for all those years ago. And it's so satisfying. It's really lovely.

Kevelle Wilson 14:25
I don't know I just kind of find it funny in retrospect that you have your first debut album is Begin here, which would imply that there's a whole like, whole sea of music coming, which y'all could have never predicted back then that just like now you do have the catalog where it's like, oh, where should I start like, oh, again here

Rod Argent 14:49
Well, we had to record that in one day, that album, and we had absolutely no chance to go over anything. We had a really auto crushing record producerWho was a lovely guy was a great musician. It was from a previous generation. And he was very fully in charge. And he wouldn't ever let us redo anything. And I remember being appalled, because one of the songs we used to do on stage was got my mojo working. And I sang that. And I remember thinking, You know what, I'm going to try this a different way. And when I, we put a good track down really good track, which I was very happy with. And then I sang it, I'd say, I have one go at it. I sang it. And I was trying something a bit silly. And I came into the control room. And I said to our producer, Oh, listen, that's horrible. i Sorry, I was trying something new. Let me just go in there and do it like I normally do it. He said, No. Next Track. And that was it. We never even had one more time. And that's how it was them. The whole album was recorded in just over a day. I think it was mixed the next day. And that was it. But the Beatles album.first album, I think was recorded in a day and a half or something like that. It was really, that was the thing, then albums were not important singles, were everything. And the album was the thing that you sold off the back of a single, basically, it became so different later on. But that's how it was then.

Kevelle Wilson 16:19
Yeah, I guess that wouldn't make a lot of sense. Because whenever I'm like going vinyl shopping, like I'll see an really old record, you'll be like, including this song and that song. Like they really emphasize like these singles are on that and not really the album as a whole, which is interesting. I don't want to touch too much on the past. You've talked about it plenty.If you could take us and the listeners back in time, and take us back to St Albans, where you grew up.If we had to have a whole day tour to kind of get like a feel of the place where some places we would have to stop during that day.

Rod Argent 16:57
Yeah, that would be And strangely enough, our management, present management, which is the first good managers we've ever had in our lives.They they have put together a festival in St. Albans. It was the first tryout last year in November. And then there's going to be another one this year. And basically, they did exactly that. The St. Albans museum were very kind and they put on a specialexhibition for the zombies. And I think they are going to run a section of the museum in that way all the time. They're going to put some exhibits from us into that museum.And I sang in a Cathedral Choir there when I was a boy, which was a very good choir, actually. And I might, I've actually written a Carol, which I hope, I mean, I still got to score it out. And I've got to actually score it for a full choir and organ, which is something which I haven't done before.I'm a bit worried about that. But it would be wonderful if they could over that festival we can, if they could actually, you know, perform it. It would be fantastic. So we're so but people were being taken around the place where we first rehearsed. You know, our very first rehearsal was taking place. There was a rugby club where we first built up. I mean, obviously, we practice for six months in this hall. And I actually got my own back on a physics teacher who used to give me a very hard time at school. Because he thought I could do better than I was doing. I was always incredibly good at English. But most of the things I sucked, I absolutely suck. And it wasn't I wasn't trying, but I was hopeless at physics. And he used to in those days, it was such a different world. He used to beat me with a pencil,you know, on a sort of, you know, you'd actually take your trousers down. Basically with a pencil. It was something very, very strange about the whole thing. Very perverted about the whole thing anyway, but anyway,we found out the place that we were rehearsing every Sunday afternoon, was attached to his house. So we used to make this god awful racket when we were first starting Sunday, Sunday afternoon, and one day he just marched into the hole and pulled out all the plugs and marched out again. But we just plug them back in again. And he never He never did that again. So that was us getting our own pack on him you know that the workplaces were I mean what we did we we rehearsed for six months. We played a couple of gigs to about a dozen people.But then we played Colin us play a lot of rugby football.And we went to his rugby club. And we were put on in the interval of a dance fan. And again, there were about 20 people there, I guess, but they wanted us to come back in ifFew weeks time, and play a gig of our own, which we did. And there were maybe 40 people there. And then over a period of of two years, we built they had to build a marquee to get all the people in to come to the game. And we had an the market at 400 people. And that's, that's what you know, we sort of built that up. So we thought we were really big cheese's. Its enormous. But the minute we walked outside some dogs, of course, there were, we were back to playing for four or five people again.But I remember the very first, the very first game we played just outside syndrome. This was in a place called Kingston baths. And it was the most god awful acoustics.It really was awful. And I never come across anything like that. But the other bands who were just over ice in, in, in the bill, were a band called The Shane's. And the drummer in the shades was Mick Fleetwood.He was just starting out as well. So it was all that was going on around. It was very exciting. I mean, in those days, there were no, there weren't even discos. You know, people used to go out, if they wanted to meet, you know, if guys wanted to meet girls or whatever,they will go to a gig to a rock Rogi. And that's and that was the social focal point for people.And so it was a very different scene to now. And there wasn't 24 hour wallpaper, background music going on. You know, you had to go somewhere to listen to music, and I love that. It still drives me mad. The fact that people can't do anything now without wallpaper music. And they don't even listen to it. It's just has to fill the space behind his background. Yeah. Oh man drives me crazy.

