Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sticky Sweet Music with Crunch: An Interview with Power-Pop-Punk Rock Legend Sammy Serious

I'm not entirely sure how the work of Sammy Serious and his classic power pop/punk band The Zeros (think Cheap Trick meets the Dickies with some Bowery Boys attitude thrown in for good measure) came into my existence, but I was a convert from day one. I can tell you that the first song I ever heard was the Zeros “Sticky Sweet Girls,” which is on their major label debut “4-3-2-1..Zeros” and it was instant love. There are songs that take awhile to properly woo you into their groove and then there are the ones where you are smitten with by the 10 second mark. Needless to say, it was the latter all the way for me when it comes to the Zeros.

But that album, as I was soon to find out, was only the tip of the iceberg, with the central figure being lead singer and songwriter Sammy Serious. Turns out, Mr. Serious has had an amazingly productive career as a solo artist as well as work in other bands, such as Serious Suicide. Most recently, his musical touch has popped up in a brand new Zeros album entitled “Zero In.” While Sammy is the only remaining member of the “classic” line-up (that being Danny Dangerous on bass, Joe Normal on lead guitar and Mr. Insane on drums), it will not disappoint anyone who is a fan of any of Sammy's past efforts. Thanks to the joys of social networking, I contacted Sammy about doing a little interview for my small but mighty blog and much to my happiness, he said yes!

So without further ado, here's a little Q&A with none other than Sammy Serious!

Question: Preaching to the Unconverted- How would you describe your sound and style to anyone who is new to all of the Serious works?

Answer: I would describe it as hold on to your life cause SAMMY SERIOUS is going to come in and rattle your brain.

Question: What were your original influences when starting the Zeros and how do they differ from what influences you now?

Answer: My influences when I started THE ZEROS are basically the same now as it was then. I still listen to all the same stuff today back when I started the band along with some new stuff out today.

My theory is what's good is good and if I hear something I like it doesn't matter when I started listening to it just matters if I like it or not.

Question: Being from the New Jersey area, was your life ever touched by the hand of the great Uncle Floyd?

Answer: Uncle Floyd was a great show growing up in New Jersey, you got to see some great bands on the show along with some funny skits it was really a show that I would say influenced a lot of shows on TV like Saturday Night Live and Mad TV.

Question: You mention DOG DAY AFTERNOON in the Zeros song “Pina Coloda Bang.” What other films have made an impact in your life?

Answer: Saving Private Ryan I must have watched that at least a 100 times
and every time I watch that movie I think about all the People who serve and protect us
I also wrote a song about the people who serve our country titled American Vets
which is on the CD LAST STOP OP HOTEL. Check it out. There are other movies that made a impact on my life but there are too many to name.

Question: Are there any records/books/films in your collection that would probably shock your fans?

Answer: Not really.

Question: In addition to the Zeros, you've also made a number of solo IDs and worked with Serious Suicide. What are some of the key differences between the three different parts of your musical career? Which albums would you recommend to someone first getting into Serious Suicide, the Zeros and your solo work?

Answer: That's a good question I don't really put one before the other its more like I have different extensions on my writing and they go into different avenues. I would think if you like one you should like the others they are all from the same brain just a different part of the insane.

Question: I have heard that with the latest “ZERO IN” that you ended up doing the bulk of the work with the music. What was that process like and how long did it take for it to be completed and released?

Answer: I wrote the album and recorded and produced the record and it took a few months for it to come all together to make the complete record. I also recorded the record at Hit Track studios in Las Vegas with studio mogul TOM PARHAM who I worked with on projects in the past, so that is a good thing to have a engineer who knows what your after and knows how to get it fast so things move quickly.

Question: Your work has been featured in a number of films,with the best arguably being the cult classic TAPEHEADS with the song “Mr. MX-7.” What was it like working on that song and that film? Did you get to work directly with Stiv Bators?

 Answer: When I wrote the song Mr MX-7 I did work with Stiv Bators on a daily basis. Stiv was a Icon, I loved the Dead Boys and Stiv was one of the coolest, kindest rock and rollers I ever met and worked with.

Question: I love how much name-play is used in your songs, like “I've Got My Name,” the Introduction and Good night portions on “4-3-2-1...” and most recently with “Now Sammy.” How did this come to be part of your style over the years?

Answer: The names are a big part of THE ZEROS along with some other characters who are in the band LIKE the Decantor, the Zeromonger, etc...
There are songs for these other characters I created but your just going to have to wait for NAMES VOLUME 2 to be released to hear these songs along with some other names that surround THE ZEROS.

Question: What advice would you give to any independent artist starting out in the music business?

Answer: Make sure you promote yourself wherever you can to who ever you can.

Question: You've done some really fun, borderline surreal, video work on You tube with The Moo Moo Serious Show. Any plans to take this part of your creativity further?

Answer: Moo Moo Serious is a character that is part of the Zeros family. She is one of our biggest fans that follows the members and gives them advice like a concerned mother and also has a cooking show on YouTube and she should be posting another episode soon.

Question: At the end of the day, how would you like to be described?

Answer: NOW SAMMY? SAMMMMMMMY? SAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMY ? For everyone reading this going What! this is a part of the song on the new record “Zero In” by The Zeros .

Question: Bonus Barbara Walters Question: If you could pick any musicians, living or dead, to work with, whom would it be and why? What is the Sammy Serious dream team?

Answer: If I was to start a band and I could pick any musicians to be in it
I would get Burt Bacharach to play keys, Roger Waters to play bass, Roger Taylor to play drums, Alvin Lee, Jimmy Page, to play guitar, Bozo the Clown to play tambourine
and have Alice Cooper, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Johnny Lydon (Rotten), John Lennon hanging out so we can hang out after the session and have a party.

Also if anyone wants to check out The Zeros you can check us out on www.myspace.com/thezeroswww.myspace.com/thezeros
www.facebook.com/sammyserious OR search Facebook for the Zeros.

Much thanks to Sammy for taking the time out to answer my Questions and for making some of the best and most underrated music to have come out in the past 20 years. If you like your music with lots of fun, humor, crunch and catchy, then go no further than the works of Sammy Serious. Plus "Zero In" is a really, really fun album. 



  1. Excellent interview Heather! I especially loved reading that about Stiv, who is a real favorite of mine. Kudos for asking him about Uncle Floyd as well. Great stuff!

  2. Thank you so much Jeremy! I'm a huge Uncle Floyd fan and I think there's very much a tie between someone with enough rock & roll slack to like Sammy's work and enjoying Uncle Floyd. So glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Well-done! The Zeros were truly one of rock's all-time greatest bands -- whether anyone else knows it or not.

    Thanks for posting.


  4. Chris, thank you so much! It's good to see someone love this band as much as I do.

    Take care!