Part 1 of our interview with Zebrahead's Matty and Ali.
It is a pleasant Saturday afternoon at the Academy in Newcastle, and we're taken to a room inside where moments after Zebrahead's Ali and Matty walk through the door.
After initial introductions and getting comfortable, we started our interview.
Zebrahead were coming to the end of the UK leg of their tour, with three shows remaining, how has it been so far?
"It's been excellent, it's been great." Ali smiles "The shows have been really really fun and the fans have been awesome."
"Crazy awesome actually." Matty agrees
"Yeah its been kind of ridiculous, each show it just seems to get better and better, so we're really stoked."
"I think they started crowd surfing from the first note yesterday. And they didn't stop the entire set."
Do the band enjoy coming over to the UK?
"Yeah." Ali nods
"It's starting to feel more like home." Matty states
"Yeah we've been here so many times now that we know the areas when we get to town, like we know where to go to eat and we see a lot of the same kids at the shows and stuff so we're getting to know them as well so its cool."
What would you say you prefer more at the minute, would you prefer touring the states or touring the UK?
"I'm having a great time right now," Ali tells us "I love coming here but you know I'd eventually like to play the states."
"Yeah they both have positives," Matty explains "It's not bad touring the States cos you know you've got hamburgers. You've also got kebabs."
"They have them here too."
"At some kebab shops"
"There's a Burger King down the street." Ali points out laughing
"Oh yeah that's right oops."
There's a place around the corner that sells kebabs
"Yeah," Ali nods "I know I think Ben our bassist is going there right now."
The band who are touring until the end of April, appear to be playing shows almost non-stop, but for them what is the best bit about being out on the road?
"Being able to see, I think so much of the world you know that I'd never probably have the opportunity to see." Ali replies "Meeting people."
"Exactly," Matty agrees "And our passports are... Filled"
"Filled. Of course they're fake passports."
"They're definitely fake. We got them on the black market. But they're definitely filled."
"Yeah, you become a world traveller and its like your friends never have the opportunity and we definitely wouldn't have had this opportunity without music so its cool."
Being out on the road so much must get tedious at times so how do they keep themselves occupied?
At this point Ali and Matty look at each other and chuckle.
"We have a very interesting drummer in our band who is entertaining just to sit and watch." Ali tells us "Actually, I waste a lot of my time doing that. We watch movies."
"I think I'm on the internet all the time." Matty adds "Reading books."
"We also have a prostitution ring that we started that we work on on tour, when we're not playing shows you know we send the different dudes out to the..."
"Prostidudes." Matty interrupts
"Prostidudes. It's a prostitdution ring."
Zebrahead's live shows are something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The band's energy during their performance seems to seep from the stage and into the crowds, which in turn go slightly crazy. Crowd interaction is also a key aspect of the show which seems to go down very well with all in attendance.
"Definitely." Ali nods when we ask if they enjoy the interaction.
"It's a good way to spread our herpes." Matty agrees
"We like to share our gift with the crowd." Ali laughs "Yeah it's good, I think we have great fans and they come to the shows kind of looking to have a good time and its pretty easy when you have fans like that to interact with them and have fun."
Does this come from them enjoying telling people to do something and seeing if they will do it?
"Yeah basically." Ali smiles "Usually Matty tells me what to do all the time and I do it."
"Shut up, you're coming across as stupid" Matty states as if to get that point across
"You're coming...shh shut your mouth." Matty puts his hand to his mouth "You're coming across as stupid."
"I just want to say."
"See, he does this all day. He just doesn't stop." Ali shrugs slightly
"I lost my train of thought." Ali laughs
Last time Zebrahead were in the UK was back in October supporting Bowling For Soup, what have they been up to since then?
"I've been gardening." Ali says before pausing briefly "Video games and I got a chipmunk."
"Is he friendly?" Matty enquires
"Does he sing?"
"He's a bastard, yeah."
"Is he a triplet?"
"Yeah, his name's Alvin."
"Really? Does he have a fatter one named Theodore?" Matty asks using his hands to demonstrate the shape of the larger sized chipmunk.
"Uhm a fatter what?"
"Oh I was going to say that's disgusting, no there's just one called Alvin." Ali states, pausing before continuing "Yeah that's what we do and we write songs."
"We write songs." Matty nods in confirmation.