Kevelle Wilson 21:48
So I kind of wanted to talk about your new album, your new album. Um, I think the biggest achievement of different game I listened to it three, four times now is that it's different. I think a lot of older bands, kind of like stick to their guns to a fault. And they're kind of stuck where they used to be, like decades ago. But what I love about this new album is that is new. And y'all experiment with the formula? How do you all kind of kind of have that forward thinking mentality when making new things, but also kind of making sure it fits within like the zombies catalog?

Rod Argent 22:26
Well, we never worry about it sticking within the zombies catalog to be quite honest. Because we as I said, right at the beginning, we always do things the same way. I don't know any other way of doing it. It's just me playing around on a piano, maybe you never know where the, the idea that you might hit a chord sequence that you think, oh, that's tasty. And oh, God, I really want to write something around that. And strangely enough, the very first song on the album, different game, my wife and I went to the bar festival in Leipzig, just before the COVID, actually.And the last performance on the BART festival was in St. Thomas's church, where Bart was counted for the last 10 years of his life. And he wrote the massive thing called the massive B minor. And I have to tell you, there were 2000 people in the church. It was packed, it was round. And there were it's a huge piece that you've got two organs, one, one on one side of the church. Another one on the other side, you've got two choirs,you've got soloists, and you've got an orchestral section as well. It was so loud. I mean, most people listening if they listen to classical music, they listen to it. You know, people think of it as being real always been relaxing and everything. This is the reality of how it used to be. And, and I set a Catholic this is like a rock and roll concert is fantastic. And, and there was this one section in called the Santas in in the massive B minor. And it just blew me away. And when we got back home just for fun, I kept playing it. And then I sort of kept playing this little chord sequence, which was part of it. And then I suddenly found myself singinga tune over it over the course frequent. And I thought I wasn't trying to do that. I wasn't thinking how can I adapt this to you know, I just found myself doing it. And I thought, well, I've got to make it a bit more concise. But this is this is really good fun. You know, it's me in the studio, where I am at the moment, just just having fun, really, and making something work. And when I did make it work for me, I played it to call in and we took it on from there as always. So that side of things, we always approached in the same way when we did choose not there.I just said a very old idea in my mind, right, the first first hit, you know, so I thought I've got two weeks to write a song for this session. So I put on an old John Lee Hooker album to try and get a starting point.And one of the tracks on his album was called No one told me Well, I hasten to add that nothing about she's not there had anything to do lyrically, or melodically withno one told me by John Lee Hooker. But it just felt like something which trips off the tongue. And I thought, I've got to start a story. And I had in my head, this idea of, I don't know why, but starting with a very moody verse in a minor key, then building up with harmonies, and then hittinga chorus at the end, which ended on a major chord, you know, she's notmajor, and then dropping right down to a minor, bluesy, melodically moody sort of thing. And without me realizing it, I put in.I didn't even think about this. But when I met Pat Metheny, many, many years later, he said to me, Wow, Raj, he said, you were the guy that made me think there might be a way ahead for me to fuserock with, with jazz, you know, I said, really? He said, Yeah, well, that modal stuff on on the beginning of she's not there. And I said, Oh, thank you very much. But I thought there's no mongrel stuff in the beginning. And she's not. Well, I went home. And I played what