By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Blasting out its mix of trashy garage punk and metal for the better part of the last decade, LA-based trio Zig Zags comes to the Bay Area to play songs from its high-octane new album They’ll Never Take Us Alive Friday at the Ivy Room in Albany.
Founded by guitarist/vocalist Jed Maheu and drummer Bobby Martin in 2010, Zig Zags took their name not from the popular cigarette rolling papers, but a cheap brand of shoes both musicians wore regularly. Initially playing as a duo, Zig Zags would eventually bring on friend and fan Patrick McCarthy to play bass as the band started churning out a series of caustic, fuzzed-out 7-inch singles for a variety of labels.
The band established itself enough on the Los Angeles scene to be tabbed to back punk legend Iggy Pop on a new version of the Betty Davis funk anthem “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up” for Light in the Attic Records in 2014. By the time Zig Zags released their proper debut album recorded by garage-punk stalwart Ty Segall for In the Red Records a few months later, it was clear the band was injecting more of riff-heavy Black Sabbath influence into their original style of chaotic, tuneful punk.
Maheu would be the sole remaining original member of Zig Zags when they re-emerged two years later with their sophomore album, Running out of Red. Released on John Dwyer’s Castle Face Records, the band (now rounded out by bassist Caleb Miller and drummer Dane Arnold) channeled the raw sounds of Venom and early Slayer through a punk prism in a way that echoed mid-1990s Kentucky-based true believers the Hookers.
On the band’s latest album — and first for noted psych/stoner/metal imprint Easy Rider Records — the trio has gone full-blown thrash. Ferocious tunes like opening salvo “Punk F–king Metal” and “Killer of Killers” sound like Ride the Lightning-era Metallica bashing out new song ideas in their old El Cerrito garage, but Zig Zags still manage to stay true to their punk roots.
Headlining the Ivy Room in Albany, the band (with new bassist and longtime sound engineer Sean Hoffman) will be joined by San Francisco hard-rock outfit Older Sun. Making riff-driven monolithic tunes indebted to the classic ’60s and ’70s sounds of Cream, Free and Montrose since 2012, the band released their debut album last year on Anchorite Recordings after issuing a pair of singles for Valley King Records. That album marked the end of a chapter for the band, presenting its last songs recorded with departing lead singer Chris Wagner. The group has since expanded to a quintet and is now fronted by new singer Kelsey Guntharp.
Opening act Psychic Hit is an Oakland band featuring members of several notable psychedelic punk and space-rock bands including Queen Crescent, Pins of Light, Nik Turner’s Hawkwind and Ovvl. The group has build a solid buzz with its blistering live shows and a sound that draws on classic Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and early Judas Priest while injecting an element of expansive prog rock to great effect. Psychic Hit recently announced it would be releasing a vinyl version of first demo recordings through Netherlands-based DHU Records.
Zig Zags with Older Sun and Psychic Hit
Friday, June 14, 8 p.m. $10
The Ivy Room