Zebrahead
Van's Warped Tour - Oakland Arena parking lot - Oakland, CA - July 3, 1999
 
One of Southern California's funnest bands and hippest tunesmiths, Zebrahead kept total control of the crowd with their silly antics and tight performance. At one point, they told the crowd that they wrote Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" and thus, since Lit wasn't able to perform on this particular day due to scheduling, proceeded to play a hilarious, punk, almost mock-operatic version of the song. Before churning into one of their own closing numbers, Zebrahead began with the opening to Guns 'N' Roses' "Sweet Child O'Mine" (this seems to be a popular song resurgance this year). Their performance was the true form of what rock 'n' roll is about - FUN. No pretentions, no strong messages, no serious intent - just raucous up-and-jumping groove-intense hard rocking with their trademark mix of styles reflecting the band member's own influences of hip-hop, punk and early Van Halen (when THAT band was fun). While you're at it, by all means pick up the new CD to bring home the great sound.
 
While hanging backstage at the Van's Warped Tour, we snagged a couple of members of Zebrahead - Ben Osmundson and Greg Burgdorf - off of the sanctity of their tour bus and forced them - at tape recorder's point - to speak with us and share the wit that makes up Zebrahead.
K2K: How many albums do you have out?
BEN OSMUNDSON: This would be officially the first album, but there is one more out that is the Yellow album that is our demos and a couple of live things.
K2K: Are there copies available?
BO: Nah. They are turning up places. They are out of print. They're selling copies of it on eBay for like $60.00. I don't make any money off of it. Other people are making money off of it. Bootleggers, go crazy. We're totally game with bootleggers. We don't give a shit. Go right ahead. Unless you sell millions of albums, you're not going to make a penny off of your album so you might as well let as many people hear it as possible.
K2K: You'll be getting paid in beer and dog biscuits.
BO: We're happy getting paid in beer. We're fine with that.
K2K: Have you guys done these type of shows before?
BO: We did five shows on the Warped last year. Other than that we've done Fuel and Reel Big Fish. Also we've done some radio shows. They're awesome. Fuel was really cool. They're a great bunch of guys. Fuel is very wonderful. We just played in New Mexico with them. Our merch guy was so fucked up that he couldn't move. I had to get a taxi. He was so drunk that they kicked him out of a nudie bar. He was so drunk that I couldn't get him out of the taxi myself so Fuel helped me get him out of the taxi, hence they are wonderful. They actually saw me trying to pull him out and remembered me from touring with us and helped.
K2K: What do you think about the trend change from - being in a rock band meant having to have big hair to now shaving it all off and being neat and clean?
BO: I myself was a hair farmer. But you know what? Long hair is too difficult to deal with. I'm lazy. I don't shower. I'm just not going to go with it.
K2K: So, who dresses you guys?
BO: My mom.
I'm my own groomer. I do my own haircuts. (When pointing out his neat-o hairdo, Ben states) I just don't shower.
K2K: Do you shower once a week?
BO: Actually, two days ago I got the guy who washes the buses to hose me down.
What a sight that was. It was actually crystal clear.
K2K: Have you ever played the Cactus Club [in San Jose, CA]?
BO: Uh, yes. Our drummer threw up while playing there. It was pretty slimy in there, but that's the kind of places I like though. I like small places. It's grimy but those are the funnest places to play.
K2K: What do you think about [the possibility of] David Lee Roth rejoining Van Halen?
BO: I thought the DLR Band must have been doing pretty good because I've been seeing all of their stuff around. All the metal band shows are coming around this summer. My first concert was David Lee Roth and Poison.
K2K: My first concert was Angel.
BO: I don't even know what Angel is.
K2K: They were the anti-KISS. KISS was dark and ominous. Angel was angelic. They did magic tricks and such.
BO: And hence, which was the better one to do? KISS. Because they're still fucking around.
GREG BURGDORF: We saw Ace at Guitar Center [in Los Angeles] and we thought we were going to die. When we were recording our album we went to Guitar Center to pick up some gear...
K2K: I thought Ace had cleaned up.
BO: He might have stopped. Irreperable damage maybe. It may be too late. He hadn't eaten food in a while.He was skinny as can be. He had chicken legs and the biggest beer gut hanging over the tightest pants. Chicken legs, skrawny chest with this huge beer gut. All leathered out. He looked like he was going to die.He was all dressed up in this cowboy hat. He looked like Keith Richards. KISS is great, but he looked horrible - and he had this midget guy running around with him in a full trenchcoat, cowboy hat, belt buckle, jeans, boots - it was like he couldn't have been 4-feet tall. I thought, "Who the hell is that guy?" It was like the little dude who follows the scientist around on Southpark. I didn't even recognize him. As soon as the sales guy came over, I asked, "Who is that guy and the little freak following him around?". He said, "You'll never believe it. That's Ace Frehely."
K2K: Yeah, it was funny to see Ace fall off the stage in a drunken stupor when he headlined at the Omni in Oakland [CA].
BO: Oohhh... that's gotta hurt.
K2K: Not when you're that drunk. Anyways, now we're dissing on Ace Frehely.
BO: That's cool. They know how our interviews go. We always end up pissing somebody off. We love KISS, but I saw Ace. See them now while you still can. Hey, you're dissing on the most powerful man in the world.
K2K: That would be Gene [Simmons] or Paul [Stanley].
Suddenly a flatulating roadie appears who had been described earlier as having three testicles. The conversation shifts to making fun of people with abnormal physicalities and displeasure at having missed Blink182's performance.
 
Written by Philip Anderson

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

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