I was thinking was a very ordinary chord sequence. And then I realized that I, because I've listened to so much miles. In the early days, there was post bought things, that without thinking about it, I'd engineered a little motor phrase on the piano,over those opening chords, and the opening verses, so that gave it something that no one else had done. And I wasn't trying to, I wasn't thinking, you know, no one's ever done this. I just thought this works. And it's all about what works really, for us. And then,these days, I mean, we've all had different experiences. We love playing on stage, it was very important for us to do this album in a very, very old fashioned way, in the sense that we've just come off touring. And we've had great reactions to the concerts. And I said to the guys, we've got to make this album in a very old fashioned way, we've got to record it in the way that when there was no other way, when you all had to be in the room together, and play off each other. So you know, I'd be playing and I'd be hearing what the drummer was doing. And I would my new change what I was doing, because I was bouncing off his ideas, he would change what he was doing, because he'd be bouncing off my ideas, we both be changing what we're doing. Because we were listened to Collins live,live guide vocal, he's supposed to be a guide vocal. In the end, most of them turn out to be lead vocals, actually, because you get a little bit of magic, which sometimes can only come from everybody playing together at the same time. And you record things so much more quickly. It's extraordinary. Actually, I got used to spending days and days and days and days on a track, we will get a track done in four or five hours, and then come back the next day, or maybe just you know, touch it up, tease it a bit, you know, drop in a couple of words, which were out of tune or didn't work. But that's all it was basically, the performance that we had,you'd always get aboutmaybe six or seven tapes. And usually about four or five of those tapes were really good.But the B one, which were you, you were always after, which just had that thing where the sun was somehowmore than the equal of the party, it was just something a little bit magical. That happens. And that's the magic of music and live music. And we wanted to capture some of that. So we went back to a very old fashioned way of doing things. But we never tried to say, or people wouldn't be used to this, because maybe it's not quite as long as we have done. We never looked back ever. It was just hey, this works. Why don't we put some harmonies here? No, I think this is better. If we just leave it, you know, Bear. It's got more emotional impact, et cetera, et cetera. So it was us really in one of my favorite phrases, trying to do things for real. And I really think that's the answer. Because it doesn't always give you instant acceptance. But it often means that many years down the line, which we fail from our earliest people still keep coming back to it. And, and it doesn't date as much as maybe some of the other contemporary things that wewere playing with. might date. You know, I'm not saying everything is but you know, it gives you more of a chance, I think.

Kevelle Wilson 29:39
Yeah, I think that's why the album is so good. Because it's spontaneous, like so many fingers. Like you said, We'll kind of like obsess over track for weeks, months even just added. They're doing that. Just like and they'll have people send in parts like they'll never see them in real life and like Okay, send meThe guitar part like like this, just just email it to me. Yeah, I think that definitely loses a lot of the magic. Yeah, winning that and you kind of second guess yourself, and you can kind of feel a whole lot more confident when everyone's there and like, okay, we're all on the same page. This makes sense. Yeah, exactly. And you're all sharing the same experience. The stick movement? Yeah.Kind of speaking of tour,the cover photo for the new album you tookIt seemed like y'all had some some car issues, y'all y'all are stranded for a bit. What about that experience kind of represented this new album for you?

