An Interview with
Guitarist of Orphans Of The Ash and formerly of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band & Nazareth
that took place on 10th October, 2021.
Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.
Glenn: How did the band 'Orphans Of The Ash' come to be and how did you decide on who to have in the band? I notice Matt Black of Fahran is a member.
Zal: Matt is no longer a member. Billy (McGonagle) and myself have decided to work as a two piece for the foreseeable future. The music is diverse, fulfilling a broad remit.
Glenn: Why did you decide on the name 'Orphans Of The Ash' for the band and what does the term/name personally symbolise/mean to you?
Zal: It’s the subtitle of my novel 'ROOL'.
Glenn: What do you consider to be the longevity of the band? Will it be a permanent venture or a project as and when so to speak?
Zal: Billy and I have a lot in common; both very productive. The Orphans will be around for as long as that lasts.
Glenn: What songs mean the most to you that you have written as a band and why?
Zal: Too many to choose from. I’ve never been entirely happy with the production of most of the music with which I’ve been involved. With the Orphans I/we have full control. So, there’s no more excuses.
Glenn: What influenced the album cover and is it pure coincidence that the subject is wearing a gas mask that may or may not relate early days of the band, Teargas?
Zal: The image ties in nicely with the often dystopian themes of the music/songs.
Glenn: What tours/shows do you have in the pipeline and what are you looking forward to about them?
Zal: There are no live shows in the pipeline.
Glenn: How has it been working throughout the Covid-19 period and what got you all through it as a band or on a personal level?
Zal: I remained isolated for lengthy periods - not good for the psyche. I wrote mostly.
Glenn: What is happening with regard to the Sin Dogs? Any more shows or recording planned?
Zal: There is no more Sin Dogs.
Glenn: What have been your personal studio highlights and for what reasons?
Zal: All SAHB sessions were memorable; very live and spontaneous. Sin Dogs, though the songs were powerful, was let down once again by the production.
Glenn: Can you ever see yourself working alongside Max Marshall and Chris Glen again for some sort of SAHB project or reunion kind of nature? Is anything in the works for the future that you can talk about at all?
Zal: No chance whatsoever.
Glenn: What are your personal thoughts to the music business these days – with regard to the state of it and where it was going since I know you turned your back on it all at one point?
Zal: I rarely listen to rock music. I prefer Stravinsky and Debussy. We have a chance with Orphans of the Ash to produce and distribute our music with a distinct degree of control. That’s encouraging.
Glenn: What guitar are you currently playing and what was it about that type that turned you onto it in particular?
Zal: I have two guitars, a Solar and an Ibanez Prestige. They stay in tune.
Glenn: What were your original musical influences and is anyone from nowadays influencing you now and in what way and why?
Zal: In my early teens I listened to Chuck Berry, Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell. I tried to emulate my guitar heroes like Jeff Beck and Ritchie Blackmore. Then I heard Frank Zappa and decided to play the guitar my own way.
Glenn: What have your favourite shows been over the years and that is regard to any bands you have been a part of and why did they stand out to you so much?
Zal: Headlining the Reading festival with SAHB. And also the Xmas Special shows again with SAHB.
Glenn: What would you say you are most proud of as both a musician and a human being overall?
Zal: I take some pride in remaining healthy enough to still be writing and recording music. Overall I’m proud to be a father and grandfather.
Be sure to look out for 'Orphans Of The Ash' whose album is coming out soon!