ZO2: Interview with the Band

How often is it that you hear of a musician having not only one, but three jobs? Those kinds of musicians are certainly few and far between, but the guys from ZO2 make it look easy. Not only is ZO2 the stars of their own reality-based TV show “Z Rock”, but they also work hard making a name for themselves as a professional rock n’ roll band. As if those things weren’t time consuming enough, they throw children’s birthday parties into the mix with their daytime gig, the Z Brothers. If there was ever a term for a rock star superhero, the guys from ZO2 would be the definition of it. ZO2 could easily become the next great American rock band, and If I were you, I’d pay close attention to Paulie, David, and Joey, as they take over the world.

Here’s what the guys had to say before their show at the Intersection:

Amanda: So what exactly does ZO2 stand for?

David: It stands for AWESOME!

Amanda: Awesome? Well, I guess I should’ve known that!

Paulie: Well, the Z is because we’re the Z brothers, David and I – There are the two of us, and then Joey is the ‘other’ guy. There are actually a couple of different definitions for me. It’s like a chemistry that we have; ZO2 originated from CO2, which we thought was cool, because it’s an element and we have such great chemistry, and it just became ZO2. Another version that my brother likes to say more, is that our father and our uncle had a band back in the 70’s, which was called Z, and we are influenced by them. They were a 3 piece, and they also had an Italian drummer Joey.

Amanda: Very cool, was it like classic rock?

Paulie: Yea, like Mountain and Cream, you know along those lines – But they had the same setup, with the two brothers, and Joey the drummer. We started jamming with Joey at the end of 2002, so Z’02 is another version.

Joey: I met Joey from the other band; why does he look 30 years older than the other two, they really ruined his life, didn’t they?

Paulie: Well, that’s what happens when you’re with us.

Amanda: Before “Z Rock” came about, what was the going rate for a Z Brothers birthday party?

Paulie: We actually still do birthday parties.

Amanda: Oh, very cool! Well I have a 6 year old daughter, what would you guys charge me if I wanted to hire you?

David: There would be a pinky up to the mouth, and it would be one million dollars!

Amanda: Haha, nice! So you guys are pretty much banking then, right?

David: Well, put it this way, it definitely afforded us to be able to do ZO2, and not have to worry about where the money would be coming from.

Amanda: So was it by the hour then?

David: Per show, and we do half hour to 45 minute sets.

Paulie: It’s not cheap, just put it that way, and our rates are still the same today as they were then – We could raise them by a lot, but we don’t with the economy the way it is. People aren’t spending as much, and aren’t having as many parties as they used to. You have to realize too, that the clientele that spend a couple of hundred dollars on a party, and then pay for someone to come in and sing and play guitar, are going to be people who have a lot money; It’s not like we were playing for everybody, it was a more specific group of people.

Amanda: So more of your high society, upper class type of crowd?

Paulie: Yea, it’s more of like upper Eastside, upper Westside of Manhattan.

Joey: I know I never had a guy come in and sing for any of my birthday parties growing up!

Amanda: Oh neither did I! I never even heard of that before you guys came along.

Paulie: Every birthday party I had, was at my house, with a cake and maybe my uncle would stop by for a bit. Honestly, that’s why it was so odd for us when we got into this. We didn’t know that there was a market for this. I remember the first birthday party I ever did with my other friend, before I got these two into it, they gave us 30 dollars, and they fed us, and I thought that was unbelievable.

Amanda: Well yeah, compared to any gig for a local band – you’re lucky to get 20 dollars and free beer.

Paulie: Right! And we got food and everything, so it was incredible. Once we figured out there was a real market for specific clientele, we just attacked it.

David: Put it this way, we got paid like rock stars, doing the kid thing.

Amanda: That’s pretty cool – I could see how someone would want to make a show out of that, because it’s something that nobody’s ever really heard of before. Do you guys pretty much do that in New York then, or do you go out of state as well?

Paulie: Jersey and Connecticut, but for the most part, we’d stay within an hour. The only time we’d drive more than an hour, would be like for the Hamptons.

Joey: Well we might start doing it out of state, there just hasn’t been any offers really.

