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ZFG Interview with Trev and Josh By Nina McCarthy

ZFG

Interview with Trev and Josh

By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio

 

(L-R: Sam, Jules, Trev, Josh)

 

Based in Los Angeles, CA, ZFG consists of Jules Galli on vocals, Trev Lukather on guitar, Sam Porcaro on bass and Josh Devine on drums. The members were close friends in different projects, but decided to get into the studio for fun with a new approach in mind, making music with no rules or boundaries.

 

 

BRR: I hate the cookie cutter questions, but this one is a must because I like the story behind it….tell me about how the band name came about.

Trev: The band kind of came about because Josh and I met through Justin Gariano, who produced our EP. We actually met at Dusty’s birthday, who is the co-producer. Josh and I met and we hit it off and at the same time we were both looking for a spot to move to and we became roommates. Josh had his own band and I had my own band but I always knew that Josh and I were supposed to play together. I kept saying, “”Hey man, we’re not just supposed to be roommates; we are supposed to play together.” Both of our projects were completely different from ZFG. We were doing pop rock music. For me, my songs didn’t really feel like me. I’m a plug in and play type of guy and Josh was such a beast on drums, that his music with his band wasn’t really showcasing his talent.  I suggested us getting into the studio and creating some crazy music with no rules, no verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge...just go crazy with guitar solos and drum solos. Our bass player, Sammy, him and I grew up together because our Dad’s were in a band together since we were four, and I always wanted to play with Sammy. As soon as we got off the road we all decided to get into a room and jam. I kept bumping into Jules at jams in Hollywood. Jules is an R&B, soul, kind of funk singer but I heard him do the high notes and they were very Axl Rose, Chris Cornell and I asked him if he had ever done a rock project before and he said no. We got in a room and we didn’t have a song title or anything, so we just called the project, ZFG, which means ‘Zero Fucks Given,’ because we didn’t have any idea of what we were doing. Jules has his solo thing. Sam has his crazy jam band called Groove Sauce. So we just said, “No commitment. Worst comes to worst, we would have to commit because things were going well. Let’s just have fun and track what we want to track.” So, we kind of stuck with ZFG because that was our first day and that’s as real as it gets because our music is really just us and what we wanted to do, so why change it?

Josh: That was what we were trying to portray, that we were having fun. It is literally what we wanted to do. We weren’t there to have it be on radio or this place or that place. It was what we wanted to listen to and play and if people dig it, they dig it and if they don’t, so be it. So far it’s working out for us, so we definitely found a good sound that we love.

 

BRR: It sounds like the chemistry was there and it was meant to be. 

Trev: The universe definitely spoke and aligned. When we got in the room it was so easy. With all the other past projects I’ve done, some of it was easy and a lot of fun, but sometimes it felt forced. I’m grateful for all the past projects we did separately because it really brought all the different flavor into this beautiful soup of deliciousness that we created as ZFG. All of our separate vibes really came together and it was super-natural, not meaning like ghosts, but as in very natural. It could be a little supernatural too, I don’t know. I could have been possessed.

 

BRR: Trev, you and Sam both have a kinship to a well known band and Josh, you are also the drummer in One Direction. I don’t want to focus on that, but would like to know how important is it for you to stand on your own in the business? You certainly are all very talented.

Josh: For me, it was really weird and very difficult when you are hired to play for a band. It’s not like I started a band and I was equal parts in the band. I was effectively just hired to play for a band, and it gave me a huge leg up and I am so unbelievably proud of what I achieved with the band, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time it’s not something you want to be remembered for. That’s not my legacy. I think it’s important that people realize we’re not trying to piggyback off the back of the fact that I played for a certain band or members of the band have family members that do stuff. That has nothing to do with us. That is someone else’s dream and we are creating our own dream and our own story. Some people think we should leverage it, but we think our music is good enough to speak for itself. We don’t need to rely on a gimmick. We all very much believe in this music and we believe this is what we are meant to do. All this other stuff is just a cool story and that it is part of our lives and it’s beautiful, and we will never be able to escape that, but we all have so much to give individually and as ZFG.

Trev: I’m grateful for all the experiences we have had separately, going on the road and all that definitely leads up to today and what we are doing. We have all played and been on tour for other artists, and at the same, I (and I know Josh too) have always wanted to express ourselves in our own way with something we can say is ours. Yes, Josh pretty much said everything that needed to be said. The music should speak for itself. I think when people find out a little more history of the band, of our family and what projects we’ve done before, that it’s cool, but they are already going to be into the band itself. I really want to stick to the fact that they dig us for us, and listen to the music for itself.  That way there isn’t any pre-judgements or expectations of a certain sound. We’re all individual people so we are going to express ourselves differently than family members or past projects we’ve been in because it’s completely different. The last thing we want is to be lumped into a box of something we are not. We’re not ashamed or anything, it’s just better to stand on your own and let people decide for themselves when they hear you as opposed to having some preconceived notion of what you are going to be. I feel that anyone who leans on that kind of thing is insecure about what they are doing. We are very confident in our music and it really best explains us individually, but also as a group. We are true family and bros. I’ve never been a part of a band that is so much a family and the vibe can be heard in our music. You hear our individual personalities in our music alone. It’s about as natural as it gets and we don’t need to hide behind anything like family or projects.

