Interview – Zebrahead (Ali Tabatabaee) – Slam Dunk Festival

For the 2nd year in a row Zebrahead hit the Wulfrun Hall stage at the Wolverhampton leg of Slam Dunk festival, joining the likes of Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger and Millencolin on the bill. We manage to catch up with singer Ali Tabatabaee ahead of their set.

2nd Slam Dunk in a row, must be pretty cool to play consecutive years?

Yeah, we has such a good time last year we decided to come back.

So was it a case of you wanting to come back?

They have to ask you, but yeah we were stoked that they asked us back. It’s fun, the shows have been going great, today’s the last one and could possibly be the best one hopefully.

The other two shows good then? Looking on social media you seemed to have good crowds.

Good man! Good crowds, fans are coming out and having a good time.

There was speculation yesterday that you had the most crowd surfers at the festival.

That’s what I heard! Lot of kids jumping around and crowd surfing, it was good.

The newest album not long released, you went back and recorded some of the older tracks again. Was it a case of it being the right time and wanting to do it?

So Dan and Matty are relatively new members of the band, and we had been talking about going and recording older songs with them so that they could be on it as well. We’d talked about it for a really long time, and we were at home and had some time off so we went into the studio and put it down. We weren’t sure if we were going to release it, because you never know what it’s going to sound like. I think they did a great job, and it sounded pretty good.

It must be a little weird, because you’ve been playing those songs for years and years. So I imagine internally, it must have felt a little bit like they were apart of those songs in the beginning anyway.

It does absolutely! Most bands probably don’t go and listen to their old CDs, so the only time I listen to it is when we play it live, so it was very normal to me.

Doing some research, I came across you and Matty doing a Sonic the Hedgehog track?

Yeah! They approached us to do a song for that, and we did it but it’s really strange because a lot of our fans we got from that. They’d not heard of us before, and they got the games, liked the song and started coming to the shows. It’s really bizarre how you can make fans.

In Japan you are pretty darn big…

We’ve been very fortunate there!

Your last five albums have been top ten over there!

Yes, very lucky.

It must be a little overwhelming? For another country to embrace you like they have.

It’s been amazing. We go there quite often, at least once a year and so we have been going for twenty years now. We have friends there, we grew up with them, they have kids, they bring their kids to the shows. It’s like a second home to us.

Last question before the Speed Round. How can I get a hold of a copy of ‘Panty Raid’ legally? I want that album, and it seems impossible to find in the UK.

Really? I’ll try to find one for you, I don’t think I even have one, but I’ll try!

Speed Round

What would you like to be remembered for?

I guess being a good dude.

Dream dinner guest (dead or alive)?

I would say Madonna.

If you could only play one venue for the rest of your career, which would it be?

The Zepp, Tokyo.

Favourite swear word?

Fuck.

What was the last song that properly made you stop and listen?

I’ve been listening to this rapper/producer dude called Juicy J, he did something on a Katy Perry song and I liked his rap so I got his album- so yeh, I guess that.

What did you have for breakfast?

I had Beef Curry – that’s all they had!

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars.

Which album are you embarrassed to own?

My own!

Zebrahead are back in the UK at the end of November and early December, and they are bringing Patent Pending with them. You can see date below:

21st Nov – Southend, Chinnerys
22nd Nov – Birmingham, O2 Academy2
23rd Nov – Nottingham, Resuce Rooms
24th Nov – Leeds, Stylus
25th Nov – Glasgow, Garage
27th Nov – Manchester, Academy3
28th Nov – London, Brooklyn Bowl
29th Nov – Oxford, O2 Academy2
30th Nov – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
1st Dec – Brisol, Marble Factory