Rod Argent 30:42
Honestly,a lot of people still even these days, think if you're in a band, what do you do the rest of the day? You know, you might be on stage for an hour and a half or two.What do you do for the rest of the day? This is the reality of it. It's it's bloody hard work. I mean, we were traveling for hundreds of miles over the desert. And we were getting, we were a couple of hours from Phoenix. At this point, it was really, really, really hot. I think it was about 105 107 degrees.And, and thethe air conditioning broke down, you know, as you can imagine, it was being stressed out of his head, and ended up with boiling the engine, the engine caught fire.We had to stop in the middle of the desert, looking at snakes and, and Snake holes. And God knows what.And we were sweltering, we were absolutely sweltering. We found up for someone to come and get us and break down vehicle. And we luckily we found one but there were two hours away. So in the end, we were there for four hours, with no air conditioning. And we had to get out of the out of the bus, out of the sprint or whatever you call them. And sit on the side of the road. Luckily, we have water. But there was no way to get any help at all.And the only thing that we saw of any mechanical nature was a train that was about two and a half miles long going past us, you know which as they were and I remember Collins saying, Oh, look, look all these holes here. What are they had to manage? You said this snake.Because this, this is coming up to dusk. Anyway. I just Well, we survived, you know, but yeah, really, really hard. And I remember standing outside the past and taking a photo. And for some reason, when the photo came out, I thought this is really got something magical about it. Oh, this is just my take on it anyway. Because I thought there was something a bit honestly about the light. On the left, as you look at the picture in the sky. And the way everyone was standing, looking into the distance, it reminded me a little bit of ET or something.Especially in the dark with the lights on the on the vehiclecoming out being magnified, you know, this sort of very, very bright sort of light coming out of the dusk. And I just caught it as the thing was going. And I said, I said to our manager, well, he said that we'll make a good album cover and we all forgot about it. And then we were trying to get an album cover together. We got this firm to work on things for us. And we didn't like anything. And I said to our manager. What about that picture? I took all those years ago, not all those years, all that time ago?And he said yeah, why don't we look at it, and we used it. And I was really pleased because there's something very natural about it. But it does sum up to some degree. The reality. Our I mean, our bass player in this newversion of this arm is the sort of second second version if you like of the band used to be both played with the kinkson their biggest selling albums, like Come Dancing and all those things.And he met an old school friend. And I mean by this time Jim Jim roughly was four years older than me was about 70 or something at that time, and his friend said what do you do all day? He said do you sit sit around in coffee barsaroundjust believable you know what people think goes on but there you go.

Kevelle Wilson 34:39
Um, yeah, that's kind of interesting that you brought brought that up, because I think a lot of people kind of have like a warped perception of what musicians do when they're not actually they don't see them on social media performing. And they think like it's easy. Obviously you love what you do and so many other musicians do but at the end of the day, it is still a lot of work.

Rod Argent 35:00
especially, especially as you get older, the thing is, what you have to remember is that you don't get back to the hotel, even if you go straight back to about midnight, and then you've got to wind down, it might be one o'clock for you go to sleep. And then the next day, you may have to leave at nine, to travel for hours to get to the next gig. When you get to the next gig, you've got to start working out any problems doing sound checks, that might be an interview or two.And, and then then you're on stage, and then it all starts again. You know, it's it's pretty hard existence. I'm not I'm not knocking it, you know, especially as you get older, it you know, it feels, I mean, Colin often jokes that the evening was just starting, when we did the gate when we were sort of 18 or 19. Well, it's it feels hugely energetic while we're on stage, which is great. I love all that. But afterwards, there's, there's a bit of a rush to the hotel.

Kevelle Wilson 35:57
I kind of wanted to get your opinion because like,early, early 2000s, that kind of relationship with music chains going from like vinyl CDs, and whatever else to mostly streaming. And that kind of changed how people thought of music, going from something you had to like you have to pay for from something just like, oh, I have all this music accessible to me, or what? Yeah, $9 $10, whatever streaming service of your choice, cost? Do you think that kind of? How do you kind of feel about that?

