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Zebrahead performing in 2011.
|Origin||La Habra, Orange County, California, United States|
|Genres||Punk rock, pop punk, rapcore, alternative rock, alternative metal, funk metal, ska punk|
|Labels||Sony BMG (Japan)
Niji Entertainment Group
|Associated acts||3-Ply, Jank 1000, Darling Thieves, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Green Day, Death by Stereo, The Matches|
|Past members||Justin Mauriello
- 1 History
- 2 Musical Style
- 3 Band members
- 4 In popular culture
- 5 Discography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Zebrahead was formed in La Habra, California in 1996 by guitarist Greg Bergdorf and drummer Ed Udhus (both formerly of the band 409), bassist Ben Osmundson (formerly of 3-Ply) and singer/rhythm guitarist Justin Mauriello (formerly of Once There). All four musicians, whose bands at the time shared the same practice space, found themselves experimenting with different sounds together and soon became friends. After deciding that they wanted to explore their musical options further, the foursome left their bands all together and formed Zebrahead.
The group, who were inspired by acts including Fugazi and Descendents, found themselves uninspired by the local musical trends of ska-punk and instead began incorporating elements of hip-hop into their sound, eventually recruiting rapper Ali Tabatabaee to join them as a co-vocalist.
1998–2002: Waste of Mind and Playmate of the Year
After issuing the self-titled demo album Zebrahead (more widely known as Yellow due to the color of the cover) from the indie label Doctor Dream Records in May 1998, Zebrahead were signed to major record label Columbia Records and released their full-length debut Waste of Mind later that same year. The album contained newly re-recorded songs from their previous release along with new tracks, including the minor radio hit "Get Back", which gained some popularity in the U.S and charted at No. 32 on the U.S Hot Modern Rock Tracks charts.
The band's follow-up album Playmate of the Year was released in the summer of 2000, and was followed up by the EP Stupid Fat Americans, released just over a year later in October 2001 exclusively in Japan.
Zebrahead began touring in Europe in late 2000 with Green Day to help promote their album and played at various festivals. Throughout their career leading to the early 2000s, the band shared gigs with many other bands, including Less Than Jake, Kottonmouth Kings, 311, MxPx, Reel Big Fish, and Goldfinger.
2003–05: MFZB, Waste of MFZB and Justin Mauriello's departure
Three years after the release of Playmate of the Year, the band published their fourth studio album MFZB (abbreviation of Mother Fucking Zebrahead Bitch, named after the Zebrahead fanclub) in late 2003, which introduced a new heavier punk rock sound from the band, rather than hip-hop funk from their previous releases. Zebrahead spent the majority of their time promoting the album overseas in Japan, where it went to gold in sales and charted at No. 9 on the Japanese Charts. During this time, Zebrahead performed at various festivals in Japan including the Summer Sonic festival, Punkspring, and many other headlining concerts.
In July 2004, Zebrahead released a fifth studio album exclusively in Japan under the title Waste of MFZB. As the title suggests, the album is made up of songs that never made the final cut of MFZB.
In late 2004, shortly after Zebrahead's tour through Japan, co-lead singer/rhythm guitarist Justin Mauriello left the band due to creative differences, the news was later made public on the band's website. The news of Mauriello's departure distressed fans, as the singing/rapping dynamic between him and co-vocalist Ali Tabatabaee was crucial to Zebrahead's sound.
Later that month, Matty Lewis of the former Nebraska-based punk band Jank 1000, strapped for cash and occupying himself as a teacher, got a phone call from his ex-band's manager (also the manager of Zebrahead) saying they were looking for a new co-vocalist/rhythm guitarist. After flying to California to try out for the role, Zebrahead were heavily impressed by Lewis's musical skills, and named him the new co-lead singer of the band. Zebrahead officially introduced Lewis at a "secret" concert at the Anaheim House of Blues on March 8, 2005. Mauriello, by then, had moved on in music and founded the band I Hate Kate, later renamed to Darling Thieves.
2006–08: Broadcast to the World and Phoenix
Zebrahead, with new co-vocalist Matty Lewis, returned to the music scene in early 2006 with their sixth studio album Broadcast to the World, which later debuted in other countries throughout the year. After touring Europe in June that same year, including a gig at the annual UK Download Festival, Zebrahead spent the rest of the summer in the U.S travelling and performing as part of the Warped Tour festival. In the fall of 2006, the band went back and forth to Europe and the U.S for the rest of their tour promoting Broadcast to the World.