David: The other thing is we never really promoted that, so the people who knew us, were the people who saw us at other parties.

Amanda: So then just locals, and a lot of word of mouth type deals?

David: Yeah, you really wouldn’t get anybody from Ohio or Michigan who would know us necessarily, but now that “Z Rock” aired, and we have two seasons under our belt, there are a lot more people who know us as kid musicians, and rock musicians as well.

Amanda: Yea, it definitely shows; you have quite a few younger fans in the crowd tonight I noticed.

David: Yea, for sure!

Amanda: I read somewhere that ZO2’s newest album Casino Logic, is based on applying logic to illogical situations to make yourselves feel better.

Joey: Where’d you hear that?

Amanda: Well, I’m actually a pretty huge fan of you guys. I’ve seen every single episode of “Z Rock”, and I’ve done my research.

David: Very Cool!

Joey: It’s funny, because almost no one asks us what Casino Logic means, almost never, right guys? I don’t know if I’ve ever been asked that question.

Paulie: I think other people just take it as, it’s just the name of the album.

Joey: Well, it’s exactly what you said – We can rationalize anything. It started with Dave and I always going to the casino, no matter where we were. We would go, and we’d plan on spending X amount of dollars, and still come out on top, even if we left losing. For instance, one time I left after losing $500, but I said to myself, I had AT LEAST $1500 worth of fun – I had a great time, so I’m up a grand.

ZO2 in unison: And that’s Casino Logic!

Amanda: I could see how that would work out well in other situations too.

David: You could pretty much apply that to everything in life.

Paulie: And we do!

Amanda: Seems like one would be a much happier person doing that.

Joey: It’s really just lying to yourself.

Amanda: Haha, and who doesn’t do that anyways, right?

Joey: Exactly.

Amanda: Do you guys have any plans for another new album anytime soon?

David: I think instead of putting out a traditional album, we’re all leaning towards recording songs as they’re finished, and putting them out for downloads, so basically just the way it used to be, with singles and a B-side. That’s sort of where the industry is going now anyways. Record labels are hurting, and record sales in general are hurting because people can just get it online. Even if you buy a CD, truth be told, I buy CD’s all the time, but I don’t listen to them, I upload them and put them on my iPod. I still have the CD, I just hardly ever use the CD itself.

Paulie: We all buy them because we still have that mentality of wanting the physical part of it.

Amanda: Yea, like myself – I want to see the pictures and read the lyrics and what not.

Paulie: Yea, It’s more like buying a book, rather than just reading it online, but the thing is, it’s all going digital.

Joey: That doesn’t mean that we won’t make albums still, but why make someone wait a whole year for 12 new songs? Let’s put out one every month or two, and then once we have 12, maybe we’ll package it as the new CD.

Amanda: I think that would be cool.

Paulie: We’ll have some bonus stuff, a nice thick booklet, because the way we look at it is, we buy CD’s, but that’s because we’re collectors, so we have that mentality.

Amanda: Oh, I’m the same way.

Paulie: Right, so you’re a collector and a band puts out a CD, and it has a basic booklet like most bands do, and about 99% of every CD that comes out, is crap. I went to art school, so you see that in all of our CD’s – we’ll always have something more to them – There’s always a lot of content, and maybe some sort of bonus features. For the most part, I’m very disappointed when I buy a CD, I still buy them, but I’m disappointed. When you get the deluxe packages, it’s worth spending the extra money – I’d rather spend the 30 dollars to get all the extras, and so that’s what we’re thinking of doing.

David: It’s kind of like Kiss’ Love Gun; It came with a cardboard cutout of a love gun. So that’s the idea – For people who just want the music they’ll be able to get it on iTunes or any of the online stores, and then at the end, when we package it all together and put out the CD, the actual collectors will still want it at that point anyway.

Amanda: Oh yea for sure – That’s like yesterday, your Season 2 DVD of “Z Rock” came out, and I probably went to four different stores looking for it, and ended up pissing myself off by buying $100 worth of crap I didn’t need, just trying to find it.

Paulie: We were also looking and couldn’t find it.

Joey: Did you ever end up getting it?

Amanda: I did, I just ended up buying it on iTunes.