"And make the world sing. Some parts and Matty got arrested."
"I got arrested twice." Matty tells us.
What for? We ask
"I can't tell you." he replies "Secret CIA business."
"Black Ops." Matty nods
"It was in Canada." Ali adds
"I'm a spy." Matty explains "I wanted to find out the true ingredients of Canadian Bacon."
"You know because what's Canadian cows or is it pigs? Canadian pigs that go moo eh."
"Pigs." Ali interrupts "Bacon right? Canadian Cows." he shakes his head
"I like your socks." Ali states randomly
"Thank you. Matty looks at his socks "I bought these, these uhm are like cheapies and I throw them away after every show."
"I do that too, I got these, they're not as cool as yours, but."
"Yeah these are pretty cool. But they suck because they're not very..."
"They're women's socks?"
"They're women's socks... I cut off the shoulder bits."
"I'm just kidding."
"They're very manly."
"Thank you. They've got a little ball on the end."
"I see, I see the balls on the end."
Getting back on track, last time the band were here they were playing downstairs in the bigger room, and on past tours, that is where the band usually play, this time however they are in the smaller room. But which do they prefer - larger venues or smaller ones?
"I prefer playing anywhere [here, in Newcastle].Ali replies "I think its like the smaller venues sometimes are cooler because you're closer to the kids, if there's no barrier then they can stage dive and stuff which is always fun."
"Just like upstairs." Matty points out
"Can they?" Ali asks him receiving a nod "Oh. Its cool to switch it up."
"I feel bad for the kids, I know there were a ton of kids that couldn't get tickets. I feel bad for them because I want to play for all the kids."
"Yeah hopefully next time we'll play the bigger room, we normally do."
Following up from 2008's 'Phoenix' album, the band released 'Panty Raid'. A 14-track album of cover versions. The defining thing about 'Panty Raid', is not only are the songs altered to fit with the bands style, but the songs are all by female artists ranging from Britney Spears to the Spice Girls. What made them decide to do a cover album?
"Ali has a long past of girls and relationships and so we thought what better way to pay tribute to these women by covering their songs." Matty explains
"We covered every single girl that I've impregnated." Ali adds "We've covered one of their songs so they're all my baby mama's."
"Did you notice Gwen Stefani's on there twice?" Matty asks us
"Yeah she got it twice." Ali nods "I'm fertile."
"And I had a scare when he told me about Amy Winehouse."
"Yeah that was a bad night, I think there was a cow involved."
"A Canadian cow." Matty points out "Moo"
"Eh" they both say laughing.
How has the reaction been to the album?
"Really good." Ali says.
"It's great because you look in the crowd and you see people singing along to like Britney Spears." Matty grins.
"And they're like totally big old dudes with like tattoos everywhere and they're singing 'Oops I did it again'" Ali adds laughing
"I always laugh at that."
"Me too, because at first they don't want to do it, and then by halfway through the song they're singing along."
"Because they're so popular songs."
"Its been great, we've been stoked."
And quite frankly we're not surprised by that, as if you've heard the album you'll know that it is full of classics that you can sing along to. The guys laugh as we explain that we were going to ask how they chose the songs for the album, but they've already answered the question. And with so many great songs on the record itself do they have a favourite?
"Oh from that record?" Ali asks and we nod in confirmation.
"I always say the Mariah Carey Christmas song." Matty answers "Just because I love that song in itself. I just like that song. It always puts me in a good mood. Kind of like her really."
"She looked really good in that Precious movie." Ali points out before giving his answer "I like No Doubt so I'd say the Underneath It All song, I thought that was pretty cool. But the video for Girlfriend, that was a fun experience."
"That was great."
"It was great so I guess that's my favourite song because of making the video. Matty looked hot and he dressed up like Avril [Lavigne]."
"I did. Usually I just wear that stuff at weekends but I thought I'd bring it out for the video."
"I know I keep telling you you should wear it on stage." Ali tells him.
Were there any other songs that they would have liked to have put on there?
"We tried a whole bunch of songs that just didn't work out." Matty explains
"Yeah I think we did a good job on selecting the ones that were good enough to fit our style of music." Ali continues "You know and like represent our sound."
Would they do another covers album?
"Not another girls." Matty states "We might do something later on in the future or something kind of similar but not any time soon. And not girl cover songs."
Read Part 2 of the interview here.