After taking a two month hiatus to begin writing for their upcoming seventh studio album, Zebrahead returned to Europe in May 2007 on a co-headline tour with MxPx, as well as a headline UK tour. After this, the band continued writing for their next album. Later that year, the band began posting video updates on their website due to fan demand of an update from the studio, talking about the status of their next album as well as sneak peeks of new songs.
Zebrahead returned to the UK in October 2007 as part of the annual Get Happy Tour where they shared the stage with bands Army of Freshmen, The Bloodhound Gang and Bowling For Soup and made a comeback to the Download Festival later that month. The band later continued writing new songs for their next album, demos were recorded and received input from Jason Freese of Green Day. Zebrahead soon began recording for the album in March 2008, with the first two songs produced with Howard Benson, and the latter set of tracks with Cameron Webb.
Zebrahead later announced the title of their new album as Phoenix and that it would be released in the summer of 2008. They released the Not the New Album EP a day before the album's first release in Japan, it was re-issued in 2010 containing two new songs, which also serve as the bonus tracks on the Japanese edition of Phoenix. In June, Zebrahead returned to the UK once again and toured and performed at the festivals Download, Leeds Slam Dunk and Greenfield, before touring through Europe and Japan for the remainder of the year. A tour through the U.S was planned, but was canceled due to co-vocalist Matty Lewis becoming ill.
2009–2012: Panty Raid and Get Nice!
In spring 2009, Zebrahead announced that they had begun recording a covers album featuring songs performed exclusively by female musicians from the 1990s and 2000s. They confirmed that the album would be titled Panty Raid and that it would be released in the late fall of that same year. The band later confirmed the tracklisting and release dates for the album, along with the announcement that a covered version of "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne would serve as the album's lead single. The band promised covered versions of songs such as "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse, "Jenny from the Block" by Jennifer Lopez, "Survivor" by Destiny's Child and a handful of others would feature on the album. Zebrahead began the Less Than Jake tour to help promote the album in late 2009 through Europe, Japan and the U.S, it concluded in spring 2010.
In August 2010, Zebrahead announced they had began work on a new studio album and that they would start recording before the end of the year. The band later confirmed in the spring of 2011 the tracklisting and release dates of their new album, which would be titled Get Nice!, they later released the songs "Ricky Bobby" and the title track "Get Nice!" as the lead singles prior to the album's release in June and July 2011. To help promote Get Nice!, Zebrahead went on the Get Nice! or Die Trying tour that took place between the album's release and the summer of 2012; performing in venues and festivals throughout Europe, Japan and Australia and the United States.
2013-present: Call Your Friends and Greg Bergdorf's departure
In July 2012, Zebrahead announced that they were in the process of writing material for their tenth studio album, planned for an August 2013 release and that they would keep fans informed via video updates and through their social networking pages.
The band later confirmed in June 2013 that the album is titled Call Your Friends and will be released worldwide through different dates the following August. Later that month, Zebrahead announced that lead guitarist Greg Bergdorf would be leaving the band in order to spend more time with his family, with lead guitarist of Death By Stereo Dan Palmer taking his place, the latter of who already played lead guitar on the band's upcoming album Call Your Friends. The title track was released in July 2013, while the band begun a new tour to promote the album a few months later.
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- Ali Tabatabaee - lead vocals (1996–present)
- Matty Lewis - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (2005–present)
- Dan Palmer - lead guitar, backing vocals (2013–present)
- Ben Osmundson - bass guitar, backing vocals (1996–present)
- Ed Udhus - drums, percussion (1996–present)
- Justin Mauriello - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1996–2004)
- Greg Bergdorf - lead guitar, backing vocals (1996–2013)
Touring and session members
- Howard Benson - keyboards (1998–2000, 2008)
- Jason Freese - keyboards, piano (2006–present)
- Dan Regan of Reel Big Fish - trombone (occasional live appearances performing "Anthem"; 2006–present)
- John Christianson of Reel Big Fish - trumpet (occasional live appearances performing "Anthem"; 2006–present)
- Chris Dalley - drums (filled in for Ed Udhus on 2008 summer UK tour)
- Dan Palmer of Death by Stereo - lead guitar (filled in for Greg Bergdorf on 2010 fall Less Than Jake tour and 2012 Soundwave, Australia tour)
In popular culture
Throughout the years, Zebrahead has had their work featured in popular culture. Some notable appearances include the following, in chronological order:
- In 1998, the band provided uncredited instrumentation for Lemmy on the Grammy-nominated Metallica cover, "Enter Sandman" (ECW: Extreme Music).)
