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Interview with Lord Zion (SPiT LiKE THiS)

‘I was the kid that everyone picked on at school. I was fat, had a stupid name and looked a bit girlie,’ stated Lord Zion on the official site of his metal band SPiT LiKE THiS. But over the last ten years he has lived out the life of a rock star, performing to fans across the world and selling merchandise through his company Smell Your Mum.

Formed with partner and bassist Vikki, SPiT LiKE THiS‘ first release was the EP The Pop Shot! Following several other extended plays and Scary Tales: The Collection, they finally released their debut album, We Won’t Hurt You (But We Won’t Go Away), in 2008 to critical acclaim. SPiT LiKE THiS are set to join Tigertailz in a tour of the UK.

Lord Zion talks about music, fans and touring.

Who are SPiT LiKE THiS?

SPiT LiKE THiS is me on vocals, my partner-in-crime ViKKi SPiT on bass guitar, ViLE GiLEZ on drums and ROB RiOT on guitars. Our sound is exciting and punky. Our latest album has been described as a cross between Mötley Crüe and Motörhead; how the hell does that work? I don’t know but, somehow, it does. Our attitude is one of power and individuality. We fight the good fight and don’t let people down. Our mission is not to be the next Band X or Band Y but to be the very first, one and only SPiT LiKE THiS. We don’t do things by halves.

If you had to compare your band to a drink that would it be?

Relentless, because that is what we are.

How different are your on-stage personas to the people you are during the daytime? Are these exaggerated characters based on yourselves or do you live this life 24/7?

SPiT LiKE THiS is our lives. I don’t know how to be anyone else other than me, although there are many facets to my personality. I’m a different person off-stage to on-stage, but that is mainly because I would look like a right idiot if I was running around with a microphone when I went out shopping. However, if you see me out shopping, I look pretty much exactly the same as the guy you see in photos or on stage. There is no pretence with me or my band.

Groupies have always been an important element of heavy metal, and SPiT LiKE THiS has their fair share of sexy followers.

Well, seeing as I have been with Vikki for over ten years, groupies isn’t something I indulge in. Given the opportunity, Rob will have a go but, to be honest with you, the music is our main focus. We are very intense, which can make us quite unapproachable to a lot of people who are intimidated by that, so Rob probably doesn’t benefit from his status quite as much as he could!

You have covered the track Sweet Transvestite from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which perfectly suited your mix of sex and theatrics. Have you incorporated many other songs from movies into your set lists and which film do you feel best represents the attitude of your band?

No others and, to be honest with you, we only covered that tune because people kept comparing us to the Rocky Horror Show. I have a certain androgeny about me and, coupled with my very English vocals, the comparison seemed as natural as the cover choice. Sweet Transvestite continues the ambiguous vibe and is a sexier choice than the most covered tune from that movie, The Timewarp. We tried it out live once and it went down so well, it has remained in our set ever since. It is less reflective of SLT 2011 than previous incarnations of the band but, it is a fan favourite, so I expect we will continue to play with it for a while longer.

We haven’t incorporated any other songs from films in our set, although we did occasionally use the ‘Pussy Lover’ speech from Dusk till Dawn as our intro. That raised some eyebrows! We are all film fans, which probably goes some way to explain why SLT is such a visual beast.

Any film where the underdog wins represents us. I mean, whoever thought that a rag-tag bunch playing our audacious brand of glam punk would ever play at Wacken? Most didn’t think it possible; we knew differently.

You are set to support Tigertailz on a tour of the UK. Were these a band you were a fan of back in the day and how did you come to work with them?

Personally, yes. The first time we met them, I made a point of letting them know that one of my birthday cakes was the cover of Bezerk! To now be playing with them is quite surreal and a very nice turn of events. I have been fortunate to play with a lot of bands I admired although, alas, most have turned out to be douche bags. I can happily state, hand-on-heart however, that Tigertailz do not fall into this category.

We supported TT at the Borderline at the end of 2010. We’ve also shared the bill a few times at Hard Rock Hell events. I would like to think that it was our stellar performances that got us the job but, truth be told, it was more likely the work of our awesome new agent, Martin Jarvis, who also represents the Tailz. Not that I am sure they are anything other than delighted to have us on board – I think it is a damn fine live combination, us and them.

Do you have a favourite Tigertailz song and have you ever covered them during your shows?

Noize Level Critical is my personal favourite. Just a great chorus that really gets you in the mood to rock! And, nope, never covered any. I don’t think we would cover a song by another rock band. Any covers we ever do will always come out of left-field.

Endless touring can take its toll on many bands; do you feel the negative effects when constantly on the road?

There is no doubt about it, it can get very tiring. I keep myself as fit as possible off-stage, which really helps. I also do not drink or do drugs any more (I’m not straight edge or anything, it just doesn’t suit who and what I am about now) and that also helps. Since quitting, I am a much better performer. Tiredness is the biggest hurdle to overcome. I don’t sleep well on the road so it can be tough doing all the travelling and performing on very little. We just did a 1,660 mile trip around Germany – that was tough going at times. Certainly not complaining though as this is what I signed up for.

What kind of interaction do you have with your fans and have you had any scarier experiences when meeting them?

Without fans we don’t exist, it is that simple. The band/fan relationship is one of hero-worship but, in our case, it is us that worship our fans. Not because we are sicophants but because they put us in this enviable position to be who we want to be. We are always happy to sign autographs, have our photos taken and I go out of my way to interact with anyone that wants to on my Facebook page. One of my biggest thrills in life is being stopped in the street by someone whose life I have touched. It is a privilege.

Lord Zion

Lord Zion

Do you feel that your studio recordings capture the essence of the band as it is heard during your live shows?

Up until the recording of our next album, Normalityville Horror, no. Capturing lightning in a bottle is really hard; an almost impossible task. Producer Chris Tsangarides has managed it though and we cannot wait for people to hear the whole thing. You can read a making-of blog at NormalityvilleHorror.com.

Although many bands struggle to survive in an era of illegal downloading and file sharing, do you feel that your website Smell Your Mum has provided the group with enough financial support that you don’t need to rely solely on album sales?

Smell Your Mum.com feeds, clothes and pays the rent of Vikki and I. When we started it, its mission was to do this and to fund our share of what is a very expensive endeavor and I am extremely proud that we pulled it off. Every single T-shirt we sell is designed by me and hand screen-printed by Vikki (who has severe RSI as a result) and every single penny goes right back into the band. The fans fund our lives, whether it is through buying an album, coming to a show or buying an item from our site. We have sold, literally, tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of T-shirts worldwide – that is quite a headfuck for a couple who once had this crazy dream they were determined to make come true!

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