Paulie: That’s what everyone else is doing too, it’s just easier to get it online.

Amanda: Yea, I think that kind of sucks – I don’t want to have to sit at my computer to watch the whole season, that’s what I have a big screen TV for.

Paulie: The other thing is too, psychologically if you think about it, at least for us, I remember between the second and third album, we were playing those same songs for about 2-2 1/2 years, maybe more, before the next record came out. You know, a band comes out, let’s take STP for example, they put out their album, which is a good album, but you know what, it’s going to be another 3 or 4 more years at least before the next record, so you’re stuck with that set of songs. For us and fans, how awesome would it be if like, oh hey, we have a great song we just wrote right now; Let’s record it, put it out, and now we can play it live!

Amanda: That almost seems like it would be better – Nobody gets bored that way.

David: We’re just kind of trying to stay with the times, and ahead of the curve.

Amanda: I wanted to ask you guys a little bit about “Z Rock”, since I’m such a big fan of the show. How hard has it been for you guys to be taken serious, and be noticed as an actual band?

Paulie: In the business, or with the fans?

Amanda: With either – Has it been more difficult for people to realize you guys are an actual band, and not just actors?

Paulie: As far as being taken seriously, I don’t think we have ever not been taken seriously. That’s one thing we thought about too, that it was like, is this going to make us look like a joke. Even if we’re not like the Monkees, we didn’t want people to think we’re a goof band, we were worried about that, and honestly we haven’t had any of that. If anything they respect us more, because they’re like, it’s amazing that you’re doing both.

David: They say, we wish we could do that, we wish we thought of that.

Paulie: Yeah, so we were relieved with that, I think the second part of that question though, is it’s been extremely difficult to get people to realize that we’re a real band, to connect the dots. So that was a little disappointing, that we just kind of assumed you have a TV show, and now all of a sudden you’d be selling out, and people just aren’t making a connection.

Amanda: Well, it’s still new, so it might just be taking people a minute to realize that.

Paulie: Well not only that, why would you think that we’re a real band, it’s a TV show.

Amanda: That’s a good point, I never even heard of ZO2 until the show itself started airing.

Joey: And that’s one of the main reason we did the show. In this day in age, you need something extra. I really think Ozzy started it all with The Osbourne’s. He made it ok, and even cool to just go on TV, and be yourself, and whether you’re a family man, or goofin around, or an idiot, or whatever, you can be yourself. You don’t have to be seen as this larger than life character anymore. You could go on TV and be yourself and actually become more popular. After Ozzy, Bret Michaels did it, as well as Gene Simmons, and it just took their careers to a whole other level.

Paulie: Well let me ask you a question then, how did you realize we were a real band, did you just assume, or did you research it?

Amanda: Well, I had to research it, I mean because I watched the whole first season, and just assumed you guys were actors.

Paulie: So are you a big fan of music then?

Amanda: Oh absolutely, and that’s the main reason I searched to find out in fact that you guys were real musicians, and very talented ones at that.

David: We definitely get a handful of that at every show, of people who will see us for the very first time and go, wow, we didn’t know you were a real band, and we just saw you guys, and it was amazing. The only problem is, on a grand scale, trying to hit all these people, because we were getting what, like a million viewers a week every week.

Paulie: Yea, it’s over a million people watching you, and what percentage of that, are going to go to the computer, and actually look us up? That’s always the tricky part, and I think it’s just a matter of getting the word out in time. Over the course of time, more and more interviews and reviews and things will help us make people realize that we’re a real band.

Amanda: So I have to ask, since your “Z Rock” manager Dina is so crazy on the show, how close in comparison is she to that of your real life managers, Lynn and Rob?

David: That’s actually a good question; we called the actress who plays Dina, and her real name is Lynne Koplitz, and since our real manager’s name was Lynn, we called her the Bizarro Lynne. What she did, as a good actress she actually wound up hanging out with Lynn a lot, and taking a lot of what Lynn was doing and using that with her character. So much so at one point when we weren’t filming, we were doing a show in the city, where the two Lynn’s were actually just sitting in the audience watching the show, and Lynne Koplitz started doing something our regular manager Lynn would do, and I was getting so confused, because it was literally like I was watching twins.

