The Zeros caught my eye early, their „Hungry/Radio Fun“ 7″ on Small Wonder Records made it as early as 1980 into my collection. Only later i realized that since 1976 there was another band from sunny California respectively Chula Vista with the same name and an ever better sound.
Since then and because their output was a mere 3 singles until 1980 i was eager to get more. It took until 1990 that Greg Sage released a compilation on Bomp! that provided the full spread of their early output.
How cool and how ahead of times these Mexican Ramones (an early odd label tucked upon them) actually were is frame up in this 1977 TV Show – by all means they should have been as great as the Ramones!
Fast forward to 2019 and The Zeros are back to Germany, only ever the 2nd time to Hamburg. As far as i could make out (and got rumors) their tour was plagued. Some whisper i heard referred to annoying promotion, some whispers referred to a tough geographical schedule zigzagging across northern Europe.
When it came out that they will play Hamburg i sure got a ticket but noticing the date i feared the worst: A lonely early March, under the week on a Wednesday. Consequently they had to play the Pub Stage of the Monkeys and it ended up to be in front of 21 people.
From the start i felt damn sorry for the guys as they shared much larger bills in the past (and did play with all my all-time favorites from LA – be it The Germs, The Weirdos and and and). But that remains the fate of touring bands when timing is just not right.
These days The Zeros lack El Vez but still got style, presence and mu-sick-al capabilities. And professional as they are they are just not impacted by a small stage and a small turnout. And boy, that guitar is still there and still provides a driving wall of sound!
They paired old and classic songs with some later and more 60s rock based songs and they sure did throw in some classic covers, eg. from The Stendells (who are that link back to the 60s by all means).
The Zeros (Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg, 06.03.2019 (c) gehkacken.de)
It definitely was fun for the few in attendance and even some dancing took place. Also some chit-chat between the audience and the band so that the depressing small turnout for such a classic and funding punk band could not bring down the mood.
And just to be sure that you get to hear that brilliant guitar just for another time – here is their classic „Don’t push me around“:
Always want me to come, but I don't wanna' Always want me to come, but I'm not gonna' Always talk about nothin' Me I don't wanna' do nothin' To me I'm just nothin', anyway Always want me to stay, but I don't wanna You always want me to stay, well I'm not gonna' You always talk about nothin' Me I don't wanna' do nothin' To me I'm just nothin', so girl Don't you try Don't you try Don't you try, to push me around Don't push me around You always want me to stop, but I don't wanna' You always want me to stop, well I'm not gonna' You always talk about nothin' Me I don't wanna' do nothin' To me I'm just nothin', so girl Don't you try Don't you try Don't you try, to push me around Don't push me around Girl, it makes me so bad Girl, it makes me so bad Don't push me around Don't push me around Don't push me around Don't push me around Don't push me around Don't push me around Songwriter: Javier Escovedo © Bug Music
I was sold on The Zeros prior and this one just cemented it: Great and friendly people with a great sound and sufficiently great songs. And humble and hard working. That is more than some of the other old bands on the circuit give.
I’d love to see them back, on a warm summer Friday in a packed club with a fitting support band. That’ll be the right way to credit one of the pioneers of West Coast Punk and in general of this funny mu-sick-al niche that i love.
Fun fact: That the promotion was a wee bit strange also manifested itself in the fact that tickets where only available on the website of the promoter and by knowing a wee bit of Spanish. And on the evening tour tickets where sold. I guess the guy is a control freak, or?
nb: At least i deduct from that ticket sold in Hamburg that the prior shows (Paris, London, Leeds, Nottingham and Brighton had on average 170+ people attending) went better. They deserve it.
nbb: Looking at the pictures i would propose that the Monkeys invests into a backdrop for the Pub Stage – that would make bands look much better (if i may note that as a humble consumer).