Sometimes the Zombies played chess. Other times they posed like chess pieces.
Sometimes the Zombies played chess. Other times they posed like chess pieces.

The Zombies

It's only fitting that the Zombies enjoyed their biggest-ever hit posthumously.

The group's excellent 1964 debut chart entry "She's Not There" set the tone for pop over the next three years -- moody minor-key masterpieces where breathy singer Colin Blunstone sighed about not getting the girl while Rod Argent trilled off a blindingly swift solo on his electric piano. Unfortunately, the group's handlers chose to promote the band as brainy scholars simply because two members wore thick horn-framed glasses and, after three years of confounding pop fans with geeky publicity photos of chess-playing Zombies, the band outsmarted itself out of existence.

Before calling it quits, they released what is now viewed as a seminal pop landmark, 1967's Odessey and Oracle, with a defiantly misspelled title and a leadoff single about posting bail for an errant girlfriend. Released to universal indifference, the band packed it in, leaving a host of grave-robbing phony Zombies to tour the U.S. in 1969, which is when "Time of the Season," that post-dead pop hit, took on a life of its own. In perhaps the dumbest rock 'n' roll move ever, instead of cashing in on the Zombies' sudden good fortune, Rod Argent and Chris White plowed ahead with plans for a prog-rock posturing band called Argent, while Blunstone worked as an insurance clerk for a year before releasing a second cult classic album titled One Year.


The Zombies

Alice Cooper'stown, 101 East Jackson

Are scheduled to perform on Wednesday, February 25. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $22. Call 602-253-7337 for more information.

Now on the 40th anniversary of "She's Not There," Rod and Colin tour the U.S. together, and while you get an enormous serving of what's made them mega-gods to scores of indie bands like the Autumn Defense and the Beechwood Sparks, you also get selections from Argent -- the group -- and Argent and Blunstone's 2002 lite-rock collaboration Out of the Shadows, which allegedly gave Christopher Cross some sleepless nights.


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