Amanda: So was it kind of like something out of the “Twilight Zone” then?

David: Yeah, it was crazy because they were both using the same kind of mannerisms, like telling me to get my hair out of my face, and it was really just bizarre to see, so I think there’s a lot of Lynn and Bob, in Lynne Koplitz’s role as Dina.

Amanda: That’s cool that she did that, so then it’s not too far off from what you guys are used to outside the show.

Paulie: Right, except Rob and Lynn are no longer our managers.

Amanda: Oh I see, that I was not aware of. It’s actually pretty hard to find anything online about you guys, outside of the show.

Joey: Like what were you trying to find?

Amanda: Well, just with researching, you know like Wikipedia, which is one of my favorite things in the whole entire world to use.

Paulie: And it has nothing on it about us.

Amanda: Yeah, which kind of bummed me out, because you guys will already be going on your third season of “Z Rock” and what not.

Joey: Well maybe you could add some stuff about us, right?

Paulie: Yeah, anybody can edit it, I believe.

Amanda: Oh, I didn’t know that either. Well maybe after this interview I’ll have to go on there and add a few things.

Paulie: There you go, so ask us whatever you want to know.

Amanda: Alright, well I want to know who would be your ultimate choice for a guest appearance on the show, for Season 3.

David: Pamela Anderson.

Joey: Well I definitely know who I’d pick. Since we already did a wrestling show, why not do another with Hulk Hogan? I know originally that’s who we were trying to get for the first season.

Amanda: It’s funny you bring that up, because I wanted to ask you if you’re actually as much of a fan of Chris Jericho in real life, as you are in the wrestling episode in Season 2 of “Z Rock”?

Joey: Well, I’m a big wrestling fan, I’m just not a super fan anymore like I used to be when I was a kid – Hulk Hogan was definitely my favorite, so I just pretty much pretended Chris was Hulk for the show.

Amanda: Well I have to say, you were pretty convincing.

Paulie: I think for me it’d have to be Spinal Tap, that’d be my ultimate, because they basically wrote the book on that sort of stuff, and I just think it would be amazing to have those three as Spinal Tap with us.

Amanda: I personally would like to see Lenny Kravitz with you guys, I think that would make for a good show.

Paulie: Or, Slash would be cool. I think it would be nice to get Ozzy, Gene, and Bret, plus guest host with their shows, I think that would be cool as well.

Amanda: Even Sharon would be a good one for “Z Rock”, I think trying to pair her up with Joan somehow would be a lot of fun.

Joey: The two of them fighting would make a great show!

Amanda: I heard that you guys actually might be doing some filming while you’re here in Grand Rapids for the show, is that true?

David: No, what we’re doing now, is webisodes. We’re taking the camera on the road with us and getting footage while we’re out on tour. So you’re basically getting the reality version of “Z Rock”, rather than re-enacting the stuff, you’re seeing it firsthand.

Amanda: So for the show tonight will you guys be doing any sort of webisode?

David: We may, if something presents itself, again, its reality, so we won’t be staging anything.

Paulie: Well, if the camera’s ready – Our video department (pointing at David) isn’t always on top of things.

Joey: We’re doing that right now, because we’re actually kind of in a transition with “Z Rock”. We’re probably not going to be back with IFC, so we’re actually searching for a bigger network. We figured in the meantime why not give the people a little glimpse of the real “Z Rock”, which is really just the show, but unedited, and a little more reality.

Paulie: It’s the same concept of just putting out the singles instead of waiting, in this day and age nobody wants to have to wait for anything.

Joey: People forget really quickly too, so we just want to make sure there’s always something new there that fans can sink their teeth into, and hold onto.

David: If you want to put it down, the place that you can go to and see that right now, is YouTube. Go to youtube.com/ZO2videoz, and that’s where we have a little collection of 2-5 minute clips.

Paulie: You should definitely check it out; there are a lot of good ones already up.

Joey: There will be a handful from this trip up in the next couple of weeks as well.

David: It is such a great place to check, because even outside of the videos we post, there are a lot that fans post. There is just a ton of live footage and music videos as well.