Rod Argent 36:31
I think on the one hand, I think it's great. And I use streaming all the time, as well. And in every sort of music, you can get almost anything that's ever been recorded. And of course, that's great. You don't have to search through your, your whole album collection to try and find something which you just can't find.So that's good. But it means that unless you're a Dell, or I don't know, Tony, or Swift or somebody,you don't make any money out of making it. Yeah. And it's very, very hard for musicians. And and the people in government don't ever seem to understand that. They think, oh, you know, like, we were just talking, they think, Oh, they've got an easy life, it's an easy way, huge amounts of money. Well, maybe for 1% of people working as musicians for the other 99% it is not. And it's just really hard grind. I'm very, very lucky. You know, I'm not in that top 1% obviously, but I've been very lucky all my life to earn a great living from writing music and doing what otherwise I will get out of bed and pages for most of my life. You know, and so you have to be aware of that and be thankful for that. And, and, and carry that thought with you. But at the same time, it is very galling that you can spend, you know, we've actually spent a lot of our own money making the last album.Andwe'll never see that back as well. Maybe we will see that like over a long period of time. But it's as I said, you know, you have to be really in the top top 5% of people make to make any money. This is a lot of people have just stopped making albums.Stop making albums too. And I think that's so sad. Yeah, yeah.I'm kind of speaking of I know you did a what's in my bag a few years back.

Kevelle Wilson 38:29
I was kind of curious. Do you have like a favorite record store? And like what have you been listening to on vinyl recently?

Rod Argent 38:39
Most of the stuff I listened to on vinylis really my old favorites. It really is like early Ray Charles stuff.Like hard times. Who knows better than I just wonderful sticks and stones the follow up to what I say. Which is absolutely brilliant. It rocks like crazy. Or the first Ray Charles album I ever bought when, way before his professional, which was a 1959 concert in Atlanta, Georgia. That was recorded with one mic by DJ, he put the mic above it sounds fantastic. And he did and he changed things around so soulful. There's a version of drown in my own tears, which I'd heardwhere it was sort of it brings her todo that that tempo. When he did it on this album it's in bringabomb but it's so slow. And it takes about 10 minutes to get to the chorus when the rain let's come in for the first time. And when they do you think whoa, you know, it's just just such a moment. So I tend to play really old stuff.You know and that's that'sprobably, that's probably a, an example of my age as well, you tend to go back to the things that really turns you on. When you were younger, I'm afraid, although occasionally I hear him new things. And, and and think, yeah, I'll play that a few times, you know

Kevelle Wilson 40:20
kind of talking about his you talked about wanting to work with an orchestra at one point, which I find kind of interesting, because you do have one song in the album, which is mostly just strings, and it's kind of like more of a ballad.I want? Yeah, exactly.I don't know, which is, I don't know, I feel like especially when you're talking about your inspirations and what you kind of aim for. I feel like this, this album feels a whole lot more balanced. And It delves into so many sounds.When you all kind of get together, you'll have like a general idea of like, what, like, what genres y'all wanted to touch on? Or is it more just like, what were people were kind of feeling at the time?

