” Not since The White Stripes has a band lit us up quite like The Zilis. With a sound that is distinctly nostalgic and rocking full of fun, these guys are proof that good things do come north of the border. ” – Fresh Independence
Name: Zander Lamothe, Justin Bozzo and Sean Royle
Age: Zander is 24. Justin and Sean are 26.
Where are you writing this: Sean’s home.
How did The Zilis come to be?
We started playing together when we were in high school. We had a front man at first but we really started playing as a three-piece when we formed a cover band called the Led Hot Zili Peppers. We played three one-hour long sets a night to pay off the debts of our old band. When our front man left, we began writing originals as a trio and found that things were really clicking. Eventually, we decided to shorten the name to The Zilis for our original stuff.
Photo Credit: Rambo
Just when all began to feel lost – along came Leon Bridges to lead us to the river of hope offering all thirsty souls a drink of possibility. In a modern day disposable society where anything seems to go and does, he restores faith in the human spirit. Our greatest wish for him is that he will always hold on to that sense of wonder that whispers deeply within, and began with those first steps such a short time ago in August 2014. His fresh presence is long overdue as he imprints on the hearts of faithfulness.
I feel like I’m paving out my own path. People are very positive about what I’m doing and receiving it pretty well. I had one guy who told me “I love what you’re doing, but why don’t you do a little more funk?” And that’s not a bad thing, but that’s just not what I do. I’m more on the smooth side of soul. I’m coming from a Ginuwine and Usher background, slow and smooth songs. And that’s why I really connected to Sam Cooke, because he was just very smooth. It’s not like the James Browne types, which is all great stuff, but he was totally set apart from those guys.
I had never thought of recording straight to tape before meeting [White Denim guitarist-producer] Austin Jenkins. I just wanted to record and get some songs down. When Austin first met me, he just said, ‘I love your sound, I want to record everything to tape and just really capture that 1950s/1960s sound.” The first session made me realize that this is what I need to do. It was such a good feeling being in the great room with all of the musicians, me and the backup singers in the same room, the musicians playing at the same time. You just really feed off of everybody’s energy and vibe. If you screw up the take, you do it again, you get the take and it’s good.
photo credit: jo lopez
If you are a disciple of Bruce Springsteen then you may want to come in and make your self comfortable as we talk about what lights you up inside his music. His repertoire of songs have tapped and trickled into every human emotion imaginable, traveling seamlessly across the map of time and imprinting on every memory that brought us here today.
He’s kept his eyes clear never allowing anyone or anything the ability to steal that which is most important to him – his music. Hence the practice of no alcohol before midnight during shows, choosing to be present inside the passion resonating from somewhere deep within, and inviting us to surrender completely inside the faithfulness of it all.
Truth be told Bruce is the greatest show on earth and I don’t believe you have fully lived until you have experienced him live. This notion has not come to be, simply by the chance of fate or experience but by his work ethic that outshines the average man.
Tom Morello who toured with him said it best when talking about what it was like working with The Boss.
The first time it really, really sunk in was, we were on the plane ride back from Australia, and Bruce was at his computer with his headphones on for the entire 16-hour flight… working.
Hearing this I thought ‘wow here is a man that could and likely should be sleeping after a strenuous world tour, but instead he was buried deep into the next project. He has always had my heart but with this he has my utmost respect and is living proof that nothing good comes easy. Do what you love and love what you do and everything else will follow.
Inviting you to share below what sticks with you about Bruce, the E Street Band and his music…