 

BRR: You released the single “Special” at the end of January and it was quickly added to the charts!  At the end of February, the press release said that song landed you among the Top 10 Greatest Gainers on Both the Billboard Indicator and Foundation charts. Obviously, that’s a goal with any new band, but did this come as a surprise to you?

Josh: Yes, it was a definitely surprise. It’s all credited to our manager, John, who we brought on board. When you work with people, everyone promises you that they can do this and do that. John is one of these people that said he had a plan and before we knew it, he was sending us emails and this was happening and that was happening, and we were like, “Holy shit!” We call him The General. It first came as a surprise, but every bit of good news we get from him now, it’s no surprise anymore because we now realize this guy is the real deal.  

Trev: We owe all our credit to him. He really believes in the band. Josh and I did a session for another band of his and he just kept saying he loved ZFG and believes we could be one of the biggest bands someday. Josh knew him before me, and Josh brought me into meet him on this session that we did. John is one of those guys who was real and expressing his real feelings. He wasn’t one of those jive musician managers that was blowing smoke. He really truly meant it and I just had this feeling that I was supposed to work with this guy. I said to Josh that John seemed like a good guy and believed in us so let’s hear him out. John actually delivers and he doesn’t say anything he’s not going to do. The radio thing was just so exciting. I was in Australia when I heard the news that we were the number 1 most added song and I was like, “Holy shit!” We expected it to be a slow build, but to get number 1 off the bat and chart top 20 or top 5 on the indicator charts or whatever. It keeps climbing, so it’s become a bit of a blur. People are connecting with it and we are excited to get on the road soon and show people what we can do live because that is where we really shine.

 

BRR: Lenny Castro was a guest percussionist on “Special” and he has been called one of the most in-demand percussionists in the world. How did that collaboration come about and how was it working with him?

Trev: Lenny is my Godfather. I grew up with Lenny and he has worked with Sam’s Dad’s and my Dad’s band. Josh knew all about Lenny and I threw it out there. We were working on “Special” and Lenny just happened to message me so I asked the guys if we should ask him to get on the track and Josh was like, “Fuck yeah!” and we were all super stoked just about the idea of him coming in. When I asked him he said to give him the day and time. He came in and Josh already had a killer groove in the song and with Lenny too, it was something else.

Josh: He came in with cowbells, congas, some gauze thing, a shaker, and a tambourine. The groove he brought to that track with just those items alone was amazing. He just stood there and felt the rhythm and did everything in one take.

Trev: Each instrument separately with one take. We were all laughing thinking, “Is this happening?” It was so cool to have Lenny in there with us and how natural it felt and it just brought the groove of the song to a whole other level. It’s the only song on the EP that we have with percussion, but definitely when we make a full album, he is coming back in to do a lot more. It’s so sick.

Josh: For a drummer, especially for a drummer that loves all the groove side of things like me, nothing is better for a drummer to sit in with a great percussionist and a bass player laying into a groove. I have the session recording and I constantly open them up and solo with my drums to it. Just to hear how he brought this to life is fucking mind blowing. Lenny is another level. It’s definitely a career highlight for me, being able to say that I played with Lenny Castro.

 

BRR: I already had an early listen to your upcoming EP. Is the tentative release still set for April?

Trev: We really don’t know yet. We've released our single “Special” for Spotify and all that stuff.  We’ve kind of been playing the EP release by ear because we are going to be tracking a lot more in the next month.

Josh: We keep writing different stuff. We have a good solid foundation of an EP now, but who knows in the next couple of months. Nothing is solid in date yet.

 

BRR: "Special" can also be requested and heard on Boston Rock Radio! I particularly liked how the music I heard was rock and some pop and groove, and of course included the beautiful ballad “Let Me In Again.”  But, my favorite song was “Can’t Get Over Your Sex.” Tell me a little more about that song. 

(They both laugh) Josh: I wish Jules was here. We need Jules for this one.