Rod Argent 41:05
Well, it was, it was, to some extent, it was fashion by how we were recording and what we were recording. So when we recorded maybe two or three tracks, you naturally think, oh, for balance, it will be great. I really fancy now writing a song that is much more stripped down, you know.And at one point, I had an idea ofthe song, you could be my love, which initially, I thought it'd be great to just havejust a piano voice on the album. And that was the original idea for it.I think what had happened, I can't remember what track I'd heard. But I think I'd heard an Adele track when she it was just piano voice.And I thought this can really work. And I was just thinking in terms of some of the tracks we've recorded, and thinking that will be a nice balance. So that sort of can dictate to some extent. But we recorded that. And this is what goes on when you're recording.I love playing it.I love playing on acoustic piano. And Collins vocal, I loved his vocal, I thought it was great, then I thought you know what, it would be great to score some strings. And I scored that, that arrangement myself.And I said, just leave it, let's just leave it there and keep it really simple and stripped down. And in the end, we added a little bit of bass on it very subtle bass on it.And that was it. So that was sort of dictated by the three or four tracks that we've done up to that point, I think we started off doing merry go round, which was a bit of a stamper.And we might have donewhat wastaught reading and stupid or we may not have done.Yeah, I do. My favorites on the that was that dropped me in the stupid was literally just once played through with all of us. So it had a real freshness about it as well.And, and thenI can't remember. And then when we did the one you were talking about it was the only I did three string arrangements on the album. But the the string arrangement I didn't do was because Colin recorded an album called one year, which I produced along with Chris White, back in 1970, which I think was a very beautiful album. And Chris gunning, who was a classical composer himself, did the most beautiful string arrangements on it. And we thought, and I said to Colin, you know what we should try and get Chris to look back at the idea of one year and the things we were doing there. And let's just do this with just strings in your voice. And that's what we did. He's only just died, Chris, actually, strangely enough.But and college just sang that at his memorial evening, which was lovely.But that was the idea behind that one to sort of look back and give a smilingnod to something that we'd all worked on together many, many years before. And that feels nice, but it's not trying to move to the past. No way. Is it trying to move to the past sound like that? No, thank you. There's just and also I had done a string arrangement of that song, which we had recorded before with strings and the whole band on I can't remember which album it was. But I wouldn't let Chris gunning here that I said would you do this? And he said, Well, it depends on the song really. He said we payment the song. And I played in the song and he'sreally loved this song. And that knocked me out because he is a classical composer and everything.And he said but you know, let me let me hear your version. I said no, absolutely no way. I work for you. Yeah, because the thing is, he might have hated it orWe might have loved it. But it would affect how you heard the song. I just didn't want to do that. So I just played it on the piano for him. And then he did it in the way he would have done that first album, just hearing the basic demo of Colin sing through to the song. And then, you know, fashioning something around that. And, and, and that was great fun. And we did it all in I've got a huge sort of barn conversion is where I live. And so there's this big bomb with very, very high ceilings, which is the main big room. And that was a beautiful place to actually play the piano live. And to record, record the strings we recorded, we recorded them live. And I've got my own studio here, as well.So it was it was a very in house experience. And it was a great pleasure recording the whole album actually.

Kevelle Wilson 45:52
So I have one last question for you.You've probably played like, hundreds of keyboards, pianos organs, on and on throughout your life, do you have like a favorite model, like a certain model of an instrument that you love? And you go back to?

Rod Argent 46:11
Yeah, um, okay.When we got back together again, I with Arjun and a lot of the sessions that I've done with other other bands and other musicians, I played every since under the sun, and use lots and lots of effects. When I got back together, Colin, I said, I want this to be really simple. I just want to play piano and organ and that same that's kind of electric current organ, organic, just wanted to be organic. But having said that, on this last album, I've got I'm looking in my studio at the moment. And around me I can see Hammond C three, which islike a Hammond B three in your, it's the same thing. I've got the model of Fender Rhodes, which was the last one they made, I think in 1975. That CIT career used and said was his favorite version of the I managed to source one of those, which is absolutely great sounding. And I've got a Wurlitzer, which was the keyboard that Rachel's all she used to use in the old days. So we used a lot of vintage instruments on this on this album, too.

Kevelle Wilson 47:23
Okay, is there anything else you wanted to talk about that I didn't get a chance to cover?

Rod Argent 47:29
No, not really. You've been very good. Um, I think it's, it's just I know, I tend to ramble when I when I give interviews and I move I love that. A million a million.I can't remember what the original question was. So I hope that wasn't a drank. No, it was amazing. Thank you so much.

Kevelle Wilson 47:50
For all our listeners, if you want to hear their new album, different game along with some of the classics as well live. You should go to their concert and Caroline theater March 31. Still plenty of tickets available. You should maybe buy one. Yeah.Well, thank you so much for youryour time and everything. I really appreciate it.

Rod Argent 48:12
Oh, especially well, thank you very much. Looking forward to seeing your life. Okay, man.

Kevelle Wilson 48:21
Thank you all for tuning into this interview. You can check out our interviews at You can click on off the record. I'm Kibo WKNC 88.1 fm one rally. Thank you for listening and take care

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Rod Argent/The Zombies
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