Rockabilly Punks The Zipheads mark the release of their debut album with a party in Camden next Saturday!
Hailing from St Albans, UK, The Zipheads play Rock’n’Roll infused with Punk, Surf, Swing, Ska, Soul, Reggae and Irish influences.
Initially formed as a punk band around 2005, influenced by The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, Descendents and the like, the band members eventually became more and more enamoured with 50’s Rock’n’Roll and Rockabilly, and The Zipheads was put on hiatus to form The Runaway Boys, a Rock’n’Roll revue band, playing every pub, town hall and social club in the south east.
The Runaway Boys saw the introduction of double bass as opposed to bass guitar, and it was in this band that the young musicians cut their teeth, bashing out 50s classics with a punk sensibility and more than a nod to the pub rock scene of the 70s.
2008 saw the release of an EP containing their first ever self-penned songs and a shift to focus on original material rather than covers. The band lay dormant for a while, then around 2010 The Runaway Boys moniker was dropped, and The Zipheads mantle was restored.
Back at the start of 2013, The Zipheads entered the studio to begin work on their debut album. One of their local regular shows was at Club 85 in Hitchin, and it was here they met sound engineer/producer Andy J Davies, who agreed to record the band on vintage reel-to-reel tape at his studio. Amidst much tea-drinking and rolly-smoking, 13 tracks were recorded in total and on September 13th 2013, The Zipheads self-released Prehistoric Beat as a 12-track CD.
Some songs from the old demo had been re-recorded and made their way across to the album, such as the country-tinged ‘Don’t Pretend’, lounge-room-espionage favourite ‘MI:5’ and the sultry-swing-anthem ‘Call Of The Wild’.
Alongside these were brand new offerings in the punk-flavoured ‘Revenge’, ska-influenced ‘Matter Of Time’, reggae/dub not-quite-murder ballad ‘Manslaughter’ plus folk-flavoured ‘Too Proud’- the last one a nod to singer-guitarist Ray Waters’ Irish roots.
To top it all off, the last track is The Zipheads own unique take on Toots and the Maytals seminal ’54-46 Was My Number’ (the closing number at Zipheads live shows for many years) with the band turning the reggae classic on its head and transforming it into a rock’n’roll barnstormer.
The music video for ‘Revenge’ was shot in Ray’s cellar, with the band donning the famous “Z-Ray Specs” sunglasses with which they are now synonymous!
Initial copies of Prehistoric Beat were sold exclusively in person at live shows – eventually news spread by word of mouth and reached UK record label/publishing company Bomber Music, who picked up The Zipheads to release their second album Z2:Rampage! (2016), and who in 2018 re-released Prehistoric Beat to a wider audience, the original run of CDs having sold out long ago.
The 2018 re-release saw an extended, remastered version put out on digipack CD and – at last – vinyl. The unreleased instrumental track ‘Prevenge’ (originally intended to be the albums opener) appeared alongside new recording “You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two’ from Lionel Bart‘s musical Oliver!
To celebrate, a new music video containing a mix of animation and live-action was released, directed by Thomas Malins, seeing the band in a cartoon stone-age setting, for the song ‘Dinosaur Rock’ which features the closing refrain from which the album takes its name.
Now- 10 years on, The Zipheads are still rocking to the rhythm of a prehistoric beat!
To mark this special occasion, the band will be performing the entire Prehistoric Beat album LIVE at the Black Heart in Camden on the 2nd of September, playing a special 2 hour set which will also include songs from the other albums, EPs and singles that make up their back catalogue.
With support from Cavegirl & The Neandergals, this is a Prehistoric Party not to be missed!!
Main Photo Credit: The Zipheads live in Bristol, 2023, by RUTH RAE
- Unrequited Love
- Blast From The Past
- Matter Of Time
- Dinosaur Rock
- Don’t Pretend
- Too Proud
- Call Of The Wild
- Back To The Barracks
- 54-46 (That Was My Number)
Bonus tracks (2018 re-issue)
- You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two
Follow The Zipheads on Their Socials
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