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Circle Jerks’ Bassist, and Joe Strummer Collaborator, Zander Schloss is Changing His Tune.

Schloss is taking a huge turn in his musical career with his debut solo album Songs About Songs. “This is my polar opposite version of punk rock.”

Longtime Circle Jerks bassist Zander Schloss is starting a new chapter in his musical career with the release of his first solo recording, Song About Songs.

As veteran Los Angeles music journalist and critic Chris Morris writes in the album’s liner notes: “Played tenderly, with striking intimacy, the subtle and affecting material on Song About Songs may well come as a surprise to listeners who know Zander Schloss only from three decades of bash-it-out work with the Circle Jerks and other punk units….Here, we get a long-overdue look at a hitherto unheard side of his musical personality. It bears the thrill of discovery.”

Schloss has an impressive résumé that includes his featured acting performance alongside Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez in Alex Cox’s 1984 cult classic feature Repo Man, work on the soundtracks for Cox’s later films Sid & Nancy, Straight to Hell, Walker; and Highway Patrolman.

He is well-known as touring musical director and guitarist for Joe Strummer with performances on Strummer’s first solo single “Trash City” and album Earthquake Weather. He also has appearances on record with Low & Sweet Orchestra, Magnificent Bastards, Thelonious Monster and in concert with the Weirdos.

In 2021-22, he will be seen on stage during the Circle Jerks’ pandemic-delayed 40th-anniversary tour.
But Song About Songs displays a revelatory new aspect of his work. It will surprise listeners accustomed to hearing Schloss in an aggressive hardcore format. Still, the St. Louis-born musician notes that his early musical inspirations came from a distinctly different realm.

circle jerks

“When I was 12 years old,” Schloss says, “I made enough money as a janitor in a candy factory to buy my first guitar. I drew a picture of myself as Bob Dylan on the cover of Nashville Skyline. I bought the harmonica holder, the harmonica, my guitar, and Bob Dylan’s book Writings and Drawings, his first collection of lyrics, and I learned that album in its entirety, by ear. To me, those songs were tidy, and they were concise. They were great examples of what a songwriter could do in two or three minutes.

“Everybody always used to make fun of me because I was a muso. I’d studied Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and Neil Young and all of those guys back when I was a kid. Then I moved out to California, sunk my teeth into Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, and became a rocker. Then in my last year of high school, I started listening to Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, moved in with my jazz teacher for a year and became a jazz guy.” 

The album was recorded at Los Angeles’ Sargent Recorders, owned by producer and fellow Missouri native Gus Seyffert, who also plays bass on the collection; Seyffert has worked with Roger Waters, Norah Jones, Beck, and the Black Keys, among others.

Schloss says the title track of Song About Songs typifies the overall approach on this intensely moving solo bow: “I’ve asked myself many times, who are you, Zander, and what do you want to do? These songs were written for my own therapy. I hope that this music will help people transcend their own sadness through the power of music and into a healing place. I have a huge amount of reverence for music and its healing powers. I obviously have songs that have saved my life.


“I’ve asked myself many times, who are you, Zander, and what do you want to do? These songs were written for my own therapy.”Zander Schloss

 “This is my polar opposite version of punk rock. Punk rock is volume and anger, and speed. I wanted to do space and vulnerability and excruciating, almost subconscious emotions, things that I feel so deeply that I would never say them out loud.” 

Schloss will also be touring with the Circle Jerks for their 40th-anniversary tour, which kicks off in October and continues into 2022.

circle jerk tour dates
Songs About Songs tracklist

1. My Dear Blue

2. Not So Long Ago

3. Sin Of Wasting Time

4. Old Cliches & Diamond Rings

5. Dead Friend Letter

6. I Have Loved The Story Of My Life (featuring Bedouine)

7. The Road

8. Married To Sadness

9. Songs About Songs 

FollowZander Schloss On His Socials

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