Trev: I kept playing the riffs for Josh for that song. I was building those riffs for a couple days and Jules came over the house and he was having a certain experience at the time with a girl in Miami. He just was in that mood and when I played him the riffs that I came up with, he just kind of went into the lyrics. Maybe he was having a flashback because he had just gotten back from a trip to Miami. I was laughing and felt like once again, this was the whole premise of ZFG and what it stands for, so I figured, let’s go the distance and do it. Why not?

Josh: We had kind of a reoccuring theme going when we started working together. Everything was kind of sexually fueled. We had a couple other songs too that we played live and never ended up tracking that were along the same kind of vein. Jules was just in that mindframe and one day when you get to speak to him, he will tell you more of his personal experience, but that was what he was going through at the time. It is definitely something everyone goes through. If you listen to it start to finish, it is kind of an elaborate theme and almost a whole relationship cycle in this EP. It wasn’t planned but it was kind of what was happening at the time so it happened like that.

Trev: I think that we saw Jules transform into that rock band frontman while he did this EP.  He was doing that soul pop stuff. When he started playing with us and saw our whole sense of humor and vibe of the band, he just turned and morphed into this Steven Tyler-like character and really just started writing and hitting the fuck it button. It was everything that it should be and we were all just giggling and laughing, saying “Let’s track it. Let’s not second guess it.” That’s actually one of my favorite songs, seriously.

Josh: It definitely holds to the zero fucks given notion. If this is what we want to write about, that is what we write about. No one tells us different.

 

BRR: You’re going to be hitting the road in April and May with Adelitas Way and then the Winery Dogs on some west coast dates. Sadly, the closest you come to me is like 5 hours away in Pennsylvania with Adelitas Way.

Josh: I’m sure we’ll come and play closer to you eventually. The one great thing about this band is, we are road dogs. We just want to get out and tour. There is going to be a lot of touring in this career.

 

BRR: And like you said, your live show is where it’s at.

Josh: We come across well recording, but I feel like ZFG is an “experience live” band. You need to come and listen and see it to feel the energy of the show.

 

BRR: Are you excited for the fans to hear these songs live?

Trev: 100 percent. We are also very excited to play for a lot of people who don’t know who we are and what we do. I think we are going to win over a lot of audiences of people that don’t know us. Of course we are excited to play for those who have been digging our song on the radio, but I love winning over a room. It’s a challenge, but I feel that they are going to feel our energy and our vibe together onstage. We just like to have fun and everyone to have fun and provide an escape for people and go nuts and get crazy with us. I can’t wait to go on the road and play for all the fans and for complete strangers.

 

BRR: I think touring is the only way to get out there and gain lasting fans.

Josh: Exactly. Honestly, the whole record industry has changed so much. Back in the day, you could make a good living selling CDs, not that it is all about money, but it certainly helps. Nowadays, touring is essential for a band to survive and lucky for us, that is where we thrive and that’s where we want to be. We are looking forward to getting out there, putting the work in and really showing everyone around the world what we’ve got.

 

BRR: Great. I can’t wait to see where this takes you and catch a live show for myself. Any concluding comments?

Josh: Follow along and we hope to see some people out at the shows. If we come near your town, come out and see us and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Trev: Come out and see us and hang with us and come experience our live crainess.

 

BRR: Thanks again for you time. I’ll get the word out about you!

Josh: Thank you. We really appreciate it. Be in Pennsylvania.

 

BRR: I may have to do a roadtrip! It wouldn’t be the first time. I actually wanted to see Adelitas Way when they were in Rhode Island, but the show was canceled.

Josh: Hell yeah! Five hours isn’t too bad. I think it’s a much needed roadtrip.

Trev: We look forwarding to hanging out with you.

 

Official Website

Watch “Special” on YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

 

ZFG w/ Adelitas Way "What it Takes" Tour Dates

4/17 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
4/19 Austin, TX @ Come and Take it Live
4/20 Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey
4/24 Heath, OH @ Muddy Creek Saloon
4/26 Tucson, AZ @ Pima County Fair
4/27 Easton, PA @ One Centre Square
4/28 Buffalo, NY @ Iron Works
5/1 Pittsburgh, PA @ Crafthouse
5/2 Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
5/3 Battle Creek, MI @ Music Factory
5/4 Joliet, IL @ The Forge
5/5 Madison, WI @ Majestic Theater
5/8 Chippewa Falls, WI @ Every Buddy's​
5/9 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
5/10 Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theatre​
5/11 Denver, CO @ Marquis
5/12 Colorado Springs, CO @ Black Sheep

------------

ZFG​ w/ The Winery Dogs "Who Let The Dogs Out" Tour:

May 25th - Las Vegas, NV - Vamp’d
May 28th - Sacramento, CA - Crest Theater
May 29th - Santa Cruz, CA - Rio Theater​
May 30th - Anaheim, CA
May 31st - Beverly Hills, CA - Saban Theatre

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