Amanda: You guys just mentioned that you were looking for a bigger network to pick you up, so does that mean that Season 3 doesn’t have a start date then?

Paulie: Correct.

Amanda: Really, that saddens me, because I was hoping for Season 3 soon.

Paulie: Well it is what it is; this industry is a rough one, and the deeper you get into it, honestly the harder it gets, you know, when you’re a local band, and you’re the biggest local band in town, in some way you almost want to stop.

Amanda: So kind of like you’d almost rather be the big fish in the little pond?

Paulie: Exactly, and once you get into the big leagues, which we are now, officially, it’s like joining the major leagues, and you’re the rookie, and you’re just like, oh my god, now I have to work 10 times harder to get anywhere.

Amanda: Basically like you are starting all over again?

Paulie: Exactly, and it’s like TV is this whole other world, and it doesn’t work as fast as you want it to work. Even if someone were to pick it up now, they’d say yeah, so we’ll pick it up, and we’ll release it in 2013.

David: From the time the idea of “Z Rock” was first thought of, to the actual start date of the show, it was three years.

Paulie: With a record, we can go in and record in a month, do all of our print outs, and go on tour, so it’s a different animal completely.

Amanda: Well it seems to be working out for you guys, so maybe patience is the key.

Paulie: Patience is definitely the key.

Amanda: Well, I have a few weird questions for you guys…

David: Perfect!

Amanda: If you had to change careers tomorrow, and you all became porn stars what would your stage names be?

David: I’d be Dave Dong Dildo.

Paulie: Curly Q, maybe?

Joey: I think I’d just be the same as my wrestling name, Joey-licious.

Paulie: No way you have to pick a new one, you can’t use the same name twice – Yeah mine would definitely be Curly Q.

Amanda: That’s a good one, although it kind of sounds a little more suited for gay porn, maybe?

David & Joey: OOOOHHH!!!!

Amanda: Well I’m just saying, maybe you could work on it a little, you have a whole day to come up with something.

Joey: Maybe mine could be Boy Juice?

Amanda: Boy Juice huh? Maybe you and Paulie could make a movie together?

Paulie & Joey: OOOHHH!!!!

Amanda: I’m just kidding, just messing with you guys.

Joey: Alright, give me that recorder right now.

Paulie: Ok, what if I change my name to Goldie Cocks?

Amanda: That’s it! Perfect.

Joey: I would probably only do midget porn, so maybe I could be Joey, the King of the Midgets?

Amanda: That would work, or maybe even King Dong?

David: Hey I know Joey, you should be Frank Stabone!(Everybody cracks up laughing)

Paulie: David’s already been in porn you could say, he was in Playgirl, so there’s another thing you could research.

Amanda: Oh wow, I was not aware of that; I’ll definitely have to look that up! Well last question – If you could dig up one dead musician, and bring them back to life for a day, just to play on stage with ZO2, who would it be?

David: Michael Jackson, he went way too soon.

Paulie: Wow, that’s a weird question. This is weird, but I’d want to dig up Eric Carr, just so I could meet him.

Joey: Yeah, that’s who I was going to say too, because that’s who I grew up always wanting to be.

Paulie: I was also going to say Bonham, just to be able to jam with him, but I think Eric Carr has more of a personal connection for me.

David: You notice a theme here? It’s all, get rid of Joey as the drummer.

Amanda: Haha, well they do say drummers are the most replaceable! I think Jimi Hendrix would be pretty cool, or even Jim Morrison.

David: Another thing you could look up is, every Halloween we used to play in the city, and Paulie would dress up as Jimi.

Paulie: With those guys there was a more spiritual sort of, ummm…

David: Psychedelic is a better word.

Paulie: The three of us with those kind of guys, I don’t know if it would click, at least with the impression that I have of them. I can’t imagine with Hendrix, us… having fun hanging out.

David: Elvis looked like he’d be a fun guy to hang out with.

Paulie: Yeah, he definitely seemed like he’d be a cool guy to hang with. So there it is, Michael Jackson, Eric Carr, and Elvis Presley.

David: That’s going to be the new tribute band that ZO2 does.

Amanda: Awesome, well I’ll definitely be looking for that – Thank you so much guys, I had a blast!