- "Song 10" appears on the soundtrack for the video game series Duke Nukem, Duke Nukem: Music to Score By.
- "Mindtrip" appears in the 1999 movie Idle Hands.
- "I'm Money" appears in the movie Bring It On in 2000
- "Playmate of the Year" appears in the 2000 movie Dude, Where's My Car?.
- "Now or Never" appears in the 2000 film Little Nicky and the 2001 film Cold Fusion.
- "Check" was featured in the 2001 hit video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.
- "Falling Apart" and "Alone" were featured in the 2004 video games WWE SmackDown vs. Raw and WWE Day of Reckoning.
- The tracks "Falling Apart" and "Rescue Me" appeared in the 2004 games S.L.A.I. Steel Lancer Arena International and the Japan-exclusive Are You For Real?.
- "Lobotomy for Dummies" is featured in the games FlatOut 2 and MX vs. ATV: Untamed.
- "Wake Me Up" and "The Walking Dead" are featured in the 2006 game Fast and the Furious.
- Due to Zebrahead's growing popularity in Japan, vocalists Matty Lewis and Ali Tabatabaee were asked by Sega to record vocals for a new theme song for the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog, entitled "His World". Ali and Matty both recorded their vocals on August 29, 2006. Shortly after, on September 19, 2006, the entire band recorded an alternate version of the song (known as "His World (Zebrahead Version)" for the game's vocal soundtrack CD. This version uses Zebrahead's traditional instrumentation and resembles their other songs. Both versions are included on the compilation album True Blue: The Best of Sonic the Hedgehog. Also, Super Smash Bros. Brawl included an instrumental version of "His World" as an unlockable background music.
- Their song "With Legs Like That", served as the entrance song for the WWE Diva Maria Kanellis.
- In conjunction with their first tour of Australia with the Soundwave festival tour, their song, "She Don't Wanna Rock", appeared on the compilation album Soundwave 2012.
- "Blackout" was featured in the season finale of The Challenge: Battle of the Exes.
- "Galileo Was Wrong" was featured in episode 2 of season 5 of "Fantasy Factory".
- "Nothing to Lose" was featured in the season premier of The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons.
- They recorded a cover of the L'Arc-en-Ciel song "Ready Steady Go" for a 2012 tribute album.
- Zebrahead (1998)
- Waste of Mind (1998)
- Playmate of the Year (2000)
- MFZB (2003)
- Waste of MFZB (2004)
- Broadcast to the World (2006)
- Phoenix (2008)
- Panty Raid (2009)
- Get Nice! (2011)
- Call Your Friends (2013)
- "Zebrahead Biography". AllMusic (in English). Jason Ankeny. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "Waste of Mind at Discogs" (Database). Discogs (in English). Discogs. 1998. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- "Speaking to the youth: Zebrahead provides 'Anthem' and more to today's teens", Las Cruces Sun-News, December 13, 2006
- "Zebrahead to release Phoenix". The Gauntlet. Jason. Retrieved 23 July 2008.
- "New artwork and track listing for Phoenix". Myspace. Zebrahead. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- "Zebrahead covers Avril Lavigne". Sputnik Music. J. Ponton. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
- "Japan Panty Raid Tour Announced". Twitter. Zebrahead. Retrieved 18 September 2009.
- "Zebrahead announce artwork and track listing for Get Nice!". Ben Osmundson. Retrieved 9 June 2011.
- "Summer Tour Dates". Zebrahead. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- "Zebrahead tours in Australia". Zebrahead. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
- "Zebrahead sneak peaks on 10th album". Zebrahead Studio Diaries. Zebrahead. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
- "Greg departure".
- "Zebrahead announces release of music video for "Call Your Friends"". Facebook. Zebrahead. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- Official Zebrahead site
- Zebrahead on Myspace
- MFZB.com - Official Zebrahead Online Community
- Postcards From @#!*% - A Zebrahead Blog
- French official Zebrahead site
- First Russian fan site
- Interview on Up Load UK 2009
- Full UK Tour Coverage 2010 On Up Load UK
- Interview on More Than The Music 2011 (Tess Askew)
- Zebrahead Interview on AWR 2013